Yet another claimant to the title of Bitcoin creator has emerged — but the cryptocurrency community remains unconvinced.
The identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto has remained a mystery for over a decade, with the pseudonymous mind behind blockchain technology disappearing shortly after publishing the Bitcoin white paper.
To date, three different potential Bitcoin inventors have emerged: Japanese physicist Dorian Nakamoto; computer engineer Nick Szabo; and Australian computer scientist Craig Wright — the only ‘Satoshi’ to publicly claim to be the creator of Bitcoin.
The latest person claiming to be the Bitcoin inventor is Pakistani NHS worker James Bilal Khalid Caan, who claims to have lost the keys to a hard drive containing over $10 billion worth of digital currency.
I am Satoshi Nakamoto
Caan announced his ‘reveal’ as Satoshi via a press release published on August 18 by PR agency Ivy McLemore & Associates, followed by a 3,300 word blog post detailing his country of origin, education, and professional background.
Born in Pakistan as Bilal Khalid, he legally changed his name to James Bilal Khalid Caan after emigrating to the UK in 2008. In his ‘My Reveal’ essay, Khalid outlines the origins of Bitcoin’s name, claiming that Bitcoin isn’t a portmanteau of “bit” and “coin”, but is instead named after the defunct Pakistani Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
The BCCI was liquidated in 1991 after money laundering allegations, leading Khalid to become “obsessed” with the bank, naming Bitcoin by drawing from “Bank of CredIT and COmmerce INternational”.
Khalid’s three-part manifesto veers further into the bizarre in parts II and III, in which the purported Bitcoin inventor provides a complex explanation of the principles used to create the digital currency.
According to Khalid, the 21-million Bitcoin limit – the creation date of the Genesis Block for Bitcoin, and the reasoning behind the name ‘Satoshi’ – all stem from Chaldean numerology, a niche divinatory practice similar to astrology.
Caan has published details of a purported working relationship with early Bitcoin pioneer and computer scientist Hal Finney. Any correspondence between the two cannot be proven, states Caan, due to hacked email accounts. Finney passed away in 2014 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, making the purported relationship unverifiable.
Any claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto can be verified by cryptographically signing a message using the same set of keys that unlock the Bitcoin “Genesis Block” wallet — the first Bitcoin wallet in existence, which is controlled only by Nakamoto.
Caan claims that he is unable to access the Genesis Block wallet or any of the 980,000 Bitcoin mined by Nakamoto in the early years of the Bitcoin blockchain due to a laptop hard drive failure that saw the private keys to billions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency lost by “support guys”.
Crypto Community Responds
Similarly to Craig Wright’s recent claim to the throne of Satoshi Nakamoto, Khalid’s announcement has been met with disbelief and derision by the crypto community.
Litecoin founder Charlie Lee responded to the announcement with a satirical tweet stating that “Litecoin” was named after “Lime Tea Company Incorporated.”
The origins of the word Litecoin were derived not just from it being a "lite" version of Bitcoin.— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) August 18, 2019
I was looking at "Lime Tea Company Incorporated" and the light-bulb moment came where the letters were calling me to pick the name.
The letters were:
LIme TEa COmpany INcorporated https://t.co/mebMLZcoE8
Craig Wright, who recently registered copyright of the Bitcoin white paper in code in a move to cement his claim as Nakamoto, is yet to comment on Caan’s announcement.
Subsequent to filing copyright claim, Wright has uploaded the Bitcoin white paper to academic research database SSRN under his own name.
Both Wright and Caan provide the cryptocurrency community with complex reasoning behind their lack of access to or inability to use the Nakamoto’s personal private keys to prove their claims — but until a signed message can be delivered, the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery.