Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as the creator of controversial digital currency bitcoin on Monday but experts were divided over whether he really was the elusive person who has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto until now.
Uncovering Nakamoto’s real identity would solve a riddle dating back to the publication of the open source software behind the cryptocurrency in 2008, before its launch a year later.
Bitcoin has since become the world’s most commonly used virtual currency, attracting the interest of banks, speculators, criminals and regulators.
Worth a total of $7 billion at current levels, it fell more than 3 percent on Monday — a normal intraday move for the volatile currency — after the news, to below $440 from around $455, before recovering slightly.
Some online commentators suggested bitcoin’s creator could help resolve a bitter row among the currency’s software developers that threatens its future.
But Wright made no reference to the row in a BBC interview identifying himself as Nakamoto, and as the protocol bitcoin runs on is open-source and cannot be controlled by any one person, it is unclear whether he would be able to influence the way it develops.
“I was the main part of it, other people helped me,” Wright, who is now living in London, told the BBC. “Some people will believe, Some people won’t, and to tell you the truth, I don’t really care,” he said.
Many bitcoiners said Wright had not done enough to definitively prove that he was Nakamoto, who maintained his anonymity throughout his involvement with bitcoin, which he stepped away from in 2011.
But Gavin Andresen, who Nakamoto chose to succeed him, published a blog post in which he described meeting Wright last month and said he is “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that the Australian is Nakamoto.
Jon Matonis, a founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation now works as a bitcoin consultant, wrote a blog post on Monday which, like Andresen’s, supported Wright’s claims.
“According to me, the proof is conclusive and I have no doubt that Craig Steven Wright is the person behind the Bitcoin technology, Nakamoto consensus, and the Satoshi Nakamoto name,” Matonis wrote. He and Andresen also confirmed they had been responsible for their respective blog posts to Reuters directly.