A Mystery No More?

Craig Wright told the BBC and others that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Australian Federal Police officers search Craig Wright’s home in Sydney on December 9, 2015.  (Reuters)

One of the last mysteries of the Internet may no longer be a mystery: Australian Craig White has told the BBC, the Economist, and GQ that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, the virtual currency.

Here’s his admission on his own website.

Wright’s acknowledgment of his role in creating Bitcoin shouldn’t be a surprise. Last December, Australian Federal Police raided Wright’s home after Wired and Gizmodo both named him as one of the people behind Nakamoto. But is the mystery now solved? Here’s the Economist:

Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain. Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin.

Bitcoin has become much bigger than Mr Nakamoto; he stopped participating in the project a few years ago, and his successors have written far more code than he ever did. Whether Mr Wright’s claim is believed, especially by bitcoin cognoscenti, matters nonetheless. The bitcoin project has been riven for months by what some call a “civil war” between two competing camps of developers and bitcoin companies (although the rhetoric has recently become less strident). One side wants to keep bitcoin smallish and pure; the other is pushing for it to grow rapidly, even if this means turning it into something more like a conventional payment system. The bone of contention is the size of a “block”, the name given to the batches into which bitcoin transactions are assembled before they are validated. The intervention of a resurrected Satoshi would certainly change the dynamics of this debate. First, however, Mr Wright has to persuade people of his claim.