- Nov 2017
That's why the mainstream media's obsession a few years ago with unmasking Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin, was so silly
Some of the obsession is certainly just the predictable nature of humans chasing drama and clickbait headlines. But there are essential differences here.
First, whoever Satoshi is, he is thought to control about a million BTC-- approximately 5% of the total authorized and 6.25% of coins in circulation. What his plans are for those coins is very important to the market price. Imagine if 500k of his BTC were to be sold right now?
Second, bitcoin, and crypto/blockchain in general, has potentially enormous implications for our global economy. It's entirely rational for us to want to know who was this person, or persons, and their connection to the state, the dark state or the anti-state. We want to understand their background, mindset and intentions so we can better understand the thing itself, why it was created and therefore what role it might play in a potentially larger chess game. It's entirely more important than pants, because it's more strategic than pants. It's also considerably more important than the knowing the discoverer of a natural phenomenon like fire, because natural phenomenon are there for anyone to discover. If we discovered that it was Russian state-sponsored hackers that invented Bitcoin, then it would be entirely different (maybe their goal is to undermine USD as a reserve currency) than knowing that it was a cabal of offshore gamers or just some average computer nerd who found it a fascinating problem and never wanted the limelight and didn't need the money.
Third, the notion that there is a real, mortal person behind the coin is important to its long term disposition. If Vitalik Buterin were to die or take ill tomorrow, the price of ETH would plummet since he remains its chief architect and decision maker. It's an existential and very real (and probably underpriced) risk to that coin's economy. His decisions and his pronouncements heavily influence it's future and it's ongoing price. Bitcoin seems to lack that risk right now because its creator is in abstentia. But it also suffers because key issues of scaling and architecture are argued by groups which cannot come to consensus, resulting in forks that are attempting to solve them. However, his re-emergence would be a significant factor-- perhaps positive, perhaps negative-- on the long term outcome of bitcoin, other coins, and their overall economic value.
So, yes, whether he really exists, and may emerge at some point in the future is very very important. And of course-- it's a question we may never know the answer to.