As per Tesla founder and prominent crypto proponent Elon Musk, the individual behind Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious and elusive founder of Bitcoin, might be no one else but the famous crypto expert Nick Szabo.
"He seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind bitcoin than anyone else. He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I'm not sure that's neither here nor there," Musk was reported as saying.
In a podcast with AI researcher Lex Fridman, the billionaire mentioned how despite not exactly knowing who created the pioneering digital currency, he believes that the theories of the notoriously secretive crypto expert are fundamental to the creation of bitcoin.
However, Szabo has, despite having spoken and written prolifically on the digital currency's history, has on multiple occasions denied the claim that he, indeed is Nakamoto. In 2014, he commented on the matter, saying "I’m afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I am used to it".
Known for his expansive work in the fields of digital currencies and smart contracts, Nick Szabo is a well-known computer scientist and cryptographer. He also coined the term "smart contracts".
Musk asked the crypto community to "look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas" to make an informed guess. Notably, Szabo is often credited as the mastermind behind the concept of Bit gold, an incomplete project focused on a decentralised digital currency that is very similar to Bitcoin and in fact is seen as its forerunner.
Bit Gold is eerily, if not unsurprisingly, similar to Bitcoin, including similarities such as descriptions of time-stamped blocks stored on the blockchain, generated employing a Proof-of-Work (PoW) model.
The idea would use mining and importantly, cryptographic puzzles on a peer-to-peer network with all the details stored in a common, title registry, akin to the present-day blockchain consensus.
In an attempt to find the anonymous Nakamoto, which in reality, is a pseudonym for the individual or individuals believed to have created bitcoin, a study was conducted by the Aston University Centre for Forensic Linguistics in 2014.
The study analysed the Bitcoin whitepaper and the writings of Szabo alongside 10 researchers who were potentially considered to be the founders of this digital currency.
The researchers concluded beyond doubt that the writings indicated Szabo being the creator. The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo's writing and the bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny," the researchers said, adding: "None of the other possible authors was anywhere near as good of a match."
Furthermore, one of the similarities is that the white paper was drafted using Latex, an open-source document platform. Szabo uses Latex for his public publications as well. A significant number of phrases in the Bitcoin white paper are present in Szabo’s writings as well.