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Tell HN: Meeting Satoshi
215 points by yuxt on Mar 6, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments
back in 2011 I convinced my wife who ran a small creperie in DUMBO, Brooklyn to start accepting bitcoins. We were one of the first in the world physical location that accepted this new digital currency [1]. In the next couple of month we received a lot of attention, but no one has purchased anything with btc. Then one day, my wife calls me and informs that there is someone who would like to pay with bitcoins. I got excited and asked her to take a picture of the guy because he is the first one and it's a historic moment for us. He bought 2 crepes and paid using his smartphone and our QR code with btc address. One crepe and a lemonade was 1 bitcoin at that time :)

After he finished his food my wife approached him and asked to take a picture of him for being the first. He blushed and politely declined citing that bitcoin is an anonymous currency. He wished us well, added that bitcoins should already be in our account and left.

My wife called me back and revealed that he refused to take a picture. So I asked her to describe him. She portrayed the guy as a humble polite Japanese man in his 50s. We joked maybe it was Satoshi, but I dismissed the idea. I assumed it was some one from Mt Gox since it was located in Japan.

Today I showed the picture of Satoshi in Newsweek to my wife and she recognized him.


Goddamnit guys. Let him be. Come on. Are we hackers here or are we paparazzi?

I thought Hacker News was a club of quality-valuing people that saw the world from a hacker's perspective and questioned the status quo. My view is shifting with every comment posted here.

Why use your real name if you don't want the fame?

Why use Tor and never mention anything about yourself or even your country of residence if you want the fame?

Hi, newsflash "hackers" are people too, and who doesn't love being in the spotlight?

Yes, there are people in the world with poor manners and still more people that have lapses in judgement, but neither is an excuse for dismissing civility altogether in a community that selects for it.

These people are trying to doxx a man using the excuse that he is a public figure, as if that strips him of his humanity. It's a positively shameful behavior, and should not be encouraged or allowed to continue.

Dong Nguyen and Satoshi Nakamoto.

Shy people. They find it painful.

chasing bitcoin transaction requires a bit of 'hackarazzi'. identifying Satoshi's bitcoin transaction traces may be useful for some applications.

I am not going to reveal any more information that I already have. I respect his will to stay anonymous. It was just an emotional post without a thought of provoking a witch-hunt. Satoshi has been an inspiration to me, I apologize for any inconvenience I might cause.

I saw no harm in the post. Thanks for sharing.

IMO, the criticisms are unfounded and just another example of the HN's community recent penchant to hate on anything and everything.



I think you were well within your rights (and even the bounds of politeness for a cash transaction). If Dorian is not Satoshi, then this won't be a problem. If he is, this wouldn't be what would prove it. His problems are far, far larger than any one person's claim to resolve, I think.

This wouldn't prove anything one way or another but if it turns out that Dorian was in New York in the later half of 2011 (presumably he would have flown since he lives in CA and thus flight records could probably show one way or another), that would be pretty convincing circumstantial evidence.

He stated in his denial he'd not heard of "bitcom" until his brother told him about it 3 weeks ago, so if it transpired he'd used it in 2011 then that would prove that he wasn't being entirely truthful.

All of you asking for the transaction ID are incorrigible. The man clearly wants privacy. The kind of privacy that you all opine for every time there's some governmental incursion. Or some startup gets hacked or whatever.

Leave the man be.

If the man wanted privacy, he shouldn't have designed a system that broadcasts every transaction you make out onto the entire internet.

Well we haven't exactly found him through this information yet, but disclosing it after the news of earlier today I think is unethical.

Please stop repeating all over HN the ridiculous claim that just because something is visible (with enough work to dig through layers of cloaking) then we conclude that its owner wants it to be seen.

It isn't true for government surveillance of our mail and it isn't true with Bitcoin.

And well all know that 1-1 = 1. You're confusing concepts here.

Not that I doubt this story, but human memory is not very reliable. There's many studies that have been done on this. The fact that your wife would remember someone from three years ago who she met for 20 minutes is a little far fetched even if it was a significant meeting.

It also matters how you showed the picture. Depending on how you did it can influence people to remember incorrectly.

Furthermore, it's known that Europeans make errors in recognizing Asian faces.

From 1987:


Ten European subjects made significantly more errors in recognising Asian faces than European faces


Koreans who grew up in Europe recognize Asian faces much worse than Koreans who grew up in Korea, and Koreans who grew up in Korea make mistakes in recognizing European faces.

It's called the "Cross-race effect": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-race_effect

OP seems to be American so I'd wager that his/her wife is, too.

Please don't disclose the transaction. It's a serious decision, at least.

There is no social expectation that store keepers shouldn't talk about famous people that patronize their establishment. In fact, unless the nature of the establishment merits sensitivity, the expectation is the exact opposite.

He declined having a picture taken for public display when asked and gave a reason implying that he wanted to stay anonymous. Even if there's no general social expectation, I would argue that there was a specific expectation with this transaction.

There is a social expectation that an establishment of any kind not publish their customers' transaction information publicly.

If nothing else, it's in poor taste.

I'm not familiar with many details of bitcoin, so correct me if this is wrong, but aren't all bitcoin transactions public for anyone to see?

Gossip about seekers of fame is seen as fair play. I don't think you could class Satoshi as being famous in the same way as someone who actively chooses to be in the media, though. The expectation that it is good to mention if a movie star came to your shop is based on the fact that they make their living from their public life.

Also, if someone like a famous actor specifically asked a business not to publicise that they had frequented it, then if the business went back on that, I think they would get less famous people visiting in the future.

> I think they would get less famous people visiting in the future.

"Less famous people"? Do you mean people who are individually less well-known, or fewer famous people?

My favorite quote from the George Bush II years was the day he announced there would be less soldiers in Iraq in the future. I immediately pictured the same number of soldiers, but each of them shorter.

I think you probably can work it out from context, though in this case either option works.

I'm not a bitcoin user who is I'm generally a strong believer in privacy and I think the other article went to far (particularly in personal/family details). Having said that there is a legitimate interest for those who do hold bitcoin in anyone who holds a significant portion of the bitcoins as their actions could massively shift the value of their holdings. Owners of signficant stakes of public companies have to be declared for this type of reason.

The interest in the transaction (and information about related holdings) is to me reasonable and relevant given this individual is believed by some to have a massive quantity of coins from very early mining.

Most of his fortune is directly traceable from early mining activity:


Not concretely, and many of those early blocks are mis-attributed.

There's a strong enough suspicion that many people believe he has controls a large amount of funds.

Unfortunately, it would be relatively easy for anyone to find that transaction, even if he didn't want to disclose it. Don't look for Satoshi's wallet, look for the shopper's.

why ?

Respect and professionalism?

Because a cornerstone of the currency is anonymity.

A cornerstone of the currency rests on random folks like this threads OP not disclosing transaction IDs? That sounds like an incredibly weak cornerstone to me.

Actually, disclosing the transaction ID would demonstrate the real cornerstone of bitcoin: the fact that when you get your fingernail under the surface, the whole thing peels up. Identifying Satoshi's account would likely reveal a great deal of information about him and his dealings, and the de-anonymizing can occur anytime, even years or centuries after the fact.

I have a question about Bitcoin: If someone spends some bitcoin at a cafe, then spends some at the XXX porn shop down the street, can the cafe look at the block chain and deduce that the person visited the porn shop?

It depends how you use your bitcoin addresses. If you're lazy like me and reuse your bitcoin address for multiple transactions then yes.

Let's walk through this with one of my wallet addresses.


You can see that I sent 0.00597702 BTC to an address beginning "1Jtfi". That was worth $3.99 yesterday, suggesting a USD pricing structure for that transaction.

In the previous transaction, you can see 0.1198 BTC ($79.49) being paid to me. You might deduce that I sold something for bitcoin, or that I bought some bitcoin from someone. Given that they came from six different addresses, you might conclude that this is probably not a direct person-to-person trade, but went through some sort of escrow or mixer. The odd USD value might suggest non-USD, but it could easily have been $80 yesterday.

Prior to that, I paid the same 1Jtfi address 0.0278 BTC. If you track the exchange rate back to the date of that TX, you can see it works out to $3.99 again, showing that I'm paying the same entity the same amount of money on multiple occasions.

Prior to that, 1AVZ paid me 0.00271878 BTC

Prior to that, I paid 0.0326 BTC to 1P4v.

Let's assume that 1Jtfi is the cafe (it's actually me buying reddit gold for people, hence $3.99 each time). They can look up my blockchain info (not just on blockchain.info, that's just a convenient way of browsing it) and see the whole ledger.

If the cafe knows that the 1P4v address is a porn site (let's say the porn site publish a donation address), then it's incontrovertible.

Another example, try to 'follow the money' on my first purchase of bitcoin: https://blockchain.info/address/1ARvvMWkZRXcCupgJCZeiRsZxVGZ...

In that tx, I am 12xSZ buying from 1ARvv.

Click the 'change address' 1BTCcq (nice vanity address).

Now try to track the seller, guess which of the two addresses is him and which is his client. It's pretty obvious that 1DPwh is the buyer and 1P5s1 is the same seller again.

Now we can basically track the smaller amounts, with the theory that the guy I bought from is selling small amount from a large stash, keep clicking the larger amount,

After a couple of transactions though it gets messy: https://blockchain.info/address/1Nt1sd2ECNyjdXmQsrpzqffPS9SJ...

Ah, now who's our guy? Well, it's probably the one who kept an odd number of coins (much more likely someone will buy 5 BTC than 4.86764344 BTC).

Now, the proper way to do it is for me to set up a new address for each transaction and move my funds between addresses every time I transact. That way you can't prove whether me sending $80 to 1abcde is sending to myself or to someone else. You can't trace the funds like we just did, because there's no time to establish patterns. You'd also want to avoid sending BTC to an address you've sent to before, and avoid round numbers of BTC. And avoid transacting at timestamps with a pattern to them.

So, it's theoretically capable of a decent level of anonymity. But as with most things, in practice it is susceptible to human error.

By the way, if you liked this comment, feel free to donate bitcoin to 1PWSyqweZ7SZ8AMi9hWRtEU5Cd7PEvb9em - maybe I can have fun tracing your transactions too :)

Thank you, that was a very helpful tutorial in tracing the blockchain!

It's an interesting topic, writing it inspired me to research more and I found this: http://anonymity-in-bitcoin.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/bitcoin-i...

Expect more blockchain traffic analysis papers in the future.

Sent (well, as soon as my blockchain updates).

Replying again to say that I am extremely touched by both donations that I received, and I have sent them on to the address being used to gather funds by the bitcoin community as an apology to Dorian Nakamoto.


Thanks, I really appreciate it! Judging by the timing of your comment I think you are 1AdNb.

It looks like your wallet does it properly, using different addresses all the time.

You always give a transaction you received before in order to spend coins. However, you're supposed to use a fresh (source) address for every new transaction (the wallet software does it for you). You can't (with the default wallet software) chose which transaction (called unspent transaction) you use in order to spend you coin (this is called coin control).

That is, you can trace coins, not owners, unless you're always using the same source address.

If you say, get paid in Bitcoin, one transaction a month, and that's the only way you earn Bitcoin. Will you use the same source address all month?

The payer uses a source address, which changes because each transaction should "kill" the original source, sending it's money to two addresses: the payee and the "change" that goes back to the payer but using a newly invented address.

You can invent a new destination address each time you transact (to get paid or to receive change). You make a new address by picking a random number and doing some math.

Psuedonymity. The difference is important.

If that's really the case; the unmasking of Satoshi should (would?) be the final nail in it's coffin.

  > Because a cornerstone of the currency is anonymity.
Pseudonymity, maybe. It's definitely not anonymous, by it's nature and function of the blockchain.

Bitcoin is not and never was anonymous.

I thought the cornerstone was everything is public & can be verified?

No it isn't.

This is the address for the creperie's wallet: 1KfQKmME7bQm5AesPiizWk6h3JPUekwoBC

Blockexplorer: https://blockexplorer.com/address/1KfQKmME7bQm5AesPiizWk6h3J...

Source: http://o-crepes.com/

Following the first 'received' transaction all the way back I found this address that has had 432000 coins sent to it from dozens of addresses on 2011-06-12. A lot of the funds sent from this address were tumbled, so if it associated with Satoshi then he was using a tumbler pretty early on. It could also be a MtGox address.


Hmm. It seems possible that this address was a Gox location, since following the tumbling trail led me to this address:


This is the famous "424242" transaction that Mark Kerpeles signed to prove that he was in control of enough BitCoins to keep Gox solvent in 2011. Perhaps the first 'received transaction' wasn't actually Satoshi's.

Surely the individual who set up the system for the Creperie would have done a test transaction first?


Interesting. And is that Satoshi's address? :)

No, this is the "green address" of instawallet.

There seems no transaction of the amount of 1 BTC.

"He bought 2 crepes and paid using his smartphone and our QR code with btc address. One crepe and a lemonade was 1 bitcoin at that time :)" He didn't pay 1 BTC

So it has to be between 1 and 2 btc?

Only if a crepe costs more than a lemonade.

Ah right.

I think we're at the point now where we need a mod to step in and delete this entire post.

You guys are literally trying to doxx this man.

He's already been doxxed by Newsweek. They even published a picture of his house with the street address clearly visible.

That's no excuse and you know it.

You sound like the CIA saying the leaked documents are not public information.

There is no 'doxxing' to be done anymore. Satoshi has been 'doxxed' as much as anyone can be in real life.

If you are worried about the anonymity of his Bitcoins transactions (and all other's that could be identified from that), I'm sorry, there is no such thing as complete anonymity (as the Bitcoin community apparently still has to learn).

This is not about anonymity. He posted his name in the original Bitcoin white paper after all.

This is about an individual's right to privacy. His finances and personal life have just as much right to protection as yours or mine, and just because you may have the power to disclose that information does not mean you should.

For god's sake, you even cite the leaked documents in your argument. Do you remember why that's a big deal? Why we're all so upset that the government has been invading our right to privacy despite our knowing all along that they have technically had the capability and we only expected they would exercise proper caution and due process in wielding it?

You're not some internet economics superhero detective, and I don't care what the impact to the economics of bitcoin would be, that still does not give you the ethical right to harass Satoshi Nakamoto.

You missed the point. The magazine has already done as much damage to his privacy as it`s possible. Destroying this thread accomplishes nothing.

Thus, my next argument that you must be worried about his Bitcoin transactions (which might not remain anonymous for very long). Which is a valid concern but impossible given his notoriety now. There are just too many curious people already digging.

You're implying that, because of my initial argument, I do not care about his privacy. You're wrong.

Being realistic on the Internet seems to be an thankless task.

If he really wanted privacy he should have used cash.

Wallet of the store: 1KfQKmME7bQm5AesPiizWk6h3JPUekwoBC

source: https://twitter.com/Ocrepes/status/83671795693133824

now everyone is tracing a maze of chains to discover the account with millions...

Can you identify the transaction? We are fairly certain which bitcoins belong to the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Your crepes are awfully expensive now. ;-) http://o-crepes.com/bitcoin/#

Do you know which BitCoin it is? This is a collectors piece and you can probably trace its lineage!

Oh yay, a collectors' item. So, some bitcoins may be more valuable than others!

This is kind of the idea behind colored coins.


Do we have enough information to track the 10k bitcoins used to buy the first pizza?

No wonder Satoshi wanted to be anonymous. People are already tracing the transaction and the BitCoin.

Though it might just be a lesson in how "anonymous" bitcoin transactions actually are.


I'm curious because this suggests that Satoshi was maybe at the Bitcoin World Conference and Expo in New York, which was in August 2011.

> and politely declined citing that bitcoin is an anonymous currency.

I wonder if he still believes that today.

I wonder about a lot of what he thinks of Bitcoin nowadays and I would love to hear it from him, but I'm not going to ask for it. He may come forward on his own, when and if he wants to.

really fascinating story: now we must ask you the Transaction ID :D

I love how smiley faces make it easy to spot evil :D

What cellphone app allowed you to buy and sell Bitcoins in July 2011? I didn't think QR codes were regularly used till late 2011/early 2012.

Yeah, there were several floating around at that time, as I recall. For example, Bitpay started up around that time, and they had a QR-code-enabled mobile app when they launched.

The first commit of bitcoin-wallet (most popular Android wallet presently) was March 8, 2011: https://github.com/schildbach/bitcoin-wallet

Here's another from that time: https://github.com/barmstrong/bitcoin-android

Thanks. I do remember using that one or one similar in maybe Fall of that year. I believe the first ones actually downloaded the entire Blockchain which was maybe a gig or two at the time. The one I had became unwieldy enough that I eventually just uninstalled it.

Remember everyone, if you get the correct transaction ID you will not learn too much. It's widely known the vast majority of Satoshi's 1,000,000 bitcoin still sit in their mined blocks. So you might search back to a small set of addresses probably totalling a few thousand bitcoin but nothing spectacular like a giant 50,000+ address.

>Invents a currency that allows all your received and paid values to be tracked by the entire world.

>Says it's anonymous.

Good luck with that.

> apparently knows nothing about bitcoin and the level of anonymity it provides.

> comments on it anyway.

good luck indeed.

Hey, I tried to go to your place to spend some bitcoins last time I was in NYC, which was about 6 months ago. It didn't look like your store was in business anymore, though, and a tweet to a blog post seemed to confirm it. Too bad, I'd still like to spend some BTC at a brick-and-mortar store.

Oh what a witch-hunt after Satoshi, he wants to be left alone from the public so please respect it.

Eventually the government is going to come after him. If you just happen to be sitting on 400 million without paying taxes the government is going to be interested.

It is not at all clear that mining and sitting on Bitcoin causes any tax liability. The tax liability might only come when the Bitcoin is exchanged or spent.

For instance, if I take a piece of paper and some paint, and use them to make a painting that I hang on my wall, and this painting would sell for $100k if I elected to sell it, I do not have to report $100k of income. I only have taxable income when I actually sell the painting.

That simply isn't true. As someone else said, taxes are not owed on bitcoin until you realize your profit by converting them to USD or spending them on goods.

Because really, things don't have value until they're sold. Until then, there's just assumed value.

He might have $400m worth of bitcoins, but can he actually sell them and get $400m for them? It would be tricky.

What would be the exact time he would owe them? I mean at what price?

When he mined them and they were worthless? When he sells them?

I think he either owes couple of cents or nothing.

You usually pay for this sort of thing based on profit, more or less.

In this case, his basis is $0 (his cost to acquire the asset). Were he to sell all of them, his profit is essentially 100%; however, I'm not entirely sure how bitcoin gains are codified. If they're regular capital gains, then it's done around that cost basis ($0 in this case), but if they aren't, then I don't know.

There was a good post on the tax implications of Bitcoin by (what I think was) an actual accountant a while back. The gist is that it's taxable only when converted to real goods. So if he mined some number of coins early on and is just holding them in wallets, then he owes nothing. Any time anybody sells any coins for cash or any other real goods, they owe tax on the difference between the sale price and the original purchase price.

There hasn't been much formal on "purchase price" of mined coins as far as I know/remember. It's probably safest to treat them as a purchase price of zero, thus if you sell mined coins for $100, then you have a $100 income that you owe tax on. A clever accountant might be able to claim that mining hardware, electricity, etc, is the cost of acquisition, and so offset the sale price in that way, but it probably isn't worth the trouble for Satoshi or anyone else mining in the early days.

As I understand it, if you are doing mining as a business then you treat your mining hardware, electricity costs etc as business costs to be subtracted from your income when figuring your profit. If you buy some BTC at $100 and sell at $150 your profit is $50, as you would expect. Similarly if it costs you $100 to mine bitcoins that you then sell at $150 your profit is also $50.

Yes, you are right.

However he doesn't owe anything as long as he just holds the coins.

Just as you don't owe any taxes on inventory of goods that you have produced from raw materials.

Would you be able to give us the Transaction ID for this? :)

And most of New York wants photos of athletes, musicians and movie stars. :-)

I wonder if his motivation was testing, or to generate some seed business for it?

How many bitcoins did he pay at the time? (no need to be exact to the satoshi if you want to maintain anonymity, i'm just curious)

OP: Your account is interesting, but was it really necessary to confirm the doxxing?

Hello neighbor. I've eaten your crepes. :D

Why does anybody care?

Amazing - that you had the foresight to ask for a picture and he had the foresight to politely decline.

Do you think Satoshi travelled all the way from his home in California to your creperie in Brooklyn just to try out BitCoin in real life?

We need to know the adress he used!

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