We still don't know who created Bitcoin – but it definitely wasn't Linus Torvalds

Bitcoin
(Image credit: Future)
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The question of who created Bitcoin has been a mystery ever since the iconic white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System (opens in new tab), was published by the pseudonymous "Satoshi Nakamoto" in 2008. No one has ever come forward with legitimate proof it was them and until that happens, the mystery persists. 

One thing is for sure, though: Satoshi isn't Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, who sparked some fun debate by inserting a line into the Linux source code (opens in new tab): "NAME = I am Satoshi". 

But despite the story rapidly sweeping social media and crypto blogs alike, Torvalds quickly poured cold water on the joke.

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"I'm afraid that is just a jokester taking advantage of how GitHub works - it shares git objects between different repositories, so you can use the SHA1 'name' of an object to specify something you did in your own tree, and then use my repository as the web name, and make it look like your object is in my tree," he told ZDNet (opens in new tab).

After more explanation, Torvalds said that "I'm sadly not the owner of a huge stash of original bitcoins."

Satoshi stepped back from active involvement in the Bitcoin community in 2010 and no one has heard anything from them since. It is unclear if they even still own Bitcoin, although you would hope so, given how crazy the journey has been, especially over the past few years. 

Many have tried, none have succeeded 

Over the years, many people have either claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto or been erroneously revealed to be them. 

Newsweek famously published a piece (opens in new tab) in 2014 claiming to have identified Satoshi as a Japanese man living in California with the same name. The subject later denied the story through his lawyer and it is widely accepted that this was not, in fact, the creator of the original cryptocurrency. 

Over the years, Australian Craig Wright has also claimed on multiple occasions to be Satoshi without ever providing conclusive evidence, including showing he can control the original coins. Many in the crypto community are highly sceptical of his claims. 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.