Renowned investigator Jameson Lopp has conducted an in-depth analysis of historical data. He aims to challenge the theory suggesting that Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, could potentially be the late Hal Finney.
Hal Finney, a distinguished computer scientist, had long been a topic of speculation. People pondered whether he could have been the genius behind Bitcoin. He was the first person, following Satoshi Nakamoto, to interact with Bitcoin’s software and obtain the cryptocurrency. Despite this ongoing speculation, Finney steadfastly dismissed the idea until his passing in 2014.
Nevertheless, Jameson Lopp, a prominent figure in cryptography and co-founder of the Bitcoin custody firm Casa, remains skeptical of this hypothesis. In a blog post dated October 21, Lopp presents new evidence to challenge the prevailing theory.
Investigating the Timing of the Ten-Mile Race and Bitcoin Transactions
Lopp’s central argument hinges on a notable event: a 10-mile race that took place in Santa Barbara, California, on April 18, 2009.
As per the race’s official data, Hal Finney actively participated in the “Santa Barbara Running Company Chardonnay 10 Miler & 5K.” The race commenced at 8 am Pacific time and concluded with Finney finishing in a remarkable 78 minutes.
Significantly, this race coincided with a series of timestamped emails between Satoshi Nakamoto and one of the primary Bitcoin developers, Mike Hearn.
Lopp highlights this intriguing coincidence. He references archived emails released by Hearn. These emails indicate that Satoshi sent an email to Mike at 9:16 AM Pacific time. Notably, this was just two minutes before Hal crossed the finish line.
“For the duration of an hour and 18 minutes when Hal was engaged in the race, it becomes evident that he was far removed from computer-related activities,” Lopp contends.
Analyzing the Bitcoin Transaction Lopp supplements this argument with an examination of on-chain data that supports his assertion. The emails exchanged between Hearn and Nakamoto reveal that Nakamoto transmitted 32.5 BTC in a specific transaction.
Lopp pinpoints this transaction to block 11,408, which was mined at 8:55 am California time—merely 55 minutes into Hal Finney’s race. Nakamoto verified this transaction and another involving 50 BTC in an email at 6:16 pm. Lopp emphasizes that this coincided with Finney still being in the race.
Examining this debate closely, we find that health is a significant factor. During that period, Satoshi was actively coding and participating in forum discussions. In contrast, Hal Finney’s struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) had notably affected his typing ability.
Unveiling Discrepancies and Speculations around Hall Finney as Satoshi Nakamoto
Lopp underscores a post from August 22, 2010, written by Hal Finney’s ex-spouse, Fran Finney. This post discusses the couple’s presence at the 2010 Singularity Summit in San Francisco on August 14-15. It reveals that Finney’s typing speed had dramatically declined. Previously, he had typed at a rapid pace of 120 words per minute, but it had slowed to a sluggish, finger-pecking speed.
During this period, Nakamoto managed four code check-ins and contributed to 17 forum posts between August 14-15, 2010, as reported by Lopp.
Lopp also identifies several disparities between Finney’s Reusable Proofs of Work code and the original Bitcoin client code. However, he acknowledges the possibility of objections to this newfound evidence.
Hearn disclosed the emails in 2017, seven years after the fact. This timing coincided with growing disputes within the Bitcoin community regarding scalability.
Lopp acknowledges that Finney could have pre-scripted the emails and transactions, or that there may have been more than one individual behind the Satoshi Nakamoto identity. Nevertheless, he maintains that Bitcoin’s inception can be attributed to a single developer.
Hal Finney, sadly, succumbed to complications arising from ALS in August 2014.