The cryptocurrency world has been blown away by the latest claims of the possible revealing of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator.
Wired and Gizmodo, within hours of each other, published reasonably compelling reports backed by seemingly copious amounts of evidence. Wired argues that Craig Steven Wright, an Australian whose brilliance is reportedly in a league of its own, may very well be Satoshi. Gizmodo suggests that Wright and David Kleiman, an IT forensics expert from Florida, were very possibly the co-creators.
Unlike previous attempts at discovering Satoshi, the latest seems to be backed by some fairly convincing evidence, though not conclusive.
Newsweek’s attempt in March 2014 turned out to be an utter disaster. It claimed Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto is Satoshi, but Dorian vehemently denied this. A New York Times report in May of this year turned up circumstantial evidence, but nothing concrete. It claimed Nick Szabo as the creator. Szabo too has denied the claims, and is reportedly uncomfortable discussing the matter.
The latest attempts link Wright, and possibly Kleinman to Nakomoto through a series of leaked e-mails, documents, interviews, PGP keys, and most importantly, Wright’s apparent claims and clues of being Satoshi himself. This is the first time where someone believed by the public to be Satoshi Nakamoto has actually claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
“In the last weeks, WIRED has obtained the strongest evidence yet of Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity,” Wired wrote. Gizmodo said, “A monthlong Gizmodo investigation has uncovered compelling and perplexing new evidence in the search for Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.”
It appears that both outlets obtained much of the same leaked evidence, and proceeded to fairly similar conclusions based on their respective investigations. Gizmodo indicated that much of the leaked evidence was hacked, while Wired did not indicate how it was obtained.
While the evidence is fairly compelling, it is curious why Satoshi seemingly did such a bad job covering his tracks. Satoshi has gained a reputation for making his anonymity a top priority, and he almost certainly has the known-how to ensure it. It is odd why he would irresponsibly leave a trail linking himself to his real-world identity, even in private correspondence with his closest confidants.
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Wired acknowledged that Wright may have deliberately dropped hints in order to falsely claim to be Satoshi. “Either Wright invented bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did,” said the authors.
The Hard Definition of Satoshi Nakamoto
Needless to say, a brilliant Bitcoin expert declaring himself as the creator doesn’t cut it.
The Satoshi Nakamoto claiming to have created Bitcoin published his work on P2P Foundation in early 2009. The e-mail address associated with his account on the forum is firstname.lastname@example.org. Gizmodo pointed to what may be the most telling evidence, which seemingly links Wright to this address.
A document apparently written by Kleiman to Wright ends by the former stating: “I lastly acknowledge that that I will not divulge the identity of the Key with ID C941FE6D nor of the origins of the email@example.com email.” The document deals with instructions regarding their “Tulip trust”, which reportedly possesses 1.1 million bitcoins (a similar quantity believed to be owned by Satoshi).
What makes this piece of evidence particularly interesting is the reported compromise of this e-mail address in September 2014. The incident wasn’t such a focus in the aforementioned articles, which had newly unearthed evidence to consider.
The story of the hacking went inexplicably quiet after a few days. Wall Street Journal even dismissed it as a hoax, and the supposed hacker failed to publicize one piece of telling evidence.
Nevertheless, one cannot deny the apparent evidence of firstname.lastname@example.org’s compromise, including the subsequent post to P2P Foundation. The hacker may have waited until recently before publicizing many of the documents supposedly discovered. Gizmodo says it obtained hacked evidence, and made brief mention of the incident.
During the hacking saga, Wired also reported correspondence with the individual apparently in control of the e-mail address at the time. He said he gained access because “the fool [Satoshi] used a primary gmx under his full name and had aliases set up underneath it. He’s also alive.”
At the time, the latter statement could have been interpreted as a response to the belief that Satoshi’s 1 million coins haven’t moved because he was dead. Now, it may take on a new meaning: Kleiman, who according to Gizmodo may have created Bitcoin with Wright, died in 2013. He may have been in possession of these coins, or perhaps was in possession of only half.