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E-cash inventor David Chaum on making a comeback, pre-empting bitcoin, and keeping Satoshi anonymous

by Isabel Woodford

April 23, 2019, 4:15PM EDT  ·  4 min read

Quick Take

  • David Chaum, an early innovator of digital currency, tells The Block that modern blockchains are “a step backwards” from his initial vision
  • He notes his graduate-school thesis, written in the 80s, pre-empted all but 1 of the key elements in Satoshi’s 2009 white paper
  • Amid the renewed debate over who Bitcoin’s creator is, Chaum says he’s comfortable with Satoshi Nakamoto remaining anonymous

by Isabel Woodford

April 23, 2019, 4:15PM EDT  ·  4 min read

David Chaum occupies a peculiar position in the peculiar world of crypto. He isn’t one of the teen-genius cryptographers or a 20-something blockchain CEO. He moves among the upper echelons of “insiders,” but also seems to remain staunchly on the periphery. He’s an OG, but also a novelty.

But regardless of the 63-year-old’s status today, his place in crypto history is undisputed.