The False Prophet from Down Under

4 min read

From the Land Down Under

A relatively obscure Australian computer programmer made headlines back in 2016 when he stated on his blog that he and a deceased computer analyst named David Kleiman were, in fact, the men behind the Satoshi Nakamoto pseudonym.

Born in Brisbane, Australia the 46-year- old known as Craig Steven Wright attended Charles Sturt University where we claimed to have studied economics and financial modeling on his way to earning a Ph.D. in computer science. This would be just the sort of background one might expect from the founder of the famed cryptocurrency.

Some background that makes sense

Craig Wright, who claims to have created Bitcoin

Throughout the course of his career, Wright had worked in information technology, as a security consultant, and an information systems manager. Moreover, he was also the CEO of a company that planned to start the world’s first bitcoin-based bank. This would seem to fall in line with what many would expect the career path of a man claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto to look like.

Adding to Wright’s case is the fact that Bitcoin Foundation director Jon Matonis supported his claim. Matonis even stated that “in my presence, Craig signed and verified a message using the private key from block #1 newly-generated coins and from block #9 newly-generated coins (the first transaction to Hal Finney).” Bitcoin developer Gavin Anderson also claimed to have witnessed a similar demonstration from Wright. The Australian even created a blog post that allegedly provided cryptographic proof that he was Satoshi Nakamoto.

In other words, we have a man who would appear to have the background required to create Bitcoin, two seemingly credible witnesses to corroborate his story, and even cryptographic proof.

It would seem our case is closed; We have found Satoshi Nakamoto…right?

Not so fast friends!

Some missing links in his story

While Wright did have several computer related master’s degrees from Charles Sturt University, the school told Forbes that he did not earn a Ph.D. in computer science there, as his LinkedIn profile claimed.

Moreover after examining the “cryptographic proof,” Dan Kaminski, who is a well-known security researcher, created a blog post that stated, “Satoshi signed a transaction in 2009. Wright copied that specific signature and tried to pass it off as new.” Bitcoin developer Peter Todd concurred with Kaminski’s assessment by saying, “It would be like if I was trying to prove that I was George Washington and to do that provided a photocopy of the Constitution and said, look, I have George Washington’s signature.”

An article created by author Andrew O’Hagan, made the case that the Canadian peer-to-peer payment company known as nTrust was actually responsible for Wright’s claim. The article went on to state that Wright struck a deal with the entrust CEO that would allow them to sell dozens of Bitcoin related patents which they would have access to if Wright were able to assume the mantle of Satoshi Nakamoto.

On May 2, 2016, Craig Steven Wright created yet another blog post stating he would publish several pieces that serve as the foundation for ultimately proving his claim. However, the next day he decided to delete all his previous blog posts and replaced them with one that read, “I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.”

Is Wright truly the man behind Satoshi Nakamoto or simply a pretender to the Bitcoin throne?

Join us next time for Finding Satoshi Nakamoto: Part 5-Bit Gold. And if you have missed the previous investigations in this series, check them out here to catch up!

To read more about Bitcoin, you can check out our resource page. We also have an article explaining Bitcoin and it’s history a bit!