Earlier in May, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright made headlines with the claim that he was in fact the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, known as “Satoshi Nakamoto.” While Wright has yet to offer concrete public evidence to back up his claim, some in the Bitcoin community have insisted that even if Wright is Nakamoto, it doesn’t matter.
This is a classic engineer’s fallacy. I say this with love—I’m an engineer myself—but it exemplifies a blinkered worldview which is both wrong and dangerous. The identity of the Bitcoin creator matters because if he or she were to come forward, they might have a real shot at finally uniting a fractious community. At the very least, the creator could provide some clarity on a host of unresolved, fundamental questions that are damaging Bitcoin’s credibility with investors and potential users alike.
The network is not the project is not the network
It is true that Satoshi’s true identity is irrelevant to the Bitcoin network. The network was (brilliantly) designed so that its transactions require no trust or central authority. This will remain true as long as no entity controls too much of the “mining” computational power—more than one quintillion computations per