from the a-bit-incoinvenient dept.
Wired and Gizmodo have named Craig Steven Wright (along with deceased American computer forensics expert Dave Kleiman) as the inventor of Bitcoin, known by the apparent pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Hours after their stories were published, the man's home was raided by the Australian Federal Police:
The latest attempt came this week from Wired magazine. Except this time, the story based its findings on numerous recorded links between the man and the identity of Nakamoto, through leaked emails, old blog posts and public documents. And then, just hours later, a twin story from tech website Gizmodo: more emails and documents, independent research, similar findings.
Their shared conclusion: It's probably a man named Craig Steven Wright, an Australian entrepreneur and academic, working with American computer forensics expert David Kleiman until his death in 2013.
And then, another few hours later: reports from Reuters and The Guardian that Australian police have raided Wright's home and office in Sydney. The authorities told The Guardian that the execution of search warrants was "to assist the Australian Taxation Office" but the "matter is unrelated to recent media reporting regarding the digital currency bitcoin."
The Register has some more details about Wright:
[More after the break.]
Wright's known business interests relate mostly to Bitcoin: as well as operating a BTC exchange, he has a company called Cloudcroft, which holds what's probably Australia's only privately owned Top-500 supercomputer – C01N operated by Tulip Trading.
The umbrella company most associated with Wright, DeMorgan, lists security, banking and finance, maths, AI and software development as well as cryptocurrency.
Earlier this year, DeMorgan had high hopes of turning its research into government R&D tax credits, as is outlined in this press release [PDF - google cache link - original has 404'ed] – crucially, DeMorgan said its work could be worth up to AU$54m ($39m, £26m) under AusIndustry's R&D tax incentive scheme. Worth AU$54m to DeMorgan, that is.
Both articles claim that if Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, he may be holding Bitcoins currently worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cornell computer science professor Emin Gün Sirer has posted a blog on MIT Technology Review reacting to the recent news 'outing' the Australian Craig Steven Wright as the person most likely to be 'Satoshi Nakamoto', the creator of Bitcoin. The WIRED story presents evidence both for and against the Wright-as-Satoshi hypothesis; for starters, Wright is supposedly a polymath with two Ph.Ds who has dabbled in finance, has spent considerable time in the cyber-underground, and has a huge stash of coin. Most tellingly, there are a series of blog posts and emails referencing Bitcoin made by Wright in 2008 and 2009, coinciding almost to the day with posts made by Satoshi to the cryptography mailing list. But the WIRED story points out that there is evidence that the blog posts were edited by Wright in 2013 to include the Bitcoin references, raising the possibility of a hoax. And Wright's awesome Linkedin profile seems to have been recently deleted.
More doubts about Wright (warning: possible paywall) here.
Sirer thinks the press, and the Internet, are looking for Satoshi in the wrong place. Rather than look for a polymath and uber geek with an amazingly broad range of knowledge and interests, we should look at the limited community of individuals who have expertise in consensus algorithms and protocols; in other words, a specialist. Furthermore, the person would almost certainly be one who makes mental models and presents arguments in the same manner as Satoshi; Sirer calls this a "mental signature". Sirer says that Wright doesn't satisfy either of these criteria, based on his personal dealings with the man.
But who could be a match? Sirer:
Interestingly, I have come across one person who was a perfect fit. That person had precisely the same intellectual signature as Satoshi, and could have written, word for word, some of Satoshi's forum posts.
Sirer then goes on to say why he won't disclose his suspect - not that he's 100 percent sure he's got the man (or woman).