Even if we agreed with the statistics, the "one in a thousand" would be relevant if we had some other reason to suspect Szabo. He could simply be that one in a thousand who matches.
The article is somewhat persuasive, but more certain than the evidence presented seems to justify.
[Edit: speaking of which, interesting to see that a past attempt to out Satoshi claimed a combination of textual and other evidence pointed at a particular group of researchers who filed a patent right before bitcoin.org was bought: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Satoshi_Nakamoto]
The poster's suggesting they ran an automated analysis against a bunch of authors, and that it clearly pointed to Nick. Particularly if _still_ it points that way even if restricted to content-neutral phrases (so it effectively picked Nick out of all crypto researchers, not just out of those that talk about timestamp servers etc.), that's more persuasive: programs won't fish (though you could still repeatedly change the algorithm until it gets the result you want). Publishing it would be interesting.
As is, this is interesting but seems preliminary or shallow--doesn't deal with any other text Satoshi or Nick wrote, doesn't deal with code, and doesn't give us full raw data or scripts. I'm not sure Satoshi is Nick Szabo.
Also, the post-dating had occurred by the Oct 17, 2009 Wayback Machine crawl, but the post content didn't visibly change, only the date. I have no idea if it was anything interesting or not.
Still, that all kind of assumes there was 11-dimensional chess going on to conceal who worked on Bitcoin, and I think the reality was likely simpler.
However, that scenario would allow for some of Szabo's post-Bitcoin statements to be sincere even if he was involved: could be true that he hasn't audited the code and that he's not entirely sure if certain bit gold -> Bitcoin changes are features or bugs, since any refiner/implementer presumably had some independence and collaborators never agree on everything. And Szabo being involved is at least a saner notion than previous ones: we at least know he found proof-of-work e-gold interesting.
But I'm speaking without having dug deeply into what they both wrote, which would probably probably a prereq for developing useful priors. I don't think I know much here, and I certainly don't think the comment alone is evidence for Satoshi=Szabo (or Satoshi-involved-Szabo).
And persuasive, if it's all as suggested.
Except we aren't dealing with a massive amount of people who may use those phrases just a couple of people. If we already have reason to suspect something and we are given independent persuasive evidence this should be taken together to make it very unlikely that our hypothesis is not true.
The great thing about textual stylistic analysis is that everyone has a specific way of communicating that can be identified unless one takes steps to actively hide it. This happens in all languages and can usually identify authorship regardless if someone tried to copy someone else's style.
How scientifically well supported is this assertion?
The program or more-raw data would be interesting.
In other words, the probability that there exists a subset of words in a pair of papers that are "globally rare" among cryptography papers is likely high.
So to answer P(Nick|Evidence) we can't use ~P(selected subset|crypto), we better use ~P(all words|crypto) and compare that to all other plausible sources.
As a clarifying anecdote, remember low probability events happen all the time if the sample space is simply large. Throw a dice ~8 times in a row an the probability of that event is lower than winning the lottery or getting hit by lightning, yet it happens every time. If you pick every word from the source paper and multiply their relative frequencies out, you will get a number astronomically low, and that happens for any paper.
Satoshi Nakamoto uses double spaces after sentence-final; so does Nick Szabo.
"Interestingly" is a distinctive word, especially at sentence-initial. Both Nakamoto and Szabo use this.
Hyphenated "e-mail" has been on the way out for a few years; I still use it but I've been in a minority for a long time. Again, both Nakamoto and Szabo use this.
(I'd be interested to see if anyone can find Szabo starting paragraphs with "Right, ...": that's a definite tic in Nakamoto's postings.)
So does every single person of my generation who went through the Canadian school system (and no doubt others world-wide). Double spaces after sentences is 100% standard here. In fact, it was only recently I found out some people use a single space...
> (I'd be interested to see if anyone can find Szabo starting paragraphs with "Right, ...": that's a definite tic in Nakamoto's postings.)
AFAIK these are both extremely common among [CS, Math, Physics] professors.
 - http://www.dustintrammell.com/files/Satoshi_Nakamoto.zip
His website, http://szabo.best.vwh.net/ is currently experiencing capacity issues, so here's a cache link:
Additionally, his blogspot: http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/
Keeping your anonymous persona's mouth shut about history, politics, economics, sociology, art theory and human nature is good 'opsec'.
I'm thinking more in terms of expressing multiple opinions that come together to give a fingerprint.
To use a computer analogy, if I told you I run Firefox I haven't told you much, but if (in a single post or across many) I tell people I run Firefox, OS X 10.7, flashblock, and I refuse to run the Java plugin? Taken together that's a fingerprint that could really narrow down a list of suspects (even if it didn't uniquely identify a single individual).
A set of political opinions could serve the same purpose, if they're distinctive enough.
But who cares?
But I'm wondering, where does the NSA paper “How to Make a Mint” fit into this story?
Could contributor Tatsuaki Okamoto be Nick’s partner? Satoshi Nakamoto kinda sounds like a combination of their names.
Maybe Nick was the ideator/philosopher/writer, and Tatsuaki was the programmer/crypto nerd?
The other thing is that most of those centa-millionaires are not keeping their holdings entirely in cash that can be moved quickly in large quantities psuedonymously requiring only a small piece of information likely to be held by Satoshi.
Certainly, securing multi-millionaires is not an insoluable problem (although it fails sometimes), but I think that Satoshi is likely to be in a situation that make the consequences of being unmasked particularly dangerous and the difficulty of measures to keep safe particularly onerous.
I think people trying to dox this guy haven't really considered that they could (potentially) be causing innocent people a lot of damage with their "investigations".
Are there solid reasons for discounting a team of researchers, post-docs, or something similar?
Yes, if you read the Bitcoin whitepaper that Satoshi originally sent out, and then compare it to the work done by teams of researchers and postdocs. Here are some things to think about:
1. Bitcoin can be attacked in polynomial time. This is a sharp and very extreme break from the typical expectations we have about cryptosystems, yet Satoshi did not devote any time to this in the Bitcoin paper.
2. The security analysis presented in the Bitcoin paper assumes a specific attack strategy, without ruling out others or even mentioning the possibility that another attack strategy could exist.
3. The security goal of Bitcoin was never clearly stated in the Bitcoin paper, and there is no clear threat model.
4. Almost none of the related work was mentioned, not even to distinguish Bitcoin from that work. Digital cash has been extensively studied by cryptographers, but that mountain of work was not mentioned at all. Bitcoin is a multiparty computation system meant to operate on a massive scale, yet at no point did Satoshi mention the even larger body of work that has been published on secure multiparty computation. Satoshi did not even mention the various ways that distributed systems can be attacked, which are presented in the unmentioned related work.
These are not signs that experienced researchers are behind Bitcoin. From where I sit, these all point to Bitcoin having been the work of a cryptography enthusiast, probably a high school or college student with some extra time on his hands.
If true, that's just embarrassing for the cryptography community. Having worked on the problem for years and then be shown up by an amateur who creates a system that hasn't been cracked despite a $multi-billion incentive to do so.
At best, all you can say is that Satoshi demonstrated that cryptographers were solving the wrong problem with digital cash. That, however, was not news in 2008. Cryptographers had thought that credit card payments were too insecure to make sense on the Internet; the failure of DigiCash and related efforts in the 90s proved otherwise.
One nitpick: I don't think it was necessarily the work of a high school or college student, but rather someone older who had been following the cypherpunk movement since the early 90s.
The market isn't sufficiently well developed and doesn't have sufficient depth to support transactions of that size. Combine a lack of liquidity with the fact that BTC have no intrinsic value, and that the market has shown itself to be vulnerable to price shocks in the past, and I would value 1M BTC at significantly less than $1B (probably not even 10% of that).
Conversely, it seems unlikely that e.g. Google's shares would be worth the current market cap if they were all sold at the same time. But we still accept the current share price as a basis of e.g. Page and Brin's net worth, so we should also accept Satoshi's wallet's current value (even if it fluctuates more than typical stock prices).
Not really true. Google's shares have a value that is based mostly on analysis of expected value. If they offloaded a bunch of their shares at once, the analyzed value wouldn't change, so the market would only crash for a very short time while everyone else realizes Google is a better deal than their other stocks.
There is no revenue from Bitcoin, on the other hand. Much like gold, its value is almost entirely based on speculation, but with some added value on account of people needing to buy a little bit to do certain things. The market cap of Bitcoin is not based on anything tangible.
Doesn't collateral require that you provide the ability to transfer ownership?
1. That it would be a block transaction, where a block doesn't refer to a BTC block but a single transaction. Most institutional/sophisticated/smart traders scale out of their positions.
2. There may be an underlying assumption that just because someone (satoshi etc.) sell their bitcoin's for X price they would want to withdraw it in another currency. If the goal is to own more BTC, they would transfer in BTC to a trading account, sell said BTC while scaling out and buy back BTC when prices drop below their average sell price.
If someone was extremely cautious they would do these trades under multiple accounts, most BTC trading accounts need verification for deposits/withdrawal only. This could be done on multiple exchanges.
The average weekly trading volume of mtgox is >130,000BTC/week, therefore over 7 million BTC were traded which is sufficient volume to liquidate 70-100% of 1M BTC.
Basically, that wallet should be used to nurture and feed the bitcoin ecosystem, and in doing so it can become worth vastly more. It becomes the JP Morgan - circa 1910 - of the bitcoin financial world. With the profit generated from the business, it can be used to calm panics, and help lessen volatility, a form of pressure regulator.
Even today's $1k BTC is speculation at the edge of the market, 1million BTC as a batch only fetch about $50m worth of interested buyers.
Here is one ting I don't understand, though: suppose I am a billionaire black hat VC, and I wanted to steal Satoshi's coins. Could I invest a half billion dollars and brute force a majority-coup attack on the blockchain? Of not now what about when those $ figures are 10x? Even if bitcoin gets 100x more popular, it won't be 100x more network miners, it will be people buying BTC and trusting the block chain published by coinbase and whoever.
Further, performing this attack would invalidate all Bitcoins created after that point (which is the vast majority of them), so the Bitcoins you stole would be worthless.
A 50+% attack operates by rewriting history back to a certain depth in the blockchain by providing a new chain of blocks with more computational work, back to a certain point.
I think the bitcoin devs also put in certain "checkpoints" just to be even more certain... i.e. blocks that are "officially permanent" (which also makes all prior blocks in that chain "offiically permanent").
Maybe someone could tell us about that.
No - controlling a majority of the compute doesn't allow you to steal some unrelated users bitcoins.
You'd have to brute force their private key to do that, which is an infeasible computational challenge.
Controlling a majority of the compute would allow you to 'double spend' coins you have, but that's a different problem.
There are other methods of selling coins. Larger transactions tend to happen off-exchange.
EDIT: not to mention potentially damaging peoples reputations by incorrectly accusing them.
The author needs to give more details of how he performed this: "an open, unbiased search of texts similar in writing to the Bitcoin whitepaper over the entire Internet, identifies Nick’s bit gold articles as the best candidates". If true, this is the most convincing argument I have seen thus far.
Fortunately, simply trying to write like someone else does.
I can see choosing an affected writing style becoming an integral part of creating an anonymous persona.
Not even understudies. The alterations performed by spinners are oftentimes
senseless - they measure to taking some rate of statements, turning them
toward a thesaurus, and reinstating them with a haphazardly picked
equivalent word. It's pretty regular that the equivalent word is unseemly
for the connection, so the effects are ludicrous. Case in point, here's
what a spinner does with this paragraph:
There maybe some other good reasons for knowing his identity. If, for example, Satoshi was employed by some State Intelligence agency (or had ties to the mafia, or terrorist groups, or ... ) would that make a difference? Maybe, maybe not.
What concerns me is that Satoshi holds over 10% of BTC, which could become significant, if the value of BTC market cap raises to say 21T (ie 1M USD per BTC) as many eventually hope it does.
Someone with 2T USD worth of claim checks on society demands more scrutiny than your run of the mill billionaire.
I would sleep better at night if I knew that my participation in BTC is not fueling some insanely evil endgame plan.
People aren't interested in a name. They want a story. It'll be like E! For HN. Just look at how snowden himself garnered as much disscussion as the activities he revealed.
Theory of property, origins of money, methods of protecting rights, origins of joint-stock companies. Almost every article is a motivation for building Bitcoin. And Nick is not just some economist, he is a capable programmer with knowledge in cryptography too. Do you know anyone else who could understand all these long-term aspects of Bitcoin and could carefully build a practical system over two years which most of the economists and most of the engineers would immediately dismiss for tons of "shortcomings"?
If it's not Szabo, it's someone who is very much like him.
Thus it incorporated some of Szabo's preferred language choices, but Szabo is still "not Satoshi" and has his own deep and distinct criticisms/appreciations of the Satoshi work.
They've each done a lot of misdirection to the other two in order to draw attention away from them.
This lets them each say "I am not Satoshi Nakamoto" and not be lying.
Moreover is Szabo such a good programmer that Dan Kaminskey's auditing of the code for security holes would have caused him to say that he's never seen a programmer so good? That every likely bug was already found and plugged fairly early on?
Whoever programmed BitCoin didn't write the prettiest code in the world, but it was very good, and certainly good enough code to be written by someone who spends a ton of time programming. Nick Szabo seems to spend a lot of his time on other things not related to programming.
What makes me think it wasn't Finney was that Finney was one of the two first people to respond to Satoshi when the paper was dropped on the cryptography mailing list. There is extensive back and forth between Donald, Finney and Satoshi, mostly Finney and Donald critiquing the whitepaper and Satoshi defending it.
Of course that would be the perfect thing to do if you were trying to draw attention away from yourself.
What I am saying is that if you're investing into bitcoin it's intelligent to know what you're getting into. Satoshi currently controls around 12% of all bitcoins. And even with the maximum number Satoshi will control 7% of all bitcoins.
This is huge potential to disrupt the market and knowing what the person or people who are Satoshi might do has a potentially huge investment impact. Hence the reason that people have the desire to know who Satoshi is.
So, there's a wallet with a large number of bitcoins in it. Does it matter who owns it? Is it likely that the owner (named or otherwise unknown) is going to give you a heads-up before they sell any?
If so, I would only expect an inconsistent application of this spelling if he were impersonating a Japanese person writing in English (though the same could be assumed if there were multiple writers).
For example, the books in my Bavarian school seemed to slightly prefer the British English spelling (but the vocabulary always also included the American English spelling and later on we were reading lots of American and British text intermixed) and for tests the teacher always told us that she didn’t care which spelling we picked, all that mattered to her was that we were consistent (i.e. use either only British English or only American English).
I always picked American English but the preference of the books of British English screwed me up somewhat, so I will sometimes mistakenly use both variants in one text. For me it would consequently not seem obvious that someone using both variants is a native speaker who tries to fake another spelling variant.
Japan, Korea and China very likely are mixed between British English teachers (from India and Australia) and American English teachers (from the U.S.) In Japan in the late 80s-early 90s, there was a definite preference for American English teachers.
I have only very limited experience, but from my experience in Bavaria (education is a state responsibility in Germany, that’s why I’m constantly only talking about Bavaria) I can say that none of the foreign-language teachers I’m aware of (of any available foreign language, English, French, Spanish, Czech) were native speakers. They were all Germans.
My father spent his first years in the UK and as a kid I picked up a few verbal things from him (most of them disappeared later on). I still think I'm more likely than most people I know to say things like "whilst" or "amongst".
(I have lived in Japan in the past.)
The hosting of Bitcoin.org and email software were Japanese.
I do think it was a group, and Nick was part of it. So his denials are technically accurate.
Of course, we can go further than just the paper. Why not check out Satoshi's posts and compare them with Nick's blogging style?
Was she? The way I recall was that she was first outed on twitter and only then did the textual analysis people come out and claim that they could prove the book was written by Rowling. I'm not aware of any textual analysis that pointed the finger at Rowling prior to the twitter reveal.
Tuning an algorithm to give you the right answer when you already know the answer isn't that impressive
That is like saying you uniquely identified someone based on repeated use of the expression "Q.E.D" in a mathematics paper.
And Spartacus. And possibly Batman. Any questions?
Particularly if the unmasked progenitor(s) proved that they had actually destroyed the early Coins, that would help stabilize and legitimize the currency.
I'm not calling into question what you say, just curious as to what you mean.
Nonsense. If you actually look at Satoshi's work, he was almost certainly an amateur and a cryptography enthusiast. That some software is popular is not an indication that it is the work of a highly skilled computer scientist; here is a simple and obvious counterexample:
Then right after, his thesis is to contrast that: "I would argue that Satoshi is actually Nick Szabo himself, probably together with one or more technical collaborators"
I went looking for an obscure pattern and found an inconclusive curiosity, therefore, apocalypse!