Bitcoin ‘Creator’ Disappears Without a Trace

Mathew Sayer In the News

The identity of Satoshi remains a mystery. Craig Wright, the latest impersonator, claiming the Satoshi moniker was unable to come up with the proof earlier this week.  In case, you have been living under a rock for the last five years Bitcoin is the pre-eminent cryptocurrency and Satoshi Nakamoto is its pseudonymous inventor. Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist and businessman who was declared Satoshi by major news outlets in December 2015  (Wired ad-block blocker warning) and Gizmodo.

Australia’s Federal Police raided Wright’s house and office days after his claims were published. The raid was said to be part of a tax investigation, unrelated to bitcoin. At the start of May Wright claimed he could provide proof he owned a bitcoin address used by Satoshi. Wright’s claim was backed up by Jon Matonis, founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation, who said Wright signed and verified a message in his presence from block #1 newly generated coins and block #9 generated coins.

Wright attempted further verification when he incorporated BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones and another Bitcoin Foundation member Gavin Andresen. The plan fell through, and Wright scrubbed his online presence, let’s hear it from Rory:

“Here’s what happened. On Monday evening, I suggested to Wright’s PR firm that if he could send me a fraction of a coin from an early Bitcoin block – which of course I would return – that might show he had Satoshi’s keys. But Wright’s team came up with a different plan on Wednesday afternoon.

They sent me a draft blog in which he outlined a scheme that would see Matonis, Andresen and the BBC all send small amounts of Bitcoin to the address used in the first ever transaction. Then he would send it back, in what would be the first outgoing transactions from the block since January 2009.

We went ahead with our payments – I sent 0.017BTC (about £5), which you can still see in the online records. Matonis and Andresen sent similar amounts. Then we waited. And waited. Then my phone rang – with the news that the whole operation was “on hold”, with no reason given. Eighteen hours later we are still waiting for the payments to be made – and now Wright’s new blog says that is not going to happen.” (BBC)

Bitcoin and VPNs are two counter-technologies that operate away from the visibility demanded by a neoliberal internet. Picking up the little data crumbs is what made Google into the all-seeing demi-urge we all know and love. Monopoly power is something bitcoin’s community rails against. This is the crucial piece in understanding bitcoins importance. Bitcoin is designed to be limited, there is not an infinite supply in the original code.

Satoshi, whoever they are, controls around 6.5% of the total bitcoin stock- about half a billion dollars- meaning they have the power to tank the price. Control over such large portions held anonymously puts the fear into those who have invested time and money into Bitcoin. But the question remains, would Satoshi sink their creation?