Satoshi Files: Sergey Nazarov
Crypto Basics

Satoshi Files: Sergey Nazarov

Created 5mo ago, last updated 5mo ago

Sergey Nazarov is an investor and entrepreneur who is best known for founding Chainlink, the decentralized oracle network.

Satoshi Files: Sergey Nazarov

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Sergey Nazarov is an investor and entrepreneur who is best known for founding Chainlink, the decentralized oracle network. Thanks to his early interest in smart contracts, Nazarov features on almost every list of people who could be Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s inventor.

Source: Sergey Nazarov (Linkedin)

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Early Life

Sergey Nazarov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1986. Nazarov’s parents were Russian immigrants who landed in New York in the 1990s. They were both engineers, and they encouraged young Sergey’s to get interested in technology from a young age. He loved playing video games and, as he got older, he became interested in how technology worked. He apparently used to disassemble cathode ray television sets and put them back together for fun.

Sergey decided not to pursue a career in engineering; instead, he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and management from New York University in 2007. After a short stint as a teaching fellow at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Nazarov launched a peer-to-peer marketplace called Exist Local, which gave “adventurous travellers…peer-to-peer access to truly exciting, sometimes life changing and "off the beaten path" activities made by locals.”
While running Exist Local, Nazarov’s investment career took off. He began working with FirstMark Capital, a venture capital firm which invests in tech companies during their seed to series C rounds of investment. FMC’s successes included Riot Games, who developed the record-breaking video games League of Legends and Valorant, and Pinterest, the image sharing and social media site who, with a little help from Nazarov and his colleagues, grew from an idea into a multi-billion-dollar company.

Involvement With Bitcoin

It's not clear where Nazarov’s interest in Bitcoin and blockchain technology came from, but we know for sure that after graduating from NYU and while working for FirstMark Capital, he discovered smart contracts, which may have led him to Bitcoin.

Smart contracts are digital agreements that execute automatically when predetermined criteria are met. For instance, a smart contract could release a sum of money on a predetermined date and time to a specific person. They allow two parties to deal with one another safely and securely without an intermediary, and they have become a core piece of infrastructure in the wider crypto ecosystem.
Just one year after graduating, and six days before Satoshi published the Bitcoin whitepaper, Nazarov bought and registered the “” domain. A WhoIs lookup shows he owns a number of other domains related to the term “smart contract,” and has done so since about the same time he bought the first one.

Why would Nazarov have bought a domain so strongly related to crypto less than a week before Satoshi launched Bitcoin? Are the two events connected in some way? Data from Bitcoin’s code could hold the answer.

A CoinTelegraph investigation discovered that Satoshi hid his online activity through a Russian proxy, which works similar to a VPN. The proxy appears to give an IP address: 87.251.146. In December 2008, a user named “Sergey” had posted reviews of Vietnamese hotels between ’08-’09 using the same proxy as Satoshi (Russian developers often go to Vietnam to avoid their country’s severe winters).


Does this mean Satoshi is Sergey, or that he had Russian ties?

Not everyone agreed with the investigation’s findings; the analysis that linked Satoshi with this particular Russian proxy provider came under intense scrutiny. Javier Estrella, CTO of GeoDB, told CoinTelegraph that “you can make statistics say anything you want.” He also pointed out that Satoshi wouldn’t use a Russian proxy if he were Russian. Instead, he would probably use a Western proxy to hide from Russian intelligence services.

In 2011, Nazarov moved back to Russia to launch QED Capital, a venture capital firm which helps young Russian tech entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into companies. “I started QED Capital to give these technical teams access to the same resources that allow their counterparts in the US and Europe to successfully go from prototype/project to fast growing technology company,” he said.

Shortly after launching QED, the firm began investing in Bitcoin, which at the time was valued at $30 per coin. This brilliant early investment gave Nazarov and QED considerable seed money with which they could invest in promising young tech companies. Nazarov still works as QED’s managing director, although he has launched a number of other companies since getting QED off the ground.

Source: Devpost

The first of these companies was CryptaMail, a decentralized email service which operated without any central servers. CryptaMail’s selling point was that no intelligence agency or government could demand to see or steal its users’ emails or data without the user’s password and the recipient with whom the user was communicating. “We use the recently released NXT blockchain to do for email what Bitcoin has done for payments; make them tamper-proof by placing the data they are made up of outside the control of any one central actor.”

In May of 2014, Nazarov founded the Secure Asset Exchange (SAE), a platform which used smart contracts to help its clients share revenue worldwide without paying any third parties. Four months later, he launched another company — Smart Contract, which brought smart contracts to life by connecting them to external, real-world data, as well as mainstream bank payments. This idea — to incorporate live, real-world data into smart contracts led Nazarov to found arguably his most successful company: Chainlink.

Source: Chainlink Blog

Chainlink is an oracle network built on Ethereum. Oracle networks import tamper-proof data from the real world into smart contracts, sometimes to verify whether the contract’s conditions are met. For example, if an insurance smart contract was set to pay out in the event of serious flooding in a certain region, Chainlink could provide weather data indicating flooding had happened, and the smart contract could automatically pay out to claimants.
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While speaking on behalf of Chainlink in 2020, Nazarov told the audience that he had worked in the blockchain space for “10 years,” before retracting and switching to “a number of years.” This implied he started working with Bitcoin in 2010, much earlier than had previously been reported. This led numerous crypto media outlets to publish articles examining whether Sergei Nazarov could be Satoshi Nakamoto.

The Evidence That Sergey Nazarov Is Likely Satoshi Nakamoto

#1 He Owns the ‘’ Domain

Nazarov, or another party, registered the domain “” six days before Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper on Oct. 31, 2008. A WhoIs lookup indicates he owns a number of similarly-named domains, such as ‘’ and ‘’
In November 2014, the domain was transferred to Nazarov, before the website went live days later. It is highly unlikely that you’d buy a domain days before launching your website. Furthermore, was heavily focused on Bitcoin.

The timing here is intriguing: why would Nazarov register a domain so closely linked with Bitcoin less than a week before Satoshi published the Bitcoin whitepaper?

#2 His Initials Match Up With Satoshi’s

Simply put, Sergey Nazarov’s initial’s match up with Satoshi Nakamoto’s.

Satoshi once questioned whether people would start “brute force scanning” for Bitcoin wallets that began with their initials, like getting a phone number that spells out your name. He then said, “Just by chance I have my initials.” He then shared his wallet address. The first three were “1NS.”

Nakamoto Satoshi? Or Nazarov Sergey?

#3 He Was Involved in Bitcoin Early On

Speaking on a podcast in 2020, Nazarov told the audience he had worked on blockchains for “10 years,” which indicated he began working with Bitcoin in 2010, or right at the beginning – much earlier than he had previously admitted.

The Evidence That Sergey Nazarov Probably Isn’t Satoshi Nakamoto

#1 He Was Probably Too Busy To Have Built Bitcoin

Satoshi developed Bitcoin from 2008 through 2011, a period when Sergey Nazarov was busy working for the investment firm FirstMark Capital, and then launching his own investment company: QED Capital, not to mention his peer-to-peer tourist experience marketplace called Exist Local.

Did he really have time to develop Bitcoin as well?

#2 He Lacks the Technical Expertise To Have Built Bitcoin

Nazarov’s parents are engineers, and they nourished his interest in technology from a young age. He loved playing video games and, as he got older, in how technology worked. He used to disassemble cathode ray television sets and put them back together for fun.

Yet, despite his passion for technology, he pursued a degree in Philosophy and Management Studies from NYU. So we have to ask: did Sergey Nazarov have the technical skill to have built Bitcoin?

#3 He Denied Being Satoshi

When Nazarov was interviewed on the Lex Friedman Podcast, Lex asked him “Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? There are quite a few people who suggest that person is you. So, is it you?”
Nazarov replied, “I don’t know who it is, but if I had to guess, it’s probably a group of people.” He also stressed that Satoshi’s identity shouldn’t be important because Bitcoin works perfectly well without him.

So, do you think Sergey Nazarov created Bitcoin?

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