Skip to main content

Satoshi Nakamoto, mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, nominated for Nobel Prize

Satoshi Nakamoto, who created BitCoin, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics. Just one problem — no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is!

Bitcoin, once seen as a novelty, is increasingly garnering mainstream attention, and even acclaim. A recent The Economist cover story said that blockchains, the technology that makes Bitcoin possible, could change the world. And now Bhagwan Chowdhry, Professor of Finance at UCLA Anderson School, is nominating Nakamoto for the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences – whoever Nakamoto may be.

Related Videos

“I am completely serious in suggesting Satoshi Nakamoto for the Prize,” Chowdhry wrote in a blog post for the Huffington Post. “The invention of bitcoin – a digital currency – is nothing short of revolutionary.”

Chowdhry went on to explain how the currency is “secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code” while also “bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, or commercial banks, eliminating time delays and transactions costs.”

There are all sorts of implications here, of course, and world governments are starting to take notice in a big way. But as impressive as Bitcoin itself is, blockchains — the peer-to-peer technology used by Bitcoin to confirm transactions without need for a central server — might be the most revolutionary part of Nakamoto’s work.

“Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Protocol has spawned exciting innovations in the FinTech space by showing how many financial contracts – not just currencies – can be digitized, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another,” wrote Chowdhry.

It’s not a terrible argument, though it’s hard to say if mainstream economists will agree. But there’s possibly an even more interesting is the question of whether Nakamoto might reveal him, her, or themselves to accept the prize.

Little is known about Nakamoto. No records of any entity of that name exist before 2009, when a paper explaining how Bitcoin could work, and the code for BitCoin itself, was published by someone using the name. To this day it’s not clear if Nakamoto is an individual or a collaboration – some theorize it’s an anonymous individual, others think it could be a network of people, or even financial institutions. Various news organizations have tried to find Nakamoto over the years, but none have succeeded.

Whoever Nakamoto is, the $1 million cash prize Nobel winners receive might not be enough to lure him/her/them out from hiding. The public Bitcoin transaction logs show his/her/their Bitcoin wallet contains around US$250 million worth of the currency. More than enough money to live in comfort anonymously, we think, with or without the Nobel prize money.

Editors' Recommendations

Microsoft’s Bing Chat waitlist is gone — how to sign up now
Microsoft Edge browser showing Bing Chat on an iPhone.

It appears Microsoft is doing away with the long Bing Chat waitlist. As originally reported by Windows Central, new users who sign up for the waitlist are immediately given access to the AI chatbot, without having to wait, and Digital Trends has confirmed this to be the case.

Microsoft hasn't officially killed the waitlist, but it should go away in short order. On Tuesday, Microsoft bolstered OpenAI's launch of the GPT-4 model by confirming that it was the model behind Bing Chat. Microsoft is also set to host an AI-focused event on Thursday, where we expect to hear about AI integrations in Microsoft's Office apps like Word and PowerPoint. It's possible Microsoft could remove the waitlist during the presentation.

Read more
Tiny data center makes for a comfortable swim
Andrew Garfield floats in a swimming pool in tick, tick...BOOM!

A data center about the size of a washing machine is being used to heat a public swimming pool in England.

Data centers’ servers generate heat as they operate, and interest is growing in finding ways to harness it to cut energy costs and offset carbon emissions.

Read more
These are the new AI features coming to Gmail, Google Docs, and Sheets
Google has announced a host of new writing focused AI features for its Workspace suite.

Google Workspace is getting a generative AI boost at the same time that many other productivity suites are adding new features that allow users to simplify clerical tasks with just a prompt.

Following up on the visual redesign to Google Docs and the announcement of Google Bard, these new AI features are the company's latest attempt to bring more buzzy goodness to its most popular applications.

Read more