Why Did Satoshi Nakamoto Remain Anonymous?

By Rushali Shome

Ever since Bitcoin was conceptualised in 2008 and launched in the month of January, 2019, the identity of its creator has baffled the world. The white paper for Bitcoin was published under the name of a certain Satoshi Nakamoto. Since then, his name has become a bit of a legend in the fintech space and his anonymity and identity have become the stuff of urban myth. “Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?”, we have often wondered quite inconclusively. “Why did Satoshi Nakamoto remain anonymous?” Let’s find out the possible theories.

(Please note that we are not assuming the gender of Satoshi Nakamoto, by referring to the founder of Bitcoin using the pronoun “he”, we are accounting for any possible gender Nakamoto identifies as.)

Now, bear in mind that this is not a discussion of who Satoshi Nakamoto might be. Ever since contenders like Craig Wright claimed to be the real Satoshi, the internet and the crypto universe have been fraught with a heated debate over whether such claims are true or false.

People like Craig Wright or Amaury Sechet who have claimed to be Satoshi have been summarily dismissed by knowledgeable crypto insiders, who have called them out for using obvious codes, easily available on the public ledger to fabricate such identities.

As a result, we still do not have a conclusive idea as to who Satoshi Nakamoto really is. Why did he remain anonymous? Let us look at the theories.

Conflict of Interest

It is possible that Satoshi Nakamoto wanted to keep his identity under wraps to prevent a conflict of interest that has frequently affected the social media followings of people like Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin or Litecoin founder Charlie Lee.

Anything they say or do create a major impact on the market and because of their close links with the cryptocurrencies they have created, they are even accused of shorting for personal gains.

You May Also Read: Who is Vitalik Buterin?

In fact, Charlie Lee sold his LTC holdings because of this reason. He wrote the following as an explanation:

“And whenever I tweet about Litecoin price or even just good or bad news, I get accused of doing it for personal benefit. Some people even think I short LTC! So in a sense, it is a conflict of interest for me to hold LTC and tweet about it because I have so much influence.”

It is possible that Nakamoto wanted to avoid such a situation where his power would turn into a heavy burden or a conflict of interest.

Need for Decentralization

Bitcoin was designed as a form of cryptocurrency that boasted of a decentralized character.

If Nakamoto had unveiled his identity at the time of launch or even a few years after it, people would have begun to look at him as a central authority.

This would defeat the entire premise of having Bitcoins in the first place, to fight the menace and inefficiency of centrally controlled currency.

You May Also Read: Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2019

Evading Regulators

It has also been suggested that Nakamoto possibly stayed anonymous so as to not find himself in trouble with regulators and authorities who would definitely have concerns over Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and its propensity to be used by those who flout the law, often over the dark web.

This is highly likely. Given it was such a new invention, Nakamoto possibly did not want to risk heightened attention upon himself or his work.

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Rushali Shome

Rushali Shome is a history undergraduate with a keen interest in puns, politics and beyond. When not typing away furiously in the “Notes” section of her phone, she can be found trying to catch the eye of servers at restaurants or weddings for a second helping.

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