Stylometry is the study of linguistic style, generally with a view to identifying its author. In the absence of any other meaningful metrics, it’s become the primary means of analyzing the veracity of new writings purporting to be the work of Satoshi Nakamoto. Last week, armchair stylometrists were given a trove of material to sift through after someone purporting to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator released a 21-page retrospective.
Crypto Messiah or Crypto Pariah?
Anyone can claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but convincing the crypto community of such is a tall order. Short of signing a message with the key from the genesis block, no one claiming to be Satoshi will ever convince everyone. Produce a suitably compelling new piece of work, however, and you’ll at the very least set tongues wagging and crypto Twitter foaming – if only to debunk the latest arriviste to claim Satoshi’s vacated throne.
As news.Bitcoin.com reported yesterday, the latest Satoshi is almost certain to be as fake as every other chancer that’s emerged since the original upped and left. When bitcoin’s price action isn’t generating much attention, however, playing armchair detective with Satoshi claimants provides an entertaining way of passing the time while raising the bar for all subsequent Satoshis to meet.
One Stylometrist is Impressed
“Is Satoshi writing a book? Is Duality authentic? I weigh in here because I have spent the last few years studying and reading every single word Nakamoto ever wrote as I’m writing a book about Bitcoin as we speak,” tweeted Daniel Jeffries. His tweetstorm assessing the veracity of Duality is, like the work itself, open to question. He does conclude, however, that whoever wrote the work is either Satoshi or someone who has done their homework and is intimate with the persona of bitcoin’s original developer:
Beware of Larpers and Faketoshis
For those who study their stylometry, Duality, which purports to be the beginnings of Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin tell-all, does not read remotely like the known writings of Satoshi. A lot of these tells – the single spacing; the Americanized spelling – can be explained away, and indeed are explained away in the document at the center of the debate. If you were an American living on the East Coast, switching your S’s for Z’s and pretending to be a Japanese academic would be an easy way to throw off aspiring doxxers, whilst recalling the persona you’d adopted at all times.
While Daniel Jeffries is willing to at least countenance the possibility that Duality could be the work of the real Satoshi, the majority of crypto Twitter is firmly against this notion. Even allowing for the differences in writing style, and the possibility that Duality could be Satoshi using his “true” voice for the first time, the latest epistle is far more self-serving than anything previously composed by bitcoin’s architect. That said, there’s a lot of detail revealed during the course of the 21 pages that is consistent with someone who could have been involved with bitcoin from the start.
For every instance where Duality echoes the ghost of Satoshi, there is another where it shatters the illusion. There’s the fact that the document reveals key details about its author for example, such as his origins (East Coast U.S.) and his background: his grandmother allegedly ran a small publishing company, which primarily printed hers and her daughter’s work, and Satoshi supposedly worked as a university researcher. Such details, if true, would make it significantly easier to dox him. Then there’s the fact that, for a man who claims, in Duality, to have been a spelling bee geek who takes “joy in finding mistakes”, the document is riddled with errors. It would be a miracle if Duality was the work of the true Satoshi Nakamoto, but then stranger things have happened. Bitcoin is one of them.
Do you think Duality is credible, or is it the work of yet another fake Satoshi? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Twitter.
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