Bitcoin's big mystery: who created the virtual currency system?

By on May 20, 2013, 8:30 AM

It’s no secret that Bitcoin comes with its fair share of controversy but what most people don’t realize is, it’s also shrouded in a veil of mystery. That’s because, even five years after its launch, nobody knows who came up with the original idea for the virtual currency system.

It’s an interesting story when you consider that even developers have no idea who created it. All that’s known about the person behind it is that he goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. That is, until now. Computer visionary Ted Nelson believes he now knows who started Bitcoin – a math professor at Kyoto University named Shinichi Mochizuki.

Naturally, Nelson didn’t offer up a ton of evidence when he announced the discovery on YouTube. In trying to determine the person’s identity, Nelson said he asked himself what Sherlock Holmes would have done. He did say, however, that Mochizuki was a brilliant mathematician. What’s more, he has a history that seems to fit the behavior of Nakamoto.

Nelson also used the opportunity to praise Bitcoin. He noted that most people call it a virtual currency but in his opinion, it’s electronic gold. That’s because like gold, Bitcoin has no central authority and like gold, Bitcoin is brilliant, he said.

The secretive Nakamoto sent a letter to a developer in April 2011 indicating that he had moved on to other projects. A number of publications including the New Yorker attempted to uncover Nakamoto’s true identity that same year to no avail.

We've been covering Bitcoin news for a while now, but in case you haven't got a complete grasp of how it works (can't blame you), here's an infographic that puts some basic elements together about the virtual currency:

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