By Virgil Vaduva
Bitcoin and technology media is in a feeding frenzy over the revelations from Wired Magazine and Gizmodo about the latest news: Satoshi Nakamoto has been identified! And his name is Craig Steven Wright, an Australian man living in a modest Sidney home, who has a lot of “big computer equipment” in his basement, needing a lot of electricity.
In what appears to be an elaborate hoax played on the media, an unknown individual (or a group of individuals ), likely Craig Wright himself, managed to disseminate just enough circumstantial evidence in order to motivate an eager journalist to determine that he, namely Craig Wright, is Satoshi Nakamoto, the original creator of Bitcoin.
Virtually all of Wired Magazine’s original article is in essence concluding that Wright is Satoshi based on blog post time stamps dating as far back as 2008, supposed leaked e-mail messages and transcripts of conversations between Wright and New South Wales government employees. The Gizmodo article also attempts to use the same evidence to reach similar conclusions. The irony in all these explosive revelations is that all authors involved in the writing of the Wired and Gizmodo articles are going out of their way to not repeat the mistakes of the Newsweek 2014 article which erroneously outed an innocent bystander named Dorian Nakamoto as the creator of Bitcoin. They are using words like “probably” and even include an unambiguous disclaimer in the piece, stating,
Despite that overwhelming collection of clues, none of it fully proves that Wright is Nakamoto.
In October 2014, Dorian Nakamoto announced that he intended to sue Newsweek, and months after taking relentless mocking and heat from the general public, Newsweek appears to have moved the original piece on Nakamoto behind a paywall that ignores the “5 Free Articles” limit extended to non-subscribers. Having learned from Newsweek’s mistakes, perhaps Wired and Gizmodo are simply trying to have it both ways: create a massive amount of publicity and traffic, and be able to walk away from a highly controversial story saying that they never claimed with certainty that Wright is Satoshi .
Here is why I believe that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto:
- Time stamps on blog posts can be easily faked. A blog post’s date and time can easily be written today and made to look as if it was written in 2008.
- Any documents claimed to be “leaked” coming from anonymous sources can also be faked and manipulated. This includes audio recordings, transcripts and supposed e-mail messages.
- Wired’s claim that e-mail addresses used by Craig Wright are “very similar” to e-mail addresses used by Satoshi Nakamoto is just journalistic hyperbole and cannot be used to prove that Wright is Satoshi .
- The claims that PGP keys used by Wright and Satoshi are “linked to the creation of Bitcoin” also lack any substance. A PGP signature can offer concrete evidence of authorship, or verification that the person possessing the private key used to sign a specific file or e-mail message is in fact the true person behind the messages. Wright has not provided any such evidence, and this evidence should be easily provided. He could simply make a public post stating that he is Satoshi Nakamoto and sign that post with Satoshi’s original PGP key, which he has never use and can be found here: http://forum.bitcoin.org/Satoshi_Nakamoto.asc
- Satoshi Nakamoto has never shown the desire to be a media hog or a public person, while Wright has. Satoshi has always shown the desire to be private and live in the shadows; Wright has not.
- Wright is still mining Bitcoin. According to the Sidney police who have raided Wright’s home shortly after the Wired article was published, there was a substantial amount of equipment in Wright’s home, most likely used for Bitcoin mining. According to the landlord, Wright had a three phase, high amperage circuit pulled into the building, also indicating that a mining operation is ongoing. It is extremely unlikely that Satoshi would have a need to mine bitcoin as he mined the original genesis blocks. These bitcoin have never moved on the Blockchain since they were originally mined in January 2009. It is generally accepted that Satoshi has a ton of Bitcoin already, about 1 million of them. He would not spend valuable time and resources on mining activity that is no longer very profitable.
- Wright is in trouble with the government of New South Wales. While this does not prove much, we can speculate that this may be a ploy by Craig Wright to create publicity to advertise his business enterprises, one of which is a “Bitcoin bank” called DeMorgan LTD, a “pre-IPO” company which would greatly benefit financially from the suggestion that its founder and majority owner is Satoshi himself. Not coincidentally, the price of Bitcoin has gone up substantially since Wright’s claims were publicized.
It appears to be quite evident that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto. Until Wright provides some solid cryptographic evidence that he is Satoshi, Wired and Gizmodo should stick to celebrity boob-job news and try to resist the temptation to write sensational news which do not really benefit the Bitcoin community. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And the claims that Wright is Satoshi are very poor, at best.
Virgil Vaduva is a Libertarian security professional, journalist, photographer and overall liberty freak. He spent most of his life in Communist Romania and participated in the 1989 street protests which led to the collapse of the Ceausescu regime. He can be reached at vvaduva at truthvoice.com.