The Satoshi power struggle: who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

In Insight

One of the most controversial topics in crypto is the “Satoshi power struggle”. Satoshi Nakamoto is the name of the pseudonymous person or group of people who authored the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008. But since then, the identity of Satoshi has been hotly debated.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Will we ever know for sure? Does it really matter?

In February 2019, Craig Wright, chief scientist at nChain, filed a comment to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto. The response from the crypto community was explosive, much like the the price of Wright’s Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) – a cryptocurrency formed from a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, itself a fork of Bitcoin.


Then in August, another aspiring Satoshi revealed himself – this time in the form of Bilal Khalid, also known as James Caan, a Pakistani man now living in the UK. But the announcement generally failed to impress.

Other than Wright and Khalid, there is a growing list of Satoshi candidates, including the likes of Hal Finney and Nick Szabo.

Everybody wants to be Satoshi

Being associated with the identity of the creator of Bitcoin comes with a lot of heavy baggage. The famous Satoshi wallet contains about 1 million bitcoins earned from bitcoin mining in the early days. Those coins have thus far never been touched.

The tug of war over Bitcoin’s genesis story highlights a crucial aspect of the cryptocurrency industry: like money, cryptocurrencies are fuelled by belief.


Cryptocurrency market cycles – and in fact, all market cycles – mirror human emotion. In 2017, the ICO bubble illustrated that in nascent industries, narratives are a strong driver of economic trends.

When world leaders tweet about Bitcoin, the price often reacts. Public discourse around cryptocurrencies has a strong effect on their perceived legitimacy and this impacts both investments and regulation.

Those who claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto also claim a greater stake in the conversation around what cryptocurrencies ought to look like, who should regulate them and who gets to use them.

Nearly a decade after Bitcoin was first introduced to the world, it probably doesn’t really matter that much who started it all. Crypto is here to stay and everyone can be a part of it.




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