Good points all. Yes, it seems very likely they ran a lot of tests out amongst friends before releasing to the wild. Also, the hidden nature of "Satoshi" seemed all too-well planned, and that's something that alludes to Libertarians crossing with Cryptopunks crossing with those who think e-Gold might not be the answer. We remember reading about e-gold way back during the beginning days of the internet bubble (so 1998-2000 timeframe) and what turned us away, ironically, was the mistrust of a central authority who you'd have to send your hard-earned cash to participate. These particular guys would've thought long and hard about this problem, and it bares out in what Szabo et all wrote.
Szabo makes an excellent point, in that the intersection of the groups of people who COULD have designed bitcoin the way it was done, is very small. He practically names the people himself in his blogs.
Perhaps they realized that it would be easy to deny, even if the evidence piled up, and were comforted by the fact they could simply continue denying and no one would really care that much anyway due to the de-centralized nature of bitcoin itself.
Just think the most important thing, is just asking maybe Szabo and Dai what their bitcoin histories are. Not so much to determine who Satoshi is, but just bc it would be REALLY interesting. Finney, to our knowledge, has already answered this question (for instance, he says he no longer has that first payment). Just think it would be a REALLY interesting story if the guy who's proto-bitcoin idea sparked the whole thing didn't even have any bitcoin. We think Szabo has a LOT of bitcoin, and the reason is bc he alone more than anyone really believed in it from the getgo. With all his historical researching, it would be VERY odd indeed if he wasn't fat in bitcoin, thinking it would really take off. Also think he was shilling a bit in maybe 2011 doldrums and maybe again in early/mid 2015 when bitcoin was taking some flack. not so much for personal gain, but like Mr Lee, bc it was his baby (whether he's Satoshi or not).
Truthfully, we don't see any real way Szabo wasn't either Satoshi (sending payment to Hal, and writing to bitcoin.org after creation), or part of a small group calling themselves Satoshi (which most likely would have included Wei Dai and maybe Finney too).
We'd do a much bigger piece, to make it comprehensive, but don't think that's necessary bc incremental information keeps it small and limited to those who are still interested in the "big question"; and also bc we'd simply have to reference other's work which isn't ours and that takes a lot of time and doesn't really add too much value bc that work is already posted into the borg.
Glad you appreciated it, it's hard to know if you're just one of many assembling a piece of data, or if our work is original.