Uncovering the Real Satoshi: Key Insights From His Private Emails with Martti Malmi and Adam Back

Satoshi with Adam Back and Martti Malmi

Satoshi Nakamoto drastically changed the world through his brilliant design, Bitcoin, creating an unstoppable domino effect of social scalability, decentralization, and security.

During the recent COPA v. Wright Trial, which featured Faketoshi Craig Wright, two key witnesses, Martti Malmi and Adam Back, presented previously unreleased emails from Satoshi Nakamoto. These shocking emails definitively proved that Craig Wright committed elaborate fraud in a bid to hoodwink the court system of various countries to be Satoshi.

While Wright's fraud is an important topic, today, I will analyze Malmi and Back's monumental Satoshi email release to better understand the real Satoshi. Due to the relatively high volume, only key emails will be presented.

The RPOW email

Satoshi was far more personable in these newly released emails than he was in his public writings. A particular email that Satoshi sent to Martti Malmi shows he had extensive knowledge of Hal Finney; far more than what he let on publically in most cases. Satoshi spoke in this new email about how Hal Finney:

"carried this torch years ago with his Reusable Proof of Work (RPOW)"

The email is significant because it has been a genuine question until now whether Satoshi knew Hal Finney or not prior to Bitcoin. In my Szabo-Satoshi case study, I made the argument Satoshi did know Hal, based on a unique statement he made to Finney.

Crucially, Szabo refers to RPOW as a "variant of bit gold," and Bit gold as Bitcoin's "predecessor design," so the newly released email above appears to further strengthen the basis that Satoshi knew Finney before Bitcoin, along with Bit gold.

The shells and stones email

Satoshi, in the past, referred to a non-aesthetic metal which could gain traction in the absence of intrinsic quality. Further strengthening Satoshi's viewpoint, is an impressive economic reference to shells and stones that he made in a newly released email to Martti Malmi:

"Historically, people have taken up scarce commodities as money, if  necessary taking up whatever is at hand, such as shells or stones.  Each has a kernel of usefulness that helped bootstrap the process, but the monetary value ends up being much more than the functional value alone."

Nick Szabo famously argued in his paper on the origins of money that scarce objects, like shells, served as money throughout history due to their trust-minimized properties and "unforgeable costliness." In fact, Szabo used the word "shell" over 30 times in the aforementioned piece, and also has discussed the use of historical stones as money too:

Nick Szabo discussing Rai Stones

In addition, my recent piece about the Bitcoin whitepaper's release further elucidates the ties between Szabo and Satoshi's economic theory.

The donor email

Satoshi revealed a fascinating part of his life in a newly released email to Martti Malmi. He suggested that he could tap anonymous donors to invest in Bitcoin:

"There are donors I can tap if we come up with something that needs funding, but they want to be anonymous, which makes it hard to actually do anything with it."

This is a significant passage because it demonstrates that Satoshi has a network of friends willing to bankroll a decentralized internet currency while staying anonymous. A scenario that lines up well with Satoshi's statement is a cypherpunk like Nick Szabo utilizing his extensive group of like-minded individuals (who value anonymity greatly).

The above email also shows that there is a reasonable chance Satoshi reached out to other cypherpunks for advice during Bitcoin's development.

The timestamping email

Satoshi revealed in an email to Adam Back that he believes Bitcoin's distributed timestamping mechanism sets it apart:

"The main thing my system adds is to also use proof-of-work to support a distributed timestamping server."

In an intriguing tie to Satoshi's statement, Nick Szabo emphasized Bit gold's timestamping (which is distributed) in a widely unknown draft:

Nick Szabo discussing secure timestamping and MicroMint/HashCash

Moreover, Adam Back mentioned MicroMint to Satoshi in another new email, who curiously did not specifically mention MicroMint at all in his response. If Nick Szabo is Satoshi, this move by Satoshi would further make sense because a researcher could theoretically look up Szabo's website, which contains the above comparison between Bit gold and MicroMint.


A key part of the COPA v Wright trial was the treasure trove of emails brought to the public's attention by Adam Back and Martti Malmi. Satoshi Nakamoto revealed a side of him that only a select few were able to see up until this point.

The emails discussed in this article demonstrate that Satoshi shared an uncanny number of similarities with Nick Szabo that further line up with the case study I wrote. Although, the presence of the email about donors suggests there is a decent possibility that Satoshi had asked for assistance in the beginning as well.

Satoshi will be remembered as one of the greatest minds of the 21st century, and these emails capture his brilliance.