Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto from Japan. Or, some say, he or she might be a Finnish sociologist or a mathematician from Israel. Some think Nakamoto is the pseudonym of software developer Gavin Andresen, others believe it’s Tesla creator Elon Musk. (Both have denied the claim.) Whoever it is, the person behind bitcoin has never given an interview.
In 2008, Nakamoto published online an open-source paper, introducing a new form of digital currency: designed to be used without the need for a central bank.
As offered up by Nakamoto’s code, new bitcoins are created by solving complex calculations, embedded throughout the Internet, via extremely powerful computers. People who do this are known as miners. The number of bitcoins in circulation will top out after a finite 21 million are mined — unlike traditional currency, which can be endlessly minted.
Aswath Damodaran, professor of finance at New York University, said, “[Nakamoto’s] on his way to being a billionaire now. He kept more than 10,000 bitcoins.” And he’s not surprised by the creator’s low profile: “Bitcoin was designed by paranoid geeks for paranoid geeks.”