Mysterious inventor of bitcoin nominated for Nobel Prize in Economics

9 Nov 2015

Whoever the inventor of the crypto-currency bitcoin is, they might be missing out on picking up a Nobel Prize. The unknown creator has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Despite its establishment as one of the most powerful currencies not affiliated to a nation state, bitcoin continues to provide more questions than answers when it comes to who exactly founded it, in spite of many attempts made by investigators and online communities to uncover the truth.

While the name attributed to its foundation is Satoshi Nakamoto, who was credited with writing the paper in 2008 which laid out the concept, that name is a pseudonym.

The manhunt reached new heights (or lows) back in March of last year when a Japanese-American man of the same name was tracked down by journalists and hounded for interviews, only for it to be found he had no connection with the crypto-currency.

Now, however, we may get to see the real Nakamoto, with the Nobel Prize committee poised to give him or her an award.

Accepting the award on his/her behalf

Writing in the Huffington Post, finance professor Bhagwan Chowdhry said that he has been asked to nominate someone for the Nobel Prize in Economics and that, should his bitcoin-inventing nominee win, he would accept the award on his or her behalf.

Well, at least that’s what Chowdhry arguably should say, but in his piece he simply refers to Nakamoto as a he.

The invention of bitcoin – a digital currency – is nothing short of revolutionary,” he writes. “Many physical currencies have been used historically – from beads, sea-shells to precious metals such as gold or silver, to even consumables such as cigarettes in times of hyperinflations, to sports cards… [Bitcoin] on the other hand is digital and exists purely as a mathematical object.”

He goes on to say that bitcoin has “spawned exciting innovations in the fintech space by showing how many financial contracts – not just currencies – can be digitised, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another. The implications of this are immense.”

It now remains to be seen what the committee’s reaction will be to an anonymous winner, but there don’t seem to be any rules forbidding it.

Pile of bitcoin keychains image via BTC Keychain/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic