Bhagwan Chowdhry, a Professor of Finance at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has nominated Satoshi Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics.
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics. It is generally regarded as the most prestigious award for that field.
“The committee has invited me to nominate someone for the 2016 Prize,” writes Chowdhry in The Huffington Post. “I then started thinking whose ideas are likely to have a disruptive influence in the twenty first century. The name of the inventor of Bitcoin suddenly jumped up in my consciousness and I have not been able to get it out of my mind since then, Satoshi Nakamoto.”
“The invention of bitcoin – a digital currency – is nothing short of revolutionary,” continues Chowdhry. “[Bitcoin] is digital and exists purely as a mathematical object. It offers many advantages over both physical and paper currencies. It is secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code, can be divided into millions of smaller sub-units, and can be transferred securely and nearly instantaneously from one person to any other person in the world with access to internet bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or commercial banks eliminating time delays and transactions costs.”
Of course, Chowdhry is aware that the Nobel Committee is unlikely to accept the nomination of a pseudonymous candidate. That’s why the article’s title is “I (Shall Happily) Accept the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics on Behalf of Satoshi Nakamoto.”
“There’s no real precedent for awarding the Nobel Prize to an unknown person (or possibly even group of people), so it’s difficult to say how the Prize committee will deal with the nomination,” notes Gizmodo. “But even so, the fact that Bitcoin and Nobel Prize in Economics are being talked about in the same breath is significant all on its own.”
“I would be happy to go and accept the Prize on [Nakamoto’s] behalf,” says Chowdhry. “What about the acceptance speech? That won't be any problem either. He can write his speech, digitally sign it and send it to me securely. I would, of course, rehearse and deliver it on his behalf at the Prize ceremony.”
Even so, it still seems unlikely that the Nobel Committee will accept the nomination. But it’s interesting to imagine that Nakamoto could choose this moment to reveal his identity, which would force the Committee to accept his nomination and take it seriously. As Chowdhry notes, Satoshi is so rich that the financial reward wouldn’t matter much – he is still sitting on a huge stash of bitcoin that he could sell anytime – but the temptation of joining the very select club of Nobel Laureates is difficult to resist. If Satoshi ever chooses to disclose his identity, now seems like a very appropriate time.
That Satoshi Nakamoto deserves a Nobel Prize is difficult to deny. As Chowdhry notes, bitcoin as a currency and an efficient payment means is just the tip of the iceberg. The disruptively innovative nature of Bitcoin lies in the possibility of decentralized trustless agreements and digital contracts that can be digitized, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another.
“The implications of this are immense,” says Chowdhry, and adds that Bitcoin is likely to upend the role central banks play in conducting monetary policy. “The consumers will be big beneficiaries and indeed the poor and marginal sections of the society will reap the benefits of financial and social inclusion in the coming decades,” he says.
It’s interesting to note that Satoshi Nakamoto might have already received the Nobel Prize in Economics. In fact, the rumors that the unknown identity behind Satoshi could be the mathematician John Nash of A Beautiful Mind fame, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994, never quite died out. Nash, who openly proposed many ideas for next-generation economics that can be related to Bitcoin and considered as precursors, for example the Ideal Money concept, passed away in May 2015.