Two news outlets have claimed to have discovered the identity of mystery man “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the anonymous creator of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, unlike previous attempts at naming an individual the creator of bitcoin, the latest story is backed by convincing evidence, which identifies a man named Craig Steven Wright.
“We still can’t say with absolute certainty that the mystery is solved,” said Andy Greenberg and Gwern Branwen in their Wired report published Tuesday. “But two possibilities outweigh all others: Either Wright invented bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.”
Wired’s latest speculation is based on a trove of documents leaked to both Wired and Gizmodo, alongside some publicly available information found scouring the internet. Both Wired and Gizmodo published copies of the documents leaked, which include:
Archived blog posts published on Wright’s website, including a post published just one day after Bitcoin’s official 2009 launch. “This is decentralized,” Wright wrote in a short post that has since been deleted and replaced with a note reading “It does always surprise me how at times the best place to hide [is]right in the open.” Another post on Wright’s blog discusses his plan to release a “cryptocurrency paper” in August 2008, three months prior to the original Bitcoin paper being published in November 2008.
Leaked emails written by Wright, including one to an Australian senator regarding a tax dispute with the Australian government. “Would our Japanese friend have weight coming out of retirement?” Wright asked.
Wright’s PGP key for email was previously linked to an unknown individual identifying themselves as Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous bitcoin founder.
A transcript of a meeting between Wright and his lawyers, speaking on the same dispute. “I did my best to try and hide the fact that I’ve been running bitcoin since 2009,” Wright said speaking to his lawyers, according to the leaked transcript. “By the end of this I think half the world is going to bloody know.”
A major detailed obtained by Wired was an exchange between Wright and his friend David Kleiman, a computer forensics analyst, where Kleiman agrees to take control of the “Tulip Trust,” a stash of 1.1 million bitcoins. The amass of coins is worth more than $400 million in today’s prices, and is roughly the same size as the fortune that Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to be in control of, which is even publicly visible on bitcoin’s blockchain.
“No one but Nakamoto is known to have assembled such a massive hoard of the cryptocurrency, and only Nakamoto could have generated so many bitcoins so early in its evolution, when a bitcoin could be ‘mined’ with relatively small amounts of processing power,” said Greenberg and Branwen. “Only one such bitcoin megapile exists, and the closely-watched coins haven’t moved in bitcoin’s entire history.”
According to the rules of a trust fund codenamed, Tulip Trust, the 1.1 million bitcoins are to be held until 2020, but can only be accessed by Wright for research and “commercial systems that enhance the value of bitcoin.”
Kleimans official role in bitcoin is not clear from the trove of leaked documents, however Gizmodo suggested that Kleiman, who died in 2013, may have had a key role in the invention of the cryptocurrency.
Not all of the evidence was obtained from leaked documents. Last week Wired sent an encrypted email to Wright, suggesting they knew his secret and asked to meet with him in person.
“You are digging, the question is how deep are you?” was the cryptic response Wright replied with from the email address Tessier-Ashpool@AnonymousSpeech.com. The quote is a reference from a William Gibson novel and the email was sent from an IP address control by Vistomail, which Satoshi Nakamoto has used.
The latest reveal of the alleged bitcoin mystery man comes just after last year’s alleged identification of the man. The story which gained national headlines stated that a man named Dorian Nakamoto invented bitcoin, however he strongly denied all accusations and still does til this very day. What’s even more interesting is in leaked emails, Wright vented about his displeasure with the cover story on Nakamoto.
“I am not from the bloody USA! Nor am I called Dorien [sic],” read an email Write wrote to a colleague on March 6, 2014. The same day Newsweek published their largely discredited story. “I do not want to be your posterboy. I am not found and I do not want to be.”
Following the story on Wright begin the alleged inventor of Bitcoin alongside the trove of leaked documents begin published, Wright’s home was raided shortly after by police. Australian Federal Police said the officers “presence at Mr. Wright’s property is not associated with the media reporting overnight about bitcoins.”
To add a little more mystery to the story, Gizmodo reached out to Wright’s ex-wife who said her husband had worked on a digital currency around the time but called it “digital money.” Even more assuring is when a reporter approached Wright’s homes in Sydney, where they asked his current wife if he was the inventor of bitcoin. She smiled and promptly closed the door.