Elon Musk and son
Source: Getty

Elon Musk accepting his "Person of the Year" award from TIME.

Is Elon Musk Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

By

Dec. 29 2021, Published 11:46 a.m. ET

Although SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk is famous for his innovations and tweets about cryptocurrencies, he has continued to deny rumors that he's the creator of Bitcoin. In a recent podcast with Lex Fridman, Musk was asked whether he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin.

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Musk, whose wealth has skyrocketed by about $93 billion over the past year, has often been speculated to be Bitcoin's creator. Each time, Musk responded that he is not, in fact, Nakamoto.

What we know about Satoshi Nakamoto

Nakamoto may not be a real person at all, but an alias representing a group of individuals. In 2008, a paper outlining the idea of decentralized currency was published.

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lex fridman
Source: Lex Fridman podcast YouTube

Lex Fridman asking Musk whether he is Satoshi Nakamoto.

The paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” discussed a digital currency. The creator proposed a system of digital cash in which transactions are recorded on a blockchain based on proof of work, eliminating the need for banks or governments to serve as middlemen in financial transactions.

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Source: Lex Fridman Twitter

Nakamoto was involved in the early development of Bitcoin’s first software in 2009. However, all communication was conducted electronically, with no way of identifying an actual person. By 2010, whoever was conducting these communications cut ties with Bitcoin via an email to another crypto developer.

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Is Elon Musk Satoshi Nakamoto?

Over the years, Elon Musk has insisted that he's not Satoshi Nakamoto. When asked about it directly in an interview with Lex Fridman, Musk said that he didn’t invent Bitcoin.

Musk emphasized that what’s more important than Nakamoto’s identity is the “evolution of ideas” that leads to innovation. He stated, “Obviously I don’t know who created Bitcoin.” He also mentioned Nick Szabo as being responsible for the ideas that led to Bitcoin.

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Szabo wrote important research on “Bit Gold,” one of Bitcoin’s predecessors, in 1998. He pioneered the idea of smart contracts, essential to the Ethereum blockchain. He has also denied being Nakamoto.

musk pod
Source: Lex Fridman podcast YouTube

Elon Musk during his interview with Lex Fridman.

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Why some think Elon Musk could be Nakamoto

Innovative Musk is a logical candidate to being the true identity of Nakamoto. In 2017, a former SpaceX intern wrote a blog post on Medium claiming that Musk could be Nakamoto.

The writer of the post, Sahil Gupta, wrote, “Elon is a self-taught polymath. He’s repeatedly innovated across fields by reading books on a subject and applying the knowledge. It’s how he built rockets, invented the Hyperloop (which he released to the world as a paper), and could have invented Bitcoin.”

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Satoshi Nakamoto’s influence on cryptocurrency

Whoever Nakamoto is, the person or group of individuals can be credited with launching the concept of cryptocurrency and prompting key changes in the financial world. According to CoinMarketCap, there were over 8,000 different cryptocurrencies in existence as of Dec. 2021.

Whereas Bitcoin continues to lead cryptocurrencies, many others, including Ethereum, Cardano, and Binance Coin, have grown in popularity. In 2022, plenty of other cryptocurrencies are slated to launch, and investors may want to watch these closely.

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