“You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas,” Musk told artificial-intelligence researcher Lex Fridman in a podcast published Tuesday, when asked what he thinks about Nakamoto’s real identity.
The Tesla billionaire said while he “obviously” doesn’t know exactly who created bitcoin, Szabo’s theories seem fundamental to the creation of the world’s leading cryptocurrency.
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“It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably, more than anyone else, responsible for the evolution of those ideas,” he said. “He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I’m not sure that’s neither here nor there. But he seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind bitcoin than anyone else.”
Bitcoin was first proposed in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for what people believed could be one person, or perhaps several.
In 2014, a team of linguistic researchers studied Nakamoto’s bitcoin whitepaper alongside the writing of Szabo and 10 other potential creators. They found the results to be indisputable.
“The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo’s writing and the bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny,” the researchers said, adding that “none of the other possible authors were anywhere near as good of a match.”
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A 2015 New York Times report also pins bitcoin’s invention on Szabo. He has spoken publicly about the history of bitcoin and blockchain technology, but he’s repeatedly denied claims that he’s the anonymous inventor behind the digital asset. Another reason he’s linked to bitcoin is his creation of the “bit gold” cryptocurrency in 1998.Musk indicated he doesn’t think there’s much significance behind the identity of bitcoin’s creator. “What is a name anyway? It’s a name, attached to an idea. What does it even mean really?”