Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel on Wednesday revealed he may know where to look for bitcoin‘s mysterious founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, whose brainchild has now burgeoned into a $1 trillion dollar asset class.
His theory stems from meeting the founders of E-Gold, a private digital currency founded in 1996 that is now obsolete after being indicted by the US Justice Department in April 2007.
Thiel told a Miami conference audience that he met them on a beach in the Caribbean island of Anguilla in February 2000, according to Bloomberg. That’s when they discussed making PayPal interoperable with E-Gold and “blow up all the central banks.”
“My sort of theory on Satoshi’s identity was that Satoshi was on that beach in Anguilla,” he said, as reported by Bloomberg.
In fact, Thiel – the co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund – said Nakamoto may have been one of the roughly 200 people on the beach at that time.
The self-described libertarian also said Nakamoto may have learned from the mistakes of E-Gold, given how he laid out bitcoin’s use cases in his white paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”
Nakamoto – who could be a person or a group of people – published the paper, which outlined the principles of a cryptographically secured and decentralized peer-to-peer digital payment system, around Halloween in 2008 and was never heard from again.
“Bitcoin was the answer to E-Gold, and Satoshi learned that you had to be anonymous and you had to not have a company,” Thiel said. “Even a company, even a corporate form was too governmentally linked.”
The billionaire did clarify that he has not put much effort into finding out the real identity of bitcoin’s founder – contrary to some in the cryptocurrency space. The secrecy of the founder’s identity has long been a source of speculation for the community with several mistaken identities over the years that have somewhat disrupted the lives of private individuals.
Not everyone is in favor of Nakamoto coming forward, however. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, in its prospectus, cited the unmasking of Nakamoto as a potential risk for the trading platform, saying it could lead to the deterioration of bitcoin prices.
The company also said it could be negatively impacted if Nakamoto transferred his bitcoins – of which he is rumored to have over 1 million. The value of those coins, as of publishing, stands at around $65 billion.
Thiel, it seems, also prefers not to know the founder of the world’s largest digital asset.
“If we knew who it was, the government would arrest him,” Thiel said.