Bitcoin World Sceptical About Claims Craig Wright is Satoshi

(@joonian) | Published on December 9, 2015 at 15:00 BST
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The bitcoin world reacted with a mixture disbelief, open scepticism and aloofness at the latest claims that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym of Australian Craig S Wright.

Wired published a piece fingering Craig Wright as bitcoin's anonymous creator. Gizmodo also named Wright in an article published two hours after Wired. Both publications relied, in part, on a cache of leaked emails during their investigations.

Since then Wright's home and office have been raided by Australian tax authorities, who say the actions are unrelated to the publication of claims that he is Satoshi.

While mainstream media commentators and observers lauded the pieces for their rigour, the bitcoin world appeared unconvinced that Wright is indeed the man behind the world's most popular cryptocurrency.

Jeff Garzik, who has communicated with Satoshi Nakamoto directly, produced a tweetstorm casting doubt on the Wired and Gizmodo claims, saying that he is "reasonably confident" that he has never met the bitcoin inventor in person.

Whistleblower group Wikileaks also issued a string of tweets saying that it refutes the claim that Wright is Satoshi.

The organisation said it "assessed that Craig S Wright is unlikely to be the principal coder" behind bitcoin's invention, based on Wright's views on PayPal and hacktivist group Anonymous espoused in articles he wrote in 2011.

Wright wrote an article in July 2011 at expert explainer site The Conversation saying that he hoped PayPal would not be hacked by groups like Anonymous, at a time when the payments company was blocking donations to Wikileaks.

In August, in another piece at The Conversation, Wright wrote:

Simply put, the model in place is one of freedom. As much as we might want to rail against the corporate structure, PayPal represents freedom far more than groups such as LulzSec and Anonymous ever will.

R/Bitcoin was abuzz over the sensational claims, although the mood was decidedly sceptical. R3CEV's Tim Swanson perhaps summed it up best in this tweet:

Nathaniel Popper, who hypothesised that Nick Szabo is Satoshi in his account of bitcoin's early days, Digital Gold, was also doubtful about the Wright connection.

Popper tweeted that he was contacted by someone who wanted to "dox" Wright but that he didn't find the claims convincing at the time.

He said Wright's writing style didn't match Satoshi's understated and spare method. He also noted that Satoshi was a good speller where Wright, apparently, is not.

In a review of Popper's book, left on Amazon this September, Wright expressed his unhappiness about the "assumption that SN must be a bloody yank", and criticised the analysis of Satoshi's identity as "too limited".

Wright apparently wrote:

"I enjoyed the parts from 2012 most. I did not know most of this as I was too focused on my own work and missed the outside growth."

Perhaps the most succinct sentiment around the claims that a little known Australian man is bitcoin's creator was expressed by former Bitcoin Foundation executive director Patrick Murck, who tweeted:

Question mark image via Shutterstock

Craig WrightSatoshi Nakamoto

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