Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
News Coverage of the Satashi Nakamoto Hacking
For the past few days, news that Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, had his email account hacked has been making a big splash in the Bitcoin community. Somehow, an unidentified hacker gained access to the old email account of Satoshi and began using it to communicate with the community, letting them know that the account was compromised.
As soon as it hit the Bitcoin community, this story entered the spotlight and stayed there for days—getting extensive coverage on several online news platforms. Posts about Satoshi Nakamoto getting hacked flooded the front page of /r/Bitcoin, a Bitcoin forum on Reddit, crypto-currency news websites closely followed the story for several days, and the story even got substantial online coverage in media veins that are more mainstream.
Satoshi Hacked: How it Went Down
The hacker, who goes by the alias Savaged, has not disclosed the method he used to gain access to Nakamoto’s gmx email account. He did, however, confirm that he had actually hacked the account instead of claiming the username after the account expired—as several people initially believed—by posting screenshots of Satoshi Nakamoto’s inbox, which contained messages that dated back to 2011. Savaged also sent an email from Nakamoto’s gmx account to Michael Marquardt, a BitcoinTalk administrator; Marquardt then made a thread on BitcoinTalk about the message, confirming that the email address was not spoofed or faked in any way. Additionally, the hacker notified Satoshi that his anonymity had been compromised by using an old forum account that was associated with Bitcoin’s creator to post this message on the forum:
Dear Satoshi. Your dox, passwords and IP addresses are being sold on the darknet. Apparently you didn’t configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you. Thank you for inventing Bitcoin.
So, while we do not know exactly how Savaged was able to assume control over the gmx email account, we know that he did it, and that he probably is not lying about controlling the account
Auctioning off Satoshi Nakamoto: Putting The True Identity of Bitcoin’s Creator up for Sale
Accessing an old email account with several thousand messages between Satoshi Nakamoto and the people he worked with would certainly provide lots of extremely interesting communication that went on between Satoshi and his developing partners in the early days of Bitcoin. But, adding more depth to the history of the digital currency would really do nothing to harm Nakamoto in any way. However, our story took an interesting turn; Savaged, the hacker, claimed that Nakamoto’s gmx email account was registered using his full name—his real name. The inventor of Bitocin, the most mysterious and elusive person in the Bitcoin community, had his true identity compromised.
Rather than simply revealing the identity of Nakamoto, Savaged decided that he would try his hand at auctioneering—hoping to squeeze some monetary profit from the whole ordeal. He created a Bitcoin address and posted it as a Pastebin document on September 8—along with the screenshots of the email account—with this message:
Releasing the so called “gods” dox if my address hits 25 BTC.
And no, this is not a scam, you can see the below screenshots for proof of inbox ownership and a little teaser.
Same one posted on p2pfoundation^
As we can see, Savaged offered up the full name, and other information, of Satoshi Nakamoto for a price of 25 BTC, which is currently worth around $12000. Presently, as this article is being written, Savaged’s address has received approximately 1.5 BTC, about $740, well under the price demanded for Satoshi’s identity.
So, to sum up the story thus far: Savaged got into Satoshi’s old email account, claimed that he figured out Satoshi’s identity, put it up for sale, and the Bitcoin community went wild when they caught the scent of new drama.
The Drama Surrounding the Hacking was a Big Waste of Time
An old email accounted used by Satoshi got hacked and his real identity might have been compromised (it probably wasn’t). So what? What value did the days spent gossiping and speculating over the hacker add to the Bitcoin community? It was entertaining, sure, but the hacking of Satoshi Nakamoto posed no threat to the security or welfare of Bitcoin.
Maybe Savaged actually does know the real identity of Nakamoto, and he really would release it if he received his price of 25 BTC. That would not hurt Bitcoin itself or the economy being built around it in the slightest, though. All that would happen is that we would know who had the initial idea of Bitcoin and who wrote the foundational protocol that has since been modified and improved. That is all that would happen! The mystique surrounding the digital currency’s origins would fade away, but the currency would remain unchanged. Perhaps, if Satoshi’s location was disclosed alongside his identity, someone might go to his home and hurt him—that would, of course, be tragic and its urgency should not be diminished. But that is the beauty of a truly decentralized currency; even if something were to happen to the most popular and well-loved member of the Bitcoin community, Bitcoin would continue chugging along.
As for the Bitcoin economy itself, the worst thing that could possibly happen would be that Savaged got the keys to Satoshi’s hoard, contaning up to a million bitcoins. The hacker could sell them at once and drive the Bitcoin price into the ground. The market would recover, though; it would be a slow and painful recovery, but Bitcoin is resilient. However, we can say with confidence that Savaged does not have access to Satoshi’s wallets, because he would have no reason to sell Satoshi’s identity for 25 BTC if he possessed a million bitcoins!
Meanwhile, as the hacking drama commanded the attention of the community, Ben Lawsky and his minions at the NYDFS changed their minds about releasing important BitLicense information to the public, the Bitcoin Foundation is wasting valuable resources and steering the community in the wrong direction, and Bitcoin mining centralization still has not been fixed. It seems as if drama takes precedence over improving the core technology that our community has been built around.