Australian computer scientist claims he is Satoshi Nakamoto who created bitcoins

Australian computer scientist claims he is the elusive Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto

The hunt for creator of world’s most popular cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin seems to have finally come to an end. Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright has publicly identified himself as “Satoshi Nakamoto,” founder of Bitcoin.

Wright has told three media organizations — the BBC, the Economist and GQ — that he is the father of Bitcoin. The computer scientist has also published a blog post that he says includes cryptographic proof for the claim.

Ever since Bitcoin was first created in 2009, the identity of its founder has been a secret. The Bitcoin creator used the name Satoshi Nakamoto but almost all bitcoin aficionados believe that this name is an alias.

The hunt for elusive Satoshi Nakamoto has led tech reporters on a wild good chase many a times. One time a Newsweek reporter, Leah McGrath Goodman claimed to have hunted him down only to be ridiculed by the man who was mistaken to be Satoshi. All the same, at least a dozen of people have in the past been named as Bitcoin creators or claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

The New Yorker ran an article in 2011 that suggested a graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College could be the founder. The student denied the claim and the matter came to a rest.

Now Wright has claimed he is the Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright’s claim is not new, in 2015,  Wired ran a story naming Wright as the Bitcoin inventor. “Either Wright invented Bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did,” Wired wrote at the time.

A screenshot from Craig Wright's blog showing his apparent plan to launch Bitcoin. The post has since been removed.
A screenshot from Craig Wright’s blog showing his apparent plan to launch Bitcoin. The post has since been removed.

Wright claims he came out as the founder of Bitcoin to “set the record straight” and “dispel the myths out there and unleash its potential to change the world for the better.” He published a blogpost on Monday seeking to remove all doubts among skeptics, he claims. In it, the computer scientist claims to verify the cryptographic keys to a key Bitcoin “block,” or group of transactions, that dates to the early days of the currency.

Wright’s claim has been backed by two leading Bitcoin developers, Jon Matonis and Gavin Andersen. Anderson, a chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, says that Wright demonstrated the supposed verifications keys to him at a meeting in London a couple of weeks ago. “After spending time with him I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi,” he said in a blog post.

Matonis, who is the founding director at Bitcoin Foundation, said he was also convinced Wright was the founder of Bitcoin, after attending a private proof session with him.

Other than these two, the Bitcoin community remains skeptical about Wright’s claims. Other Bitcoin developers say that publishing a blog claiming to be Nakamoto means nothing as anyone can do it. They also claim cryptographic keys found on Wright’s blog posts have been backdated.

“The page copies a signature out of the Bitcoin Blockchain from 2009,” said Greg Maxwell, the chief technology office at Blockstream, a Bitcoin startup.

Wright tried to convince the cryptographic procedure for a reporter in the Economist, which reported that, “as far as we can tell he indeed seems to be in possession of the keys.” “Our conclusion is that Mr. Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain,” Economist said in its report.

Wright did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. “Some people will believe, some people won’t,” he told the BBC. “And to tell you the truth, I don’t really care.”

He told the Economist and the BBC he was not seeking publicity. “I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone,” he said in a video posted by the BBC.

Wright’s claims about being Nakamoto do raise a fundamental question. Why did he wait for 6 years before claiming to “set the records straight.” Till Wright manages to convince all the skeptics and the Bitcoin community at large, the hunt for the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto is not over.

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