At 11:45 p.m., June 29, 2018, someone claiming to be Nakomoto published 21 pages of new material—a sneak preview, allegedly, of a book about the origins of the first cryptocurrency.
The excerpt appeared at NakamotoFamilyFoundation.org, a website anonymously purchased three days earlier via Amazon’s domain registrar.
As Cryptoslate notes, The Nakamoto Family Foundation website certainly reflects the mysterious persona of the creator of Bitcoin, providing readers within insight into the earliest days of Bitcoin development alongside a cryptogram that, when solved, provides the title of the two yet-to-be-released books: “honne and tatamae.”
The terms used as titles for the books, in a similar manner to the double entendre associated with the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym, are associated with a Japanese expression that “the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires” and “the behavior and opinions one displays in public.”
According to the post, the book will be divided into two parts, according to the results of a “cryptopuzzle” published with the post.
For those unaware, Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonymous name integrally tied to the identity of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Speculation has raged about the true identity of the programmer who created the Bitcoin code base.
This new Nakamoto—who still does not want his real identity revealed—declined to move any coins or sign anything with his own keys.
According to information provided to WIRED:
“He” (if it is a him) is not … any of the three leading Nakamoto suspects: Wright, Nick Szabo, or Dorian Nakamoto, the person identified previously by Newsweek”.
Whether the post’s author is indeed the real Nakamoto cannot yet be verified.
Craig Wright, an Australian academic and chief scientist at nChain, who claimed to be Nakamoto back in 2015, with no adequate proof provided though, took to Twitter after the announcement was made, saying that its author “cannot get the dates nor technical details correct.”
However, the text of the excerpt contains some of potentially new, identifying details on the alleged Nakamoto’s background. Notably, his mother is described as an author and his grandmother as the founder of a very small publishing company. At age 14, the author writes, he was drawn into the cypherpunk community, “where anonymity was as fundamental as breathing.”
The books also claims the author was in his 20s when he began posting about bitcoin while working as a university researcher in a lab, and that he came up with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto because it was the Japanese “equivalent of ‘John Smith’”—though he all but confirms that he is not Japanese.
The author devotes considerable space in the new excerpt to explaining his desire for privacy, describing how he ran the network on his own computers using anonymizing software. He notes, though, that he forgot one detail in shielding his identity: time stamps.
“Some were intuitive enough to graph together the hours in which I would post on the forums and commit to the repository and formed a literal ‘map’ of when I was awake and when I was asleep,” he writes, a map that identified him as appearing to keep the hours of someone on the East Coast of the United States.
Otherwise, the bulk of the excerpt offers a history of bitcoin’s origins by detailing the author’s purported correspondence with other prominent members of the cryptographic community: Adam Back, Wei Dai, Gavin Andresen, and ￼Hal Finney.
Bitcoin, the author writes, “arose out of the many failed attempts by many groups, and the only reason it succeeded was because it was at the right place, at the right time.”
The document is also filled with unverified details about the early days of the project. The blockchain, he writes, was initially referred to as the “time chain.” A fork, the mechanism by which cryptocurrency projects split off from each other, was originally called a “branch point.”
And as for why he capped the supply of bitcoins the way he did, he offers this explanation:
“Why 21 million? The truth is, it was an educated guess.”
In the document, the purported Nakamoto says he left the Bitcoin project by Christmas 2010, rather than the long-publicly acknowledged date of his departure, April 2011.
As he explains, “I tried my best to leave no affirmation that I had ever existed at all, and everything that did link me I put into a series of files, so in the case I left, anyone could take on the persona. There are other, more serious reasons for leaving that I will not include here but will be mentioned in the book.”
Gavin Andresen, one of the early pioneers on the project who could presumably verify whether Nakamoto’s early departure date was accurate, declined to speculate about the document’s authenticity, saying by email to Wired, “No comment—I’m retired from the ‘who was Satoshi’ game.”
Researchers believe that the person or persons who invented Bitcoin still retains upwards of 900 000 BTC, a fortune even at today’s prices (around $6bln), enough, if he is an American, to place Nakamoto among the 100 wealthiest Americans.
“The truth is one that people will not come to expect,” Nakamoto says in the excerpt.