The search for Bitcoin creator "Satoshi Nakamoto" could be over, again. Almost two years since Newsweek erroneously doxxed a 64-year-old Japanese-American man living in California, the man himself has apparently come forward. So, who is he? According to a joint-investigation between the BBC, The Economist and GQ, the figure behind the cryptocurrency is Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright.
In a meeting with the three media organizations, Wright signed messages using keys that were created shortly after Bitcoin was developed. He also penned his own blog post detailing his involvement. Experts were apparently able to link the keys back to blocks of bitcoins that were mined by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. There have always been trails to these transactions, or more specifically Nakamoto, but it's the first time anyone has come forward with proof that they might actually own the keys.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because Wright has been the leading candidate since August last year. With help from dark-web analyst Gwern Branwen, Wired trawled through email archives, transcripts and now-deleted blog posts and put Wright firmly in the crosshairs. The Australian reportedly said: "I did my best to try and hide the fact that I've been running Bitcoin since 2009," and "People love my secret identity and hate me," in some of his messages.
Just a day after he was publicly outed, Australian Federal Police raided the businessman's rented home and registered offices and found "substantial computer system" that required a three-phase electrical setup for additional power. The raid wasn't thought to be linked to his Bitcoin exploits, but the existence of a number-crunching computer stacked more evidence in his favor.
That said, not everyone is convinced by today's revelation. American security researcher Dan Kaminsky attempted to validate the signature provided as proof by Wright and was unsuccessful. Alongside the blog post, numerous threads in the /r/Bitcoin subreddit claim that the signature is simply a copy of the one that was used in Satoshi Nakamoto's 2009 Bitcoin transaction.
By coming forward, Wright says he hopes to put an end to press speculation about the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Since the December raid, he claims he has been hounded by reporters looking to confirm his secret identity and it's begun to weigh heavy on relationships with friends and family. However, with numerous sources now questioning the authenticity of his claims, Wright may be called upon again to provide additional evidence to prove that he is the man behind the cryptocurrency.
"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," he told the BBC. "I would rather not do it. I want to work, I want to keep doing what I want to do. I don't want money. I don't want fame. I don't want adoration. I just want to be left alone."