bitcoin

A bitcoin mining farm in Iceland. (Photo: Marco Krohn

The Wright Bitcoin Creator

On 2 May 2016, Craig Steven Wright came out as the creator of bitcoin in several interviews with news outlets and on his blog. According to the The Economist and the BBC, their journalists have seen Wright signing a message with the private key associated with the first bitcoin transaction. If this is true, Wright would be the owner of the original 1m  bitcoin, which would now be worth £307m or 389m €. However, the internet (i.e. reddit) is questioning his claims.

by the Know Nothing Enquirer   03/05/2016

UPDATE 05/05/2016: Instead of giving the internet the evidence it demanded, Wright posted an apology on his website today. In the post he claims that the rumours and personal attacks "broke" him. He apologised to those who supported him and writes that they were not deceived. He concludes the message with "and goodbye". In other words, he can not or does not want to give legitimate evidence of him being the creator of bitcoin. This is not the "evidence" anybody was expecting and definitely leaves more questions than answers.

Reddit user thermos - and many others - claim that Wright hasn't submitted enough evidence to prove that he is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, the name used by the person or group behind bitcoin. Thermos argues that the signature from Wright's blog post is not actually the groundbreaking digital signature that proves the identity behind Nakamoto. Instead, thermos continues, the blog post was merely a way to deceive the public. Wright's spokesperson already reacted to the sceptics and told the BBC that he will provide further proof in "the coming days". 

 

According to a blog post at GitHub, "Wright's post is flimflam and hokum […] to distract non-technical or non-expert staff of the BBC and the Economist during a stage-managed demonstration". The author of the post also gives a way to verify whether Wright is indeed right:

 

"you shouldn't ask the purported Satoshi to do a series of operations under his own control, on his own machine or anyone else's. You should simply give him an arbitrary message (e.g. "I, Wright, am Satoshi -- here's a random nonce: 4203234."), have him sign it and transfer you the signature, then you verify the signature on your own machine against a public key that you trust belonged to Satoshi"

 

In other words, Wright simply posted public information about Nakamoto that could have been produced by anyone who is familiar with the bitcoin architecture. 

 

There have been rumours about the true identity of Nakamoto since the inception of bitcoin. Already in a Wired article from December 2015 Andy Greenberg and Gwern Branwen alleged that Wright might be the man behind Nakamoto. Further investigations, however, did not provide any evidence and even suggested that he might just be a hoaxer. Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, even claims that Wright is deceiving the public on purpose with evidence that his obviously fake to finally stop rumours about him being Nakamoto. 

 

Until Wright or some other genius comes forward with real evidence linking him (or her) to the first transaction between Nakamoto and Hal Finney (and thus being in control of the private key from that transaction), the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto will remain unknown. Only time will tell.