Like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla before him, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk has captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts with his multidisciplinary genius and forward-thinking. The tech entrepreneur and investor effectively revolutionized the electric car for the mass consumer market and made the prospect of commercial space travel a real possibility for the private sector. While his credits and achievements are certainly impressive, the business magnate and inventor is denying any connection with one of the biggest tech achievements of the past ten years despite claims to the contrary by one of his former employees.
The rising price of bitcoin, which recently set a new record by breaking the $10,000 mark this week, has sparked renewed interest in discovering precisely who invented the cryptocurrency. While bitcoin is credited to a “Satoshi Nakamoto,” this Japanese moniker is assumed to be a pseudonym for either a single person or group of individuals, as it has never been concretely attached to a real person. For their part, Nakamoto’s online persona, which has seen little activity since 2010, claimed to be a resident of Japan born on April 5th, 1975. Given the vague nature of the autobiographical information provided, bitcoin enthusiasts have speculated at the true person behind the pseudonym, with guesses ranging from computer scientist Nick Szabo to Australian academic Craig Steven Wright.
However, last week on a post to the website Medium, a former intern of Musk’s theorized that his former boss was the face behind Satoshi Nakamoto. Sahil Gupta, who previously worked as an intern at SpaceX, pointed to several factors that linked Musk to the cryptocurrency. He highlighted Musk’s brilliance and background in both economics and cryptography, two essential characteristics for establishing the world’s foremost cryptocurrency. He further pointed out that the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” functioned as an anagram for a humorously vulgar phrase that matched the inventor’s raucous sense of humor.
Unfortunately it seems that, at least for now, the mysterious persona behind bitcoin will remain just that. Musk responded to the claims by his former intern via Twitter, saying that the rumor was false. He further stated that a friend had sent him some of the currency a few years prior, but he no longer had the code needed to access it. Characteristic of his sense of humor, the inventor later tweeted that, while he’s not the genius behind bitcoin, rumors that he is an alien are, in fact, true.