Satoshi Nakamoto and Nicolas van Saberhagen may be the same person or people
Bitcoin appeared during a financial crisis on October 31, 2008, with the release of a whitepaper authored by the unknown Satoshi Nakamoto. Three years later, December 12, 2012, saw the presentation of the technology behind the cryptocurrency Monero in a whitepaper authored by the unknown Nicolas van Saberhagen. Today, as a new financial crisis threatens, historical research and textual analysis indicate Satoshi Nakamoto and Nicolas van Saberhagen may have been the same person or group.
Nakamoto is famous yet unidentified. He, she, or they are largely defined through the document "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," called the Bitcoin Whitepaper. It describes the multiple parts of a cryptocurrency, including the network, the blockchain, and the proof-of-work algorithm that secures the blockchain without a central authority.
Saberhagen's CryptoNote whitepaper, "CryptoNote 1.0," also defined a new cryptocurrency, one focused on privacy and empowerment. It improved on Bitcoin by changing the blockchain structure and using a new proof-of-work, addressing issues that had arisen since Bitcoin's invention. It also made a number of smaller enhancements to Bitcoin, like simplifying transaction scripts and dynamically adjusting block reward and size. The CryptoNote Whitepaper led, eventually, to the creation of Monero.
Nakamoto had clear motive to write the CryptoNote Whitepaper. In a Bitcointalk forum posting on August 13, 2010, Nakamoto first posted the concepts for privacy in cryptocurrency that would later appear in the CryptoNote Whitepaper: the ideas of stealth addresses, which hide receivers in a cryptocurrency transaction, and ring signatures, which hide senders. Also, by the time of the CryptoNote Whitepaper, Nakamoto had witnessed the struggles with Bitcoin's block size changes (Nakamoto himself stealthfully inserted a 1 MB block size limit into the Bitcoin codebase in 2010) and mining reward halving that the new whitepaper tackled.
The Central Processing Units (CPUs) in personal computers are widely owned, and the Bitcoin Whitepaper advanced the concept of "one CPU one vote" in securing the network. But this directive had stopped working by the time of the CryptoNote whitepaper, as Bitcoin's SHA-256-based proof-of-work algorithm had been ported to faster Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and implemented on Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICSs). Saberhagen's new proof-of-work addressed exactly this.
"After watching deeply held philosophical ideals yield under the old design, Satoshi appears to have revised the algorithms," said Almutasim, Monero Outreach Editor, "with new knowledge, new insights, and years of hard thinking by one of humanity's greatest minds leading to the transcendent concepts in the CryptoNote Whitepaper."
Writing analysis shows a style connection between the two whitepapers. Monero Outreach, in studies using the Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program (JGAAP) stylometry software—applying the Burrows Delta Analysis Method—found that the author of the CryptoNote whitepaper was more likely to be the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper than the author of any of 15 leading papers selected from the Monero literature. Stylometry theory says Nicolas van Saberhagen's writing has more in common with Satoshi Nakamoto's than with that of 15 prominent experts.
But JGAAP's deep scientific algorithms are not really required, as clear visible parallels abound: Both whitepapers used the same unexpected spelling of "favour/favourable." Both used the contraction "can't" contrary to the usual style of academically formatted papers. Both used the wording "In this paper, we…" Both used black-and-white line drawings with solid and dashed lines. And so forth.
"When you first look at those two documents side by side you can get floored by the crazy similarities," said Thunderosa, Monero Outreach Creative Lead. "Maybe we should start calling the author Satoshi van Saberhagen."
With these historical motivations, scientific analysis, and compelling similarities, the stark affirmation of Satoshi Nakamoto being Nicolas van Saberhagen rises like a full moon over a calm ocean on a cloudless night. It gives new perspectives on what had been assumed to be two of the greatest inventors of our age: Nakamoto, the progenitor of all of cryptocurrency, and Saberhagen, the creator of cryptocurrency that protects human privacy and liberty.
Yet one should not expect this revelation to be embraced by either the Bitcoin or the Monero community—each with strong opinions and customs—overnight. There will be resistance.
"Like many, I'm still processing this," said Xmrhaelan, Monero Outreach Organizer. "I will, though, say with confidence that if Satoshi Nakamoto is Nicolas van Saberhagen, Monero was Satoshi's greatest work."
"It could also be that this is all coincidence combined with results-tailorable academic software, with no real connection between the two authors. Maybe Nicolas van Saberhagen is actually a talented, creative, humble techie who admired Satoshi Nakamoto and wants to stay anonymous while hiding in plain sight," said Almutasim.
"Even if we knew who Saberhagen really was, we wouldn't tell," added Thunderosa.
For additional information, contact Al Mutasima
The cryptocurrency Monero was launched in April 2014 in response to privacy issues present in Bitcoin. Since launch, ongoing improvements have provided better security and privacy and made Monero easier to use. It has attracted over 500 developers, the third highest code contributor count among all cryptocurrencies. Monero advances with the uncompromised priorities of privacy and security.
Monero Outreach is a semi-autonomous workgroup, separate from Monero's Core Team, focused on Monero public relations, education, and marketing.