Has Satoshi been unmasked?
The greatest mystery behind the creation of bitcoin is the identity of its creator. In 2009, an individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto released the white paper on the new technology, but to this day no one has identified the woman or man or group behind this mask. However, some believe they have discovered the identity, or rather identities, of Satoshi Nakamoto. A report by Gizmodo argues that Australian businessman Craig Wright and his deceased friend Dave Kleiman created bitcoin.
Gizmodo’s information is based on a series of anonymous emails from someone who supposedly worked with Wright. The email said, “I hacked Satoshi Naklamoto [sic]. These files are all from his business account. The person is Dr Craig Wright.” What followed was a series of alleged emails between Wright and Kleiman regarding the creation of bitcoin.
Wired magazine also found some evidence that Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto. On a blog post published in August 2008, Wright mentioned that he intended to release a “cryptocurrency paper.” In November 2008, he published a unique string of characters called a PGP key that allows one to receive encrypted messages, for readers to contact him. That key was linked to the email address email@example.com, a similar email to the firstname.lastname@example.org that Nakamoto used as the contact info for his white paper. Finally, a day after the release of bitcoin, Wright said in a blog post, “The Beta of bitcoin is live tomorrow. This is decentralized … We try until it works.”
As a counter to this point, a report by Technology Review argues that the mention of cryptocurrency in Wright’s blog was inserted into the post in 2013. Also, the PGP keys that were leaked contain elements that were not integrated into PGP until 2010.
In addition, the case has gotten very tricky. For one, Australian police raided his home in Australia a few days after the news broke that Wright might be Nakamoto. The police would not give any details other than they were investigating him for his business and taxation practices. However, Wright himself has not been arrested, and his whereabouts are completely unknown.
Wright has completely deleted his online presence from his blog to his twitter account, according to a report by Gizmodo. Reporters attempted several times to contact Wright at his Sydney home prior to the raid, but with no luck. One email, if authentic, suggests that Wright was fighting with the Australian Tax Office to repatriate bitcoins worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Not everyone, however, is convinced that Wright is the man behind the mask. “In my opinion I don’t think it is him,” Adam O’Brien, president of Bitcoin Solutions, said. “[The] reason is because I think Satoshi is smarter than the news and won’t be ‘unmasked.’ He did create bitcoin which means he probably took his anonymity very seriously.”
Technology Review also argues that Wright lacks Satoshi’s character and knowledge. It argues, “His PhD theses cannot be located, the supercomputer he claims to have built cannot be found, and the support letter from SGI doesn’t read like any other support letter I’ve seen.” In addition, Wright lacks knowledge of the complicated nature of consesus protocols, a concept that Satoshi invented.
If Wright is Satoshi and if he is arrested, it could be a major setback for bitcoin’s public image. However, it is too soon to say for certain whether Wright or anyone else is the elusive bitcoin founder.