In one of their latest articles, CoinDesk reveals previously-unseen email correspondence between Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney. The article quickly lays out the data, showing several screenshots of the emails — headers included.
Writer Michael Kapilkov then brings attention to the time zone of the Date header field in the emails, which, in all emails from Nakamoto to Finney, is set to UTC+8 — a time zone of the far-east regions of Asia.
On first glance, this appears to support the theory that Satoshi was located somewhere in Asia, however, a close examination of the emails disproves that.
The Date header in emails is set by the mail client that is used to create the email, e.g., Thunderbird, Mailbird, Postbox, or any webmail service. In the case of desktop applications like Thunderbird and Mailbird, the time zone that is applied to the Date header field is the local time zone of the computer.
However, when a webmail client is used, the time zone is taken from the server where the webmail is hosted. For his vistomail correspondence, Satoshi used AnonymousSpeech.com’s webmail client. It took us 10 minutes of research to confirm that beyond reasonable doubt.
First of all, AnonymousSpeech.com is a platform specifically designed for sending anonymous emails — their slogan is “Leader in Anonymous Email”. We know Satoshi used that platform because the Received header of the emails specifies an AnonymousSpeech.com mail server:
Received: from mail.anonymousspeech.com (anonymousspeech.com [188.8.131.52])
Second, AnonymousSpeech.com supports vistomail, even to this day. Third, the X-Mailer header of the emails defines the mail client Satoshi used to send the emails — Chilkat Software Inc. Chilkat Software is a cross-platform API for “many Internet protocols”, including email. It is reasonable to assume that AnonymousSpeech.com’s webmail client was using Chilkat’s .NET API. This is reaffirmed by AnonymousSpeech.com’s use of .NET, which is obvious from the URL for the Send Anonymous Email page.
Lastly, a research recently published by The Chain Bulletin unequivocally proves that Satoshi didn’t live in Asia while working on Bitcoin.
Why is AnonymousSpeech.com UTC+8? We can see from a November 2006 web archive:
AnonymousSpeech.com LLC specializes in international law and IT security consulting, based in Tokyo, Japan since 1996. We are mainly active in Japanese, consulting clients on international legal issues and internet security.
Long story short, the sender time zone in those newly-released emails between Satoshi and Hal Finney — in cases when Satoshi was the sender — is not the local time zone of Satoshi’s computer, but rather, the time zone of AnonymousSpeech.com’s webmail client, which is naturally the same time zone as AnonymousSpeech.com’s mail server.