Bitcoin’s Mystery Creator Comes Forward — But Not Without Skeptics

An Australian computer scientist says he is indeed the mysterious creator of the digital currency, but some Bitcoin adherents question the validity of his claim

Craig Steven Wright, a 45-year-old Australian computer scientist, professed he is in indeed the founder Bitcoin, a person who has long been known simply by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has evolved to be worth billions of dollars. The creator of it has been an ongoing mystery, which heightened in interest as Bitcoin grew in value and its use became linked to illegal activities.

Newsweek caused a hubbub in 2014 with a cover story reporting it had uncovered the true Nakamoto, a Japanese man living in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. The story prompted a scrum of reporters to descend on his modest home and provoked a car chase after Dorian Nakamoto emerged from his house and picked a reporter at random to take him away for an exclusive interview. But he has repeatedly denied being Bitcoin’s founder.

Monday, after quoting philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Wright identified himself as the true Nakamoto in a post on his blog. The reveal follows a December outing, when hackers stole e-mails and documents from his computer and funneled them to technology news publications Wired and Gizmodo.

“Satoshi is dead. But this is only the beginning,” Wright wrote in is blog post, the bulk of which was dedicated to providing coding that he claimed proved his status as Bitcoin’s creator.

Before posting his blog entry, Wright conducted interviews with the BCC, the Economist and GQ. Later Monday, a key figure in the Bitcoin universe — Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation — published his own post supporting Wright’s claim.

But TechCrunch reported Monday that threads on Hacker News and Reddit are accumulating evidence doubting the claim. Some are speculating that Andresen may have been hacked.

Hacker News questions the signature in Wright’s post as being pulled straight from a transaction. It also notes that since the true Satoshi Nakamoto has only interacted with Bitcoin’s community through a mailing list, the founder could simply send an email there to reveal his identity. Redditors noted that Wright’s signed text lacks his name and date, which means the genuine founder could have signed the text and Wright could have usurped it to support a false claim.