On Thursday, November 29, years since their last post on P2P Foundation—a platform for those interested in peer-to-peer technology—“Satoshi Nakamoto” posted a single, mysterious word. Leaving the crypto internet baffled, the account proffered a small, perhaps insignificant crumb in the trail leading to Satoshi’s true identity: “nour” (quotation marks by the poster).
The account that posted “nour” is linked to the same email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, that uploaded the bitcoin white paper in 2009. However, that email address and corresponding P2P account hasn’t historically been so secure. In September 2014, a hacker who went by the name “Jeffrey” gained access to the email, telling Wired, of Satoshi, “The fool used a primary gmx under his full name and had aliases set up underneath it. He’s also alive.” Jeffrey also threatened to spill Satoshi’s “secrets,” claiming to have email messages from bitcoin’s creator dating back to 2011. (The hacker didn’t offer any evidence of these claims, and was ultimately concluded to most likely be a troll.)
The account left one other “clue”—a friend request for someone with the P2P Foundation username Wagner Tamanaha. In his profile on the platform, Tamanaha identifies as a male from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He writes that he’s “Brazilian with Japanese ancestry, working with advertising in social media and a blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast.” He’s a member of a local node called FairCoop in Sao Paulo and makes comics on Steemit that star a three-legged cat with a bitcoin head. He also recently updated his P2P Foundation profile to include that he was “recently added in Satoshi Nakamoto’s friends list here.”
Let’s unpack, first the “nour” post, then the Tamanaha “friendship.”
“Nour” has a couple possible translations. In Arabic, it translates to “the light” (so does Nur, Noor, and Nor). As a name, according to Urban Dictionary, it denotes “the most loving, affectionate, and caring person you’ll ever meet.” Satoshi in a nutshell? A nod to the light at the end of the tunnel that is bitcoin’s low, current price?
One clever Redditor broke down “nour” into three, separate words: “No u r,” which someone else on Reddit took to mean, “We are all Satoshi Nakamoto.” The “No u r” post has earned a Reddit Gold Award (just below it, a post predicting an imminent $1 million BTC move causing “chaos and drama” received a Silver Award).
Names of the usual suspects naturally came up. Craig Wright did it, Nick Szabo, Dave Kleiman, maybe Jeff Garzik. Of all of them, Wright (as per usual?) has the strongest case. Shortly after the “nour” post, Wright took to Twitter to write, “Some seek a world of shadows…We seek a universe of light.”
However, since Wright’s “light” post came hours after Satoshi posted “nour” to P2P, it’s likely that this, like so much of Wright’s activities, was a mere publicity stunt. Most spectators are sticking with the idea of a hack.
Then there’s this guy, called Arda Kazan on the P2P Foundation. He updated his profile 20 hours ago as of this writing on the platform after years of seeming inactivity (there are no apparent updates), and his profile picture inexplicably appears behind the “conversation” between Satoshi and Tamanaha. There’s not much more readily available (and relevant) information about him—just his impenetrable gaze peering out between Tamanaha’s comments.
Let’s return, then, to Tamanaha. He responded to Satoshi’s friend request with a note in Japanese than translates to, “Nice to meet you. Thank you very much, I will do my best for bitcoin from Brazil!” He also posted on Steemit (not the blockchain cat comics account, but his blog account) to share the news of his newfound friendship. The post, written in Portuguese, mentions that Tamanaha is Satoshi’s second Brazilian friend on the P2P Foundation platform, and that he’ll post again about this once he’s calmed down from the initial excitement. It ends, “I’m preparing psychologically to receive the visit from the FBI, KGB, and the Federal Revenue 🙂 Thanks!” He appears genuinely clueless but good-humored and intrigued by this mystery falling into his lap.
Ultimately, though, Tamanaha seems to be taking his connection to the Satoshi post in stride. He’s written about it on Facebook, Steemit, and Twitter. He’s done a brief interview, in which he suggested Satoshi’s post could be a little something to “stimulate the discussion about bitcoin” during the crypto winter. The embrace is almost too enthusiastic—enthusiastic enough that perhaps it’s not Wright pulling the grand publicity stunt this time, but a little known Japanese Brazilian blockchain enthusiast hoping to promote a certain blockchain cat…