The search for clues in the Bitcoin archives leads us to the disclosure platform Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.
It is December 10, 2010, and the first block of the Bitcoin Blockchain is about to turn two years old when Satoshi Nakamoto – the unknown inventor of the cryptocurrency – writes one of his last posts on the Bitcoin Talk forum.
Attacks on disclosure platform Wikileaks
A few days earlier, on December 6, 2010, the Wikileaks disclosure platform had reported “massive attacks” in a blog entry. To protect themselves against this, the operators had asked the community for help:
[…] to prevent Wikileaks from ever completely disappearing from the Internet, we need your help. If you have a Unix-based server that hosts a website on the Internet and you want to provide Wikileaks with some of your resources, you can help.
As a result, the platform founded by Julian Assange set up 355 new so-called mirror sites, i.e. websites that copy Wikileaks’ content. The idea is that the duplication or decentralized distribution of the content can better protect it from outside access.
And that seemed bitterly necessary. After all, the digital pillars on which the platform had stood had already been shaken several times beforehand. Amazon, for example, had failed to use its web space shortly beforehand. As the online magazine PCWorld reported, the U.S. security service Homeland Security, among others, had asked for this. The request was no coincidence. According to PCWorld, Wikileaks was about to publish sensitive documents and videos about the conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan:
WikiLeaks has come under fire for publishing classified U.S. documents, including videos and documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as sensitive telegrams between the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. State Department. […]
Already on November 28 of the same year, the platform had been attempted to cripple by bombing the servers through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Here, the publication of 250,000 documents from the US State Department was imminent.
Bitcoin hits the headlines
A few days after the major attack on Wikileaks, the widest-reaching media report on Bitcoin to date occurred. The same magazine published an article titled “Could the Wikileaks Scandal Lead to New Virtual Currency?” (In German: könnte der Wikileaks-Skandal zu einer neuen virtuellen Währung führen?).
In it, the magazine described how the events surrounding Wikileaks had shaken the Internet to its foundations. Hackers had already considered peer-to-peer solutions as ways to respond to the restrictions. According to the magazine, the same would also be conceivable for a digital currency:
That’s what Bitcoin offers; a decentralized virtual currency that could either be the best idea since they figured out how to slice bread or just a hacker’s daydream. As long as the Wikileaks debacle continues, it is being discussed in various parts of the web as a possible solution to the online payment monopoly for PayPal.
The last words of Satoshi Nakamoto
The public mention of Bitcoin in the PCWorld article apparently led to server problems in the Bitcointalk forum. The forum went offline for a short time to cope with the rush of visitors. In the same thread Satoshi Nakamoto published his penultimate entry. He wrote on December 11, 2010:
It would have been nice to get this attention in a different context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest and the swarm is coming our way.
Apart from another message from the Bitcoin inventor a day later, which was of a technical nature, it was quiet about Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcointalk forum after that.
After that, it would be another four months before the very last message from Satoshi. After that, he is said to have written in an email to a bitcoin developer Mike Hearn:
Ich habe mich anderen Dingen zugewandt. Es ist bei Gavin und allen anderen in guten Händen.
Is Julian Assange the inventor of Bitcoin?
Now the conclusion is obvious to connect the Bitcoin inventor with Wikileaks or Julian Assange, after all he had disappeared around the same time when the increased attacks on the platform had taken place. A short time earlier, an international arrest warrant had been issued for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape. Assange was therefore seeking asylum or on the run from the authorities at the time Satoshi disappeared. However, this is at best conjecture. There is no solid evidence for this.
For Bitcoin itself and the crypto community, it ultimately does not matter who the Bitcoin inventor actually is. After all, one of the unique selling points of the cryptocurrency is that it functions without institutions – be it a bank, a state or Satoshi Nakamoto.
Picture Copyright: zhu_zhu
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