WIRED has been on a bit of a manhunt as of late (quite literally, actually). They were looking for the person behind Bitcoin, a digital currency that was first released on January 9th, 2009. Since it came into being, the currency has soared in popularity and use. In fact, the total value of all bitcoins is estimated to be just about $5 billion, and it is used for everything from video games to drug trafficking, from online purchases to international money transfers.
But despite it's popularity, it is still shrouded in mystery. Namely, we have no idea who made it (though the person, whoever they are, has more than a hundred million dollars worth of bitcoins).
The currency code was released by Satoshi Nakamoto (a pseudonym, of course) almost 7 years ago, and everyone from the New Yorker to Newsweek has tried to track down his (or her?) real identity—none had any success. However, Wired just released an article which claims that they may finally have an answer.
They write, "Wired has obtained the strongest evidence yet of Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity. The signs point to Craig Steven Wright, a man who never even made it onto any Nakamoto hunters’ public list of candidates, yet fits the cryptocurrency creator’s profile in nearly every detail. And despite a massive trove of evidence, we still can’t say with absolute certainty that the mystery is solved. But two possibilities outweigh all others: Either Wright invented bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did."
So let's break down their findings:
First, long before bitcoin was actually released, Wright wrote on his blog that he intended to release a "cryptocurrency paper," and he references "triple entry accounting." Perhaps not that telling by itself, but let's continue on...
Second, a post that comes from that same blog has a request that readers who want to get in touch with Wright encrypt their messages to him using a PGP public key that is (and here's the notable bit) linked to Satoshi Nakamoto. Wired delves into this evidence a little more, saying, "a PGP key is a unique string of characters that allows a user of that encryption software to receive encrypted messages. This one, when checked against the database of the MIT server where it was stored, is associated with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, an email address very similar to the email@example.com address Nakamoto used to send the whitepaper introducing bitcoin to a cryptography mailing list."
Third, and most convincing, Wright wrote a post that was dated January 10, 2009, which reads: “The Beta of Bitcoin is live tomorrow. This is decentralized… We try until it works.” Now here is the key, the post was dated January 10, 2009. Of course, this is a day after Bitcoin’s official launch on January 9th of that year. So maybe just an upstart trying to cash in on someone else's idea by posting about it a day after the lease?
If Wright, living in Eastern Australia (which he does), posted it after midnight his time on the night of the 9th, that would have still been before bitcoin’s launch at 3pm EST on the 9th.
And if that evidence isn't damning enough, that post was later replaced with the rather cryptic text that reads “Bitcoin – AKA bloody nosey you be…It does always surprise me how at times the best place to hide [is] right in the open.” Sometime after October of this year, the post was removed and deleted entirely.
And this is just the start of the findings. Wired goes on to detail email after email that they managed to acquire, all which point back to Wright. They also outline a conversation that they had that links Wright's twitter with the email associated with the founder of Bitcoin.
You can read the full breakdown of the evidence here.
Ultimately, the final answer has yet to be determined. And until there is an admission, there is no 100% certainty. However, all of that said, it looks like a pretty clear picture is beginning to form.
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