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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.