The true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto — the pseudonymous creator of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency Bitcoin — has been a mystery for more than 13 years, but he or she could be unmasked in the coming days due to a lawsuit being heard in federal court in Miami.
In the lawsuit, the family of David Kleiman, who died in April 2013, claim that the late computer scientist collaborated with his Australian business partner Craig Wright to create the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and found Bitcoin.
Mr Wright reportedly asked Kleiman to help him author a nine-page white paper on the digital currency and launch it in 2008, the family say.
The family also say Mr Wright kept Kleiman's share of about half a million Bitcoins.
Described by industry experts as an extraordinary mathematician and programmer, Mr Wright has claimed to be Bitcoin’s creator since 2016. But this claim has been dismissed by most of the stakeholders in the Bitcoin community.
“We believe the evidence will show there was a partnership to create and mine over one million Bitcoins,” Vel Freedman, a lawyer working on behalf of Kleiman’s family, told The Wall Street Journal.
However, Mr Wright’s lawyer Andres Rivero said there is no connection between his client and Kleinman.
“We believe the court will find there's nothing to indicate or record that they were in a partnership,” the journal quoted Mr Rivero as saying.
Satoshi Nakamoto's 2008 white paper was a revolutionary piece that turned the financial world upside down, and the associated invention of the database underpinning Bitcoin and blockchain would become a part of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In December 2010, however, Satoshi Nakamoto suddenly stopped posting on a Bitcoin forum, seemingly dropping off the face of the earth. There has been speculation over his or her identity ever since.
The Bitcoin creator's posts have been forensically analysed for information, but with little success.
Industry analysts said that the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto can be determined through a private key that controls the account that holds one million Bitcoins. Anyone claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto can prove the claim by moving coins out of that account.
It is not surprising that the privacy-conscious cryptographer who created Bitcoin would want to preserve the mystery of his or her identity. If revealed, governments could hold him or her liable for crimes committed using the currency, experts said.
Moreover, as its inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto is estimated to own about one million Bitcoin ($64bn), on which taxes could be claimed.
Last week, Bitcoin surged past $68,000 for the first time to a new high, part of a wider recent rally in the cryptocurrency sector.