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It is not surprising that people assume Satoshi used ToR when scouring the internets however if my understanding is correct in order for someone to run a full node they need to provide their IP address so that other peers can connect with them. How did Satoshi manage to run the first full node without disclosing their IP address? Did they setup an anonymous offshore server via anonoymousspeech like they did with reserving the bitcoin.org address?

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  • That I know of, only Nick Szabo, Hal Finney and a couple other folks interacted directly (online) with Satoshi during these early days in 2008/2009. Assuming Szabo and Finney aren't Satoshi, and that Satoshi didn't trust them, then he probably went through some proxy or VPN to interact with them. This is all speculation though, nobody knows except these guys who were there 10 years ago but they're not talking. Oct 23, 2019 at 2:25
  • According to the book Digital Gold, when Hal Finney first connected to the network (Jan 10, 2009), there were two other nodes running with both IPs pointing to some place in California (probably belonging to Satoshi). This is the exposed IP you might be asking, but there is a very high likelihood that Satoshi used a VPN service to mask the real IP addresses.
    – Ugam Kamat
    Oct 23, 2019 at 6:16
  • Pointing to a VPN service that would then redirect the traffic to his real IP would again leave a trail no?
    – PentaKon
    Oct 23, 2019 at 9:13

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It's possible, perhaps even probable, that Satoshi did actually reveal their node's IP address.

The day after Satoshi published the first version of the Bitcoin client, Hal Finney sent a public email to Satoshi describing an issue that he ran into while running the client. Importantly, this email contained Hal's debug.log file which contained the full response that Hal's node received from the IRC server seeder that was in use at that time. This response contains the IP address of nodes that could be connected to.

From that debug.log, we can see that there were only 2 nodes that were announced by the IRC server. One of these nodes is Hal's as the log states. That IP was also known to belong to Hal. Given the timing, it's safe to assume that the other IP is of Satoshi's node.

Of course, it's possible that this IP is that of a VPN or a hosted server. However, looking up the information for this IP reveals that it is allocated to a Covad which is a regional broadband ISP. This suggests that the node was not hosted in a data center or using a VPN as they would likely have an ISP known to have data centers or provide bandwidth to data centers.

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  • Then can't Covad trace back who this IP address was registered to? Although if I was Satoshi I would probably have stolen one of my neighbors' IPs by hacking a low security (WEP) router or maybe use a public place IP.
    – PentaKon
    Oct 31, 2023 at 13:18

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