Craig Steven Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto – Maybe, the Leader of the Team
Have you already bought into the idea of Craig Steven Wright being Satoshi Nakamoto?
There is a growing voice saying not so fast! Indeed, the shadow of doubt is growing every passing moment as members of the Bitcoin community pour over the evidence that he has put on the table.
This can be witnessed on various Bitcoin forums, such as the Bitcoin subReddit, where some enthusiasts are expressing their disbelief. They could be wrong. They could right. Who knows at this point?
Andreas M. Antonopoulos is one of those who have come out to question the validity of Craig Steven Wright’s claims. The author of Mastering Bitcoin, a Bitcoin security expert and common speaker on Bitcoin matters around the world, has alleged in a Reddit post that he was approached to identify Craig Steven Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto.
“If Satoshi Nakamoto wants to ‘prove’ their identity,” he observed, “they don’t need an ‘authority’ to do so. They can do it in a public, open manner.”
Others have chosen to ridicule Craig Steven Wright’s step. Charlie Lee who is the creator of Litecoin has posted his proof of being Litecoin’s creator in a short blog post. He also tweeted out his proof with the following message: “Here’s my proof. Simple. No need to have a proof ceremony and a long blog post.”
One person has even accused Craig Steven Wright of plagiarizing his work in announcing himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. JP Richardson, who is the co-founder of Exodus, a bitcoin and Ethereum wallet, stated in a blog post that some of the data that Craig Steven Wright used in his article proving his legitimacy were stolen from his old posts.
You can’t blame the doubting Thomases, though. There have been countless outings of Satoshi Nakamoto before. And all of them have only turned out to be hoaxes or, at least, over-excited journalists acting on speculations.
It is important to note that this is not the first time fingers are being pointed at Craig Steven Wright as the likely face to the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
Back in December 2015, two online technology news sites, Wired and Gizmodo, ran stories that he was the Bitcoin inventor. They provided documents and other forms evidence to prove it. Most of this data was acquired through hacking Mr. Steven Wright’s communications and those of his close associates.
Back then, Mr. Craig Wright did not confirm nor deny the reports.
About the same time, he had a dispute running between him and the Australian authorities over tax evasion accusations. The police did raid his home taking with them some documents and computers.
Back to the present…
Setting the record straight
On Monday 2nd May 2016, Mr. Craig Wright invited The Economist, BBC and GQ Magazine to a press conference in London. “I’m not seeking publicity, but want to set the record straight,” he told them.
He explained that people making assumptions (perhaps in reference to the suspicion created last December by Wired and Gizmodo) about him was impacting negatively on his personality, family, work, and his staff. Thus, he was of the opinion that by coming out, people will leave him and those close to him alone.
Apparently at the press conference, Craig Steven Wright was able to sign a message using a private pair of the public key associated with Satoshi Nakamoto. This was to prove that, indeed, he was Satoshi Nakamoto.
He has also went ahead and penned an article on his blog providing further details and evidence to help members of the Bitcoin community and others who are interested confirm his pronouncements.
It is the evidence in this article that seems to be falling apart under scrutiny.
Of even most interest, however, were the collaborating messages that were issued by a few of the most respected members of the Bitcoin community.
Gavin Andresen was the first core developer known to have worked with Satoshi Nakamoto. It is to him that Satoshi Nakamoto left the project when he took leave sometime in late 2010.
Gavin Andresen has come out to declare that indeed Craig Steven Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. “I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin,” he stated in a blog post.
He also disclosed in the same blog post that he did meet Craig Steven Wright some weeks before the latter outed himself.
“I was flown to London to meet Dr. Wright a couple of weeks ago,” he explained, “after an initial email conversation convinced me that there was a very good chance he was the same person I’d communicated with in 2010 and early 2011. After spending time with him, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi.”
It is a team, not an individual
Jon Matonis, the ex-founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation, is another person who has come out to collaborate on Craig Steven Wright claims. He has stated, also in a blog post, that he has no doubt that Craig Steven Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto.
“During the London proof sessions,” he has explained, “I had the opportunity to review the relevant data along three distinct lines: cryptographic, social, and technical. Based on what I witnessed, it is my firm belief that Craig Steven Wright satisfies all three categories.”
There is another person who has thrown in support for Craig Steven Wright. And that is Ian Grigg, a fellow Australian who is also an entrepreneur, software engineer, and cryptographer.
While his blog post has not received as much attention as those by Gavin Andresen and Jon Matonis, he claims a prior inside knowledge. Indeed, he has insinuated that he was part of team Satoshi Nakamoto to which Craig Steven Wright was the leader.
He has also confirmed the existence of more members of this team.
Apparently the late Dave Kleiman, American Forensic Computer expert who was found dead in his home in April 2013 Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was a critical player in this team.
Dave Kleiman was mentioned extensively in the December 2015 outing attempt of Craig Steven Wright by Wired and Gizmodo.
Ian Grigg does go on to insinuate that his death was far from natural. “The death of Kleiman left the team somewhat unbalanced,” he states, “and it played merry hell on the lives of those left in the team… Dave Kleiman died in suspicious circumstances, a story yet to be fully told.”
Throughout Ian Grigg’s article, he seems to emphasize that Satoshi Nakamoto was a team and not an individual. As a matter of fact, the title of his article is quite telling in this regard; “Satoshi is dead- long live Satoshi-Team leader comes out.”
While the article does give a different perspective to who or what Satoshi Nakamoto was or is, it does not, however, contradict what Craig Steven Wright told the media on Monday 2nd May 2016.
“I was the main part of it, but other people helped me,” that is what he told the journalists.
It is not clear, though, how much contribution Craig Steven Wright made to the project and what the other team members gave.
Nevertheless, even if in the end it is confirmed that Craig Steven Wright is telling the truth, it does make sense not to consider him Satoshi Nakamoto. The best title he could claim is that of the leader of the Satoshi Nakamoto team.
About the Author
Rupert Hackett is the Community Manager at BuyaBitcoin.com.au. Rupert specializes in the digital currency and digital payment space and is currently studying the world’s first Master’s in digital currencies alongside entrepreneurship. He writes for multiple bitcoin and tech websites and regularly blogs for buyabitcoin.com.au.