After Satoshi Natamoto, the anonymous inventor of Bitcoin, disappeared in 2011, a plethora of theories about his identity have emerged.
Hal Finney, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, Nick Szabo and Craig Wright have all been mentioned as possible contenders.
After months of research, Quantum Economics' Director of Gamefi Research Gerald Votta thinks he has found the answer to Satoshi's true identity - Canadian cryptographer James A. Donald. In a new research article published on November 17, Votta outlines indirect evidence that he believes proves the link.
Donald was the very first to comment on the Bitcoin (BTC) white paper in 2008, which piqued Votta's interest. Votta wrote that the almost immediate timing was "very suspicious" and led him to take a further look into Donald's life.
What Votta found so striking was the fact that just minutes after the publication of Bitcoin's white paper, Donald was already offering very specific and complex criticisms on Satoshi's idea.
Donald agreed with Satoshi that we needed an electronic peer-to-peer payment system, but he concluded that the way it was described in the whitepaper would lead to scalability problems.
"How can you read the white paper, analyze it, and come up with these great criticisms and questions in the span of about 3 minutes? That's almost impossible," said Gerald Votta.
Votta wrote that Donald also met the requirements: "Donald not only had an advanced knowledge of computers, programming and cryptography, he was well versed in economics, history and law. It would be his own words, however, that helped me connect him with Satoshi Nakamoto."
This is not the first time the theory has surfaced. In 2014, a forum post by user Bruno Kucinskas on a Bitcoin forum also pointed to the same evidence about the quick response, sparking a debate. One user argued that the timestamp varies between different archives, and another suggested that the time zones were different than suggested, which would call into question the length of time between the post and the reply.
There is also the possibility that Satoshi and Donald spoke in private before making the question and answer public. Votta explained that he had read all these counterarguments, but that his evidence "speaks for itself." He noted that the website for Donald's project Crypto Kong alone "is literally Bitcoin."
Votta's research delved into Crypto Kong, a software program that uses elliptic curve cryptography to electronically sign documents. "This particular program is eerily familiar with the basics of Bitcoin," he wrote, noting Votta's blog post addressed similarities between the information on the site and the white paper.
But if all of this were true, why would Satoshi have a conversation with himself from two different addresses, if in fact he was just Donald? According to Votta, this tactic was a ploy to "remain anonymous and encourage a contrarian view of Bitcoin.
He also supports his claim with evidence gathered by analyzing the language Satoshi used. "Donald's communications contained language that reminded me of Satoshi," he wrote.
He claims that Satoshi's "excellent command of not only the English language, but also North American English" means that he was probably born, raised or studied in the U.S., Britain or a former British colony.
For example, Satoshi uses the word "Chancellor" and the British spelling of the word "favour."
According to Votta, the link was made even stronger by the peculiar use of the word "Chaumian." Donald used the word in an e-mail about Digicash patents on August 3, 2003, and Satoshi also used it in an e-mail response on February 11, 2009.
"With that, the mystery was solved. The odds of two people having the same credentials, a clear understanding of the North American language and culture, and sharing almost the same white paper are astronomically low," Votta said.
And so yet another theory has emerged about the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, a theory that sounds quite plausible. But like all the other theories, there remains a lack of hard evidence. It could be that James Donald is the true identity behind Satoshi Nakamoto, but whether we will ever know for sure remains to be seen.