Bitcoin : Will the Wright Satoshi Nakamoto Please Stand Up?

Here we go again. Bitcoin is the only technology that can generate such drama. The latest revelations regarding the identity of Bitcoin’s highly revered inventor have sent tremors through the Bitcoin ecosystem. And, again it involves Australian entrepreneur and computer scientist Craig Steven Wright.

This time, some Bitcoin luminaries have supported Wright’s claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for Bitcoin’s founder. Chief among them is Satoshi’s anointed heir and former Bitcoin Core committer, Gavin Andresen.

Andresen writes in his blog that he believes that Wright is “the person who invented Bitcoin”. Andresen indicates that a recent email conversation with Wright convinced him there was a very good chance he was the same person he had communicated with in 2010 and early 2011. After flying into London to meet the Australian, Andresen is convinced he is Satoshi.

Andresen says:

“After spending time with him I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi.

Part of that time was spent on a careful cryptographic verification of messages signed with keys that only Satoshi should possess. But even before I witnessed the keys signed and then verified on a clean computer that could not have been tampered with, I was reasonably certain I was sitting next to the Father of Bitcoin.

During our meeting, I saw the brilliant, opinionated, focused, generous – and privacy-seeking – person that matches the Satoshi I worked with six years ago. And he cleared up a lot of mysteries, including why he disappeared when he did and what he’s been busy with since 2011. But I’m going to respect Dr. Wright’s privacy, and let him decide how much of that story he shares with the world.”

Another credible believer in Wright as Satoshi is Jon Matonis, Founding Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. For Matonis, the proof is cryptographic, social and technical.
Matonis notes:

“Based on what I witnessed, it is my firm belief that Craig Steven Wright satisfies all three categories. For cryptographic proof in my presence, Craig signed and verified a message using the private key from block #1 newly-generated coins and from block #9 newly-generated coins (the first transaction to Hal Finney). The social evidence, including his unique personality, early emails that I received, and early drafts of the Bitcoin white paper, points to Craig as the creator. I also received satisfactory explanations to my questions about registering the bitcoin.org domain and the various time-of-day postings to the BitcoinTalk forum. Additionally, Craig’s technical working knowledge of public key cryptography, Bitcoin’s addressing system, and proof-of-work consensus in a distributed peer-to-peer environment is very strong.”

Wright himself infers that he is Nakamoto in a Monday blog post titled, “Jean-Paul Sarter, Signing and Significance”. He quotes Sartre,

“If I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre it is not the same thing as if I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prizewinner”

Then he writes,

“I remember reading that quote many years ago, and I have carried it with me uncomfortably ever since. However, after many years, and having experienced the ebb and flow of life those years have brought. I think I am finally at peace with he meant. If I sign Craig Wright, it is not the same as I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi.

I think this is true, but in my heart I wish it wasn’t”

Wright then posts a signature from a private key allegedly that belonged to Satoshi Nakamoto, and then engages in a lengthy explanation of the process of verifying cryptographic keys.

wrights-crypto-keyWell.. does this seem like a sane way to reveal that you are the Bitcoin Creator? I guess one should not be surprised that any inventor would at the least be eccentric.

Wright’s latest effort to claim the Satoshi mantle comes when many in the Bitcoin community thought that the entire Wright as Satoshi plot was put to rest. In late 2015, Gizmodo and Wired both conducted investigations and produced reports suggesting that Wright was Satoshi. However, that particular story line was rapidly debunked as an elaborate hoax, according to subsequent reports published by other news outlets and Wired itself. In an odd twist, the Australian Federal Police raided Wright’s home in New South Wales soon after these reports were filed, reportedly on behalf of the Australian Tax Office.

This time around, it also did not take long for skeptics and members of the Bitcoin establishment to deny Wright’s claim.

The Bitcoin Core group of developers post on Twitter the following:

Another of the original Bitcoin developers, Jeff Garzik, concurred that Wright had not proven that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. According to a Motherboard report, Garzik claims:

“Right now, the cryptographic ‘evidence’ presented could have been produced by anyone. It was an old already-signed message.”

Tech-entrepreneur and Bitcoin evangelist, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, had the most reasonable response to the latest news about Wright’s claims.

Some market observers believe the drama over Wright’s claims and the reaction from the industry have impacted the price of Bitcoin. However, the price had already taken a major drop on 26 April a result of profit taking.

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