News Jun 5th 2015

Speculations over Bitcoin Creation Rise Again: Was John Nash Satoshi Nakamoto?

On May 23, 2015 the world was caught by surprise: the brilliant mathematician from Princeton University, John Forbes Nash Jr. was killed in a crash together with his wife, Alicia Nash. The police reported that the taxi driver, identified as Tarek Girgis, lost control and crashed into a guardrail while attempting to pass a Chrysler in the center lane.

“It doesn't appear that they were wearing seatbelts,” – said Gregory Williams, State Police Sergeant. The taxi driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. According to a spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's office, this case will not result with any charges.

On 19 May, Nash received the 2015 Abel Prize by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters at a ceremony in Oslo. This prize was awarded to John Nash, Jr. and Louis Nirenberg for “striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.” The Princeton University community is “stunned and saddened” by the traffic accident.

John Nash

John Nash – the Beautiful Mind Took Mathematics Beyond Its Limits

Although the mathematician was mostly known for being the subject of “A Beautiful Mind”, a 2001 Oscar-winning film featuring Russell Crowe, his greatest legacy is not related to the Hollywood industry. In 1994, he shared the Nobel Prize in Economics for his worn on game theory, which has an impact on situations people encounter every day.

The sudden death of this 20th century icon renewed the speculations about the possible influence he had over the emergence of Bitcoin – an online payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity remains unknown. Some suggest that Nakamoto is a pseudonym that represents a group of people. Laszlo Hanyecz, a former Bitcoin code developer, stated that a single person could hardly design such a code.

The identity of Nakamoto has been subject to many articles. Some of the most notable speculations include Neal King, Charles Bry, Vladimir Oksman, Shinichi Mochizuki, Gavin Andresen, Jed McCaleb, and John Nash.

Are the Speculations Real? Did John Nash Create Bitcoin?

The reason for John Nash being suggested as the creator (or one of the creators) of the Bitcoin protocol is his work on the role of money in society. The rumors, which were sparked last year on Bitcoin Forum, are founded upon Nash's theoretical notion of ideal money, which offers a solution to the conflict of economic interests between long-term international and short-term domestic objectives. “Good money is money that is expected to maintain its value over time. Bad money is expected to lose value over time, as under conditions of inflation” – he argued.

According to this theory, the emphasis on stabilizing the currency value should be extended to international level. Nash proposed a policy for fixed international exchange rates, which would curtail the power of central banks to create monetary policies. The idea for “industrial consumption price index” can be linked to Bitcoin. One argument by a Bitcoin user is linked to the period of Nash's life when he returned to academic work after being treated for paranoid schizophrenia: “he got over his schizophrenia in the mid 1970's by diving into computers, game theory and devising a perfect decentralized currency called ‘Ideal Money.'”

After a speech at the Oxford Union debating society, Nash got a direct question about Bitcoin. The mathematician acknowledged the power behind this online payment system, but didn't offer a straightforward answer.

The Nobel Prize winner's distinguished career and personal life will remain remembered by future generations. Nevertheless, we might never find out whether or not he was part of Bitcoin creation.

Read all news