Australian Craig Wright has hit the news again, with The Guardian reporting that he had come forward with ‘evidence’ that he’s the Bitcoin founder, Satoshi Nakomoto. This is the second time he has surfaced in the news in recent months, with news outlets around the world having covered the story that he may be Satoshi back in November 2015.
Bitcoin is an alternative to traditional currency that uses various cryptographic methods to ensure transactions are secure, but without the need for a centralized issuing authority, such as a central bank. It is becoming more mainstream and many retailers now accept it. Naturally it is also used extensively in areas where cash previously afforded anonymity, such as purchasing illicit items on the ‘dark web’.
While several individuals are reported to have verified the claims, several IT security and tech experts have greeted the claims with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially as the proof offered relies entirely on the testimony of individuals who saw ‘private’ transactions rather than contained in the public statement itself as the BBC reports:
Jon Matonis, an economist and one of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he was convinced that Mr Wright was who he claimed to be.
“During the London proof sessions, I had the opportunity to review the relevant data along three distinct lines: cryptographic, social, and technical,” he said.
“It is my firm belief that Craig Wright satisfies all three categories.”
— the grugq (@thegrugq) May 2, 2016
Given "difficult" method of verification, I suspect smoke and mirrors. But even if valid, still not absolute proof Wright *is* Satoshi.
— Asher Langton (@AsherLangton) May 2, 2016
Several Redditors also took up the cause and it appears that the ‘proof’ provided in the public claim is little more than an electronic signature from an existing transaction that happened years ago using Bitcoin. That doesn’t seem to prove anything at this stage, so the only evidence is at the time of writing still behind closed doors, and as a consequence readers would be well advised to treat the media hype with caution before breaking out the champagne to celebrate the final appearance of the mysterious Satoshi whose Bitcoin invention has turned currency on it’s head.
Image by By Zach Copley – http://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/8705948289/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29007966