Saturday, May 25, 2013

Satoshi Nakamoto is Anonymous (or maybe Matz)

Recently came across this great article describing the search for Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous originator of the Bitcoin Network. A number of people are fingered: Gavin Andresen [Here's a great interview of Gavin with Leo Laporte]; some researchers in Trinity College Dublin; the founder of Mt. Gox; and Shinichi Mochizuki, a reclusive mathematical genius.

The argument for Mochizuki has the most plausibility but the evidence is largely circumstantial. Here is an entertaining video of Ted Nelson making the case:

I'm not convinced though. One could make a similar argument that Nakamoto is really Yukihiro Matsumoto, the creator of the Ruby programming language. He is also a Japanese academic with ties to the West and no formal training in economics. Sure, Bitcoin wasn't written in Ruby but that was to cover his tracks. Right?

Joking aside, the best conclusion is that Nakamoto is another manifestation of Anonymous. This group represents the recent phenomenon of masked, technically elite vigilantes out to challenge the corrupt bureaucracy that runs our world.

It would be nice to know who Satoshi Nakamoto really is but the best answer is that he is Anonymous and should remain that way.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turing's Cathedral

Really it should be called Von Neumann's Cathedral, especially as Turing himself only makes a small appearance. Recommend it for the history of computer science and as a near biography of Von Neumann. Dyson has the occasional unfortunate foray into speculation about the singularity which is mostly fine but occasionally overblown. Overall, a good history of the early days of computers in post-war America. 

For a nice summary of the book (uncredited), check out the summary for this Dyson talk at the LongNow.