Reassessing Satoshi: Hal Finney’s Bitcoin Origin in Question

The identity of Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, has been the subject of endless speculation and conspiracy theories. One prevailing hypothesis was that Hal Finney, a prominent computer scientist and Bitcoin pioneer, might be the elusive Nakamoto. However, recent analysis by Jameson Lopp, a self-proclaimed cypherpunk and co-founder of Bitcoin custody firm Casa, suggests that this theory may not hold water.

For years, the belief that Hal Finney could be Satoshi Nakamoto was fueled by Finney’s early involvement in Bitcoin—he was the first person, besides Nakamoto, to download and run Bitcoin’s software and also the initial recipient of the cryptocurrency. However, Finney consistently denied these claims until his passing in 2014.

Lopp’s investigation delves into a compelling timeline that challenges the Finney-as-Nakamoto theory. One key piece of evidence revolves around a 10-mile race that Finney participated in Santa Barbara, California, on Saturday, April 18, 2009. The race data indicates that Finney began the “Santa Barbara Running Company Chardonnay 10 Miler & 5K” at 8 am Pacific time, finishing the race at 78 minutes.

Crucially, this time frame aligns with timestamped emails between Satoshi Nakamoto and Mike Hearn, one of the earliest Bitcoin developers. According to Lopp’s findings, Nakamoto sent an email to Hearn at 9:16 AM Pacific time—just two minutes before Finney crossed the finish line. Lopp concludes, “For the hour and 18 minutes that Hal was running, we can be quite sure that he was not interacting with a computer.”

Lopp also draws attention to on-chain data that supports his argument. In particular, he points to a Bitcoin transaction involving Nakamoto and Hearn. The transaction, which occurred on block 11,408 at 8:55 am California time, coincided with 55 minutes into Finney’s race. Nakamoto confirmed this transaction and another involving 50 BTC in a 6:16 pm email, which Lopp asserts happened while Finney was still running.

Moreover, the analysis highlights health-related challenges faced by Finney during the time when Nakamoto was actively involved in coding and forum discussions. Finney battled Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease, which significantly affected his ability to use a keyboard. Fran Finney, Hal’s wife, mentioned in an August 22, 2010 post that Finney’s ALS had slowed his typing speed from a “rapid-fire” 120 words per minute to a “sluggish finger peck.” During this period, Nakamoto was actively contributing to code check-ins and forum posts.

Lopp also pointed out discrepancies in Finney’s Reusable Proofs of Work code compared to the original Bitcoin client code, further adding to the doubts surrounding the theory of Finney being Nakamoto.

As the mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity continues, Jameson Lopp’s meticulous analysis challenges the widely held belief that Hal Finney was the elusive creator of Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency community now faces another intriguing twist in the quest to unveil the true identity behind the revolutionary digital currency.


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Maria Irene
Maria Irene
Maria Irene is a multi-faceted journalist with a focus on various domains including Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Real Estate, Energy, and Macroeconomics. With over a year of experience, she has produced an array of video content, news stories, and in-depth analyses. Her journalistic endeavours also involve a detailed exploration of the Australia-India partnership, pinpointing avenues for mutual collaboration. In addition to her work in journalism, Maria crafts easily digestible financial content for a specialised platform, demystifying complex economic theories for the layperson. She holds a strong belief that journalism should go beyond mere reporting; it should instigate meaningful discussions and effect change by spotlighting vital global issues. Committed to enriching public discourse, Maria aims to keep her audience not just well-informed, but also actively engaged across various platforms, encouraging them to partake in crucial global conversations.


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