Did this guy create Bitcoin? The creator of the cryptocurrency released the idea under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and has remained elusive ever since. Could he be Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki?

bitcoin guyCredit: Kyoto University

The guy who created the term hypertext in 1963, Ted Nelson, thinks he has cracked the case, saying: 

"I feel a special kinship to him. I do not have his brains or his capabilities...but I know how it feels to be the only person in the world who understands something, both the escatcy and bitterness of it, being all along amongst beatiful stuff, having no one else to share it with and other sneering."

Nelson's justification for his pick is summed up by Quartz

1. Mochizuki is the kind of genius who could create bitcoin. Whoever created Bitcoin has the intellectual might of Isaac Newton, says Nelson. Mochizuki’s work as a mathematician has cracked some of the simplest and toughest problems in his field, attracting global media coverage. “It’s not like I’m accusing him of a crime!” Nelson tells Quartz. “I’m accusing him of greatness.”

2. Mochizuki, like the creator of bitcoin, is fond of dropping brilliant works on the internet and stepping back. Bitcoin was released by a pseudonymous programmer (or programmers) under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, who then disappeared from the internet. Nelson compares this to Mochizuki’s style of delivering his work not through academic journals, but simply by dropping it on the internet and walking away. (Notably, this is one area where Nelson gets his bitcoin history wrong: Satoshi Nakamoto didn’t just drop bitcoin onto the internet and disappear. He, she or they, engaged with the community for some time over chat and email before disappearing.)

3. Mochizuki could easily have written all the correspondence associated with Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite being a Japanese professor at a Japanese university, Mochizuki’s English must be quite good, says Nelson, because he was the salutatorian of his graduating class at Princeton, and he completed his undergraduate education in only three years. (Nelson doesn’t note this, but it’s reasonable to expect that Mochizuki is actually a native English speaker; he moved to the US with his parents when he was only five years old.)

What do you think?