Elon Musk has caused a stir online after posting about a Satoshi Nakamoto conspiracy theory, reigniting speculations on the true identity of the mysterious Bitcoin developer.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Musk shared an image suggesting that the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto is simply an amalgam of syllables from the brand names of four electronics companies: “Sa” from Samsung, “Toshi” from Toshiba, “Naka” from Nakamichi and “Moto” from Motorola.
While several people have claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the developer’s identity has never been officially confirmed. The Bitcoin creator reportedly began writing its code in 2007 and was active in its development until early 2011. The theory that the four aforementioned companies are collectively behind the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, however, is not new. The image Musk recently posted has been shared on Twitter for years now, while a Reddit user claimed in a 2017 thread that the conspiracy, which went “mainstream,” was posted “years ago.”
Musk, a cryptocurrency advocate himself, has been rumored to be Satoshi Nakamoto since 2017, supported by suspicions that the Bitcoin developer may not be Japanese after all. However, Musk has denied these allegations.
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While most individuals suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto also deny the allegations, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, claimed the identity years ago. In a 2016 blog post, he reportedly wrote that he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto and that he had evidence to back up his claim.
Several people, including Musk himself, consider computer scientist Nick Szabo to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Prior to Wednesday’s tweet, Musk described Szabo in an episode of “The Lex Fridman Podcast” from last December as “more responsible for the ideas behind Bitcoin than anyone else.”
“You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of Bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas,” the Neuralink co-founder told Fridman. “Obviously, I don’t know who created Bitcoin for practical purposes, but the evolution of ideas is pretty clear before that. It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably, more than anybody else, responsible for the evolution of those ideas.”
As Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity could well remain a mystery for all eternity, the internet is unlikely to run out of speculations. After Musk’s tweet went viral, users weighed in with their own theories.
Billy Markus, a Dogecoin co-creator who goes by Shibetoshi Nakamoto, also jumped in on the fun.