This is more of a historical question about bitcoin than a technical question. Hope that's okay...

Does anyone happen to know why the public key numbered:

pub  1024D/5EC948A1 2008-10-30            

Available, for example, at pgp.mit.edu has the uid:

uid BuZz Spacedout   <[email protected]>

containing the string "BuZz Spacedout"?

I've been told that this is Satoshi's public key and I was just wondering about the origin of the name "BuZz Spacedout". Is that another pseudonym that Satoshi commonly used besides Satoshi? Anyone know why he/she/they didn't choose "Satoshi Nakamoto" rather than "BuZz Spacedout"?


2 Answers 2


This is what I see for a search on pgp.mit.eud, which points to this key:


That is a surprising result. If we download the key purported to be Nakamoto's from Bitcoin.org, we get the following fingerprint:

pub   1024D/5EC948A1 2008-10-30
      Key fingerprint = DE4E FCA3 E1AB 9E41 CE96  CECB 18C0 9E86 5EC9 48A1
uid                  Satoshi Nakamoto <[email protected]>
sub   2048g/D6AAA69F 2008-10-30

Downloading the key from pgp.mit.edu seems to provide a key with the same fingerprint (notice it says that the key is updated, not new:

$ gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 5ec948a1
gpg: requesting key 5EC948A1 from hkp server pgp.mit.edu
gpg: key 5EC948A1: "Satoshi Nakamoto <[email protected]>" not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:         new signatures: 36

However, when I list the updated key, it hasn't changed (as the previous message indicated, there are only new signatures):

$ gpg -k satoshi
pub   1024D/5EC948A1 2008-10-30
uid                  Satoshi Nakamoto <[email protected]>
sub   2048g/D6AAA69F 2008-10-30

I've tried adding other options like -vv for verbose and --list-options=show-unusable-uids for possibly retired user identities but I've been unable to find the "BuZz Spacedout" identity. I also tried running the ASCII-armored text through a base64 decoder, but that didn't give me usable results.

I don't know enough about GPG to investigate the actual key contents further. What I suspect happened is:

  1. Someone used a tool to brute-force enough of Nakamoto's key id that the MIT keyserver got confused.

  2. The MIT keyserver was confused in another way.

Happily, local GPG (which is what's important) doesn't seem to be confused at all, so we can be pretty sure it's not the case that Nakamoto has the total lame stoner name of BuZz SpacedOut.


PGP keys can be backdated and they may contain arbitrary user IDs. If there is no evidence that this is indeed a key that has been used by Satoshi Nakamoto, and if there's no trustworthy signature, you can't reasonably assume that it's genuine.

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