Who Hides Behind the Name Satoshi Nakamoto?

May 09, 2016 | by VienS
Who Hides Behind the Name Satoshi Nakamoto?

Apart from its unique payment features, bitcoin has been unique in another way. No other cryptocurrency can boast to have such a mystery halo, surrounding bitcoin from the very start. It was known earlier that a bitcoin creator, or a group of creators, were hiding under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. But who is this guy? For years many journalists were making attempts to crack the mystery of elusive bitcoin father. Many different people were proposed as candidates, but time after time the guesses would prove to be wrong, or could not be confirmed, and the riddle of Satoshi Nakamoto remained unsolved.

In December 2015 two information resources at once – Gizmodo, design and technology blog, and Wired magazine - published the results of independent investigation, stating that bitcoin was created by Craig Wright, an Australian businessman. Up to 02.05.2016 this information had not been confirmed. But early morning of May 2nd Mr Wright claimed to be the One. The businessman said in blog: «Satoshi is dead. But this is only the beginning».

To confirm his identity, he provided to BBC the data about the keys for first transactions made in Bitcoin system, the first cryptocurrency ever invented. Is Mr Wright indeed the man who created the first digital money in January 2009? After so many flops and so many candidates anyone who claims to be Satoshi must provide indisputable evidence… However, he also seemed to have got the keys of Genesis Block – the very first block in the blockchain with money behind it, which can’t be spend.

The businessman admitted the circumstances forced him to disclose his identity. It was noted that just a few hours after Gizmodo and Wired published their materials, both the house and the office of Mr Wright in Sidney were searched. According to Australian tax authorities, these actions were not connected with Gizmodo or Wired publications about the businessman’s alleged involvement with cryptocurrency creation. The searches were a part of tax investigation as Mr Wright has some serous tax issues.

Many finance specialists, and Mr Wright himself, said they did not buy the version of events provided by authorities. Soon after, numerous reporters besieged Mr Wright insisting he should either confirm or refute the fact of his involvement with Bitcoin creation. In the middle of April 2016 Craig Wright made a statement that he would be ready to confirm it soon.

Earlier, Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist of Bitcoin Foundation, made a list of evidence, which in his opinion could confirm the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Keys which Bitcoin creator used as signatures in his private correspondence and early blogs before 2010;
  • Email/internal forum messages sent at that time;
  • Data on technical issues actively discussed between Satoshi and Gavin at that time;
  • First Bitcoins, which currently are estimated to worth over $400 million. This can be confirmed only if Satoshi decides to sell them.

Gavin had to provide the list in response to pressure from numerous reporters, after Mr Wright’s February 2016 “attempt” to prove his paternity, when he used “replay attack”. Basically, this was forwarding the old digital signature to new messages. Certainly this “attempt” miserably failed with a lot of buzz and rumours leading to bitcoin exchange rate drop.

The evidence presented to date was accepted by many experts but has been under scrutiny. But some sceptics did not believe in this version from the very beginning. Among them is David Glance, Director for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia. He had had some business with Craig Wright in the past and said he would not take it seriously unless some ironclad evidence was presented. The Economist magazine, which studied the evidence as well, commented on this situation: “Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain”.

Mr Wright did not comment on his bad try made in February. Similarly, he did not provide any explanation on why, after he claimed to be Bitcoin Father last time, he had to collect the evidence of his fatherhood for nearly three weeks… Reporters think he had to disclose his identity after big-blockers attempt to attack bitcoin, leading to a significant drop of digital money exchange rate early this year.

According to specialists, this Satoshi coming-out buzz, together with the fact that one of the largest and longest-standing bitcoin exchanges on the planet, Bitstamp, was granted a license to operate as a fully regulated payment institution in Luxembourg at the end of April, making it the first licensed and regulated bitcoin exchange across Europe, will send the bitcoin price skyrocketing again. At the moment the exchange rate fluctuates around 449 dollar per bitcoin. Some analytics predict it will go up again and soon may hit a fresh high climbing over $1000.

We can only guess what were the real reasons behind Mr Wright’s actions. He expressed his desire to go on with his business without intrusive and nosy attention from the mass media, adding that he was not interested in money, fame or publicity. The last part of his statement caused a lot of laughter among reporters. If Mr Wright is really Satoshi Nakamoto then, based on very rough assessments, the businessman owns about one million of active bitcoins, not including the very first, the earliest assets, which is estimated to worth about 400 million dollars.