In 2017, Sergey Nazarov, Steve Ellis, and Ari Juels wrote the Chainlink whitepaper. The whitepaper would eventually become the Chainlink network and make Nazarov one of the most important founders and CEOs of Web3.
In this article, we’ll be exploring Sergey Nazarov’s life and how he became the man behind Chainlink.
Sergey Nazarov Before Crypto
Sergey Nazarov is the son of Russian immigrants who moved to New York in the 1990s. His parents were engineers, and they introduced Nazarov to engineering at an early age. Nazarov quickly took to their lessons and became interested in computer engineering.
Nazarov became so good at coding that he was a finalist in the 2006 Google coding jam, where he came third. Despite being gifted in the sciences, Nazarov didn’t opt for an engineering degree for his college education. Instead, he studied philosophy and management science at New York State University.
Once Sergey graduated, he chose to remain in the academic environment. He was a teaching fellow at the New York Stern School of Business and worked with Professor Lenihan to improve and deliver a technology entrepreneurship course.
While he was a teaching fellow at the Stern School of Business, he also interned at FirstMark Capital. He worked as part of a seven-man team that managed over $2 billion and invested over $90 million in Seed A, B, and C venture financings.
At the same time, Nazarov was working on his first company, ExistLocal.Inc. ExistLocal was a peer-to-peer marketplace created to foster authentic local experiences. The company’s goal was to allow individuals to create amazing online presences that could attract and foster P2P online trading.
However, Nazarov only spent two years working at ExistLocal before leaving and moving to QED Capital. At QED, Nazarov worked as a general partner and contributed to the company shifting its focus to crypto. He also contributed to building the first blockchain-based webmail called CryptaMail. CryptaMail would become Nazarov’s first-ever venture into the world of crypto.
Three important things happened to Sergey Nazarov in 2014. First, he became the CEO and co-founder of CryptaMail, the solution he’d worked on while at QED capital.
Secondly, he became the co-founder and CEO of Secure Asset Exchange. Secure Asset Exchange was a smart contract application for real-time revenue sharing with multi-signature escrows. And lastly, he bought the smartcontract.com domain and became the Co-founder of SmartContract. SmartContract is a network that connects smart contracts to external data and widely accepted bank payments.
By the end of 2014, Nazarov had served as CEO of three different crypto companies. He left CryptaMail and Secure Asset Exchange during the year to focus all his energies on SmartContract.
However, in 2017 he wrote the Chainlink Whitepaper with Steve Ellis and Ari Juels, and the idea behind Chainlink was born.
Chainlink is an oracle solution that feeds data from off-chain networks to on-chain contracts. Chainlink’s comparative advantage over other oracles is that it is decentralized. This meant it wasn’t susceptible to the failings of centralized systems.
Chainlink was an instant success, as the initial LINK token was distributed with a $32 million Initial Coin Offering (ICO). But even that was merely a taste of what was to come.
In 2021, the Chainlink network surpassed $75 billion in Total Value Secured (TVS). The total value secured in this context measures how much money the protocols integrated with Chainlink have saved. That same year, the Chainlink ecosystem grew by more than a thousand projects.
The network made even more strides in 2022. By the end of 2022, Chainlink surpassed $6.9 trillion in Transaction Value Enabled (TVE). This meant that Chainlink-based protocols had enabled transactions approximating that amount. That same year, Nazarov announced that Chainlink was now the industry standard for decentralized oracles. He also said that Chainlink ran over 60% of all oracle computations on decentralized apps.
Is Nazarov Satoshi?
Sergey Nazarov’s success with Chainlink has led many conspiracy theorists to think he’s Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto is the mysterious figure who published the Bitcoin Whitepaper, and an enduring question in the crypto ecosystem is his identity.
Ever since Satoshi stopped communicating with people about crypto in 2014, theories about his identity have grown on the internet. Some argue that Satoshi is Dorian Nakamoto, a reclusive engineer. Others believe that he is Nick Szabo, a cryptocurrency expert. And some are convinced that Satoshi is Craig Wright.
All three people have denied being Satoshi, and the question of Bitcoin’s founder identity is still open.
However, some people are convinced that Satoshi is none other than Sergey Nazarov. And they have their evidence.
The first crucial evidence is that the SmartContract URL was registered six days before the Bitcoin Whitepaper was published. Today, that URL is owned by Nazarov through Chainlink.
While SmartContract.com today forwards users to the Chainlink website, it didn’t always do that. The first content on the page was centered around using blockchain tech to build smart contracts.
Additionally, people who believe Nazarov is Satoshi point out that Nazarov shares the same initials as Satoshi. They also claim that Nazarov’s video with Ben Chan contains a smoking gun proving that Satoshi is Nazarov.
In the video, Nazarov claims he’s been into crypto for at least a year. This means he would have been working on crypto just about when Satoshi published his white paper.
Believers in this theory also have one more piece of evidence. A recent discovery has shown that Satoshi Nakamoto once used a Russian proxy to hide his identity. While that ordinarily sounds like a non-issue, believers in this theory note that Nazarov also has ties to Russia. Additionally, Nazarov worked in a Russian firm, QED Capital, early in his career.
On the Flipside
- The evidence of Satoshi being Nazarov is mostly circumstantial. Besides, Nazarov would have been twenty years old when the Bitcoin Whitepaper was written. That means he would have needed to be an Einstein-level prodigy. While that’s possible, it’s not probable.
Why You Should Care
If Chainlink continues to grow at its current trajectory, it will have an overwhelming dominance of the decentralized oracle market. Nazarov is the CEO leading that charge and may become an even more powerful voice in crypto.