News - Was this Belgian man Satoshi Nakamoto?

By Ted Maas

Was this Belgian man Satoshi Nakamoto?

Bitcoin (BTC)
Len Sassaman

Len Sassamann was an IT genius, cryptography expert and hacker from the very beginning. Is Len Sassamann the legendary Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto? In any case, he is a great candidate.

Who is behind Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto's pseudonym? This question has long been a phenomenon in the crypto sector. It is known that Satoshi sent his last message on April 27, 2011 and then disappeared from the scene. After that, things got quiet around him and speculations went around. The usual suspects are names like Hal Finney, Nick Szabo and Dave Kleimann. Someone who remained under the radar for a long time was Len Sassaman. Yet his career has some striking parallels with the inventor of Bitcoin.

Who was Len Sassaman?

Born in 1980 in Leuven, Belgium, Len Sassaman was considered an excellent programmer, hacker and IT specialist. By the age of 18, he was already part of the Internet Engineering Task Force, an organization working on the next step of the Internet. There he made a major contribution to the development of the TCP/IP protocol, which is not only an essential part of the Internet, but also of the Bitcoin network.

Len Sassaman passed away in 2011. As can be read in his obituary, Len became part of the Cypherpunk community and lived with Bram Cohen, the man behind the file-sharing service Bittorent. He also contributed to the mailing list where the Bitcoin white paper would later be published.

PGP - Encrypting messages.

Protecting privacy was of interest to Sassaman from a young age. Thus, not only did he organize demonstrations against state surveillance, but at the age of 22, he worked to develop the encryption technology Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). He even founded a public-key start-up, which, however, fell victim to the dot-com bubble.

He then went to work for Network Associates and helped develop PGP encryption, which again is essential to Bitcoin's functionality. There he worked with a well-known programmer who would later become one of the Bitcoin pioneers: Hal Finney. Finney was not only one of the first operators of nodes, but also the first person to demonstrably receive Bitcoins from Satoshi Nakamoto. Moreover, Finney is responsible for the concept behind proof-of-work - the basis of Bitcoin mining.

A list of clues

Looking at Len Sassaman's resume, the circumstantial evidence that Len Sassaman could be Satoshi Nakamoto piles up.

  1. Len and Finney were developers of the "Remailer-technologie", which was developed by David Chaum and is considered a direct precursor to Bitcoin.

  2. He worked closely with Adam Back, the person who first contacted Satoshi Nakamoto and who himself speculated that Satoshi might have been a remailer developer.

  3. His promoter was David Chaum, himself considered a pioneer of digital currency.

  4. He has long researched the "Byzantine General Problem" - another essential building block for Bitcoin's functionality.

  5. The timeline of his postings and contributions corresponds to the period when he was not lecturing, which could be closely related to the fact that he developed Bitcoin parallel to his studies.

  6. Linguistic analysis shows that Len Sassaman used similar English to Satoshi Nakamoto.

Famous last words

Finally, one last - in this context sad - clue is the latest message we have from Satoshi Nakamoto:

I will now devote myself to other things and probably won't be around in the future.

Satoshi Nakamoto's last post on April 27, 2011.

The inventor of Bitcoin sent this message two months before Len Sassaman took his own life. He suffered from severe depression all his life. Among other things, his widow spoke out, saying there was now no way to find out if he had actually been Satoshi Nakamoto. She still had his laptop, but it was - you guessed it - encrypted.

Was Len Sassaman really Satoshi Nakamoto?

There is much circumstantial evidence to suggest that Sassaman and Satoshi were closely related. From personal interests, skills and relationships to parallels in time and language, many similarities can be found that suggest Satoshi and Sassaman were one and the same person.

Ultimately, we can do nothing but speculate, and in fact, this is completely irrelevant to Bitcoin's survival. After all, Bitcoin is a pseudonymous cryptocurrency with the essential feature that it does not need a manager, institution, bank or state. It works without people and for people, which is why it is perhaps just as well that Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery.

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