Satoshi Search #57: Could Margaret Runchey Be Satoshi Nakamoto?

Journalist:
James Moreau
February 19, 2016

In a recent blog post, a new individual has been brought into the limelight as a possible identity behind the alias behind Bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto. A web developer by the name of Aaron Alan Alexander posted on his Medium blog and Zapchain about his potential findings that a woman named Margaret Runchey is possibly the creator of Bitcoin.

In Alexander’s post he writes about how Runchey authored a distributed systems architecture which relies on digital signatures that use a series of unified constraints including timestamps and geolocational data. This creates a form of multiple mints independent of one another. This system, like Bitcoin’s, requires no central authority and where the transactions are protected from attack by their performance in a similar concept to proof of work. Runchey had patented this invention in 2007, before Nakamoto’s release of Bitcoin in 2008.

While there seems to be some potential here for drawing direct or indirect notions from Runchey to Satoshi, this isn’t the first time an internet sleuth has done so erroneously. Just earlier this month a Polish computer programmer and his former professor were outed as being behind Bitcoin by a blog, only to be refuted almost immediately. Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright was a recent high-profile example of the search for bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor. There was rife speculation pointing to the possibility of him being Satoshi Nakamoto.

Another significant question about Runchey is where is she and what is she doing? A surface level Google search of her name turns up very little except for her parents and virtually nothing in regards to her life on social media. How and why has she stayed under the radar for so long?

What’s unique about this assertion about Runchey is that she is in fact the first woman to be seriously thought of as potentially being Satoshi Nakamoto. How significant it would be in a programming world dominated largely by males to have the creator of such an incredibly influential technology be a woman? We will, of course, need to wait until further investigation and confirmation of these claims is had before anymore meaningful speculation can be made.

Image from Shutterstock.

James Moreau