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Satoshi Nakamoto Is Probably This Unknown Australian Genius? (wired.com)
395 points by mkuhn on Dec 8, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 151 comments



So far there have been multiple Satoshi Nakamoto reveals which, of course, never panned out. To their credit Wired is hedging their bets, saying Wright could be a determined hoaxer and even providing some countervailing evidence to their own theory. Good journalism, that.

Having said that, I looked over the article and this seems to be the most convincing Satoshi Nakamoto theory thus far. There's no need to jump to any firm conclusions yet though: I'm certain the Internet will conclusively prove or disprove this over the next few days.


I think a very small amount of stylometric analysis would cast a lot of doubt on this theory.

Satoshi's grammar is always perfect. His sentences are tight. He's clear and to the point. Wright rambles; his grammar is terrible; he seems to have no idea what a comma is for. Scanning his blog for a minute, he comes across as the kind of slightly dotty kook who would try to convince people he's Satoshi with this kind of "leak."

I'll stick with the current mainstream theory, thanks...


Satoshi is two people - Wright and Kleiman. Kleiman was responsible for the public Satoshi writing, and he doesn't have any of his own writing samples online that aren't co-authored to make a stylometric comparison against.


This seems extremely reasonable and possible.

Do we have any evidence of what kind of person Kleiman was?


Or Wright has Multiple Personality Disorder[1]. One is sloppy and the other is thorough.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10625626


I think there are a lot of engineers on here who only express a single language style.

In the business world I see writing style changing depending on who one is talking to - a trait I don't generally see in engineers. Who knows the mind of the originator of bitcoin.

Also, Wright can have a few drinks and click to send a sloppy message without much thought. However any time he purportedly posts as Satoshi he probably re-reads it 100 times with his heart pumping at 150bpm and takes as much care over his writing as the potentially fictional Satoshi. The author of bitcoin would surely be clever enough even if his natural language skills were poor.


I've definitely worked with people who are excellent writers and communicators, but send texts like "u busy?" and "when u comin by"


You'll need to get on archive.org then as he is currently going through and deleting all his blog posts.

Edit: well worth mentioning, on this note, that he asks for his associates to edit his public messages, seemingly aware of his terrible writing. Or a knowing attempt to obfuscate these matters. Or alternatively, yknow, not this guy.


Not only grammar, but Wright's writings are full of typos and spelling errors, which occur at a remarkable rate, to the extent that he can't spell Silicon Valley! (he spelled it as "silicone valley"). I never once saw Satoshi make a spelling error.

That said, the rest of the evidence is pretty compelling, isn't it?

Satoshi did once say he wasn't all that good with words, despite evidence to the contrary. Perhaps this mysterious collaboration with his dead friend involved the other guy writing the messages.


I think that's plausible particularly because he emailed someone asking them to leak his message about not being Dorian, and that person heavily edited / redacted it; it's quite possible that is a recurring theme.

Also in the Gawker article we are told Wright emailed Kleiman asking for "help editing a paper", "I need your help and I need a version of me to make this work that is better than me."


Notice that most of Wright's retroactive editing to make himself look like Satoshi took place in 2013-2014, shortly after Kleiman died.

Perhaps Kleiman was the one who really wanted to keep Satoshi's identity a secret, but Wright had different ambitions and now he doesn't have his friend to rein him in anymore.


Or Kleiman & Wright formed the Satoshi identity as a collaboration, and after Kleiman died, Wright decided to edit the historical record to take more of the credit for himself.


Well, according to one of the leaked e-mails, Wright originally wanted Kleiman's help in concealing his identity, but it's possible he could've changed his mind over time. http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--Oqntva_c...


Possible. Kleiman seems to have stuck to not outing Satoshi at the expense of his own money problems.


I think this is the most likely case.


I'm glad you wrote because I was wondering about that. The stuff I've seen on Satoshi seemed to indicate a precise, engineer's mind. He should also have a certain programming and writing style with quirks that would be hard to entirely eliminate in revision. My method would be to compare the code/writing of the "maybe Satoshi" to Satoshi's.

Your comparison indicates they're highly unlikely to be the same person. Come to think of it, Wrights words are one of the only things we can attribute to him and evaluate in this. The rest can be made up crap and probably is.


Maybe he's talking about the area just east of Santa Monica and South of Hollywood: Silicone Valley.


the spelling of "silicone" looks intentional to me. the review is titled "Like the US is the only country to produce tech."

'Craig Wright of Australia wrote, a bit petulantly, “Always the assumption that [Satoshi Nakamoto] must be a bloody yank. The analysis of who Satoshi is is always so limited.”'

from this article: http://fusion.net/story/243056/alleged-bitcoin-creator-craig...


> So let’s recap: in September 2015, Wright was annoyed that people didn’t know who the real Nakamoto was.

Is Kashmir unable to read? Wright never said that. He was clearly angry about the national stereotyping and the 'assumption' and how thinking is 'limited'. This is exactly like those cases where women authors publish books under names like 'J.K. Rowling' and readers assume they are men; of course they are going to be upset.


> Satoshi's grammar is always perfect. His sentences are tight.

That makes me think it's more than one person, e.g. Wright, Kleiman, Szabo and possibly more. The more people that edit a work, the less errors there will be.


fewer errors ;-)

Proving your point!


Apparently Gizmodo has been investigating this for even longer (!) and has a lot of other evidence for Wright=Satoshi too: http://gizmodo.com/this-australian-says-he-and-his-dead-frie...


That's mostly evidence for my theory: he's an egomaniac trying to sell a story. Almost all of this goes back to him or the leaker as a matter of faith. It all appears way after Bitcoin appears. Everything about how he presents himself comes off as playing to a mystique to draw people in.

I'd buy the leaks if the hacker posted a message as Satoshi using stolen credential and linked to this article. Meanwhile, the "hacker" is probably Wright with nothing to do with Satoshi other than make money on his name.


> he's an egomaniac trying to sell a story

Awesome guerrilla marketing.

Journalists want the scoop of the century - outing the real Satoshi. By back filling history, they gave exactly what they wanted, and they took it hook, line and sinker.


Except is that really the scoop of the century? Do people really care that much? If the media would just leave the real guy alone we could have the added benefit of preventing false self-marketing too. How about we just ignore all these "the real satoshi!" articles?


It's already in Wired, has 212 points on Hacker News, and who knows what value to people assessing him in academia or business sectors. Altogether, enough people care for it to matter to a tech egomaniac. Not "scoop of the century" or anything, though.


Sorry, when I said journalists, I meant tech journalists.


All good. I agreed with rest of it.


Yeah, it would be the scoop of the century to Bitcoin fans but few other people. That said, as someone who isn't involved at all, I love a good detective story. I'll read this.


> By back filling history...

Yep. That seems plausible. Given means, motive, and opportunity (including a few months of time), could some of the folks here on HN have backfilled history this way? Register an email address one character off of Satoshi's? Edit some old blog posts to insert Bitcoin references? Generate backdated GPG keys? Perhaps enough to satisfy not-very-technical journalists who won't think to compare coding styles and are too worried about losing a scoop to ask folks for second and third opinions?

I'd expect the real Satoshi to have more of a math background, not "ecommerce law" and "digital forensics." I'd also expect him to be more similar in writing style and be more ideologically in sync with Bitcoin in his public actions. Plus I'm not a C# coder but this looks pretty basic: https://digital-forensics.sans.org/blog/2009/04/24/code-skil...

The evidence the journalists published is more convincing if you want it to be convincing. My guess is that they did.


[deleted]


I think Gizmodo's is a much less rigorous article than the Wired one. It mostly consists of accusations and circumstantial evidence. Every early player in Bitcoin development has these in spades. In a world where Craig Steven Wright is not Satoshi, we'd see the exact same tenuous evidence.

In contrast, the Wired article stays close to the facts (GPG keys, email addresses, IPs, etc) and hedges its bets. Wright might be Satoshi. He might be a hoaxer. We don't know. It's not as satisfying to read as the Gizmodo pablum, but it's much more accurate.


I have looked at the GPG keys, and based on the hash algorithm preference order, I believe they were created after [edit: July 2009], by a gnupg version following this[1] commit, on a computer with its clock set to 2008.

1. http://git.gnupg.org/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi?p=gnupg.git;a=commit... [edited]


If this is true, then it's pretty substantial evidence that this guy is a hoaxer.

But can you really tell when a key-pair was generated? This would make for a fascinating write-up if you could please spend the time to explain.


Which hash did he use?

The change you link to has the same SHA-256 as the first option both before and after the change.

Did he use something else?

I'm curious to know your thoughts on the scenario whereby another hash would be chosen for him by the software, and whether or not he may have chosen a specific hash?

This is potentially a good line of enquiry with more info


Aaaaand the Australian police just raided his house: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/dec/09/bitcoin-fo...


Great job wired! Can't leave a guy in peace...


Raided his out just a little while after these were sharing a theory he was the bitcoin founder. And in the name of the Tax Office? I'm in shock at the speed they moved in to try and catch him for ... tax evasion?


As the articles say, he has been under investigation for a while for his bitcoin mining work (which as far as I can tell is not under dispute). The Australian government has decreed that all bitcoin "investments" should be taxed for capital gains [1] so he could be up for a huge tax bill on his paper "profits" even if he was just mining back in the early days.

[1] https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/Tax-treatment-of-crypto-c...


Also Gizmodo was separately leaked to, it seems, has a bunch of screenshots

http://gizmodo.com/this-australian-says-he-and-his-dead-frie...

if it's a hoax, seems like an awfully long and meticulous one.

[edit - Dang this fell off front page fast! Thought this one was going to be almost Steve Jobs in terms of having a life of its own]


It's being flagged down by the 'oh no they're going to kill satoshi' crowd; based on pts and time it should be the #1 post atm.


really? as if not having it on the front page of HN will totally keep the lid on it. plus the guy either outed himself or is pulling a massive hoax. either way he had time to plan for it. meanwhile the death of the Williams-Sonoma founder on 12/5 is basking on front page with 1/10 number of points. karma conspiracy HN is the worst form of HN but how odd.


Worth noting that the main source on this is Gwern (https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=gwern). Gwern, care to comment?


Gwern is talking a bit about it over on /r/bitcoin.

1. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/3vzgnd/bitcoins_cr...


Gwern, if you show up do you have any more color on your newsletter comment:

> Nothing completed (due to work on a secret project)


Gwern, what would possibly compel you to do this?


Can you share where you see that Gwern is the source?


first line on the page: > ANDY GREENBERG AND GWERN BRANWEN


"The PGP key associated with Nakamoto’s email address and references to an upcoming “cryptocurrency paper” and “triple entry accounting” were added sometime after 2013"

Why is this not at the beginning of the article? That's pretty strong evidence that this is a hoax.


I went back and read it more carefully, and it's linked to an email address one character off from the known Satoshi one. satoshin@vistomail.com vs satoshi@vistomail.com.


Yeah, I don't know why they're taking that as proof either. What's more likely, Satoshi having two near-identical addresses on the same host, or someone registering a near identical address to impersonate him?


This looks more like a trail of deliberately planted evidence to make us think he's Satoshi.

The email/tweet/transcript quotes almost suggest sort of multiple personality disorder where he believes he's Satoshi.


A plausible explanation is that he was part of a 'Satoshi partnership' with Kleiman and, with Kleiman's passing, began trying to retroactively make himself look like a bigger part of it.


I wonder if Steven Wright has any open source code that we could review.

While it seems plausible that he would obfuscate his styleometry, it would be interesting to do a comparison with early Bitcoin.

The early Bitcoin code is super awkward.


> I wonder if Steven Wright has any open source code that we could review.

I've been looking, and so far the only thing I've found is this: https://digital-forensics.sans.org/blog/2009/04/24/code-skil...


If someone wants to prove they are Satoshi Nakamoto all they have to do is sign a message with the private keys from the genesis block. Until then it's a little pointless to guess.


That's assuming they still have it. Perhaps the reason none of the bitcoin created in the genesis block has ever moved is because Satoshi thought there would be some value in having it be static and never expected bitcoin to have actual value.

They may have deleted that key.


That's a possibility, but if you read some of the early emails, Satoshi was at least theorizing the value of bitcoin if it was used as the world's only currency (I think to make sure there were enough units - which I believe are 54 bits, the mantissa of a 64 bit double). The recorded conversations seem to indicate that he knew exactly how much a more ideal form of money could be worth.

Then again, Satoshi might own a lot of btc that isn't wrapped up in the genesis blocks and he could have plenty of money to wait until bitcoin either dies or matures to the point where he doesn't have to expose himself as much by moving them.


It's going to be really funny if we find out he, too, tossed a HD full of Bitcoins in the trash thinking it was nothing. ;)


Yeah, I did this... I mined 100BTC Solo on my CPU right around the time it first came out. Then it wasn't even worth $1. Multiple formats/rebuilds later it's worth over $1K/btc (yes that was an artificially inflated price, I know). sigh I could be student-debt free but it wasn't worth it for me to hold on to at the time...


Man, that sucks. Sorry to hear it.


I always just tell myself I would have probably got excited and sold at $2/BTC or when it hovered around $8. Such is life, no use wondering what might have been.


I hear you and you might have so it's at least semi-true. My own loss was a triple HD failure that cost almost a TB of software, research papers, photos, everything. I have none of my prior work as an INFOSEC pro. Three in a month when I was too broke from recession to replace them. So I feel the pain. ;)

One time I told that story to a Marine who instantly went PTSD. First time I met someone with similarly messed up HD loss. He had his slim, external laying on a table in maybe Iraq. Another Marine, round in the chamber, casually dropped his M16 on the table as he came in. It fired a burst right into the HD, leaving it unrecoverable. I said, "Damn. I'm at a loss for words." So, you ain't the only one haha.


Yeah, at this point I keep massive replaceable data backed up locally and important "can't lose" in 1-2 clouds and locally


Good start. Remember to hash and check the files regularly for bit rot. My three HD method kept three copies of the stuff while scripting the checks on the files and replacing broken ones with 2 out of 3 voter logic. Obviously, three HD's didn't work out so my next scheme will be like yours plus my bit rot solution when I'm not broke. ;)


Agreed, this is just Wired's sad attempt to get traffic.


He seems obsessed with being Satoshi. And the article itself said he made edits to insert bitcoin related entries into past writings. I'm sure he's a very smart guy but he's also one of the last people I'd think was Satoshi.


Why is it important to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is/was? It seems like all this desire to know the person defeats the point of the pseudo-anonymity here. I assume it's meant to keep people focused on the idea of the crypto-currency and less on any specific ideology SN may espouse. But that's just me.


Personally, I want to know who this guy is because he did something really rare: putting together some bits of common, old math—just bits that nobody thought to put together before—into a system with entirely novel (some would say "emergent") high-level semantics. He's an "inventor" in the most crucial sense.

And really, he's created one of the few things in Computer Science that I wouldn't argue with being patented. A blockchain is a configuration of algorithms into a novel abstract "machine", with many possible implementations, which isn't domain-specific, and that nobody had thought of—or, really, was likely to ever think of—without him.

Really, I'm just hoping that he's still actively working on other ideas; I would love to follow his research.


Nakamoto has made a huge splash in the world of finance, at least in certain circles. That he remains anonymous even after doing so adds quite an air of mystery. Is it really any wonder people are curious about who might have started all this, especially when he waves his anonymity in everyone's faces?


I would only like to add that it is a human behaviour that I find really interesting. It puzzles me in general why people admire other humans, or pretend that their heroes are not flawed.

We know that more than one figure in history cheated on their spouses, were violent towards their children, etc. Yet, people still admire other human beings, and not necessarily their particular achievements. Mind you, I am not saying that this behaviour is wrong, or bad, it is just very interesting.

Ultimately, I will probably remain puzzled by the way other people around me behave, but I guess that within certain limits, it doesn't harm anybody. Many people will continue to try to find out his or her identity.


It's important because he can potentially impact bitcoin prices. It's like asking why it's important to know who is the head of the FED.


Motherboard seems to think this is a hoax[1].

In sum:

* Only one key, the Original Key, is actually known to be associated with Satoshi.

* The Wired and Gizmodo Keys that supposedly lead back to Satoshi weren’t previously known to be linked to Satoshi, and their 2008 creation date could have been faked.

* Both keys use a longer and less-common key size than the Original Key.

* Both keys use a list of cipher-suites that don’t match up to the Original Key, and weren’t added to GPG until 2009.

* The Wired key was retroactively added to a 2008 blogpost sometime between 2012 and 2014, as noted in its story.

* A core Bitcoin developer who’s been involved from nearly the beginning looked back at 2011 chatlogs referring to “fake” Satoshi keys on keyservers, and found no reference to either the Gizmodo or Wired keys. He thinks that those keys weren’t yet uploaded to the keyserver in 2011.

[1] http://motherboard.vice.com/read/satoshis-pgp-keys-are-proba...


Watching the video:

"I've got a couple doctorates... I forget what I've actually got these days".

It's hard to take seriously someone who is trying this hard not to appear self-aware.


I wish people would respect satoshi's wish of anonymity.

Having probably the only concentration of wealth over $100M not guarded by a full security detail, it could very well lead to not only his own harm, but perhaps his family members being kidnapped, etc.

That is not even to mention the bilderberg/rothschild/etc. type of people that probably aren't big fans.


There are something like 5,000 families in the US worth more than $100M, the majority don't have private security, don't worry about kidnappings, and don't take any real actions to protect themselves from the Bilderbergs (?)


They live in neighborhoods away from crime, keep liquid assets in banks with plenty security, keep majority of it in forms crooks can't easily coerce them out of, and have insurance against common risks. I'd say they take plenty of action to protect themselves.

And they are the elites that make money on the system's corruption and schemes, some even attending Bilderberg. Why would they worry about elite get-togethers as a threat to their life if they're playing ball in a way that makes them money and power? Unlikely.


Their money is not stored in a highly portable and difficult to trace form that can be sent quickly to an anonymous owner.


And Wright lives in London according to that Vegas video. Even more billionaires live there without much worries about kidnapping, and you'd think the Russians there would be a testcase.


Is there some leaked "source" that claims that Satoshi is American too ?

PS: Getting kidnapped for ransom is not so uncommon in third world countries.


The linked article combined with the Gizmodo one make a compelling case that the creators of Bitcoin are an American and an Australian.. Where kidnapping for ransom is extraordinarily uncommon.


they keep their money in banks, which most certainly have full security detail.


Does anybody have access to Craig Steven Wright's papers? Google Scholar only turns up a single patent application (apparently a patent on a registration server -- vaguely related to bitcoin but without the decentralized aspect-- and very ideologically misaligned...)

I've seen people want to mysteriously associate themselves with something large before. This could be an example of it.


he is actively deleting himself from the internet; his several blogs (gse in particular as it was posted here a few weeks ago, but there are more), his youtube channel and any reference to him.

i doubt this is speculation as the actions definitely show he is trying to hide something (his original writing from analysis). this is also apparent in his replies to wired.

also, it sucks that this kind of content is being cleared. i found it interesting and hope it will make it back. please put it back craig.

edits:

the following quote is quite odd; anyone have any clarity?

“About 20 years ago, I was at the launch of Alta Vista. It was the first big commercial search engine. Back in the early '90s… everyone told me how much of a ‘coo-coo’ [crazy] I was for wasting all this money to be part of something that’s a ‘bloody piece of computer code’," said Wright. [1]

[1] http://www.cio.com.au/article/549278/bitcoin_safe_/


If Satoshi is Wright, and he really wanted to remain nameless, he almost certainly would not have shown up to the Bitcoin Investor’s Conference. Poor op-sec.

That said, the issue with outing him is that he could hold more sway over the direction of BTC than if it were a truly decentralized currency. Not sure this if that's in the best interests of BTC.


Judging by the trainwreck that the debate over the change in block size ended up being, maybe Bitcoin could use a benevolent dictator.


It wasn't a trainwreck; it worked exactly as it should.

Bitcoin is not a system for those that favor changing the rules once the game is in play.


Bitcoin has gone through lots of changes. For example, the blocksize limit was added in July 2010, a year and a half after launch.


It isn't a system where large mining corporations are supposed to have a hangman's noose around it, either.


I used to follow him Twitter, G+, Blogspot and LinkedIn. Within minutes of the article being published all his accounts have been out (disconnected?). Only LinkedIn is still up.


I find it eerily odd that that pencil making article was posted on HN a couple of weeks ago.


The submitter's account has only submitted links from Craig Wright's blog and was created 36 days ago, but is an active participant in discussions about the recent revelations...

https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=cba9


I came here to say "oh god not again", but then I read it and found out gwern was involved in the investigation. Suddenly it's quite interesting. :)


Gizmodo now chiming in and saying Satoshi was 2 people, but basically confirming the Wired article on Dr. Wright.

http://gizmodo.com/this-australian-says-he-and-his-dead-frie...


Confirming it based on the same leaked information which can't entirely be corroborated.


The interesting thing about these claims is that they tie so many parties together, I think ongoing investigations will be able to figure out whether all of this is true.

While so much seems 'too good to be true' and potentially a plant, it is quite incredible that someone would put this all together after the fact to make a perfect fitting story. Either some ends won't meet, or we'll have the answer at long last.


I don't really understand. If he is claiming to Satoshi (as some people have mentioned, although all I've seen is stuff leaked about him) can't he just sign a message with Satoshi's widely known PGP key?


Most of the 'evidence' seems to have been added in 2013, a year when prices hit nearly $1,000 per coin. Maybe it's Mr. Wright, maybe not.

But, it's quite credulous to say "Oh, what an unusual and determined person it must to be to think of claiming to be Satoshi in 2013."


Wouldn't it be fun if we could set up a prediction market so that we could all place bets on whether Mr. Wright is or is not an inventor of Bitcoin?


Trying to identify one member in a population of 7 billion, you are likely to find many more than one very persuasive false positive.


This feels like a really weird story, on one hand I've wanted to know the answer to this forever and on the other hand, this doesn't really seem to be a story at all:)

So what does this mean for bitcoin, anything?


If this turns out to be true, it could mean a lot or nothing, depending on what Wright decides to do. The big questions would be, a) does he have the private keys to Satoshi's 1.1MM BTC stash or has he lost them and b) will he decide to be actively involved in Bitcoin development/governance.

The Bitcoin market has mostly been assuming that Satoshi's bitcoins are lost forever, and the price reflects that. If it turns out Wright can still sell those Bitcoins it would have a dramatic- but probably not cataclysmic- effect on the price.

The other question would be if he wanted to involve himself in Bitcoin development. If he really is Satoshi, his voice would carry a lot of weight on big, divisive issues like block size. For better or worse.


I'm really wondering why the author of bitcoin would hide their identity? Don't want the attention? Plenty of innovative people are simply footnotes in history. Or is the true origin of this digital currency a dubious agency, who if revealed would stop people from wanting to use it? Is it a second try at Amero? http://forextrading.about.com/od/forexhistory/a/amero_conspi...


I would have done the same thing. People are insane, can you imagine what they would do to the inventor of digital money? (I realize Satoshi is not that, but a lot of people will think he/she is.)


What do you think people would do to him? I'm not sure I understand the 'danger' you seem to perceive.


He's presumably a computer geek sitting on a fortune that can be stolen and transferred without FinCEN knowing or able to do crap. I think that's enough reason to keep his identity secret.


What's FinCEN? Is that the Australian equivalent of the USA IRS?


It's a U.S. organization that goes after financial crime world-wide. I just gave it as an example. Point being, many types of money moving require careful laundering to prevent traces for financial or other prosecution. It's why most crooks focus on trying to steal straight cash if they're here in U.S.. A guy with an easily-moved, unregulated, semi-anonymous stash of millions is a much easier target and the government might not be able to help him. So, more risk than usual and varies depending on his location.


Let's say someone stole Satoshi's stash. To convert it to non-Bitcoin value, they would have to spend it or transfer it. Wouldn't people notice that the famous Satoshi block is suddenly in play? And the point at which it is converted to real value is the point at which a criminal investigation would begin.

I don't understand why Satoshi's stash of bitcoins is any easier to spend untraceably than any other store of value.


Not easier to spend than stock, bonds, derivatives, and so on that most wealth is stored in? Last I heard, there was more liquidity and less auditing for Bitcoin spending in general. An expert on Bitcoin might know that particular block moving would be a high risk operation. Thugs reading about his identity, worth, and use of Bitcoin in criminal dealings might think differently. They might decide to go get his money.

That's the risk. Not sure of its likelihood in terms of a percentage or even verbal description. It's near zero while he's anonymous, though.


There is more auditing for bitcoin than almost any other store of value, because every transaction is broadcast to the entire network. Crowd-sourced auditing is essentially all bitcoin is.

Like bitcoin itself, the anonymity of bitcoin is also a chain. Bitcoins can be mined anonymously, and therefore transacted anonymously. But any point where they are converted to other stores of value will create connections to real-world identity. For example, cash has to be picked up in a physical place, or it has to be transfered into a bank account, which creates an auditable transaction record. Purchased objects have to be delivered somewhere. Purchased services are interacted with in some way. Etc.


I thought crooks successfully transact services with Bitcoin like they do cash, western union, and traded CC's. Must not be as hard to obfuscate as you make it seem regardless of the ledger. Someone else mentioned mix networks to hide whose doing what as well but I'm not up-to-date on them.

Overall point of the discussion is that people finding out he has a physical/digital object worth millions might try to rob him. Some of them also use Bitcoin as payment for crime. So, anonymity seems like a good choice.


Perhaps it's just me, but I find the - repeated - attempted unmasking of a cypherpunk nym adopted with good cause and reason for the creation of a very disruptive technology terribly disrespectful, although perhaps inevitable.

"Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask." (Well I can see that.) "Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation; I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is." [-V, 2005]


gwern, should we really be doing this? Why not leave the guy alone? Obviously he does not want to be found out... let him have his peace!


I'm really not too sure why you're being downvoted. I think there are a number of people who agree that outing him isn't necessary or valuable. A man trying not to be in the public eye deserves as much.


Not just that - outing satoshi could cause him and any close family significant danger, given that there is a strong chance he is in possession of the secret keys of addresses containing 1M bitcoins. https://bitslog.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/the-well-deserved-f...


What makes him different from say, Bill Gate?


Bill Gates doesn't have billions in cash sequestered under the digital equivalent of his mattress.


Bill Gates lives in a custom built house filled with sensors and has security staff. Satoshi may well live a relatively normal life.


It's actually really really unsafe for him. The moment people find out that he's a billionaire (Satoshi's BTC are worth a 9-digit figure), he might be a victim of an attack.


Just to be a bit pedantic, he's estimated to have ~1.1M coins, which at current market prices would be worth $440M (9 figure wealth isn't a billion, but 'only' in the hundreds of milloins). Obviously he'd destroy the book on any exchange if he tried to cash out so it's probably worth much less than that.


The owner of those 1.1 million bitcoins can cash them out easily enough - without ever selling a single coin onto the open market. Walk into the offices of Andreessen Horowitz and tell them you want out. Those million bitcoins would be extremely valuable to anyone looking to build a large foundation of businesses around bitcoin.


That's a good idea.


I wonder how much you could cash out a month without really affecting the price. With that amount you could cash out half a million dollars a month for a very long time, assuming the exchange rate doesn't change much, and live like a king and/or fund the next project


The Newsweek one made more sense than this one. Especially him saying he wasn't involved in it any more. Imperfect English wouldn't make me think I worked on a project called Bitcoin, which also doesn't even sound like most tech. He certainly issued a rebuttal but would if it was true or false. Same for the email saying he's not Dorian. Meaningless.

So, she might be wrong or right. Who knows. That story wasn't convincing mainly due to how it was presented. I think this guy is onto something about that:

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2014/03/10/satoshi-why...

So, now we have a new one with leaked emails and blog posts. The writer is wise enough, as Analemma noted, to mention it could be a hoax with some indications of that. It's actually the first thing I think given the two source are both huge red flags, one already has editing, and they center on a sort of egomaniac. An egomaniac who also has financial conflicts of interest and major investments in Bitcoin that might benefit from a false reveal. I'm not buying it until we have good external or first-hand data tying him to Bitcoin like prior work attempted.

The trust chain and leveraging Satoshi's stash without directly moving it is good thinking, though. I predicted that in private conversations as a significant possibility. Learned the trick from Wall St where they have all kinds of ways to make money on less money or static assets. Hell, they even make money on non-existent assets lol. A person sitting on a Bitcoin fortune able to prove it without it being published could do a lot of the same stuff.


"comparisons of different archived versions of the three smoking gun posts from Wright’s blog show that he did edit all three—to insert evidence of his bitcoin history. The PGP key associated with Nakamoto’s email address and references to an upcoming “cryptocurrency paper” and “triple entry accounting” were added sometime after 2013."


Craig Wright's home raided by Australian police[0].

[0] http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/dec/09/bitcoin-fo...


Anyone know why the presumed inventor would have existing tax problems, given the ample amount of valuable bitcoin that could be used to pay bills?

Edit: Gizmodo mentions a bunch of tax issues http://gizmodo.com/this-australian-says-he-and-his-dead-frie...


Well, this is compelling stuff. Certainly moreso than the easily-dismissed Newsweek story.


"As Wright told the Bitcoin Investor’s conference, he’s applying that second machine towards the mysterious task of 'modeling Bitcoin's scalability'[.]"

If he is Nakamoto, I wonder if he's using this computing power to test strategies for divesting of the "nine-figure fortune" of coins which is assumed to be controlled by Nakamoto.


Much more likely, it seems, is that he's concerned about the blocksize debate and wants to come up with a sound technical solution. If Satoshi is smart, he understands that 'governing' Bitcoin is the greatest challenge. Removing himself from a dictator role was a smart move, but we're seeing some structural issues in the current leadership. If he did return, I think it would be to revisit how to navigate the future of Bitcoin.

If he wants to unload the coins, it's pretty simple: make a series of transactions that are time-locked to happen at particular intervals. Because other market participants know the coins won't be unloaded at once, but at regular intervals, there is no panic event. The selling pressure (and more importantly, the knowledge of the selling pressure) would affect the price, but not in a catastrophic event.

I also think people regularly underestimate the role of ideology in what happens to those coins. Not everyone is so motivated by a fortune that they'd risk their wonderful creation. The fact that they haven't moved yet is compelling evidence, though obviously precludes nothing.


Can you explain your theory better? The coin's Satoshi owns haven't moved since they were mined long ago.


Basically, it's supply and demand.

Satoshi has a large position relative to the whole market. If he every wanted to convert those coins to US dollars or some other currency, I'm guessing the supply it would introduce would cause the conversion rate to crash unless done in a sophisticated way.


Satoshi's fortune (1.5Mbtc) is almost as large as the daily volume (1.9Mbtc) of the entire market... its sudden change from dormant and, for all purposes inert, to "potentially market-destroying" would be way too spooky.

Even a single satoshi leaving one of his known wallets could spook enough people to cause a crash. I can't speak for other investors, but even though I have been long in bitcoin for years, I would be out in a heartbeat, for at least a month.


Why do we care? How does knowing the identity of Satoshi advance Bitcoin in any way? If someone wants to stay anonymous...


I'll believe it when I see something here: https://blockchain.info/fr/address/1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SL...


They don't seem to have spotted that the second "perplexing" email is a word-for-word quote from Neuromancer. Which is particularly funny given that they managed to figure out the William Gibson reference.

I had to explain to my wife why I was laughing so hard.


Which email are you referring to? None of the phrases in the second email (starting with "The nature of this moniker") appear in any of Gibson's Sprawl trilogy.


They probably just figured out the Tessier-Ashpool reference by Googling it, which would explain why they didn't recognize the passage from Neuromancer.


this twitter account just got deleted https://twitter.com/dr_craig_wright


I followed him for his work on Cloudcroft, until an hour ago both of his blogs and Google+ account were active. Completely out now :( http://gse-compliance.blogspot.com/ http://security-doctor.blogspot.com/ https://plus.google.com/117910648569393591305/posts


Is this the same Dave Kleiman who is the Microsoft MVP?


The NSA has nothing on these wannabe journalists. Good grief, why can't someone's identity remain private even when they make something popular?


[deleted]


Why, because Gwern and Greenberg wrote it? Give it some time to pan out before you jump to any conclusions.


Satoshi is very probably Nick Szabo...


Does anyone have source code of Nick's from around the time period of what Satoshi submitted? Satoshi's style is so weird that Nick's should be the same unless the style was itself an obfuscation.


Got any examples of the weirdness in the original code?


I didn't read it. People that fo writeups on Satoshi and people who read the code always mention it's weird style. Irritates them, even.


It almost feels like this is a double bluff designed to confuse and discredit pursuers.


Lets be clear: This is not an article you should write, or should have been written.


I would submit that posting this drivel on HK is unnecessary.

I'm all for real Bitcoin news, even about whats-his-face in Japan or interviews with old cypherpunks. Or new forks or new coins or ponzi schemes or silly lost hard drives even.

But this article is unfounded clickbait nonsense. Whomever the real SN is has done good security work on their identity and won't be found unless they want to.


I would agree with you, except that it's based on work by Gwern, who is not a guy to sell wolf tickets.




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