April 26 is Satoshi Disappear Day. It commemorates the day the person or collective known as the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, disappeared from public view after removing their name from the virtual currency project. On this day, Nakamoto declared they had “moved on” to other projects and left Bitcoin to others in the developing community.
The next Satoshi Disappear Day anniversary will be Wednesday, April 26, 2023.
And then Satoshi Nakamoto would basically vanish. Technically speaking there are two days that contend for the observance; some feel “Satoshi Disappear Day” should be observed after Nakamoto left a farewell message on the Bitcoin Talk forum on December 12, 2010–his last public forum message ever.
But Nakamoto wasn’t completely out of the picture just yet. He would finally disappear for good after a series of emails to developers and one final message on April 26, 2011.
That message was the “I’ve moved on” email, and he also sent a Bitcoin crypto key used to provide security updates for the project. And then, Satoshi Nakamoto truly did vanish and has not been heard from since.
Multiple sources report that Bitcoin’s development had its share of frustrations; Nakamoto was reportedly a bit of a dictator within the project and the creator’s availability seemed limited.
It won’t surprise you to learn he was not the public face of Bitcoin (that was Gavin Andersen) but at the same time is quoted saying Nakamoto didn’t want to be perceived as some kind of shadowy, mysterious figure.
Some in the community were reportedly increasingly frustrated with Nakamoto to the point of actually ridiculing them. Meanwhile, Gavin Andersen had announced the Bitcoin Faucet, his first Bitcoin project, as a means to give away a thousand coins.
The project was designed to help newcomers to Bitcoin accumulate the virtual currency quickly without having to mine it.
Satoshi Nakamoto had apparently been planning to do the same thing and before long Andersen and Nakamoto were trading emails. Then Bitcoin was taken out of beta mode, put up for sale, and prices began surging. Bitcoin’s value went up to ten cents per, there were corrections, and back down to five cents as the new Bitcoin Faucet emptied.
This would be the first of many ups and downs for Bitcoin.
No technological innovation comes without someone trying to hack it. Bitcoin was no exception and in August of 2010, there was a code exploit that resulted in over 180 billion Bitcoins simply appearing on the blockchain.
It was the work of someone who took advantage of flaws in the original code, and it was Nakamoto themselves who patched the vulnerabilities. The issue did not kill the virtual currency, but in spite of getting back on track Nakamoto seems to have become less of a collaborator on certain issues associated with Bitcoin.
And that certainly could have gone a long way toward the kind of grumbling reported above from other developers. There were other issues related to a more dictatorial or unilateral approach from Bitcoin’s creator.
He added restrictions on his own such as a maximum block size, and issued code update requirements for things that had not undergone a review first. It was an open source, closed development type situation many longed to change.
The end for Nakamoto would come partly in the form of giving what some in the community seemed to want–a more collaborative project management style. Nakamoto did this by giving the job to someone else and simply stepping away. That’s basically what happened in April, 2011.
Satoshi Nakamoto signed off from the Bitcoin project by removing his name from Bitcoin’s copyright blurb. He also took himself off the project’s official site, Bitcoin.org, and notably added the names of other developers including Gavin Andersen on the contact page for the site.
About seven days later, Andersen went public saying he had Nakamoto’s permission to begin managing the project in a more active way.
On April 26, 2011, Nakamoto sent his final email to the project; he communicated with Gavin Andersen complaining about being perceived as a mysterious entity within the project and also admonishing Andersen to give more credit to his developers. A separate message contained a crypto key for the Bitcoin security alert system.
It’s ironic that a desire not to be a shadowy figure led to Nakamoto becoming exactly that in a much larger sense. The Bitcoin creator has not been heard from since and their whereabouts are unknown. Nakamoto could be sitting on a vast fortune in Bitcoin–some sources estimate he owns one million BTC.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto and where is he today? An obscure joke speculates that Nakamoto and Banksy are the same people. What’s known for sure? Not much except that most sources report Nakamoto’s in-real-life identity is completely unknown.
Investopedia ran an article updated in May 2022 speculating that one of three people might be the founder of Bitcoin. Nick Szabo, an engineer, and law scholar described as an “early cyberpunk” is one. Another is Dorian Nakamoto, an academic and engineer in California.
Dorian Nakamoto stands out as being a person actually named “the creator of Bitcoin”. It happened in a March 2014 article published by Newsweek, but follow-up investigations seem to have ruled out this particular Nakamoto as the creator of Bitcoin. The other likely suspect according to Investopedia is Hal Finney, who was said to be involved in Bitcoin pre-launch.
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.