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Meet the brains behind Bitcoin

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

If you’re new to the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, you may be wondering who are the most prominent and compelling personalities. Here’s a selection of four names you have to know.

Satoshi Nakamoto

It is undoubtedly the most significant of all our crypto personalities and yet, paradoxically, it is the most unknown. Satoshi Nakamoto, in fact, is a pseudonym behind which the inventor of Bitcoin hid and the question of who he really is is part of the great mysteries of the modern world, of those of the cryptosphere.

What we do know is that Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin White Paper in October 2008, a document of a few pages, and in January 2009, he made the first Bitcoin transaction with Hal Finney (see below), which at the same time generated the first blockchain in the history of mankind.

A few months later, Satoshi simply decided to go off the radar. Who is Satoshi? An American of Japanese origin? A group of computer scientists? A woman? No one knows, even though there are many wild hypotheses and speculations.

Some claim to be Satoshi (Craig Wright). Some are mistaken for Satoshi (Dorian Nakamoto). Some have decided to go hunting for the idea of Satoshi. Some think that Satoshi is dead and that it was actually the late Hal Finney. Everybody goes for his opinion, his supposition.

For the record, it is estimated that Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin portfolio contains about one million Bitcoins. We’ll let you do the math in euros or dollars…

Hal Finney

Harold Thomas Finney, best known as Hal Finney, is a very significant figure in the cryptosphere who played a major role in the development of Bitcoin.

A highly talented computer scientist and cryptographer, Hal Finney began his career as the lead developer of several video games, but he is also known for being one of the first users of the Bitcoin protocol and for having completed the very first Bitcoin transaction with the creator of the famous cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto.

He was thus the first in the world to receive Bitcoin on January 3, 2009. He then continued to develop Bitcoin, including working on a software called bcflick to strengthen Bitcoin portfolios.

Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Charcot’s disease) in August 2009, he nevertheless continued to work and program as much as his physical abilities allowed. He passed away in Phoenix on August 28, 2014. His body was cryopreserved.

The Winklevoss twins

If their face or name rings a bell, it’s perfectly normal. Before becoming prominent figures in the cryptosphere, the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler by name, were associated with Facebook. Indeed, in 2014 they invented ConnectU (formerly HarvardConnection), a university social network that, we will say modestly, largely inspired Mark Zuckerberg in the creation of Facebook. He will be sued by the Winklevoss twins who accused him of stealing their idea.

Today, the two brothers are best known as the co-founders (in 2014) of the Gemini Trust Company, more simply known as Gemini. It is a digital platform for exchanging digital assets and deposit. Through this company, they launched the Gemini Dollar, a stable corner aimed at providing liquidity to merchants wishing to use cryptos.

The twins became the first Bitcoin billionaires. They bought 11 million dollars worth of this cryptocurrency in 2013.