Craig Wright

Kristina Uffe

An Australian entrepreneur called Craig Wright (pictured above) has spent the last few months trying to prove that he is someone called Satoshi Nakamoto. Yesterday he gave up on his quest, but the mission to reveal who Satoshi really is remains important.

Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of the presumed creator of bitcoin, a digital currency that is pegged to the cost of computation. Wright hired a PR firm to sell himself to the BBC, the Economist and GQ as Satoshi, and set up an elaborate proof demonstration in a London hotel room. He also wrote a blog post attempting to explain his claim.

Within minutes of his story going live, Wright’s proof was torn apart by encryption experts and the bitcoin community. Patrick McKenzie, a widely respected programmer, posted his attempt to verify the proof, showing that it failed. Security researcher Dan Kaminsky posted evidence that the digital signature which Wright said proved he is Satoshi was actually copied from a web page of the public record of bitcoin transactions.

Speculation over the identity of bitcoin’s creator has gone on for years, with investigative journalists fingering a Japanese mathematician, a Finnish sociologist and the creator of Silk Road — the online black market — among others.

Will the real Satoshi…

There are two reasons why it matters who the real Satoshi Nakamoto is. The less important one is that as the inventor of the currency, he was generating (“mining”) bitcoin back when it was very easy to earn what would now be thousands of dollars in a few seconds, using just a simple desktop computer. As a result, Satoshi …

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