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He is one of the most well-known and respected names in the cryptocurrency world. That is why today we are going to discover who Nick Szabo is and how he contributed to the birth of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Nick Szabo is a rather mysterious figure and very little is currently known about him.
We know that he is an American engineer, of Hungarian origin, who studied Computer Science at the University of Washington, where he graduated in 1989 when he already showed a great interest in everything related to privacy and cryptography. We know almost nothing about his childhood and paternity, and Nick Szabo currently holds an honorary professorship at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
In an interview Szabo revealed that his father fought in the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union in the late 1950s.
Therefore, he grew up with a deep understanding of how governments and other centralized authorities can abuse the power they have.
This was one of the reasons he became interested in cryptocurrency technology.
Szabo is known for his contributions to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. His passion for research has led him to publish a lot of research material he developed in the field of smart contracts, blockchain and bitcoin. One of his most famous contributions is the article on Bit Gold and his conception of smart contracts.
In 1998, Szabo designed a mechanism for a decentralized digital currency that he called “Bit Gold”.
Bit Gold, which was seen as the “direct precursor to the Bitcoin architecture” and upon which Satoshi Nakamoto developed his work, was never implemented.
In the Bit Gold structure, a participant uses computer power to solve cryptographic puzzles. The solved puzzles are sent to the public registry and assigned to the solver’s public key.
Each solution would become part of the next challenge, creating a growing chain of new properties. This aspect of the system, where transaction verification was based on the consensus of the parties, provided a way to guarantee the functioning of the network, as is the case with the Bitcoin network.
The phrase and concept of “smart contracts” was developed by Szabo who first wrote about smart contracts in 1996 and defined them as “A computerized transactional protocol that executes the terms of a contract. Today, they are a very important feature in the world of cryptocurrencies and programming.
Although he repeatedly denied it, according to some research there is a strong possibility that Nick Szabo is the creator of bitcoin, i.e. the one hiding behind the mysterious identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.
We know that one of the great mysteries of the crypto ecosystem is Satoshi’s true identity but, many analysts believe that Nick Szabo is the most suitable candidate who could hide behind the identity of Bitcoin’s creator for the following reasons:
As I told you, Szabo created an important predecessor of bitcoin, called “Bit Gold”. It is the first example of a digital currency that laid the foundation for the Bitcoin architecture.
According to evidence from some sources, and specifically those on the Gizmodo blog, Szabo and Satoshi contacted the same group of people for advice on their respective cryptocurrency proj
Szabo also changed the date of a blog post, asking for advice on how to launch Bit Gold, to make it appear as if it was written after Satoshi published his first article on bitcoin in 2008.
In this publication Szabo explains that the essence of Bit Gold is based on the idea that “a group of miners set up their computers to solve computationally intensive mathematical puzzles, and then publish the solutions to these puzzles in secure public records”.
In fact, the text was originally published on April 9, 2008, several months before the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper published by Nakamoto. Suddenly, another date appeared (December 27).
How did it come to be known? Well, because the original date was not edited in the url of the entry, which is still dated April.
According to the same Gizmodo report, Satoshi and Szabo have a very similar writing style. If we compare Szabo’s blog and Satoshi’s first document on bitcoin, it is easy to find many similarities, so much so that research was conducted at Aston University in Birmingham to determine possible candidates for Satoshi’s true identity.
The investigation ended with a report concluding that Szabo’s handwriting contains “striking parallels” to Satoshi’s, including similar handwriting gestures and phrases.
On June 9, 2017, author Juice on his Medium blog highlighted other similarities between Szabo and Satoshi. According to Juice they both give almost identical arguments for why bitcoin should have value. Simple coincidence or not…?
Despite all the investigations into the Nakamoto case, to date, we still do not know who the real creator of Bitcoin is.
Whether Nick is satoshi or not, what matters is the great contribution this scientist has made to the crypto community. The fact that he is a private person and ‘works behind the scenes’ makes him an even more illustrious figure in the crypto ecosystem.