RPT-UPDATE 6-Australian says he created bitcoin, but some sceptical – Reuters

6 months ago Comments Off on RPT-UPDATE 6-Australian says he created bitcoin, but some sceptical – Reuters

(Repeats story published on Monday, no change to text)

* Unmasking Nakamoto would solve bitcoin mystery

* Some sceptical that Wright is Nakamoto

* Wright’s blog mentions development of his “small

By Byron Kaye and Jemima Kelly

SYDNEY/LONDON, May 2 Australian tech
entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as the creator of
controversial digital currency bitcoin on Monday but experts
were divided over whether he really was the elusive person who
has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto until now.

Uncovering Nakamoto’s real identity would solve a riddle
dating back to the publication of the open source software
behind the cryptocurrency in 2008, before its launch a year

Bitcoin has since become the world’s most commonly used
virtual currency, attracting the interest of banks, speculators,
criminals and regulators.

Worth a total of $7 billion at current levels, it fell more
than 3 percent on Monday — a normal intraday move for the
volatile currency — after the news, to below $440 from around
$455, before recovering slightly.

Some online commentators suggested bitcoin’s creator could
help resolve a bitter row among the currency’s software
developers that threatens its future.

But Wright made no reference to the row in a BBC interview
identifying himself as Nakamoto, and as the protocol bitcoin
runs on is open-source and cannot be controlled by any one
person, it is unclear whether he would be able to influence the
way it develops.

“I was the main part of it, other people helped me,” Wright,
who is now living in London, told the BBC. “Some people will
believe, Some people won’t, and to tell you the truth, I don’t
really care,” he said.

Many bitcoiners said Wright had not done enough to
definitively prove that he was Nakamoto, who maintained his
anonymity throughout his involvement with bitcoin, which he
stepped away from in 2011.

But Gavin Andresen, who Nakamoto chose to succeed him,
published a blog post in which he described meeting Wright last
month and said he is “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that
the Australian is Nakamoto.

Jon Matonis, a founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation
now works as a bitcoin consultant, wrote a blog post on Monday
which, like Andresen’s, supported Wright’s claims.

“According to me, the proof is conclusive and I have no
doubt that Craig Steven Wright is the person behind the Bitcoin
technology, Nakamoto consensus, and the Satoshi Nakamoto name,”
Matonis wrote. He and Andresen also confirmed they had been
responsible for their respective blog posts to Reuters directly.


Nakamoto’s biggest likely legacy lies well beyond his
control. The blockchain technology that underpins the currency
could transform the way banks settle transactions, the way that
property rights and other vital data are recorded, and provide a
way for central banks to issue their own digital currencies.

The BBC reported on Monday that Wright gave some technical
proof demonstrating that he had access to blocks of bitcoins
known to have been created by bitcoin’s creator.

Researchers believe Nakamoto may be holding up to one
million of the more than 15 million bitcoins currently in
circulation, which would make the creator worth around $440

In a blog post also dated Monday, Wright posted an example
of a signature used by Nakamoto and an explanation of how
bitcoin transactions are verified and thanked all those who had
supported the project from its inception.

“This incredible community’s passion and intellect and
perseverance have taken my small contribution and nurtured it,
enhanced it, breathed life into it,” he wrote.

However he did not state directly that he was Nakamoto.
“Satoshi is dead,” he said. “But this is only the beginning.”

Bitcoin expert Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research
at Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Coin Center, said a new
message cryptographically signed using the private key
associated with the so-called Genesis block, the first ever
“mined” would have been more convincing.

The currency’s “miners” are incentivised to process
transactions every 10 minutes by a possible reward of bitcoins
(25 currently),which is how new bitcoins are created.

Wright also spoke with The Economist, but declined requests
from the magazine to provide further proof that he was Nakamoto.
His representatives told Reuters he would not be taking part in
more media interviews for the time being.

“Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto,
but that important questions remain,” The Economist said.
“Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable
doubt who really created bitcoin.”

Hopes that bitcoin would become broadly used helped buoy its
price to more than $1,000 in December 2013, when its market
capitalisation was $13 billion compared with today’s $7 billion.

Wright told The Economist he would exchange bitcoin he owns
slowly to avoid pushing down its price.


In December, police raided Wright’s Sydney home and office
after Wired magazine named him as the probable creator of
bitcoin and holder of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of
the cryptocurrency. At the time he made no comment.

The treatment of bitcoins for tax purposes in Australia has
been the subject of considerable debate. The Australian Tax
Office (ATO) ruled in December 2014 that cryptocurrency should
be considered an asset, rather than a currency, for capital
gains tax purposes.

On Monday, the ATO said it had no comment while police were
not immediately available for comment.

If Wright is Nakamoto he “is now the leader of a movement”,
said Roberto Capodieci, a Singapore-based entrepreneur working
on the blockchain, the technology underlying the currency.

That movement ranges from libertarian enthusiasts to central
banks experimenting with digital currencies, all of which pay
homage in some way to Nakamoto’s writings.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore, Matt
Siegel in Sydney and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Nick
Macfie, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Philippa Fletcher)

RPT-UPDATE 6-Australian says he created bitcoin, but some sceptical – Reuters