YouTube podcaster Lex Fridman interviewed the world's richest man, Elon Musk, for the third time recently in December. Later in the interview, after discussing a variety of topics, they began discussing Bitcoin. Once the conversation got going, Fridman shifted to an fascinating Bitcoin subtopic: Satoshi Nakamoto.
Being the richest man in the world, Musk has accrued knowledge for decades as a programmer and successful businessman. He mastered the C++ programming language in the early 2000s when he co-founded PayPal with Peter Thiel.
As many Bitcoiners know, expert C++ coding skills are a requirement for any Satoshi candidate, since the mysterious creator coded the original version of Bitcoin solely in C++.
Fridman first asked Musk if he was Satoshi. Musk responded by noting that if he was Satoshi, he would have told the world by now. Besides this, there is further evidence (such as his beliefs at the time) that show he is not Satoshi.
The Real Satoshi
After putting an end to the theory that the Tesla CEO is Satoshi, Fridman asked Musk who he thought Satoshi was. Musk took a long pause, then eloquently explained how the person most responsible for the core ideas behind Bitcoin is an American computer scientist named Nick Szabo.
Szabo is famously the inventor of the crucial blockchain coding concept known as "Smart Contracts." Without smart contracts, Ethereum and many of the other top altcoins wouldn't even exist.
However, more importantly, Szabo is also the inventor of the widely accepted precursor to Bitcoin known as Bit gold. It happened to have an extremely similar design to Bitcoin (along with the fact that the names are nearly identical to each other).
Not only that, research studies like this have shown that he is the most likely author of the Bitcoin whitepaper.
Furthermore, an anonymous researcher discovered in an early study that Szabo was the only Satoshi candidate among research candidates with coding quirks that match Satoshi. Later research has shown another candidate, James Donald, shares this similarity too, however he used his public identity when speaking to Satoshi. There is no evidence Szabo ever communicated with Satoshi.
Szabo first unveiled Bit gold in a private mailing list called "Libtech" that he started in 1998 with famous programmers Wei Dai, Hal Finney and economists George Selgin and Larry White as recipients. Szabo describes all four men as inspirations for his continued work on Bit gold.
In fact, on his stunning blog, Unenumerated, Szabo penned a 2008 post called "Bit gold markets." In this piece, Szabo described ways in which he could create markets for his cryptocurrency and used various Satoshi terms such as "chain of digital signature" and "miners."
The timing couldn't be more spot on: this blog post was written in April 2008, 6 months before the Bitcoin whitepaper. In addition, Szabo also asked for help coding Bit gold in the comment section of that same blog post, implying Bit gold was not a dead project. He even suggested in another comment that someone should implement a better version of Bit gold.
People on the internet also point out that Szabo's initials (N S) are Satoshi's initials backwards (S N). Amazingly, Satoshi even ignored Hal Finney when Hal told him that Bitcoin had many similarities to Bit gold.
Oddest of all, Satoshi cited B-Money by Wei Dai in the whitepaper over Bit gold, even asking Wei Dai himself in an email if the citation for B-Money was correct. Satoshi seemingly tried to credit to everyone but himself.
Elon Musk didn't outright say that Szabo was Satoshi, but that was what he subtly revealed. Regardless, it certainly isn't Craig "Faketoshi" Wright. Speaking of Faketoshi, BSV media arm, CoinGeek, released an article dismissing Musk's statements about Szabo as false.
They also asserted in the article that Wright is the real Satoshi and Szabo doesn't qualify. I find these claims incredibly fascinating, given Wright plagiarizes academic papers on crypto, while Nick Szabo has over 20+ published research pieces.