The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is the most well-kept secret in the history of cryptocurrency.
Throughout the years, several people have been considered as the possible inventor of Bitcoin. Several others, such as Craig Wright, have claimed to be the one in an attempt to profit off of the name. Others, such as Hal Finney himself, were targeted due to the possibility of being Satoshi, in spite of their previous statements to the contrary.
Hal Finney was a legendary Cypherpunk, but he was not Satoshi.
Today I present my research to support that claim.https://t.co/gZVQv3QW0B
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) October 21, 2023
Regardless of Finney’s statements, other members of the community continued to believe in his alternate identity as Satoshi Nakamoto, an idea that Lopp may have now laid to rest.
Satoshi Active While Finney Was Nowhere Near A Computer
The strongest evidence that Lopp found was that Hal Finney – an active man who loved running before his unfortunate diagnosis and subsequent death from ALS – was running a 10-mile race during the exact same timeframe that Satoshi Nakamoto was interacting with early Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn.
This can be corroborated with third-party photographic evidence. No matter how talented an athlete may be, it’s a safe assumption that he could not be writing emails and coding while running.
Mike Hearn was working for Google out of their Zurich office at the time, a fact further confirmed by his IP – which was included in the mail archive of his communications with Satoshi.
Nodes And Codes
Further proof dispelling the possible identity of Satoshi lies in the activation periods of Finney’s Bitcoin node, which appears to be completely distinct from the one the BTC creator was running at the time.
Lopp also pointed out the very different coding styles used by Finney and Nakamoto, focusing on the eternal tabs/spaces debate, debug statements, and more. Examples of their code can be perused here and here at leisure.
A final argument against Finney’s alternate identity is his lack of privacy.
Satoshi Nakamoto was famous for his desire to stay completely under the radar – evidenced by the fact that to this day, there is only speculation on who he may be (or have been).
Finney, on the other hand, was quite public about his life, although he was a staunch believer in the right to privacy himself up until his untimely death.
“Hal Finney was not actually a particularly private person. According to his wife, Hal was a huge privacy advocate and believed everyone had the right to privacy. But privacy is the ability to selectively reveal yourself to the world, and Hal was quite open about his dealings. Hal was a legend, just not that legend.”
Rounding off his statement, Lopp confirmed that he had his own private hypotheses about Satoshi’s real identity, which he would, however, refrain from sharing in order to prevent real-world disturbances. According to Lopp, it’s better if Satoshi Nakamoto remains an idea, not a person – just like the one behind the identity would have wanted.