The Australian businessman Craig Wright has published a blog post in which he claims to be Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright shared these claims with three media outlets (the BBC, The Economist, and GQ) along with technical demonstrations designed to prove that he is the person who developed the concepts on which Bitcoin is built. The BBC claims that he has “provided technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin’s creator.”
Late last year, Gizmodo was provided with a cache of documents linking Craig Steven Wright, who was at the time based in Sydney, with the development of the digital currency. Dave Kleiman, an American computer forensics expert who died in 2013, also appeared deeply involved in Bitcoin’s creation, although his role was unclear based on the documents Gizmodo received and our subsequent reporting.
In a blog post on his website, Wright now explains:
[A]fter many years, and having experienced the ebb and flow of life those years have brought, I think I am finally at peace with what he meant. If I sign Craig Wright, it is not the same as if I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi...
Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research. I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready.
Satoshi is dead.
But this is only the beginning.
His florid admission references the Jean-Paul Sartre quote: “If I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre it is not the same thing as if I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prizewinner.”
After Gizmodo and Wired published stories about Wright last year, he quickly removed much of his digital presence from the internet. He now appears to have become a little less shy.
People closely involved with Bitcoin—including economist Jon Matonis—have told the BBC that they believe Wright’s claims to be accurate.
The Economist, however, approaches the news with a little more caution. After reviewing documents and interviewing Wright, it explains that he “could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain. Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin.”
Attempts to unmask the creator of Bitcoin in the past have proven unsuccessful. The New York Times, Fast Company, and the New Yorker all tried and failed before last December. Though perhaps the biggest foul-up was by Newsweek, which claimed in 2014 that Dorian Nakamoto was the man behind the crypto-currency. He wasn’t, though his birth name was Satoshi Nakamoto.
Documents linking Wright to Bitcoin, along with a public admission of his alter-ego and a demonstration of technical proof, certainly seem to be the most compelling evidence so far about the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Speaking to the BBC, Wright explained why he’d chosen to reveal himself:
“I have not done this because it is what I wanted. It’s not because of my choice... I really do not want to be the public face of anything... I would rather not do it. I want to work, I want to keep doing what I want to do. I don’t want money. I don’t want fame. I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone.”
Intriguingly, he refused to tell The Economist where the name “Satoshi” comes from, explaining that “some things should remain secret.” Even if Wright is definitely the father of Bitcoin, then, there are some things we may never know.
Correction 8:50 am: An earlier version of this post incorrectly suggested that cryptographer Hal Finney told the BBC that Wright’s connection to Bitcoin was legitimate. Only economist Jon Matonis did.