Elon Musk is many things. A billionaire, a visionary, the owner of companies such as Tesla and SpaceX and overall one of the most inspiring and intriguing figures we have in business today. With this appeal comes a never-ending supply of rumors and fake news, from quitting Tesla to join a bitcoin startup, to being called national disgrace and thief.
Given the meteoric rise of mainstream cryptocurrency popularity, it should be no surprise that the elusive hunt for Satoshi, often referred to as the father of Bitcoin, has led to the theory that Elon Musk has been hiding a big secret from all of us. Sahil Gupta, a computer science student at Yale University and former intern at SpaceX, believes just this.
Gupta, who interned at SpaceX in 2015, provided a few “oddball” ideas on why Musk is the probable founder of Bitcoin:
1. Technical capabilities: Bitcoin was written by someone with mastery of C++, a language Musk has utilized heavily at SpaceX. Musk’s 2013 Hyperloop paper also provided insight into his deep understanding of cryptography and economics.
2. Passion for solving global problems: Bitcoin was founded in 2008, the year of the global financial crisis and widespread distaste of banking in general. If there was a time to create a currency for the people, without bank intervention, this was it.
3. Relative silence on the issue: Musk has only been quoted speaking about Bitcoin a handful of times. He has publicly stated that he does not personally own any Bitcoin and even published this sneaky tweet when asked about cryptocurrencies:
4. Musk doesn’t need the money: Satoshi’s stash of unused Bitcoin was estimated at $700 million back in June 2016 when the price of one Bitcoin was $719. Going by today’s price, Satoshi’s Bitcoins are worth over $8 billion – less than half of Musk’s current estimated net worth of $19.7 billion.
One week before Gupta’s Medium post on Musk, another Medium blog was published with a theory that Musk invented Bitcoin for future use on Mars. As radical as this may sounds, the point around Paypal in this article was relevant. Musk has already revolutionized digital currency his founding role in Paypal, which he sold to eBay in 2002. The author claims Musk is under a non-compete from this deal, leaving him to secrecy about his role in Bitcoin.
Arguments for and against this theory create a compelling topic nonetheless. Whether or not Musk created Bitcoin is yet to be seen, but it is technically possible. As Gupta puts it, even if Musk is not Satoshi, “thanks for the Tesla Roadster”.