Friday, May 6, 2016

Bitcoin's True Founder - Revealed at Last?

Bitcoins are a form of electronic currency first introduced to the public in 2009 by a creator who goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The "mining" of these Bitcoins is performed by computer software following a mathematical proof. The software is open-sourced, which means anyone can use it and check it out to see how it works. Recently, as discussed in Samantha Masunaga's L.A. Times article, an Australian businessman and computer scientist named Craig Wright came out of the shadows and provided evidence showing that he may, in fact, be the elusive Mr. Nakamoto.

Bitcoin's protocols make it impossible to churn out an endless supply of Bitcoins; only 21 million coins can ever be produced by "miners." That's one of the things that sets the electronic currency apart from more "traditional" currencies. With dollars or Euros or any other form of government-backed currency, an unlimited number of bills and coins could theoretically be printed. Sometimes it is done to provide a shock to try to start a stagnant economy, but, more often than not, it results in massive inflation and more economic downturn than before. There is a limit on the number of Bitcoins in the world, which means their value is pretty stable, and inflation doesn't really exist.

Additionally, while central banks can charge exorbitant fees to someone trying to open up an account or someone trying to send funds internationally, Bitcoin cuts out many of those fees. A Bitcoin account can be created in a matter of seconds, with no fees. The decentralization of Bitcoin's network means that there is no bank to default on any loans, so you know your "funds" are safe. Best of all, the network is extremely transparent since every transaction is recorded in a secure "blockchain" that can be added to, but never changed. Unfortunately, most normal retailers don't accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Over recent years, however, Bitcoin has become much more prevalent, especially with online retailers, so it is expected to come into more widespread use.

Although Wright, an entrepreneur with several masters' degrees and a couple of doctorates, came out with some proof showing that he may be the true creator of Bitcoin, there are still many doubters. In his digital messages claiming to be "Satoshi Nakamoto," he signed off using certain cryptographic keys that could be found in Nakamoto's work in the early days of Bitcoin. He also published a very technical post on his blog with information that no one but Bitcoin's true creator should have. Wright claims that he has chosen now to reveal his identity because he is tired of the misinformation being spread about Bitcoin and its stability. Additionally, the media has long suspected Wright's alter-ego, and he wanted to put an end to the investigations into him and his family. While he hasn't provided undeniable proof, it seems very likely that Satoshi Nakamoto's secret identity has finally been revealed to the world.

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