13

Should Satoshi decide to reveal his or her true identity, how can one know the person is the real creator of Bitcoin, rather than a person who hacked the forum login, email address or the like? In other words, what methods of authentication did Satoshi use that could clearly identify him or her?

1
  • While this is not strictly a Bitcoin question, it does lead to discussion of techniques that are related to Bitcoin in terms of proof of identity.
    – Gary
    Apr 14, 2012 at 15:25

3 Answers 3

23

He has a PGP public key which he can use to sign things.

3
  • 1
    Let's hope he didn't lose his hard drive on some electricity hiccup or something, then. Apr 13, 2012 at 18:22
  • @AviadBenDov I'm sure he had it backed up.
    – BinaryMage
    Apr 14, 2012 at 0:04
  • 11
    If anyone understands that data doesn't exist unless it's in more than one place, it's Satoshi Nakamoto.
    – Gary
    Apr 14, 2012 at 15:23
9

He can prove that he has the private key matching the address used in the genesis block.

2
  • Isn't that used to sign the Alert messages by the current developers?
    – ThePiachu
    Apr 15, 2012 at 12:22
  • 2
    @ThePiachu No. That's a different key.
    – theymos
    Apr 15, 2012 at 15:35
1

The way it works is by the public/private key cryptography

Satoshi has shared his public key used to verify signatures here: https://bitcointalk.org/Satoshi_Nakamoto.asc

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)
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=3FTe
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

Keys are created with

gpg --gen-key
gpg --list-keys

name.asc is the file file format for public key export you can get it like this

gpg --export --armor yourname > publickey.asc

He can then encrypt some file with

gpg --output document.sig --sign document.pdf

And all of us can check with his public key

gpg --import Satoshi_Nakamoto.asc
gpg --output document.pdf --decrypt document.sig

But only the he can encrypt files

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