Bitcoin’s elusive founder has for years evaded the efforts of tech geeks, journalists and fans to reveal his or her true identity. The mystery may finally have been solved.
The person who unleashed the virtual currency anonymously in 2009 is probably a 44-year-old academic living in suburban Sydney, according to Wired magazine.
Citing e-mails, deleted blog posts and documents, Wired identified Craig Steven Wright as the likely developer of the original bitcoin software under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Gizmodo also identified Wright, along with his late friend Dave Kleiman, as being behind the currency.
Wright’s social-media profile suggests a man with an enthusiasm for virtual currency and computing. In addition to numerous college degrees and a stint as a chef, his LinkedIn profile lists him as the chief executive officer of DeMorgan Ltd., which has researched bitcoin, proposed a bank for the currency, and offers wallet and exchange services. After years of mystery and failed efforts to unmask Nakamoto, many in the bitcoin community remain skeptical about Wright, who participated in a Las Vegas bitcoin event just weeks ago via videoconference.
“If the real Satoshi does appear, his opinion would be difficult to ignore,” said Yuzo Kano, who quit Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to open bitcoin exchange BitFlyer Inc. in 2014. “It’s possible that Mr. Wright was one of the people involved in the original bitcoin and there are in fact multiple Satoshis.”
Bitcoin gained an early reputation as a tool for selling drugs and laundering money. The currency’s libertarian roots, with no central issuing authority and a public ledger to verify transactions, has become more mainstream with its adoption by merchants around the world. Its underlying technology has also drawn interest from banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc.
Wired’s evidence for naming Wright as the currency’s creator includes 2008 blog posts discussing bitcoin, along with e-mails, transcripts and accounting forms that corroborate the link. The real Nakamoto proposed bitcoin that same year before the software was rolled out in early 2009.
Wired also cited a 2014 administrator’s report into Hotwire Preemptive Intelligence Pty., which indicated the e-payment software firm was backed by A$30 million ($22 million) of bitcoins owned by its managing director Wright.
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