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Does It Still Matter Who Satoshi Nakamoto Is?

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The identity behind the author of the Bitcoin white paper, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, has always been a point of contention in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain. And because Bitcoin is such a revolutionary invention, even mainstream media began investigating who Satoshi Nakamoto is in real life. 

In March 2014, Newsweek published an investigative piece identifying Japanese-American Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as “the face behind Bitcoin.” Although he might fit the persona of someone who has the ability to design the first cryptocurrency, “having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military,” Dorian Nakamoto was quick to deny this claim.

“I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report. The first time I heard the term “bitcoin” was from my son in mid-February 2014. After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard,” Dorian Nakamoto stated in the updated Newsweek article.

Many others were then identified as possibly Satoshi Nakamoto over the years. Among them were renowned cryptographer and coder Hal Finney, computer scientist and Bit Gold creator Bitcoin Nick Szabo, and Blockstream CEO Adam Back. At one point, even Tesla CEO and X owner Elon Musk was rumoured to be Satoshi Nakamoto. All of these people denied being Satoshi Nakamoto. 

However, there is one very capable candidate who has actually admitted to being Satoshi Nakamoto. Dr Craig Steven Wright is a polymath who has 23 degrees and certifications in various technology-related fields like computer science, information technology, applied mathematics and informatics, information security engineering, statistics, and digital forensics. 

“As one of the most highly qualified digital forensics practitioners in the world, Dr Wright has personally conducted in excess of 1,200 engagements related to IT security for more than 120 Australian and international organisations in the private and government sectors, including 15 Commonwealth states,” Dr Wright’s website read.

 

 

Who is Dr Craig Wright?

Aside from being the only one of worth who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, Dr Wright may just be the most believable and most likely to be Bitcoin’s inventor. On top of having all of the qualifications (and more) necessary for someone to actually invent something like Bitcoin, Dr Wright’s Bitcoin wallets also contain about $33 billion worth of cryptocurrency, according to a Forbes feature entitled, “Satoshi Or Not, Here He Comes.”

This amount of Bitcoin, amounting to 1.1 million coins, can only be mined by none other than Satoshi Nakamoto when block rewards were at its highest at 50 coins during the earliest years of its creation. These were dubbed as the Satoshi coins, and Dr Wright is in possession of them. Despite this fact, many believe that he just stole these coins and has been pretending for over a decade now, to be someone that he is not.

“He has publicly claimed to be the main part of the team that created bitcoin and the identity behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. These claims are regarded as false by much of the media and the cryptocurrency community,” the Wikipedia entry on Dr Wright stated.

Because of this popular belief against Dr Wright, the phrase “self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto” almost always preceded his name. But it is always left out in articles that he was actually trying to live his life under the radar even after Bitcoin was released. 

But this was before he was outed as Bitcoin’s inventor by media outlets Wired and Gizmodo in December 2015. It was only after he was forcefully thrust into the public eye that he finally admitted to being Satoshi Nakamoto.

 

Why does Dr Wright not just sign using the Satoshi keys?

Because Dr Wright admitted to being Satoshi Nakamoto, people who do not believe him went as far as to nickname him “Faketoshi” and many other derogatory names. Despite this, Dr Wright remained consistent in his claim. In fact, he has filed defamation lawsuits against several media influencers who he believes have slandered his name.

It must be pointed out that one of the biggest reasons why Dr Wright is still being labelled as a fraud is because he would not sign using the Satoshi keys – something that, to the majority is the only way to prove his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto. However, Dr Wright is determined to prove his identity through the courts because he firmly believes that keys do not prove identity, but possession.

“As soon as I do that, they will just go; it’s done. And I refuse to have them do the easy way out, which doesn’t build identity properly and just goes down into what these ‘code is law’ people want to do, which is to say ‘courts don’t matter because we’ve got bitcoin,” Dr Wright testified during a defamation trial in Norway last year. 

And so, Dr Wright’s lawsuits to prove his identity continue. But the most notable lawsuit that Dr Wright was involved in is not one that he actually filed. He was the defendant in the Kleiman v Wright trial, where he was sued for almost $600 billion for allegedly stealing half of the coins mined by Satoshi Nakamoto in the earliest days of Bitcoin. 

The plaintiff is Ira Kleiman, the deceased brother of David Kleiman and the sole representative of W&K Info Defense Research LLC and the estate of David Kleiman. The plaintiff alleged that Dr Wright and David Kleiman, who was one of Dr Wright’s closest friends, were partners in W&K and mined the Satoshi coins together. In this lawsuit, the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto has been established to be Dr Wright. What was actually in question was whether or not he had a partner in David Kleiman. 

To answer this question, a South Florida jury determined that Satoshi Nakamoto is Dr Wright alone and there was no partnership. He was cleared of six out of seven charges. Not only did this vindicate his name and solidify his identity as Satoshi Nakamoto, it also showed the world how knowledgeable Dr Wright was when discussing Bitcoin when he took the stand. 

 

Does it really matter if Dr Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto or not?

Dr Wright’s testimony during the Kleiman v Wright trial showed how he knew every little detail about the beginnings of Bitcoin and that he can fully understand and explain its technology in full. And it would nearly be impossible to know this if he did not actually invent it. 

Furthermore, there were numerous witness testimonies that detail how Dr Wright was seen either in possession of the earliest draft of the Bitcoin white paper or discussing Bitcoin in detail before it was even released.

While Dr Wright’s legal battles will continue for years to come, there is a more pressing question that his detractors need to ask themselves. Does it really matter if Dr Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto or not when he has about 800 granted blockchain-related patents and over 3,000 are still pending in 46 jurisdictions? According to the Forbes feature, British lawyer David Pearce stated that “a lot of these patents are, for better or worse, valid.”

The more pressing question now is: What will the industry do when Dr Wright decides to enforce these patents, especially for open-source software? Some of those who will be affected by these are Meta’s React, which uses open-source Javascript, Microsoft’s Visual Studio, and the Linux operating system – not to mention just about everyone involved in the $1 trillion cryptocurrency industry. 

So, in the big picture, it may not matter if Dr Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto or not. He can just enforce his open-source other blockchain-related patents he has in his arsenal and make everyone pay up. 




Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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