Israeli mathematicians Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir, from the Weizmann Institute, have used the inner workings of the online Bitcoin currency to link its mysterious founder “Satoshi Nakamoto” with “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the founder of Silk Road, an online marketplace closed in October for becoming the world’s largest online bazaar for illegal drugs. As part of the sting in San Francisco, Ross Ulbricht was arrested and accused of being “DPR.”
Their mapping exercise (see above), begun out of curiosity, was based on the records kept publicly for every Bitcoin transaction, which show date and quantities, but not the names of the holders, Business Insider reported on Monday.
The mathematicians followed a major transfer into Silk Road that was suspicious because it seemed to be held capital, rather than cash for online purchases.
“The short path we found (which is depicted in Figure 6) suggests (but does not prove) the existence of a surprising link between the two mysterious figures of the Bitcoin community, Satoshi Nakamoto and DPR. It is reasonable to assume that all the accounts described along the top of Figure 6 belong to the same person, but to be on the safe side we refer to him as a “Founder” rather than as Satoshi Nakamoto. We are sure that analyzing this figure will start a very vigorous debate in the Bitcoin community.”
Intuitively, their hypothesis, linking the creator of the online currency to what became the largest online black market for drugs, appears to make sense, and their mapping may be used to prosecute Ulbricht and finally unmask the mysterious founder of Bitcoin.
Despite the closing of Silk Road, the online currency continues to appreciate in value.