What is Nick Szabo?
Nick Szabo is a well-known cryptographer that some have theorized might be involved in the creation of Bitcoin.
American-born and of Hungarian descent, Nick Szabo boasts an impressive background in both computer science and legal studies, having graduated from the University of Washington in computer science and later receiving a Juris Doctor Degree from George Washington University Law School. Later Szabo would move to make inroads into cryptography, creating the framework for smart contracts and inventing Bitcoin’s predecessor, Bit Gold.
Bit Gold and smart contracts are both integral to the creation of Bitcoin and modern cryptocurrency as we understand it.
Bit Gold is considered to be the first attempt at the creation of decentralized cryptocurrency.
By solving a mining puzzle that could be authenticated through a rudimentary Proof-of-Work system, a user would theoretically receive a non-fungible amount of the asset called Bit Gold which could be traded and sold with other users. Other puzzles could be later solved and linked to previous puzzles in an increasing ‘chain’ of cryptographic puzzles.
The similarities to Bitcoin are striking. While Szabo first wrote about Bit Gold in 1998, he posted on his blog in 2008 that he was about to launch a live version of Bit Gold. Months later, Bitcoin was launched by Satoshi Nakomoto.
Nick Szabo is also widely credited with the creation of the Smart Contract. Smart contracts are decentralized, self-executing contracts that allow for users to create conditional agreements amongst themselves without the need for a centralized authority.
Smart Contracts have become a large part of the ‘connecting tissue’ of the Etherum network, allowing for the highly complex interactions of the network to operate smoothly. Szabo has described smart contracts as a ‘’highly evolved’’ form of contract.
Is Nick Szabo Satoshi Nakomoto?
Due to Nick Szabo’s hugely important role as a progenitor of much of the technology associated with cryptocurrency, many have speculated that Szabo may be the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. While Szabo denies the accusation, the evidence is still compelling.
Beyond his obvious technical abilities, some have found similarities between Nakamoto’s and Szabo’s writing styles. Jack Grieve of Aston Unversity found what he considered to be a ‘’uncanny’’ level of similarity between their syntax. Adding to this interesting theory, it has also been found that both Satoshi and Szabo reached out to the same experts when creating their white papers for their respective projects.
Of course, the main piece of evidence is the major similarities between Bitcoin and Bit Gold, and the fact that after a 10-year hiatus, Szabo said he would finally launch a live version of Bit Gold — only for Bitcoin to appear months later.
However interesting the overlaps between Nakamoto and Szabo are, they remain circumstantial. The true identity of the creator or creators of Bitcoin is still unknown.