Elon Musk again said that he is not the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. But what does the evidence say?
In a recent podcast appearance, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, addressed the rumors about his involvement in Bitcoin. Namely, the rumors that he is in fact Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.
Musk denied the rumors, saying that he would have come clean by now if they were true. He also shared his views on who the real creator of Bitcoin is.
But what does the evidence say? We know that a person or a group invented Bitcoin back in 2008. Its inventor, under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published the first crypto white paper.
The paper detailed how Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, would work. In 2009, Bitcoin’s blockchain finally launched.
The origin of the creator’s name is unknown and there’s a lot of speculation about it. In any case, the name is pretty much the only specific information about the inventor. That’s why there are a lot of theories on who he actually might be.
Musk As Satoshi
Given Musk’s high profile and eccentric persona, it’s no wonder that some think he might be Satoshi.
The theories go back to a viral post in 2017. A then SpaceX intern wrote a post listing all the reasons why he thinks Musk is Satoshi.
These include Musk’s coding skills and his experience in cryptography and economics. Specifically, Musk knows the programing language C++, and he wrote the code for Zip2 and PayPal. Incidentally, C++ is also the language of the original Bitcoin code.
The post also goes into some of Musk’s earlier cryptic statements about the founder of Bitcoin.
Musk has denied these allegations and continues to deny them. Moreover, the theory has other issues.
For example, Musk’s EV company Tesla just briefly started accepting payments in Bitcoin in 2021. Just a few months later, the company suspended the payments, citing the huge carbon footprint of BTC transactions. It’s unlikely that the creator of Bitcoin would do that.
Perhaps more importantly, Musk prefers the meme coin Doge and frequently trashes Bitcoin.
Musk Reveals Who He Thinks Satoshi Is
Moreover, he shared his views on who the creator of Bitcoin really is.
“You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas,” he said
The most likely candidate, Musk says, is the cryptography pioneer Nick Szabo.
“It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably, more than anyone else, responsible for the evolution of those ideas. He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I’m not sure that’s neither here nor there. But he seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind Bitcoin than anyone else,” he said.
He also created the concept of Bit Gold, a decentralized currency working through cryptographic principles.
He called Bit Gold a protocol with “minimal dependence on trusted third parties, and then securely stored, transferred, and assayed with similar minimal trust”. Significantly, Bitcoin works in the exact same way as Bit Gold was supposed to work.
There are other similarities as well. Dominic Frisby, author of Bitcoin: The Future of Money, categorically states that Szabo is Nakamoto.
He points out that the two authors write similarly. They both reference Austrian economist Carl Menger. Szabo worked for DigiCash, a payment processor. The company was working on using cryptography in digital payments.
With that in mind, the case for Musk as the creator of Bitcoin seems rather weak in comparison.