The Second Coming of Satoshi Nakamoto has finally occurred, and the result is…. unexpected. In a twist worthy of Douglas Adams, the creator of Bitcoin logged into to an obscure web forum to leave a cryptic, one-word epistle:
The four-letter message was posted to a forum belonging to “the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives,” a nonprofit organization devoted to researching and promoting P2P dynamics. Daily activity on the forum is about as busy as Satoshi’s public life; the most recent user activity prior to his reappearance was logged several weeks prior.
Several long-term hodlers pointed out that the poster was unlikely to be the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto, whose email provider was hacked in 2014. But those Grinches didn’t stop the internet from donning its tinfoil hat to decipher the secret message.
Some noticed that it’s kind of like “Noor,” which is Arabic for “light” and true believers in Litecoin forums wondered if perhaps the Creator had forgiven Charlie Lee. Others wondered if Satoshi might be plugging the Lightning Network, the elaborate scaling solution built on the software designs of Rube Goldberg.
It’s also possible that Satoshi is offering a clue to his shocking true identity: in which case, Nouriel Roubini – ‘Dr Doom’ – has been engaged in a double-bluff so cunning, you could brush your teeth with it.
The reclusive Bitcoin creator also took the time to make a friend: a heretofore unknown Brazilian marketing specialist by the name of Wagner Tamanaha.
Had the Messiah named a successor? Your guess is as good as ours, but Trustnodes gave Tamanaha a thorough report, combing through his LinkedIn and Social Media postings to glean what they could of the new Apostle.
What Would Satoshi Say?
These speculations aren’t meant to be serious. But there’s nothing funny about the cultish stature of Bitcoin’s founder, even among cryptocurrency communities with which he had no affiliation.
For the second time in recent history, Bitcoin has been threatened with a split could reverse several years of progress. This time, the crux of the argument wasn’t about which protocol would be better for adoption or more suited to adapt, but about which one had the better claim to “Satoshi’s Vision.” And every few days, Satoshi’s threads on BitcoinTalk are regularly trotted out as evidence against one heretic or another.
It’s impossible to tell what Satoshi thinks, but perhaps “Nour” is an elaborate way of saying “stop looking for guidance from long-dead accounts, because there’s nothing peer-to-peer about waiting for someone to tell you what to do.” Or maybe “Nour” is his way of saying, “you’d have a lot more consumer adoption if you spent more time worrying about usability instead of what an internet stranger would think.”
Satoshi’s not here to leave messages anymore, and that’s probably a good thing. But if he were around, I like to imagine his tweets would read more like this:
“Fuck off, Craig.”
The author is invested in Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Image: Kjetil Ree [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons