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Bitcoin Studies: Finding Nakamoto Satoshi【5】——Satoshi Nakamoto is a Cypherpunk

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

ZWS(Zhu Weisha), a Famous Chinese Entrepreneur


5.1 Cypherpunk’s community are the cradle of Bitcoin


What is punk in the first place? Since the 1980s, punk has become popular as a subculture, often associated with music, clothing, film, and literary art. The image of punk is one of the exaggerated hairstyles, tattoos, boots, etc., of being radical, reckless, violent, curious, and discontent with the status quo.


Cypherpunks are usually individuals with libertarian and anarchist tendencies committed to freeing themselves from the financial system and returning economic power to ordinary people through cryptography.


There are three primary characteristics of cypherpunks: anonymity, privacy, and cryptographic anarchy.


In the early 1990s, the Internet was emerging, and the Internet may cause changes, the IT elite more sensitive than ordinary people. This group formed the cypherpunk community, which numbered more than 2,000 people at its late peak. Among them were a large number of celebrities. Tim May, a scientist from Intel; Assange, the founder of Wikileaks; and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. Several gurus associated with Bitcoin technology are members: Nick Szabo, who came up with the concept of BitGold and smart contracts, Wei Dai, who came up with B-Money; Adam Back, who invented hashcash; and Hal Finney created the Reusable Proof of Work (RPOW) and others.

Of course, there are also anonymous people, such as Satoshi Nakamoto.


Most people think that Satoshi Nakamoto is a cypherpunk, but there are different opinions. Wei Dai believes otherwise: "My guess is that he's not anyone who was previously active in the academic cryptography or cypherpunks communities, because otherwise he probably would have been identified by now based on his writing and coding styles.” (1) This view is consistent with his idea that Satoshi Nakamoto was young and that the cypherpunk community was disbanded in 2000. (2) Extrapolating from Wei Dai's view, Satoshi Nakamoto was no more than 13-14 years old and could not have been a member of cypherpunk. It is Wei Dai's logic, and I'm afraid I have to disagree with it. We analyzed Satoshi Nakamoto's age earlier; he would have been around 23 years old in 1998. 1997-1998 was the most productive phase of cypherpunk discussions about digital cash, the idea-forming stage of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto was involved in brainstorming as a cypherpunk, and the cypherpunk community was the cradle of Bitcoin.


The community gathers like-minded people, the community breaks the boundaries of companies and the edges of countries and races, the world gathers like-minded people, and the community has energy beyond companies. Communities are the super energy of the Internet age. The cypherpunk community is a testing ground for guiding Internet trends and a showcase for community energy. First, Satoshi Nakamoto absorbed its ideas, means, and organizational forms, giving rise to Bitcoin's brilliant and colorful flower. And then, it was widely adopted by blockchain projects.


Blockchain is still on edge compared to the mainstream and must not be big without entering the mainstream. Is the decline the destiny of blockchain? Is it just an experimental factory of thought? Perhaps Satoshi Nakamoto is the hope to break this peril. Our goal is not to be curious by searching for the roots; in this process, we will explore the unrecognized side of Bitcoin, including Satoshi Nakamoto, but also include the achievements and potential of Bitcoin, explaining why it has not entered the mainstream, and how to enter the mainstream, hoping to help Satoshi Nakamoto, etc. Cypherpunks realize the ideal of social and political change.


Satoshi Nakamoto is so skilled in the use of the community; how can one appreciate the benefits of the community if one is not a cypherpunk if one has not been immersed in it? How can one understand the benefits of open source? How does he appreciate the benefits of informal groups? We have yet to find Satoshi Nakamoto's whereabouts in other communities before Bitcoin; only the cypherpunk community has claimed him.

If Satoshi Nakamoto is a cypherpunk, that narrows the search for Satoshi Nakamoto at once. So let's see what Wikipedia has to say.


Cypherpunk (3)

"Originally communicating through the Cypherpunks electronic mailing list, informal groups aimed to achieve privacy and security through proactive use of cryptography."

"The technical roots of Cypherpunk ideas have been traced back to work by cryptographer David Chaum."

"The Cypherpunks mailing list was started in 1992, and by 1994 had 700 subscribers. The number of subscribers is estimated to have reached 2000 in the year 1997."

"At its peak, it was a very active forum with technical discussion ranging over mathematics, cryptography, computer science, political and philosophical discussion.”


The above abstract is similar to Satoshi Nakamoto's thoughts on privacy and security. David Chaum's work and Nakamoto's rich knowledge involving mathematics, cryptography, computer science, politics, philosophy, etc., have found sources. Here is how Wikipedia describes several people associated with Bitcoin in the cypherpunk entry.


"Satoshi Nakamoto :Pseudonym for the inventor(s) of Bitcoin. "

"Adam Back: inventor of Hashcash and of NNTP-based Eternity networks; co-founder of Blockstream."

"Hal Finney (deceased): cryptographer; main author of PGP 2.0 and the core crypto libraries of later versions of PGP; designer of RPOW."

"Nick Szabo :inventor of smart contracts; designer of bit gold, a precursor to Bitcoin."

"Wei Dai: Created b-money; cryptocurrency system and co-proposed the VMAC message authentication algorithm. The smallest subunit of Ethereum, the wei, is named after him.”


The Bitcoin White Paper begins with a critique of David Chaum's centralized digital cash (ecash) system. The references in the Bitcoin White Paper, Wei Dai's B-money is the first citation, and Adam Back's hashcash is the sixth. Hal's RPOW is an improvement on Adam Back's and is much closer to Bitcoin. RPOW is a unique cryptographic token that can only use once, much like Bitcoin's unspent transactions, where the address is used only once. However, RPOW verification and prevention of double spending are still performed by a centralized server controlled by a third party. Like David Chaum's centralized digital cash invention. Hal's achievement is not available as a citation. But traces of it can be seen as a reference in the white paper. Otherwise, Satoshi Nakamoto would not have sent separate emails to Hal Finney, Adam Back, and Wei Dai inviting them to download a trial version of Bitcoin before it was officially published. It's odd to have yet to see reports of emails to Nick Szabo. Still, Satoshi Nakamoto acknowledged Nick's contribution. Satoshi Nakamoto said this during a discussion in the Bitcoin forum about the incident where Wikipedia wanted to remove the Bitcoin entry. This comment has a deeper meaning and direct quote for analysis.


"Bitcoin is an implementation of Wei Dai's b-money proposal http://weidai.com/bmoney.txt on Cypherpunks http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Cypherpunks in 1998 and Nick Szabo's Bitgold proposal http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html". (4)


This paragraph is not very smooth if we put this sentence:

"on Cypherpunks http//en.wolipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunks"


Delete; it seems more smooth.


Because typing in "http://weidai.com/bmoney.txt," can search the article directly.

The phrase "on Cypherpunks http//en.wolipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunks" means that the original 1998 Wei Dai article was first posted on the cypherpunks mailing list. But Satoshi Nakamoto's quote to Wei Dai in the white paper does not have this sentence. Here Satoshi Nakamoto talks about the origin of the idea of bitcoin and how cypherpunk is brought out. Satoshi accepts the contributions of cypherpunks. The description of the cypherpunk is intentional; he is full of affection for the cypherpunk community.


In this analysis, the correct interpretation of this statement is that Bitcoin implements the ideas of cypherpunks like Wei Dai B-money in 1998 and Szabo Bitgold in 2005. Nick is also a cypherpunk; his article was not published on the cypherpunk mailing list. The cypherpunk community was disbanded in 2000. This reply of Satoshi Nakamoto is word-for-word, logically rigorous, reasonable, and very level-headed, all on your own experience carefully.


5.2 The Consistency of Thought and Action of Satoshi Nakamoto and Cypherpunks


We cannot say that Satoshi Nakamoto is a cypherpunk based solely on the goodwill he shows towards cypherpunks. When we publish articles, we may not know much about the internals of the publications that publish the articles, or we may understand them, or we may have a deep understanding as the insider that shows consistency of thought and action. Although I haven't seen Satoshi Nakamoto openly admit to being a cypherpunk, it can be proved by analyzing his thoughts and actions to find consistency.

In 1997, Adam presented his prototype idea. 1998, both Wei Dai and Nick presented their prototype ideas. 2002, Adam formally published the hashcash, and in 2004, Hal gave reusable hashcash. 2005, Nick combined the thoughts of his predecessors, including Wei Dai, Adam, and Hal, and formally published Bitgold. Nick, like Wei Dai, did not propose a mechanism to limit the number of coin issues. In 2009, Bitcoin came out with a fixed amount of issuance. Bitcoin and Bitgold are most alike. Introduce the Nick section later; I will give an appendix of Bitgold analysis. It's a mutual learning and progress process. An outsider with no foundation and no discussion cannot understand the idea of Bitgold and can build on the Bitcoin solution. Back in the day, Nick had asked who could help me realize Bitgold (5), and no one echoed the results. Wei Dai commented, "if Bitcoin didn't exist, another Bitcoin may not have been created for another decade.” (6) Why? Because it's a tiny circle, how can people who aren't in the circle do it? Bitcoin just came out and was met with cynicism, simply put, "ugly." (7). Even though Bitcoin was published on a cryptography mailing list, the circle and the cypherpunk circle didn't precisely overlap. Still, it was a big circle, and most didn't understand it, so it was hard to find people who knew it. Only Hal is highly regarded and publicly supported because he understands. So people who are outside this circle can't invent Bitcoin.


5.2.1 Satoshi Nakamoto realized the anonymity and privacy requirements of cypherpunks

Cypherpunk has three characteristics: anonymity, privacy, and encryption anarchy, which Satoshi Nakamoto has.


Anonymity goes without saying. It's the basic concept of a bitcoin account.


As privacy, a bitcoin account is a collection of unspent coins. This collection is the wallet, in the hands of the user, holding the private key to each unspent coin address, and the coins are just like bills placed in the wallet. The difference is: "each bill has a lock ." The private key can only confirm the ownership of coins. The paper money is only used once; if you pay more, you will get the change back. The same goes for Bitcoin. Cash transactions are the best protection for privacy, and Bitcoin is just that. The Bitcoin ledger has so many unspent coins arranged on anonymous addresses; who owns them? It's hard to know. The fact that Satoshi Nakamoto has over a million bitcoins is the result of a 2013 analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner. The latter discovered that different blocks were all associated with the same miner's mining by analyzing the increase in ExtraNonce values in the blocks. The industry shares this conclusion, BitMEX thinks it's only a 0.6-0.7million. I think it's much more than one million+. It is another topic not to be expanded on here. Just saying here that Satoshi Nakamoto's level of privacy protection was high, as conventional tracking methods could not crack. Later, developers like Ethereum’s Vitalik were kids back then and didn't have a deep understanding of the cypherpunk proposition, using a different account model from Bitcoin. If you transfer me a sum of money, I will know how much you have in your account. There is no right or wrong here; it's just that the view of the Ethereum developers is not in line with the cypherpunk view. What exactly did the cypherpunk of the day think? Eric Hughes wrote very well. Here are excerpts.


Eric Hughes, one of the founders of the cypherpunk community, in his March 9, 1993, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto (8), has a very different view of "privacy" and "secrecy ." A clear distinction is made between privacy and secrecy. “Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn't want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn't want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world." In other words, privacy is a right to choose.


Eric elaborates on the scenario of electronic shopping transactions. He notes, "When my identity is revealed by the underlying mechanism of the transaction, I have no privacy. I cannot here selectively reveal myself; I must always reveal myself."


"Therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy."


In his Bitcoin white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto explicitly mentions privacy. The content is not long, but as a separate chapter, it shows its importance. The excerpts are as follows:

"The traditional banking model achieves a level of privacy by limiting access to information to the parties involved and the trusted third party. The necessity to announce all transactions publicly precludes this method, but privacy can still be maintained by breaking the flow of information in another place: by keeping public keys anonymous. The public can see that someone is sending an amount to someone else, but without information linking the transaction to anyone. This is similar to the level of information released by stock exchanges, where the time and size of individual trades, the "tape," is made public, but without telling who the parties were."


“As an additional firewall, a new key pair should be used for each transaction to keep them from being linked to a common owner. Some linking is still unavoidable with multi-input transactions, which necessarily reveal that their inputs were owned by the same owner. The risk is that if the owner of a key is revealed, linking could reveal other transactions that belonged to the same owner.”


That is all the content in the privacy section, consistent with Eric’s thinking. Eric's appreciation of cash transactions in the Cypherpunk Manifesto and Bitcoin is the cash transaction model. Let's see if Bitcoin is fulfilling the above requirements. The account is only used once, and like cash, it's useless when the other person has associated it with an account. Eric‘s statement is the equivalent of customer demand for Satoshi Nakamoto, the designer of Bitcoin. By soaking up cypherpunk, one can design a bitcoin that satisfies Eric's requirements. Satoshi Nakamoto shares this view in spirit.


In practice, the Ethereum account model has not caused a backlash from users. The ideal is not the reality, and we must make the trade-off between ease of use and privacy protection. The core is that the right of disclosure is with the user and the option is on the user. The privacy protection of Ethereum is also inadequate from the perspective that the right of disclosure is in the user. Does centralization necessarily mean that privacy cannot be protected? People who said Bitcoin was "ugly" back then must disagree, and I don't either. The old Chaum stuff isn't useless. My argument is that a ledger supports three types of accounts: anonymous, anonymously linked real accounts, and real accounts. A purely anonymous account is still the idea of crypto anarchy; pure anonymous DID is of no great use either. The NFT and even the metaverse established on an anonymous DID basis, like the cypherpunk community, have good ideas and thanks, and they can't get out of the circle. Like the cypherpunk community, it is reduced to a clique thing, a fad that eventually falls away. Without Bitcoin, people might have forgotten the word cypherpunk. The latecomers know Bitcoin first and then cypherpunk, and the two are too related.


Satoshi Nakamoto embraces the privacy perspective of the cypherpunk community, showing consistency in privacy and view.


5.2.2 In the early years, Satoshi Nakamoto's views on crypto anarchy were the same as those of cypherpunks


What about crypto anarchy?


A 1993 article in Wired magazine was titled "Crypto Rebels ." The article wrote: "The obstacles are political—some of the most powerful forces in government are devoted to the control of these tools. In short, there is a war going on between those who would liberate crypto and those who would suppress it. The seemingly innocuous bunch strewn around this conference room represents the vanguard of the pro-crypto forces. Though the battleground seems remote, the stakes are not: The outcome of this struggle may determine the amount of freedom our society will grant us in the 21st century. To the Cypherpunks, freedom is an issue worth some risk.” (9)


Here's a quote: "there is a war going on between those who would liberate crypto and those who would suppress it..........To the Cypherpunks, freedom is an issue worth some risk.”


For this question, to see what Satoshi Nakamoto said. November 2, 2008.


“You will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography."

“Yes, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years."

“Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.” (10)


The above point is not made alone in the cypherpunk community; this fight is very well known for the export control of PGP cryptography. It is yet another topic.


The Wired article was posted in 1993, which means that Satoshi Nakamoto may have been a member of the cypherpunk community since 1993. Otherwise, how many years later, how can blurt say the exact words? It is due to the deep memory of the youth. He was 17-18 years old in 1993 when his ideas were being formed, so it is clear that the cypherpunk community heavily influenced Satoshi Nakamoto.


Satoshi Nakamoto has all three characteristics of cypherpunk and is deeply influenced by them, showing consistency of thought and action.


5.2.3 Understanding cypherpunks know why bitcoin is so designed


Assange says Satoshi Nakamoto is a cypherpunk, Wei Dai says he is not. The majority of people hold Assange's view. Later we discuss the existence of self-contradiction in Wei Dai's view. I agree with the majority that Satoshi Nakamoto is a cypherpunk. Only by understanding the thoughts and propositions of the cypherpunk community can we gain a deep understanding of Bitcoin and understand why Bitcoin privacy protection does this. Just know that our privacy protection today is not easy to come by. Thanks for the cypherpunk sermon! If someone isn't a cypherpunk, they're not Satoshi Nakamoto. The scope is gradually narrowing. Cypherpunk is a discriminating criterion.


Conclusion.


Satoshi Nakamoto: Male, then 33-34 years old, American prodigy, lives on the West Coast, and is a cypherpunk.


The next question to address is whether Satoshi Nakamoto is alive or dead. There is a market for arguments that Satoshi Nakamoto is over, and my conclusion is that he is alive and well.

 

References


1. Wei Dai Mar 16 2014

https://www.lesswrong.com/

“I haven't personally made any attempts to find out who he is, nor do I have any idea how. My guess is that he's not anyone who was previously active in the academic cryptography or cypherpunks communities, because otherwise he probably would have been identified by now based on his writing and coding styles.”


2. Crypherpunk: people who builds "utopia" with code

Brain pole body

https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/56838013


3. Cypherpunk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunk


4. BitcoinTalk

Re: They want to delete the Wikipedia article

2010-07-20 18:38:28 UTC - Original Post - View in Thread

Bitcoin is an implementation of Wei Dai's b-money proposal http://weidai.com/bmoney.txt on Cypherpunks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunks in 1998 and Nick Szabo's Bitgold proposal http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html


5. Who is Nick Szabo, The Mysterious Blockchain Titan

Stefan Stankovic

https://unblock.net/nick-szabo/

“Bit Gold would greatly benefit from a demonstration, an experimental market (with e.g. a trusted third party substituted for the complex security that would be needed for a real system). Anybody want to help me code one up?”


6. Wei Dai April 20 2014

https://www.lesswrong.com/

if Craigslist or PayPal didn't exist, something essentially identical would have been created very soon anyway, but if Bitcoin didn't exist, another Bitcoin may not have been created for another decade, and/or may have been created with very different characteristics, for example it might have been coded with a monetary policy that emphasized price stability instead of a fixed supply of money.


7. Bitcoin Is Worse Is Better

https://www.gwern.net/Bitcoin-is-Worse-is-Better


8. A Cypherpunk's Manifesto

by Eric Hughes

https://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/manifesto.html


9. Crypto Rebels

STEVEN LEVY FEB 1, 1993 12:00 PM

https://www.wired.com/1993/02/crypto-rebels/


10. Cryptography Mailing List

Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper2008-11-06 20:15:40 UTC

[Lengthy exposition of vulnerability of a system to use-of-force

monopolies ellided.]

You will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography.

Yes, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.

Satoshi

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