Nick Szabo, the author of bitgold, the most complete conceptualization of a decentralized currency prior to bitcoin, the person who coined the term smart contracts in 1993, and believed by many to be Satoshi himself, published a one-line blog post today which simply contained a link to his Twitter account.
The last known public communication from Nick Szabo was in November 2013, almost seven months ago, leaving many to wonder whether he would ever post again. The seven months silence seems to have followed increasing attention on Nick Szabo after numerous suggestions that he might be Satoshi. In April 2014, researches from Aston University’s Centre for Forensic Linguistics claimed that forensic analysis of Bitcoin’s White Paper suggests that Nick Szabo was the author of the paper.
Nick however has categorically denied that he is Satoshi and many argue that it is highly unlikely that he is the author of the white paper. Nick seems to have been focused on bitgold, writing a blog post about bitgold two months after Satoshi announced bitcoin. Furthermore, there are unconfirmed reports that he attended Princeton Bitcoin conference with Gavin Andresen in March 2014 as well as an unconfirmed job post stating that Nick was working with Vaurum on smart contracts. Neither Vaurum, nor Nick, have yet replied to requests for comments.
Little is currently known about Nick Szabo. There are no known pictures of him, no verifiable details of his age, location, profession or education. Previously, in a Wikipedia article, it was claimed that he was a law professor at George Washington University, but reporters claim that after contacting the University they found no record of a person named Nick Szabo ever being a professor at that university, although there was one record of a person having studied at that university under that name. The name therefore might be a pseudonym, a pen name.
Nick Szabo Highlights the Dangers of Centralized Currencies
Nick’s latest tweet is a retweet of a statement by Proton Mail complaining that their PayPal account had been frozen, blocking access to $275,000 of funds. In a statement in their blog Proton Mail details what happened:
“When we pressed the PayPal representative on the phone for further details, he questioned whether ProtonMail is legal and if we have government approval to encrypt emails.”
— lilia (@liliakai) July 1, 2014
This highlights the problem with centralized currencies and intermediaries as emphasized by both Nick Szabo in his blog post and Satoshi in his announcement on bitcointalk. We need to trust that our accounts will not be blocked, our funds will not be tampered, our government will not arbitrarily take funds, or that our banks will not bankrupt our country as they did in Greece and Cyprus. With bitcoin, we need no such trust. There is no authority that can block our private keys from interacting with our public keys, so accessing our wealth and using it in whatever way we alone see fit.