New revelations as Satoshi’s unpublished emails to Hal Finney surfaces

The emails made something very clear; the collaboration between Satoshi and Finney was deeper than what we thought earlier.

By · Nov 28, 2020 . 11min read

Satoshi's unpublished emails to Hal Finney latest news

In a recent publication by CoinDesk, Michael Kapilov, an adjunct professor at Pace University, New York carefully scrutinizes the timestamps in three Satoshi’s emails to Hal Finney which were however unpublished by the latter in his correspondence with the media before his death in 2014.

Micheal Kapilov through providing screenshots, walked readers through the emails and how they fanned the members of curiosity. The timestamps appeared to have brought more revelations to light as to who Satoshi Nakamoto truly was.

As a way to lend credence to his findings, Kapilov drew his data from Nathaniel Popper. The latter is a New York Times reporter. CoinDesk’s editorial team corroborated Popper’s position that indeed they were Hal Finney’s authentic email correspondence with Satoshi. Fran Finney, Hal’s widow, had shared them with Popper back then.

Satoshi Nakamoto even before sharing the infamous email with the Cryptography Mailing list had been working for about a year and a half on the Bitcoin project.

Screenshots of unpublished emails between Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney

The first email from November 19, 2008, Finney thanks Satoshi for some corrections. He then went further to ask about the aspired-to size of the Bitcoin network. His questions bothered scalability and performance, which has become a hot issue today. James A. Donald and Ray Dillinger were among the Cryptography Mailing list alongside Hal Finney Satoshi mailed.

New revelations as Satoshi's unpublished  emails to Hal Finney surfaces
Emai #1

The second email and how it unravels the timestamped revelation to light stems from a 2018 Dillinger interview. In that discussion, Dillinger hinted that the correspondence that started as a public mailing list moved to private emails. In his words,

“It was when we started talking about floating-point types in accounting code that I learned Hal was involved in the effort. Hal was reviewing the transaction scripting language, and both the code he had and the code I had interacted with the accounting code.”

The second email was from Satoshi to Hal Finney on January 8, 2009. This was a few days after the famous January 3, 2009, of the Bitcoin network going live. Apparently, Satoshi notified Finney about the release of version 0.1 of the Bitcoin software.

New revelations as Satoshi's unpublished  emails to Hal Finney surfaces
Email #2

The next email screenshot shows where Finney replied Satoshi. In the correspondence, he was letting him know that he would try to look at the code over the weekend. Meanwhile, backdating that email, January 8 was on a Thursday.

New revelations as Satoshi's unpublished  emails to Hal Finney surfaces
Email #3

The curious timestamps

The revelations, although doesn’t solve the puzzle as to the pinpoint identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. However, Michael Kapilov discovered while scouring through Satoshi’s emails that this appears to have been eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). As most do believe that Satoshi is Japanese, especially with the monicker “Satoshi Nakamoto”, Japan’s timezone was different then. As at the time Satoshi was exchanging emails with Hal Finney, Japan was rather 9 hours ahead. Another Kapilov revelation was that Hal had received both emails even before Satoshi’s server.

Time Stamps discrepancies as put forward by Micheal Kapilov

Kapilov painted several scenarios trying to unravel the mystery behind the timestamps and perhaps solve the puzzle on who Satoshi Nakamoto is. He suggested it could be a computer discrepancy as suggested by Derek Atkins; one of the members in the mailing list. Another point he raised was that Satoshi may have been based in the United States but forgot to change back his timezone after the US moved their timezone by one farther on November 2nd, 2008.

He also cited another point that suggests Satoshi’s computer may have been out of sync due to network. Apparently, Satoshi had mailed Hal Finney that he could not receive emails because he was at a place with a limited network.

Hal Finney Satoshi?

However, his most compelling point is that Hal Finney could himself be the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

If we assume he had connected Satoshi’s email to his main email account (hal@finney.org) for convenience, so he would not have to log in into his Vistomail account every time, then this might explain why the Finney.org server would receive it before the Anonymousspeech.com server. 

This would also explain why Finney chose not to share these emails with the Wall Street Journal and why those he did share were missing most of the header data. But we must admit that just like the other theories mentioned above, we do not have any hard evidence to support it

The emails clearly do not reveal with crystal-clear suggestions the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. However, it made something obvious; the collaboration between Satoshi and Finney was more profound than what we thought earlier. Whether Satoshi Nakamoto is Hal Finney or a group of persons who adopted the moniker remains a mystery.

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