How Can Satoshi Nakamoto Have a Birthday? The Significance of April 5

You might hear that April 5, 1975 is the birthday of bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator. We explain the leading theory about why that date matters.

AccessTimeIconApr 4, 2022 at 9:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 5, 2024 at 4:26 p.m. UTC

The creator of Bitcoin (BTC), Satoshi Nakamoto, has always remained anonymous, and so you may rightfully wonder how people can celebrate the founder's birthday. The answer is that Nakamoto entered their birthday as April 5 at the time he, she or they registered the famous pseudonym with The P2P Foundation was one of the internet forums where Satoshi first announced the invention of Bitcoin.

Given that the name was fake, people suspect the birthday is made up, too. But they have also noticed that April 5 is a very significant date in U.S. monetary history: It is the anniversary of Executive Order 6102 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. The order outlawed the private ownership or "hoarding" of gold coin, bullion and certificates. People were allowed small amounts valued under $100 at the time, for use in industrial trades, or a few other exceptions.

The order required Americans to hand over any significant amount of gold to the Federal Reserve in exchange for dollars. FDR then devalued those dollars to make it easier to repay the huge debt that had built up during the Great Depression.

While that may have helped the country to escape a difficult situation, some have seen Executive Order 6102 as a challenge to the liberty of individuals to preserve their wealth in the form of gold.

We can’t know for sure that Satoshi picked April 5 as their birthday for that reason, but we do know that Bitcoin’s creator was interested in monetary history and concerned about the power of individuals to preserve their wealth and keep it safe from state intervention. It remains a core motivator of Bitcoin’s supporters to this day. Bitcoin’s value proposition is often called "digital gold."

In another likely allusion to the history of U.S. private gold ownership, Satoshi listed their birth year as 1975. On the final day of 1974, President Gerald Ford's reversal of Executive Order 6102 went into effect, making it legal to own as much gold as you wanted as the revelers rang in the new year of 1975.

Or maybe Satoshi really was born on April 5, 1975.

Edited by Toby Leah Bochan.

This article was originally published on Apr 4, 2022 at 9:21 p.m. UTC


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Benedict George is a freelance writer for CoinDesk. He has worked as a reporter on European oil markets since 2019 at Argus Media and his work has appeared in BreakerMag, MoneyWeek and The Sunday Times. He does not hold any cryptocurrency.

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