03 May 2016
by Reuters

Australian Craig Steven Wright reveals himself as Bitcoin's mysterious mastermind Satoshi Nakamoto

Craig Wright was confirmed as Bitcoin founder on Monday.

Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright on Monday told the BBC he was the creator of controversial digital currency Bitcoin, ending years of speculation about a person who until now has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.

The BBC said Wright gave technical proof supporting his claim to using Bitcoins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator. It said prominent members of the Bitcoin community had also confirmed Wright's claim and said Wright repeated the claim to The Economist and GQ.

"I was the main part of it, but other people helped me,"

the BBC quoted Wright as saying. The Economist however said it was not entirely convinced.


The scene outside Craig Steven Wright's Sydney home in December 2015 after a police raid.
"Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain," it said. "Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin."

Despite its use initially being restricted to tech insiders, Bitcoin has steadily gained popularity, with mainstream banks and the Australian Stock Exchange considering adopting its "blockchain" public ledger model for managing transactions.

Wright directs at least two companies, Hotwire and Panopticrypt, and was previously a shareholder and director in various others.

He was listed as chief executive on the website of a Bitcoin-related company, DeMorgan, which described him as a digital forensic expert and trainer with the Australian Federal Police who "leads DeMorgan through inventing new technologies".

The Sydney businessman, who lives in Gordon on Sydney's upper north shore, last year became the latest in a line of men alleged to be the creator of Bitcoin, a currency that has attracted the interest of banks, speculators, criminals and regulators.

Wired magazine, which along with fellow US publication Gizmodo published a story outing Wright based on a stash of leaked documents and emails, called him a genius.

The cases showed leaked emails, documents and web archives of blog posts authored by Wright which referenced Bitcoin and Nakamoto, including before the e-currency was launched. A liquidation report revealed Wright's company, Hotwire, was backed by $30 million in capital, "injected via bitcoins".

In December, Wright's Sydney home and office were raided by the Australian Federal Police after the media reports linking him to Nakamoto were published.

Police at the time referred all inquiries about the raids to the Australian Tax Office, which said it could not comment on "any individual's or entity's tax affairs" due to legal confidentiality.

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

Unlike traditional currency, bitcoins are not distributed by a central bank or backed by physical assets like gold, but are "mined" by users who use computers to calculate increasingly complex algorithmic formulas.

Bitcoin experts say that unmasking Satoshi Nakamoto would be significant for the industry. Not only would the proven founder likely hold some sway over the future of the bitcoin protocol, but Nakamoto may also hold enough bitcoin to influence its price.

As an early miner of bitcoins, Nakamoto is sitting on about 1 million bitcoins, worth more than $400 million at present exchange rates, according to bitcoin expert Sergio Demian Lerner.