For most people, starring as the subject of a Wired profile and being described as a genius would probably serve as the highlight of the year. But then again, most people didn’t invent a crypto-currency that has evolved from a little-known Internet oddity to the payment form of choice among drug dealers, and on to an alternative currency adopted by privacy-minded individuals across the globe. For Craig Steven Wright, about whom evidence has now been released pointing to him as the founder of Bitcoin, identification was something to be avoided. But that seems no longer to be an option.
Shortly after both Wired and Gizmodo revealed the Australian as the man behind the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym, Wright’s house was raided by more than dozen Australian police officers — though a statement from the force claimed the raid was “not associated with the media reporting overnight about bitcoins.”
Since 2009, the true identity of Bitcoin’s founder has been a mystery that has stumped law enforcement agents and journalists alike. Previous attempts to unravel the great conundrum have proven unsuccessful over the last several years, with outlets from The New Yorker to Fast Company failing to reach any satisfying conclusions. But in their recent exposé, Wired points to a veritable treasure trove of information that points strongly toward Wright as Bitcoin’s founder.
Wright, who has “a master’s in law … a master’s in statistics, a couple doctorates …,” currently lists his position as the CEO of DeMorgan Ltd, a company “focused on alternative currency, next-generation banking, and reputational and educational products with a focus on security and creating a simple user experience.” But it is his past activity that both Wired and Gizmodo reporters believe points to his involvement in Bitcoin.
As Wired reports, a post from Wright’s blog, dated August 2008 (just three months before the debut of the bitcoin whitepaper) acknowledged his plans to publish a “cryptocurrency paper” as well as his interest in “triple entry accounting,” the title of financial cryptographer Ian Grigg’s 2005 paper that set the basis for a number of bitcoin-esque concepts.
Furthermore, a November 2008 blog post “includes a request that readers who want to get in touch encrypt their messages to him using a PGP public key apparently linked to Satoshi Nakamoto.” The email address linked to the PGP key was firstname.lastname@example.org, which bears a striking resemblance to email@example.com, the address Nakamoto used in distributing the whitepaper bitcoin. And perhaps most convincing is a now-deleted blog post from January 10, 2009, whose title is: “The Beta of Bitcoin is live tomorrow. This is decentralized … We try until it works.”
Though bitcoin was launched on January 9, Wired points out that if Wright were living in Eastern Australia at the time (as per his nationality), the time difference would place the post’s publication hours before the 3 pm EST launch.
Still, Wired concludes that its “overwhelming collection of clues” fails to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Wright is the man behind Satoshi Nakamoto. And it remains unclear why Wright’s home was raided on Wednesday. But one thing’s for sure — this Bitcoin mystery is just as interesting today as it was six years ago, and that’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing.