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The strange story of Hal Finney and Dorian Nakamoto, Part 2

The strange story of Hal Finney and Dorian Nakamoto, Part 2


Statistically, one or other Satoshi Nakamotos was always likely to live near a prominent cypherpunk.


In the first part of this article, we looked at the unlikely coincidence that Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto – the man unfairly and inaccurately outed as Bitcoin’s creator by Newsweek – lived just a mile away from Hal Finney, a man who was involved in Bitcoin’s origins.


The theory goes that this can’t be a coincidence. Instead, one assumption is the cypherpunks who created Bitcoin chose Dorian as a kind of mascot, for one reason or another. But maybe there’s another explanation. And maybe it’s as simple as this:


Cypherpunk City

The cypherpunk movement started in California and has kept its roots there. Back in 1992 a group of twenty or thirty mathematicians and computer scientists met to discuss some of the most pressing and concerning developments in the advance of communications technology, including privacy. Timothy C. May, author of the Crypto Anarchist Manifesto, lived in Corralitos, California. Eric Hughes, a mathematician from the University of California, Berkeley was there. So was John Gilmore, a computer scientist and (later) an internet activist. There were, and are, lots of cypherpunks in the Bay Area of California. A population of around 8 million is packed into 7,000 square miles. If the Bay Area was a perfect circle, it would be less than 100 miles across.


The point is, there are lots of cypherpunks within a fairly small area. Now, what are the odds that someone with the same name as Bitcoin’s creator – or not quite the same – lived close to one or other of them?


‘Nakamoto’ isn’t a super common name, like Smith. But it’s not exactly rare, either. According to different directories, there are probably a hundred in California alone, and quite possibly more. One site suggests there are a total of three Satoshi Nakamotos living in the US. Odds on there are more, since these are just the ones recorded in those directories, and in some cases, middle names may have been omitted. 


Here’s how the math stacks up. California has 12% of the US population but a third of the nation’s 15 million Asians. So even if there really were only three Satoshi Nakamotos in the US, statistically there’s more than a 50% chance that at least one of them would live in California. And since one quarter of the Bay Area’s population are Asian, you might reasonably expect to find a Satoshi Nakamoto living there – especially if you looked for Nakamotos with a middle name of Satoshi, too. And if you live in the Bay Area, there’s a very good chance you live near a cypherpunk – within a few miles at most, and probably a lot closer.


Statistically, it’s not particularly unlikely that Dorian Nakamoto lived near a cypherpunk like Hal Finney. But let’s not let that get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

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