A new theory on Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity is making waves, suggesting the mysterious Bitcoin creator might be none other than famed science fiction author Neal Stephenson.
Peter Suderman, the features editor at Reason, posits that Stephenson could be Nakamoto due to the detailed descriptions of cryptographic technology found in his writing years before Bitcoin was created.
Stephenson wrote The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer back in 1995, describing a peer-to-peer system that can power confidential communications and move money. According to the novel, the system was so powerful it triggered a new world order and the fall of governments that could no longer track its citizens’ income and collect taxes.
Suderman himself says his theory is an “outlandish possibility,” though he goes on to mention the author’s other fictional works, including Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, and even his new book, Fall, that could suggest an association with Nakamoto.
“Fall is, at least in part, a novel about very, very rich people entering the later stages of their lives and considering their legacies, financial and otherwise. Just as Stephenson’s earlier works made clear that he had spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of currency and what a digital version of it might look like, Fall suggests that the dispensing of great wealth is something that has occupied his thoughts.”
Suderman argues that Stephenson’s work likely impacted the development of Bitcoin and other important technologies, even if he isn’t Nakamoto.
“Whether or not he played any knowing part in the creation of Bitcoin, Stephenson has unarguably shaped the technological culture we live in, from iPads and AI assistants to the private space race and the augmented reality revolution that waits just over the horizon.”