This week saw a big upheaval in the Bitcoin world as Craig Wright declared that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious man who started the Bitcoin phenomenon. The claim has been lauded and questioned by the Bitcoin community. Although Bitcoin was developed as an open-source system, ensuring that no backdoors are in place, having the Bitcoin inventor be active again can mean quite a few factors changing in the Bitcoin world.
For one, if Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, then he will have access to Satoshi Nakamoto’s wallet. Estimates put the amount of Bitcoin in the wallet at over a million bitcoins. Having it become active again can mean significant market movement in Bitcoin prices. Furthermore, considering that these bitcoins would be worth around $450 million in total, the authorities would be quite interested in how Wright will move forward.
A brief overview
Craig Wright is not a newcomer to the spotlight. Last year, Wired and Gizmodo started parallel investigations in figuring out who exactly was Satoshi Nakamoto. Both investigations ended up with Wright as the number one candidate for being the Bitcoin creator. Wright’s career in information technology and involvement with online businesses can be traced back to the late 90s and gave him the necessary background for developing Bitcoin. When the two sites broke the news, Wright vehemently denied the claims. His home still ended up getting raided by the Australian Tax Office, though.
It seems that this close shave got Wright thinking. This Monday, he formally announced his admission, providing cryptographic evidence that he was Satoshi Nakamoto to three separate news sources: BBC, GQ, and the Economist. He claims to have been forced by recent events.
Quoting Wright from the BBC article:
“There are lots of stories out there that have been made up and I don’t like it hurting those people I care about…I don’t want any of them to be impacted by this.”
This does not mean the end of the story, though. Many doubt Wright’s claims, even with support from Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen, two Bitcoin community leaders. Doubters say that the cryptographic evidence he presents does not prove anything, with some even claiming that it is all a hoax.
Extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims
With many doubting Wright’s claims, he has decided to take it up a notch. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, after all. This is why Wright will prove his credentials by moving bitcoins from one of the earliest accounts on the Bitcoin network to another. Wright previously claimed he would not be able to do so since the money was controlled by a trust, which restricted its movement. He is currently negotiating for access to move it.
Some critics say that this is still not enough. The only proof some of them would take is for Wright to move bitcoins that came from the Genesis block, the first Bitcoin block mined, or for him to sign a message with a private key from that block. This would be the definitive proof of Wright being Satoshi Nakamoto.
With the ball in his court, everyone in the Bitcoin world is waiting for Craig Wright’s next move.