Australian man claims to be bitcoin creator

Australian man claims to be bitcoin creator
© Getty Images

An Australian man claimed Monday that he is the secretive figure who invented bitcoin, the popular virtual currency.

Some have previously speculated that Craig Steven Wright developed the intellectual underpinnings for the cryptocurrency under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. In a blog post on Monday, as well as in interviews with various media outlets, Wright said those reports are true.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research,” he said. “I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready.”

Wright said in his post that he possesses a private code used to access a bitcoin “block” that was part of a 2009 transaction involving Nakamoto and showed news outlets his verification process.

He did not, however, transfer any of the bitcoins belonging to Nakamoto, which would have offered another measure to substantiate his claim.

Nakamoto published a white paper in late 2008 describing bitcoin, and software for the currency formally debuted months later.

Some have embraced his claim. Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist of the bitcoin Foundation, said in a post he believed Wright’s claim.

But others are less sure. The Economist, one of the news outlets that interviewed Wright, said he “could well be Mr. Nakamoto, but that important questions remain.” Some on social media also voiced doubts Monday morning.  

Wright was previously the subject of two stories, one in Wired and another in Gizmodo, that highlighted evidence he might be Nakamoto. Wired later said new evidence suggested Wright might be perpetrating a hoax.

Virtual currency has become popular in tech circles since it debuted in 2009, but regulators are still weighing how to approach the currencies. Federal officials fined a virtual currency company for the first time about a year ago.