The crypto community seems awash with a renewed obsession to uncover the identity of Ryoshi, the mysterious Shiba Inu founder.
Over a week ago, Coinbase Director of Project Strategy & Business Operations, Conor Grogan, drew links between the anonymous crypto founder and Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, sparking speculation that SBF is Ryoshi. And as reported today, prominent crypto Youtuber Ben Armstrong, aka Bitboy Crypto, tapped one of the founders of Unification as Ryoshi, a claim that the Unification founder has denied.
In response to the latest speculation, Digital Asset Investor, another crypto Youtuber has pointed Bitboy in the direction of Thomas Greco (at least that is who he identifies himself as), a mysterious figure in the early days of Ethereum.
Notably, the first hint that he could be Ryoshi is that he appears in a picture attached at the end of Ryoshi’s first Medium blog along with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation Executive Director Aya Miyaguchi and two other unidentified persons in Japan. The picture was supposedly taken during Devcon 2019, with a YouTube video from Coin Bureau two years ago identifying him as Ryoshi.
But first, Who is Thomas Greco?
Well, no one really knows, and those who do are tight-lipped, as highlighted by Digital Asset Investor, who also shared a clip of prominent crypto journalist Laura Shin asserting that Buterin was reluctant to talk about the mysterious figure.
A search of the name Thomas Greco does not turn up much and mostly links to a community economist who writes about alternative monetary exchange solutions like private credit clearing systems, complementary currencies, and local currencies. However, when you add the keyword Ethereum, you will find a handful of videos where the so-called Ethereum adviser can be seen with Buterin or speaking at Ethereum events and articles that cite him as an adviser on the OmiseGo project as well.
In a Financial Times interview of Buterin from 2018 that turns up in the search, Greco is described as a “collaborator” and “developer” who Buterin asserts has worked with him for years. In an Epicenter Podcast episode with Laura Shin from 11 months ago dissecting her book “The Cryptonians,” which also turns up in the search, the journalist relaying the information from Ethereum Foundation members at the time alluded to Greco as a close friend of Buterin who played the role of gatekeeper deciding who gained access to the founder and influencing key decisions along with another likely pseudonymous friend called Wendell Holmes.
However, by far, the most well-put-together account of the Mysterious Ethereum figure is by an individual known only as Kevin, who runs an alternative income blog called Turtle Investor. Kevin’s account is also the first that alludes to the fact that Greco is an assumed identity while also pointing out that the enigma went on to advise on other popular projects, including Polkadot and Cosmos. As highlighted by Kevin, Greco could be seen at almost every event with Buterin from 2017.
Kevin is yet to respond to a request for comment from The Crypto Basic at the time of writing.
Could He be Ryoshi?
While there is no clear-cut evidence to prove this, it is worth noting that assuming Buterin to be the friend mentioned by Ryoshi in his first Medium blog post, it is easy to see how this argument can be made.
Recall that Ryoshi claimed to have started SHIB with a friend with whom he shared his ideas of a decentralized ecosystem. The friend, who he alluded to as a successful businessman and influential person in the crypto space, helped him write the Shiba Inu smart contract and put up 10 ETH (which he described as “nothing” for this friend) to provide the initial liquidity for SHIB’s Uniswap pool.
Following this narrative, it appears to be a no-brainer. However, there’s a catch, Ryoshi claims to have met this friend at Devcon 2019 in Osaka, and from what we know, Greco has been in the picture since at least 2017.
Does this mean Greco can not be Ryoshi? Not necessarily. It could also be that the supposed friend is not Buterin. Recall that Buterin has denied involvement in the creation of the project. Whatever the case, we may never know. The famous picture of Buterin walking a dog in Japan with other supposed ETH developers remains potentially the strongest clue to Ryoshi’s identity.