On November 22, 2017, a Medium post on the website Hackernoon caught the attention of the entire cryptocurrency market with claims that Elon Musk was the original creator of Bitcoin.
Spreading Rumors in the Cryptospace
The article quickly spread throughout social media, with the possibility of Elon Musk’s involvement picked up and debated soon after. An independent writer, Sahil Gupta, wrote the original article using the Medium platform.
Gupta’s article argued that Elon Musk’s experience with cryptography, economics, and programming made him fit the bill almost perfectly. He went on to say that since Musk is a self-taught mathematician with several scientific breakthroughs to his name, he could also be the founder of bitcoin.
The Medium post continues to make several other correlations between Elon Musk’s mannerisms and what little we know about Satoshi Nakamoto by, for instance, comparing their styles of writing. The article even went as far as drawing parallels between the lives of Benjamin Franklin and Elon Musk and described the similarities between their philosophies at length.
Shortly after, the founder of Tesla took to Twitter and publicly denied these claims on November 28, 2017, in an almost direct response to growing media coverage on the subject. He also stated that he had no investment in the cryptocurrency market, professing that he has since lost whatever bitcoin his friend had sent him a few years ago.
Not true. A friend sent me part of a BTC a few years, but I don’t know where it is.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2017
News of Musk’s possible involvement in shaping the foundation of Bitcoin comes at a time of great success for the cryptocurrency. In the same week as Musk’s tweet denouncing his involvement, bitcoin reached yet another all time high of $11,000.
According to CoinMarketCap, at that price, the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization is valued at around $170 billion. That figure puts bitcoin in the top 5% of the S&P 500 Index members, narrowly beating out multinational behemoths such as Pepsico and Boeing.
The white paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” accompanied the release of Bitcoin in 2008, with Satoshi Nakamoto listed as its author. Nobody has been able to pinpoint Nakamoto’s true identity or nationality since. Wild speculation about Satoshi’s identity has been doled out over the years, including the most recent connection to Musk. The reason for going with a pseudonym is yet another unsolved mystery.
Towards the end of the Medium post, Sahil Gupta states that Bitcoin is in dire need of Elon Musk’s guidance. In this aspect, he isn’t far from the truth. The cryptocurrency has definitely been struggling in the past few months, especially with the onslaught of hard forks and growing transaction fees. However, Bitcoin has survived worse adversities in the past and will probably continue to thrive.
Regardless of what the future of Bitcoin may be though, at least one thing is apparent. Elon Musk might have the tenacity to put humans on Mars and launch an electric car revolution with Tesla, but he certainly isn’t the Benjamin Franklin of our generation. That is, at least as far as Bitcoin is concerned.