The secretive crypto expert Nick Szabo might be Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Elon Musk.
"He seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind bitcoin than anyone else," Musk said.
Szabo has spoken publicly about the bitcoin's history but has repeatedly denied that he is Nakamoto.
"You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas," Musk told the artificial-intelligence researcher Lex Fridman in a podcast published Tuesday when asked what he thought about Nakamoto's identity.
The Tesla billionaire said while he "obviously" didn't know who created bitcoin, Szabo's theories seemed fundamental to the creation of the leading cryptocurrency.
"It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably, more than anyone else, responsible for the evolution of those ideas," he said. "He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I'm not sure that's neither here nor there. But he seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind bitcoin than anyone else."
Bitcoin was first proposed in October 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for who people believed could be one person or several people.
In 2014, a team of linguistic researchers studied Nakamoto's bitcoin whitepaper alongside the writing of Szabo and 10 other possible creators. They found the results to be indisputable.
"The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo's writing and the bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny," the researchers said, adding: "None of the other possible authors were anywhere near as good of a match."
A 2015 New York Times report also pinned bitcoin's invention on Szabo. He has spoken publicly about the history of bitcoin and blockchain technology, but he's repeatedly denied claims that he's the anonymous inventor behind the digital asset. Another reason he's linked to bitcoin is his creation of the "bit gold" cryptocurrency in 1998.
Musk indicated he didn't think there was much significance behind the identity of bitcoin's creator: "What is a name anyway? It's a name attached to an idea. What does it even mean, really?"
Backing his thought, he quoted William Shakespeare to say: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
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