Elon Musk addresses mystery of bitcoin creator’s identity

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has weighed in with his thoughts on the real identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous person or group credited with creating bitcoin.

Musk addressed the mystery of the bitcoin creator’s identity during a podcast published Tuesday. During the appearance, the host asked whether it was a “feature or a bug” that bitcoin’s creator has never revealed themselves, prompting Musk to provide his theory on the situation.

A prominent cryptocurrency advocate, Musk argued that computer scientist Nick Szabo is most “responsible” for bitcoin’s development.

However, he stopped short of naming him as the creator of the cryptocurrency itself.

“You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas,” Musk said on the Lex Fridman podcast.

“Obviously I don’t know who created bitcoin for practical purposes, but the evolution of ideas is pretty clear before that. It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably, more than anybody else, responsible for the evolution of those ideas.”

A bitcoin in front of a Tesla car.
“Obviously I don’t know who created bitcoin for practical purposes, but the evolution of ideas is pretty clear before that,” Musk said.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

“He claims not to be Nakamoto but that’s neither here nor there. He seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind bitcoin than anyone else,” Musk added.

Szabo has long been viewed as a potential candidate for Nakamoto. The computer scientist created a bitcoin predecessor called “bit gold” in the late 1990s.

In 2014, a team of UK-based linguistics researchers compared the famous bitcoin whitepaper attributed to Nakamoto to the works of 11 people suspected of being the creator. The researchers concluded Szabo was the most likely candidate.

A hand holding two bitcoins in front of a Tesla car.
Despite widespread speculation, the true identity of bitcoin’s creator has yet to be proven.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

For his part, Szabo has consistently denied being bitcoin’s creator, including in a 2014 tweet in which he wrote he was “Not Satoshi, but thank you.”

While many people, including Musk himself, have been tabbed as potential candidates, the true identity of bitcoin’s creator — or creators — has yet to be proven. During the podcast interview, Musk again denied that he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

“I’m not,” Musk said. When asked if he would tell the truth if he was, the billionaire responded with a laugh and a simple, “Yes.”



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