Thiel believes that that Satoshi may have been one of around 200 people at that initial meeting and probably learned from E-Gold’s failures.
Guessing at where, and most importantly who, is bitcoin’s pseudonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto has become a cottage industry full of myths and rabbit holes (and even a few actual claimants of the crown).
However, perhaps the most viable ‘origin’ story for bitcoin and the identity of Satoshi came from billionaire VC Peter Thiel yesterday as he addressed a conference in Miami.
As Bloomberg reports, the self-described libertarian said Wednesday, recounting an early meeting with the founders of E-Gold Ltd., a now defunct digital currency, that “my sort of theory on Satoshi’s identity was that Satoshi was on that beach in Anguilla.”
“I met them on the beach in Anguilla in February of 2000. We were beginning the revolution against the central banks on the beach in Anguilla. We were going to make PayPal interoperable with E-Gold and blow up all the central banks.”
While E-Gold did not end well – amid allegations of fraud, libel, and a legal settlement – Thiel believes that that Satoshi may have been one of around 200 people at that initial meeting and probably learned from E-Gold’s failures.
“Bitcoin was the answer to E-Gold, and Satoshi learned that you had to be anonymous and you had to not have a company,” Thiel said.
“Even a company, even a corporate form was too governmentally linked.”
Thiel said he hasn’t gone back and tried to figure out exactly who that one person at the beach might have been, and he cautioned against too much speculation, which he said would take the “anti-crypto” side.
“If we knew who it was, the government would arrest him,” Thiel warned.
While we do not have video of his latest appearance, he laid out similar thoughts about the origin of bitcoin (and Satoshi) in 2001…
And even further back, here is Thiel in 1999 discussing digital currencies that cannot be stopped…
Given those two clips, one could be forgiven for believing Thiel may on the right track (or even Satoshi himself…).
Finally, as we pointed out earlier in the day, Thiel joked further with the audience at the Miami conference that he underinvested in Bitcoin as he argued its rise is a rebuke to the world’s financial systems.
“It surely tells us that we are at a complete bankruptcy moment for the central banks,” he said.
And it seems from the above clips, he saw that coming over 20 years ago.