Bitcoin is a virtual currency built around a complicated cryptographic protocol and a global network of computers that oversees and verifies which coins have been spent by whom. Its anonymous nature means it is a popular choice for criminal activity as it is extremely difficult to trace who is spending Bitcoin.
The currency’s creator (or creators, perhaps) is proving just as difficult to trace.
You may remember Newsweek creating headlines around the world when it “outed” the creator of digital currency Bitcoin as being a 64-year-old Japanese American living near Los Angeles.
The magazine said it had found the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the man whose name has been linked with the creation of the currency. That “scoop” apparently proved false – Dorian Nakamoto (birth name Satoshi) ended up suing Newsweek after he said his life was turned completely upside down.
The article from Wired says Bitcoin creator “Satoshi Nakamoto” is a pseudonym used by a 44-year-old Australian cryptologist named Craig Steven Wright.
Wired’s Andy Greenberg and Gwen Branwen write, “Either Wright invented bitcoin or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.”
Wired cite leaked documents show communication between Dr Wright and his lawyers in which he is reported to have said: “I did my best to try and hide the fact that I’ve been running Bitcoin since 2009. By the end of this I think half the world is going to bloody know.”
Trying to reach Dr Wright proved to be of no avail. His blog was taken offline shortly after Wired published its report, while Dr Wright’s Twitter account went from being protected to being deleted altogether.
Wired is quick to preemptively point out the potential holes in its theory – saying it could be a very elaborate hoax. The magazine said, “The unverified leaked documents could have been faked in whole or in par”. It continues, “But this much is clear: If Wright is seeking to fake his Nakamoto connection, his hoax would be practically as ambitious as bitcoin itself.”