Rumor has it that Australian entrepreneur Craig Steven Wright may be behind the alias “Satoshi Nakamoto” to which the bitcoin’s creation has been attributed.
A bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of any kind of central bank. Users of bitcoins in the online marketplace are untraceable, so they’re often used to purchase drugs and other illegal products on the black market. Available bitcoins are hidden amid a complex encrypted computer program, so users’ computers have to work round the clock to solve a complicated mathematical problem in order to release new coins. The coins become harder and harder to find as time goes on, effectively slowing the flood of bitcoins into the market.
Because bitcoins have value but are untraceable and not lorded over by any kind of central bank, government officials aren’t exactly pleased by their existence.
A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police confirmed that the potential outing of Nakamoto has caught the attention of the Australian Federal Police, who have “conducted search warrants to assist the Australian Taxation Office at a residence in Gordon, NSW, and a business premises in Ryde, Sydney.”
Australian police officials have claimed that the raids were not conducted as a result of the reports of Nakamoto’s true identity first published by Gizmodo and Wired.
According to Gizmodo, “Satoshi Nakamoto” was the alias of two bitcoin innovators including Wright and the late U.S. computer forensics expert David Kleiman. Wright was the chief executive officer of DeMorgan, a company that announced in 2014 that it planned to open the first ever bitcoin-based bank.
Wired claimed that its report was based off of a host of leaked emails, transcripts, and accounting forms that link Wright to Nakamoto. Wired also claimed to have gained access to a deleted blog post that blatantly references Wright’s scheme to launch the bitcoin.
Further evidence for the connection between the men and the invention of the bitcoin system was given, but not everyone is convinced that the case is closed. Principal analyst of Tirias Research Kevin Krewell has his own opinions:
“My conclusion is that it’s way too early to point to Mr. Wright as the inventor of the bitcoin. The system is decentralized and can continue without its founder. Bitcoin is not unlike Linux, where the code is contributed to by many people around the globe, but unlike Linux, the founder/inventor Satoshi Nakamoto has not taken a visible role in the technology’s future.”
William Norton, as associate of Baker Donelson, is also unsure if Wright and Nakamoto are the same person:
“The bitcoin community that I have encountered seems very skeptical. They’re naturally a fairly conspiratorial group, but I think there are genuine questions outstanding.”
“If we need definitive evidence, ” he continued, “there should be a private key on the computers of the founder that would prove his identity. I image a good potion of the community will be skeptical until they see that.”