As a computer engineer and scholar, Nick Szabo is also credited with helping to develop Bit Gold. The decentralized currency was what Szabo conceptualized and described in a 1998 paper—a decade before Bitcoin's whitepaper was published. Szabo is a proponent of cryptocurrency, but he denies claims that he's the creator of Bitcoin.
Computer scientist and cryptocurrency pioneer
Net worth: $2 million
Nick Szabo is a computer scientist who has done extensive research into cryptocurrency. He developed a decentralized coin called Bit Gold in 1998. His development of the concept of "smart contracts" was crucial to the foundations of the Ethereum blockchain. Bit Gold is considered to be a precursor to Bitcoin, which is the largest cryptocurrency today.
Birthdate: April 5, 1964
Education: Science and Engineering degree from the University of Washington
Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School
What's Nick Szabo's net worth?
Szabo is estimated to have a net worth of $2 million, according to WealthyPersons.com.
Nick Szabo created Bit Gold—what about Bitcoin?
Szabo is perhaps best-known for his proposal of Bit Gold—a decentralized virtual currency that he wrote about in 1998. This was about a decade before the emergence of Bitcoin and the whitepaper by Nakamoto. Bit Gold was essential to the eventual development of Bitcoin.
The concept of Bit Gold bears striking similarities to Bitcoin, with descriptions of time-stamped blocks stored on a blockchain and generated using a Proof-of-Work model. Bit Gold combined various elements of cryptography and mining to provide decentralization of currency.
Bit Gold would use cryptographic puzzles on a peer-to-peer network, with details stored in a title registry, similar to the blockchain consensus. Bit Gold was never fully implemented, but the impact of the ideas within Szabo's writings about Bit Gold is still felt in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Nick Szabo was a pioneer of smart contracts.
In addition to the Bit Gold concept, Szabo is considered a leader in smart contracts. He defined smart contracts as "computerized transaction protocols that execute terms of a contract." Smart contracts are what cause transactions to be traceable, transparent, and irreversible, which are essential traits of cryptocurrency.
Is Nick Szabo actually Satoshi Nakamoto?
Szabo's name has been associated with Bitcoin for many years, in part due to his work on Bit Gold and the similarities to his writings and that of Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Nakamoto is an anonymous person or group that authored the whitepaper outlining the concept of Bitcoin in 2008.
Over the years, people have thought that Szabo was the actual person behind the Bitcoin proposal. For example, in 2015, a New York Times reporter pointed to Szabo as the real Nakamoto and claimed that "much of the most convincing evidence pointed to a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo."
Author Dominic Frisby wrote in Bitcoin: The Future of Money? that Szabo was likely Nakamoto due to linguistic similarities between Szabo's and Nakamoto's writings.