Is Craig Wright Satoshi Nakamoto?

By Michael Brown

Today an Australian businessman named Craig Wright claimed on his personal website to publish cryptographic proof that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin and the blockchain algorithm that underpins it. I have reviewed his post. Has he proven it? He most certainly did not

It was an extremely simple thing for him to prove (if what he says is true).  In fact, what has he proven? In my opinion, what he has offered, is something which clearly demonstrates a carefully laid subterfuge with just enough of a figleaf to fool and/or confuse the mainstream.  In truth, it is nothing more than a parlour trick, using the old bate and switch technique. 

But perhaps the most worrying is that it seems that this report also involves one of bitcoins original developers, Gavin Andresen.  He posts on his blog that in a hotel in London, he saw Craig digitally sign a message using one of the original private/public key pairs. Something that would strongly point to Craig being Nakamoto. However, Andresen wasn’t able to use a laptop or any computational tools to verify the message and walked away with nothing on paper. Instead, he was hands off, able only to watch as someone else did the work.

Dramatically and in a move reminiscent of Paul Newman in The Hustler, an emergency trip to the computer store to buy a fresh laptop to verify the signature was agreed by Andresen.  It is a complete nonsense. It is David Copperfield; sit in your seat and don’t get up! As a scientist, I just can’t put stock in any of this.  I would have hoped that someone like Mr Andresen wouldn’t have either.  Access to such a test on your own laptop is as fundamental to discovering the truth as the checking Bernie Madoff clearinghouse account at DTC (Wall Street’s Clearinghouse); read Bernie saying if only they check with DTC in a jailhouse interview here.

Hey, it is not like bitcoin aims to be a secure crypto-currency worth billions of dollars. Its real inventor should have been able to quickly cobble together some actual proof as strong as the underlying currency itself in a matter of minutes. Instead we have flimflam, nothing more than “voodoo”. As for Andresen, at best, one might have hoped for a little more scepticism from the leading developer of bitcoin.  Anything short of cryptographic proof is a waste of words.