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Is Craig Wright the real inventor of Bitcoin? Facts check reveals main BTC inventor

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Many people have claimed, or have been claimed, to be Nakamoto Satoshi.

Some have considered that Nakamoto might be a team of people: Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher who read the bitcoin code, said that Nakamoto could either be a “team of people” or a “genius”; Laszlo Hanyecz, a developer who had emailed Nakamoto, had the feeling the code was too well designed for one person; Gavin Andresen has said of Nakamoto’s code: “He was a brilliant coder, but it was quirky.”.



The use of British English in both source code comments and forum postings, such as the expression “bloody hard”, terms such as “flat” and “maths”, and the spellings “grey” and “colour”, led to speculation that Nakamoto, or at least one individual in a consortium claiming to be him, was of Commonwealth origin. The reference to London’s Times newspaper in the first bitcoin block mined by Nakamoto suggested to some a particular interest in the British government.

In December 2015, two parallel investigations by Wired and Gizmodo suggested that Wright may have been the inventor of bitcoin. Subsequent reporting, however, raised concerns that Wright was engaged in an elaborate hoax.

Hours after Wired published their allegations, Wright’s home in Gordon, New South Wales and associated business premises in Ryde, New South Wales were raided by the Australian Federal Police. According to the AFP, the raid was part of an Australian Tax Office investigation.

On 2 May 2016, the BBC and The Economist published articles claiming that Wright had digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during the early days of bitcoin’s development. The keys are inextricably linked to blocks of bitcoins known to have been created or “mined” by Satoshi Nakamoto.[citation needed]

The same day a blog post on the website www.drcraigwright.net associated Wright with Satoshi and posted a message with a cryptographic signature attached. Security researcher Dan Kaminsky said in his blog that Wright’s claim was a scam and bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik agreed that evidence publicly provided by Wright does not prove anything. Jordan Pearson and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai said that, “Wright simply reused an old signature from a bitcoin transaction performed in 2009 by Satoshi.”

Earlier in an interview with the BBC, Wright had promised to give “extraordinary proof to an extraordinary claim.” He has yet to provide any verifiable evidence of his authorship of the original Satoshi whitepaper or collaboration with known early developers and refuses, or is unable, to provide the one piece of evidence which would prove his claim, the original Satoshi Nakamoto GPG private key. On Thursday, 5 May 2016, shortly before closing his blog, Wright sent around an email link to a news story site saying “Craig Wright faces criminal charges and serious jail time in UK”. Wright stated that “I am the source of terrorist funds as bitcoin creator or I am a fraud to the world. At least a fraud is able to see his family. There is nothing I can do.” The article Wright mentioned to O’Hagan has since been retracted.

In June 2016, the London Review of Books published an article by Andrew O’Hagan about the events, later included in his book The Secret Life: Three True Stories, in which O’Hagan spends several weeks with Wright at the request of Wright’s public relations team; which, as revealed in the book, was set up as a result of a business deal between Wright and various individuals including Calvin Ayre. O’Hagan was with Wright during the time of his various media interviews. O’Hagan also interviews Wright’s wife, colleagues and many of the other people involved in his claims. Wright claimed to O’Hagan that he had provided an invalid private key because he was unable to provide the valid one, as a result of legal obligations agreed as part of a previous Seychelles trust deal.

Wright told Finder in 2019 that bitcoin’s creation was a group effort, that he drove the project, and that Dave Kleiman and Hal Finney were involved.

Wright registered US copyright in the bitcoin white paper and the code for Bitcoin 0.1 in April 2019. A spokesman for Wright told the Financial Times that this was “the first government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin”;the United States Copyright Office issued a press release clarifying that this was not the case, and that “the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.”

In May 2019, Wright started using English libel law to sue people who accused him of lying about being the inventor of bitcoin, and who called him a fraud. Wright also served legal notices to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the cryptocurrency Ethereum, who called Wright a fraud; Roger Ver, an early bitcoin entrepreneur and advocate; and Peter McCormack, a podcaster.

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Many other people have also claimed to be Nakamoto Satoshi

Hal Finney
Hal Finney (4 May 1956 – 28 August 2014) was a pre-bitcoin cryptographic pioneer and the first person (other than Nakamoto himself) to use the software, file bug reports, and make improvements. He also lived a few blocks from a man named ‘Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto’, according to Forbes journalist Andy Greenberg. Greenberg asked the writing analysis consultancy Juola & Associates to compare a sample of Finney’s writing to Nakamoto’s, and found it to be the closest resemblance they had yet come across, including when compared to candidates suggested by Newsweek, Fast Company, The New Yorker, Ted Nelson, and Skye Grey. Greenberg theorized that Finney may have been a ghostwriter on behalf of Nakamoto, or that he simply used his neighbor Dorian’s identity as a “drop” or “patsy whose personal information is used to hide online exploits”; however, after meeting Finney, seeing the emails between him and Nakamoto and his bitcoin wallet’s history (including the very first bitcoin transaction from Nakamoto to him, which he forgot to pay back) and hearing his denial, Greenberg concluded that Finney was telling the truth. Juola & Associates also found that Nakamoto’s emails to Finney more closely resemble Nakamoto’s other writings than Finney’s do. Finney’s fellow extropian and sometimes co-blogger Robin Hanson assigned a subjective probability of “at least” 15% that “Hal was more involved than he’s said”, before further evidence suggested that was not the case.

Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto
In a high-profile 6 March 2014 article in the magazine Newsweek, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman identified Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese American man living in California, whose birth name is Satoshi Nakamoto, as the Nakamoto in question. Besides his name, Goodman pointed to a number of facts that circumstantially suggested he was the bitcoin inventor. Trained as a physicist at Cal Poly University in Pomona, Nakamoto worked as a systems engineer on classified defense projects and computer engineer for technology and financial information services companies. Nakamoto was laid off twice in the early 1990s and turned libertarian according to his daughter, and encouraged her to start her own business “not under the government’s thumb.” In the article’s seemingly biggest piece of evidence, Goodman wrote that when she asked him about bitcoin during a brief in-person interview, Nakamoto seemed to confirm his identity as the bitcoin founder by stating: “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

The article’s publication led to a flurry of media interest, including reporters camping out near Dorian Nakamoto’s house and subtly chasing him by car when he drove to do an interview. During the subsequent full-length interview, Dorian Nakamoto denied all connection to bitcoin, saying he had never heard of the currency before, and that he had misinterpreted Goodman’s question as being about his previous work for military contractors, much of which was classified.[38] In a Reddit “ask-me-anything” interview, he claimed he had misinterpreted Goodman’s question as being related to his work for Citibank. Later that day, the pseudonymous Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account posted its first message in five years, stating: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” In September, the account posted another message saying it had been hacked, raising questions over the earlier message’s authenticity.

Nick Szabo
In December 2013, blogger Skye Grey linked Nick Szabo to the bitcoin white paper using an approach he described as stylometric analysis.Szabo is a decentralized currency enthusiast, and had published a paper on “bit gold”, one of the precursors of bitcoin. He is known to have been interested in using pseudonyms in the 1990s. In a May 2011 article, Szabo stated about the bitcoin creator: “Myself, Wei Dai, and Hal Finney were the only people I know of who liked the idea (or in Dai’s case his related idea) enough to pursue it to any significant extent until Nakamoto (assuming Nakamoto is not really Finney or Dai).”

Financial author Dominic Frisby provides much circumstantial evidence but, as he admits, no proof that Nakamoto is Szabo. Szabo has denied being Nakamoto. In a July 2014 email to Frisby, he said: “Thanks for letting me know. I’m afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I’m used to it.” Nathaniel Popper wrote in The New York Times that “the most convincing evidence pointed to a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo.”

Craig Wright
See also: Craig Steven Wright § Bitcoin
On 8 December 2015, Wired wrote that Craig Steven Wright, an Australian academic, “either invented bitcoin or is a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did”. Craig Wright took down his Twitter account and neither he nor his ex-wife responded to press inquiries. The same day, Gizmodo published a story with evidence supposedly obtained by a hacker who broke into Wright’s email accounts, claiming that Satoshi Nakamoto was a joint pseudonym for Craig Steven Wright and computer forensics analyst David Kleiman, who died in 2013. Wright’s claim was supported by Jon Matonis (former director of the Bitcoin Foundation) and bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen.

A number of prominent bitcoin promoters remained unconvinced by the reports.[55] Subsequent reports also raised the possibility that the evidence provided was an elaborate hoax, which Wired acknowledged “cast doubt” on their suggestion that Wright was Nakamoto. Bitcoin developer Peter Todd said that Wright’s blog post, which appeared to contain cryptographic proof, actually contained nothing of the sort. Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik agreed that evidence publicly provided by Wright does not prove anything, and security researcher Dan Kaminsky concluded Wright’s claim was “intentional scammery”.

In May 2019, Wright started using English libel law to sue people who denied he was the inventor of bitcoin, and who called him a fraud. In 2019 Wright registered US copyright for the bitcoin white paper and the code for Bitcoin 0.1. Wright’s team claimed this was “government agency recognition of Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto”; the United States Copyright Office issued a press release clarifying that this was not the case (as they primarily determine whether a work is eligible for copyright, and do not investigate legal ownership, which, if disputed, is determined by the courts).

Other candidates
In a 2011 article in The New Yorker, Joshua Davis claimed to have narrowed down the identity of Nakamoto to a number of possible individuals, including the Finnish economic sociologist Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta and Irish student Michael Clear, who was in 2008 an undergraduate student in cryptography at Trinity College Dublin. Clear strongly denied he was Nakamoto, as did Lehdonvirta.

In October 2011, writing for Fast Company, investigative journalist Adam Penenberg cited circumstantial evidence suggesting Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry could be Nakamoto. They jointly filed a patent application that contained the phrase “computationally impractical to reversein 2008, which was also used in the bitcoin white paper by Nakamoto. The domain name bitcoin.org was registered three days after the patent was filed. All three men denied being Nakamoto when contacted by Penenberg.

In May 2013, Ted Nelson speculated that Nakamoto was Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki. Later, an article was published in The Age newspaper that claimed that Mochizuki denied these speculations, but without attributing a source for the denial.

A 2013 article in Vice listed Gavin Andresen, Jed McCaleb, or a government agency as possible candidates to be Nakamoto.

In 2013, two Israeli mathematicians, Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir, published a paper claiming a link between Nakamoto and Ross Ulbricht. The two based their suspicion on an analysis of the network of bitcoin transactions, but later retracted their claim.

In 2016, the Financial Times said that Nakamoto might have been a group of people, mentioning Hal Finney, Nick Szabo and Adam Back as potential members. In 2020, the YouTube channel Barely Sociable claimed that Adam Back, inventor of bitcoin predecessor Hashcash, is Nakamoto. Back subsequently denied this.

Elon Musk denied he was Nakamoto in a tweet on 28 November 2017, responding to speculation the previous week in a medium.com post by a former SpaceX intern.

In 2019, journalist Evan Ratliff claimed drug dealer Paul Le Roux could be Nakamoto.

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Fact remains that till date, nobody has been established as the original and authentic inventor of Bitcoin, this is believed to be one of the reason why the cryptocurrency remains one of the strongest among many.

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