The identity of Bitcoin creator “Satoshi Nakamoto” may have been revealed. Australian businessman Craig Wright claims to be the man behind the mask.
While several key figures in the Bitcoin community say they believe Wright’s claim, others have demanded more evidence. The problem is that definitive proof may be difficult or even impossible given the anonymized nature of some elements of cryptocurrency.
Wright says he has stepped forward after speculation that he might indeed be “Nakamoto” led to journalists going after people that he knew in an attempt to get more information.
He backed up his claim by providing technical details for inspection by the BBC, GQ and The Economist. These details include the crypotographic key used for the first recorded Bitcoin transaction in 2009. However, while the BBC cites a Bitcoin expert as saying he was satisfied with the proof offered by Wright, The Economist said that:
Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain. Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin.
Wright has now published details of his claim on a personal blog.
While Wright has asked to be left alone after the revelation, there may be economic and tax consequences. “Nakamoto” appears to have around a million Bitcoins, which would have a current value of around $450 million. Wright was visited by Australian tax officials shortly after the speculation about his identity began and while that was said to be for an unrelated matter, it seems highly likely they’ll be very interested in the unmasking.
If Wright really is “Nakamoto” that also means the community can now identify the individual who controls around six percent of the entire cryptocurrency. Despite his pleas, that’s likely to attract a lot of attention given how his decisions about if, when and how he sells the Bitcoins for cash could have a significant effect on the exchange rate and in turn Bitcoin’s value.