An update on that Satoshi matter

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Satoshi is not Craig Wright. Here’s an update on why not, and the only reliable way to spot the real deal.

Last week Wired magazine published an article claiming that an Australian computer scientist and businessman called Craig Wright was very likely to be Satoshi Nakamoto. It looked very convincing at first - certainly far more so than Newsweek’s disastrous 2014 attempt to unmask a model railway enthusiast as the creator of the world’s first peer-to-peer online currency - but the holes in the story soon became apparent.

Read also: Something about the new Satoshi isn't Wright


Every 'unmasking' of Satoshi has run into immediate doubt - and this one was no different

There’s a lot that could be said here, so I’ll confine it to bullet points to keep it simple:

  • Wright is not Nakamoto
  • Documents purporting to be unsent emails between Wright and his associate Dave Kleiman, a computer security expert, were ‘leaked’ or ‘hacked’ (depending on which version you read) to Wired, Gizmodo and apparently other news organisations. This immediately raises questions of the hacker/leaker’s motive, and whether they were, in fact, Wright himself.
  • Wright’s Sidney home was raided by the police in connection with a tax dispute the same day that the Wired story broke. This is a coincidence at best, and possibly something more meaningful - directly or indirectly related to what now appears to be a hoax or worse.
  • The ‘leaked’ documents reference 1,100,111 bitcoins that were transferred from Wright to Kleiman, to be returned in 2020. No such transfer is recorded on the blockchain. The coins mined by Satoshi in bitcoin’s early days have remained in their original addresses. Thus no transfer in any meaningful sense (entailing giving up control of those coins) ever happened.
  • PGP keys supposedly belonging to Satoshi in the documents were faked and backdated.
  • An email from the ‘real’ Satoshi’s account to the bitcoin-dev list - claiming ‘I am not Craig Wright. We are all Satoshi’ - is unauthenticated. The address was allegedly hacked last year and the email may in any case have been spoofed.
  • There is only one PGP key known to be associated with Satoshi Nakamoto. This would be the most and possibly only convincing proof of identity, and all that is required to be conclusive. It has not been used since Satoshi said he had ‘moved on to other things’ in an email to bitcoin devs sent in April 2011. 
  • Satoshi's last public post on the bitcointalk forum was on 12 December 2010. Previous posts are frequent and regular, and he shows no indication that he is leaving.
  • That’s about it. The rest is commentary. Wright is not and almost certainly cannot be Nakamoto. The most likely explanation for the claim that he was lies in those 1.1 million bitcoins of which he is supposed to have deferred ownership.

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