The bitcoin community has launched fundraisers for two individuals involved in bitcoin's creation five years ago – or at least one of them is.
So far, the community has raised $21,000 for Dorian S Nakamoto, a humble Californian retiree who was named as the creator of bitcoin by Lea McGrath Goodman's controversial Newsweek cover story.
Nakamoto insists that he has nothing to do with bitcoin. Rather than living like a millionaire, he appears to lead a very humble life, which prompted some members of the bitcoin community to launch a fundraiser. After all, it seems Nakamoto was hounded for no reason.
Antonopoulos behind the drive
The fundraiser was organised by bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos. More than $21,000 was raised in total and the bitcoins are about to be converted into dollars and handed to Nakamoto. Antonopoulos told Forbes that he is keeping the event low key in order to avoid another storm of publicity. Should Nakamoto refuse to accept the donation, the money will be given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Antonopoulos accepts that it is "increasingly unlikely" that Dorian Nakamoto is the real Satoshi but that it does not matter. If he is the creator of bitcoin, the money will be a "small thanks" but if he is not, then the money is just the bitcoin community's way of apologising for what he and his family have been through in recent weeks.
The Nakamoto family still maintains Dorian had nothing to do with bitcoin and that he is just a retired techie who takes care of his family and spends his spare time building elaborate model trains.
Forbes writer starts fundraiser for Hal Finney
Much has been said of Newsweek's coverage in the Dorian Nakamoto affair and many in the bitcoin community were outraged and openly hostile after more information started trickling out. However, Forbes is not Newsweek.
Following Newsweek's botched scoop, Forbes staff writer Andy Greenberg started looking for the real Satoshi and his search led him to Hal Finney, a bitcoin pioneer who worked with Satoshi Nakamoto in the early days of bitcoin.
Finney needs no introduction, as many cryptocurrency lovers already know who he is and what he contributed to bitcoin development. Many also know that Finney is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a terminal disease that has rendered Finney paralyzed.
The cryptographer pulled out of bitcoin development after he was diagnosed with the condition. Finney's wife Fran is his full-time caregiver. She told Forbes that the family never had a lot of bitcoins stashed away for a rainy day, denying rumours to the contrary. These same rumours prompted an extortion attempt on the family last year.
After Greenberg's article was published last week, it quickly gained a lot of attention and Greenberg launched a fundraiser for Hal and Fran:
— Andy Greenberg (@a_greenberg) March 31, 2014
It's unclear whether Dorian Nakamoto had anything do to with bitcoin (probably not) but we do know that Finney was instrumental in the creation of the protocol and that he happens to be the first person to ever receive a bitcoin transaction.
With all that in mind, he surely deserves a few more in his time of need.