Nick Szabo

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Nick Szabo
Nick Szabo.jpg
Occupation Lawyer, computer scientist
Location U.S.
Twitter @NickSzabo4
Blog Unenumerated: Nick Szabo's blog

Nick Szabo, a computer scientist and lawyer, is one of the founders of the field of cryptocurrencies. A number of crypto insiders have speculated that he is the real "Satoshi Nakamoto," although Szabo has denied it.[1]


Nick Szabo is credited with introducing the concept of a smart contract. In a 1996 article titled "Smart Contracts: Building Blocks for Digital Markets" Szabo noted four crucial elements of contracts: observability - the ability of parties to the contract to observe each others' actions under the contract; verifiability; privity - that there is no opportunity for interference by parties outside the contract; and enforceability. With regard to digital contracts, Szabo said that protocols based on mathematics, called cryptographic protocols, are the basic building blocks that implement the improved tradeoffs between observability, verifiability, privity, and enforceability in smart contracts."[2]

Szabo invented the concept for a precursor to bitcoin called "bit gold." Not only was the currency encrypted but it ran on a decentralized platform. The proposed benefits of using Bit Gold would have been that the system itself maintained accurate records of account balances and that there was no need for a third party like a bank. Szabo, however, did not crack the code on the double-spend problem - meaning that under some circumstances a coin could be used for two sets of transactions.[3]

While publicizing his book, "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits," in 2015, New York Times writer Nathaniel Popper surmised publicly that Szabo is in fact Satoshi Nakamoto. In a New York Times article Popper reported that researchers at Aston University in England had compared writings by a number of researchers and had found Szabo's writings to be remarkably similar to those of Nakamoto, unlike that of the others.[4] Around the time of the tenth anniversary of the bitcoin whitepaper on October 31, 2018, journalists revived speculation that Szabo is Nakamoto. [5][6]


Szabo studied Computer Science at University of Washington.[7] Szabo graduated from George Washington University's law school in 2006.[8]


In addition to his blog postings, Szabo has published numerous essays and papers on a wide variety of subjects, including

  • Advanced Distributed Security for Online Commerce
  • E-Commerce and Online Business Processes
  • Law and Philosophy
  • History and Theory of Institutions
  • Security, Fault Tolerance, Computation, Information, Mathematics
  • Technological Protection of Rights

Many of these documents are available at[9]


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