Bhagwan Chowdhry, a UCLA professor who holds a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago, was asked to nominate someone for the 2016 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, or the The Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, according to his column with the Huffington Post.
— Bhagwan Chowdhry (@bhagwanUCLA) November 6, 2015
Chowdhry’s nomination went to Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a pseudonym for a person whose identity is uncertain, according to Bitcoin News Service. No one knows who he really is, or if he is a real person. Some have speculated that it could be a group of people. Bitcoin was introduced to the world in a 2009 paper, hosted by bitcoin.org, that was authored by Satoshi Nakamoto. The bitcoin creator designed the currency so that he would be the beneficiary of what is currently valued at several hundred million U.S. dollars in bitcoin.
Reports suggest that Nicholas Julius Szabo could be Satoshi Nakamoto, but this is far from certain, reports Bitcoin News Service. New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper has reportedly suggested that Szabo was a member of an online community called Cypherpunks that was involved in “early experiments in digital money that predated bitcoin.”
“There are still real questions about whether Nick is Satoshi. He himself says he’s not Satoshi,” Popper was quoted. “But there’s no question that Nick was involved in a lot of the important experiments that in the end made bitcoin possible.”
Chowdhry states in his article that his mind was focused on “whose ideas are likely to have a disruptive influence in the twenty first century,” and the name Satoshi Nakamoto stuck in his head. The economist also wrote about how bitcoin is secure, using “almost unbreakable” algorithms, that it can be subdivided into very small amounts, that it allows for the instantaneous transaction of currency between parties anywhere in the world, “bypassing” financial intermediaries such as traditional banks, central banks, and credit card companies, as well as reducing or ridding parties of transaction fees and time delays.
Bhagwan Chowdhry also states that bitcoin has sparked a revolution of thought in other areas of finance, including what he calls the “FinTech space.” Block chain technology used to transfer bitcoins can be applied to other financial instruments as well. The professor points to groups like Stellar.org and Ethereum.org as examples of “open, decentralized, public infrastructure” for transacting money and financial contracts.
Further, the professor feels that Bitcoin will eventually “destroy” companies like Western Union and eliminate “transaction tax[es]” imposed by MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal. Chowdhry also states that the technology has the potential to “transform the landscape of legal contracts completely.” He feels that poor and marginalized segments of populations stand to benefit most from the creation of bitcoin. Chowdhry feels that bitcoin and the accompanying technology is the most important innovation in economics and finance in several decades.
The economist also addresses the problem of how the prize might be awarded to someone who is completely anonymous and has a likely net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars. Chowdhry offered to accept the cash prize on behalf of Satoshi Nakamoto in the event that he is selected as the winner. Chowdhry thinks that Satoshi Nakamoto may verify that he understands that he has won, even if he doesn’t come forward publicly and reveal his identity. Chowdhry also offered to read a speech prepared by Nakamoto. The professor also notes that anonymously transferring the award money to Nakamoto via a bitcoin transfer is a simple task, thanks to Nakamoto.
Chowdhry suggests that if Satoshi Nakamoto doesn’t provide a bitcoin address upon receipt of the prize, that the money could be forwarded to him and that he could square up with Nakamoto at a later date.
[Feature Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]