Should Satoshi Nakamoto ever return, it would probably be bad for bitcoin but great for clicks. The mainstream media (MSM) would have a field day, just as they did when they “identified” Craig Wright as bitcoin’s creator. The search for Satoshi and quest for clickbait intensified this week after Bloomberg asserted that bitcoin’s founder is back – and writing a book no less.
Satoshis, Faketoshis, and False Prophets
Satoshi Nakamoto is everywhere and nowhere, everyone and no one. Most bitcoin supporters acknowledge that Satoshi did the right thing by slinking off into the digital wilderness in 2010, but will also confess to being fascinated by how his return would play out. In the eight years since Satoshi left, many fake Satoshis – or faketoshis – have sprung up. Jesus Christ warned that imitators and false prophets would appear claiming to be the son of God, and something similar has occurred with ersatz Satoshis.
The website Nakamotofamilyfoundation.org is a plain text affair, as minimalist as the cypherpunk mailing lists where Satoshi’s writings first surfaced. Bloomberg leads the list of MSM outlets touting the possibility of the site being Satoshi’s doing, and that the 21-page PDF on the website (the number of pages perhaps being symbolic) contains the beginnings of his forthcoming book. There are many reasons why the screed is unlikely to be the work of Satoshi, and yet the mere possibility, no matter now remote, has provided the cryptosphere with its latest Satoshi fix.
“Duality” Purports to be an Excerpt from Satoshi’s Forthcoming Book
Duality, the supposed new writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, is an intriguing document. At 21 pages, it’s more than double the length of the original bitcoin whitepaper and far more solipsistic than anything the confirmed Satoshi has ever written. Statistically speaking, it is almost certainly a hoax, and yet there’s just enough of a hook to the writing, including supposed tidbits on bitcoin’s origins and inspirations, to lure hungry Satoshi cultists in.
Whoever composed the website has certainly enjoyed themselves, going so far to create a cryptogram puzzle for readers to solve. The difficulty with discrediting a hoax – or authenticating an original – is that no one ever knew Satoshi Nakamoto. Not in the real world sense at least, and thus his digital footprint – primarily his whitepaper, mailing list writings, and Bitcointalk forum postings – are all there is to go on. Anyone who has done their homework could imitate Satoshi; his spelling, punctuation, grammatical quirks, and cogent, academic tone.
Some Parts of “Duality” Ring True But the Crypto Community is Sceptical
The trouble with analyzing the work of supposed Satoshis is that it simply encourages more copycats, like fixating on school shooters. But paradoxically, debunking them calls for forensically scrutinizing their writings, despite the shot of publicity this gives to all Satoshi wannabees…