Although he prefers to keep himself out of the public eye and indeed, is still a mysterious, unknown figure, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics. Professor of Finance at UCLA Bhagwan Chowdry has recently announced his intention to nominate Nakamoto, despite no one knowing the Bitcoin genius’ actual whereabouts, having not been seen or heard from in years.
The award is considered the highest honor in economics, and such an announcement about a nomination is extremely unusual, usually being a secret process.
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Since he invented Bitcoin and its underlying technology in 2009, very little has been heard of its elusive creator Satoshi Nakamoto. He managed to keep his identity secret, and as Botcoin grew and established itself, his contributions to the technology grew less. For several years he has had no input at all, and has not been heard from in years.
However, none of this has stopped Bhagwan Chowdhry, Professor of Finance at UCLA from using his official nomination to put forward Satoshi Nakamoto for the Nobel Prize for Economics. This move is unusual not just because we don’t actually know who Satoshi is, but in that Chowdry has gone public with his nomination. This is a process that is normally carried out in the utmost secrecy, and revealing this is not only unprecedented, it may even be a breach of the Economic Sciences Prize Committee’s rules to do so. The Nobel Prize official website says that “names and other information about the nominees cannot be revealed for 50 years”, which shows how unusual this is.
Of course, the mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto has not harmed Bitcoin’s growth in the slightest, with yearly growth and ever expanding user numbers testament to the endurance and growing popularity of the new technology.
While the debate over the true identity and whereabouts of Satoshi Nakamoto will likely continue on for as long as he remains incognito, many will wonder if there is a purpose to this public nomination, and will it help digital currencies in the long term. It could be an attempt to flush him out of hiding of course, who could really turn down such a prestigious award after all, but this seems unlikely to be successful.
What it does do though is once again highlight the truly groundbreaking effect that Bitcoin’s underlying technology has had on the financial world, offering a genuine, stable alternative to the fiat system that has matured at an impressive pace.
The fact an economist is acknowledging this achievement in terms of the Nobel Prize, will once again grow awareness and increase the legitimacy of digital currency for those that until now have had little, if anything, to do with the industry.