Identifying Satoshi Nakamoto

The identity of the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has somehow managed to remain a secret during the ten years during which his experimental digital currency skyrocketed to worldwide attention. Theories abound that have identified Nakamoto-san as one or several people living here, there or anywhere. If there is some consensus that the fictitious Nakamoto is a male individual whose native language is English, there are nonetheless those who maintain that there is a real Japanese individual named Satoshi NakamotoRead more

What makes a cryptocurrency “crypto-“?

With Bitcoin’s enormous success, the term “cryptocurrency” has passed into the vernacular, so much so that the word is now even enshrined in the OED. A quick preliminary bit of disambiguation: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency; not all cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin. Ether is a cryptocurrency, Litecoin is a cryptocurrency, XPR is…another story.  None of them are Bitcoin. The question I wish to attack here is not a definition of the word cryptocurrency, but, rather, a look at one aspect of its etymology.Read more

David Chaum and Prehistoric Bitcoin

In my previous post, I mentioned that the inventor of Bitcoin is a pseudonymous individual who goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. That might suggest that Bitcoin sprang Minerva-like from his pseudonymous (and perhaps metaphoric) head. Although Bitcoin does present several revolutionary innovations (such as the blockchain), it was not the first time anyone dreamt of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. That vision dates back to a paper published in 1983 by the American computer scientist and cryptographer DavidRead more

Bitcoin in a bit more than 25 words

Pretty much every time I’ve told someone that I’ve been working on and about Bitcoin for the past while, I’ve been greeted with puzzled looks and flat admissions that my interlocutors have no idea what Bitcoin actually is. The easiest way to explain Bitcoin is the way its inventor, who goes by the catchy pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, described it in the white paper that started it all: “an electronic peer-to-peer cash system.” Cash is a simple, fast and anonymousRead more