Op-ed: Searching for Satoshi

The cryptic mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto echoes the digital currency's pseudo-anonymous nature and its user's core beliefs.

Why Bitcoin’s creator should remain anonymous

Kyle Riecker, Layout Editor

Revolutions are messy

Imagine you just invented a revolutionary technology.  This invention could improve the world’s financial system and level income inequality. Imagine that you just made central authority obsolete, and found a way to eliminate borders imposed by governments. That might ruffle some very wealthy and important feathers.

How do you think you would be received as the inventor of this new technology, with a standing ovation and a Nobel Peace Prize? Do you think they would throw you a parade, and give you a medal? Or do you think they would throw you in jail for the rest of your life, or worse?  Enter Satoshi Nakamoto.


Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

No one really knows for sure, but everyone wants to.  What is more important than who? is what Satoshi accomplished.  He, she, they- whoever (I will refer to Satoshi as ‘he’ throughout this piece to save space) – invented a way to transfer value without a third party’s trust, i.e. a bank or government. Satoshi designed a protocol for a global currency which runs on a virtually unstoppable, peer-to-peer network.  It is inflation-resistant, and runs on cryptography.  You may have heard about it on the news.

Satoshi invented Bitcoin, the internet for money.  And ever since I learned about Bitcoin in 2012, I have been intrigued by its anonymous figurehead – – after all, everyone loves a good mystery.


Satoshi’s treasure

Whoever Satoshi is, he is sitting on a multi-billion dollar Bitcoin fortune.

Shortly after the Bitcoin network launched in 2009, only Satoshi and a couple others were mining the digital currency.  Mining refers to the method in which new Bitcoin are created.

Miners compete to find new Bitcoin by using their computing power to solve a complex math problem. Whoever is the first to solve the problem and broadcast their results wins the race, gets the reward, and then the competition starts anew. This happens every ten minutes or so.  (More on this later.)

Mining’s primary function is to verify new transactions on the network. New Bitcoin are an economic incentive to keep verifying.  The more people who mine Bitcoin, the more difficult it becomes to find new Bitcoin.  It’s designed to be a finite resource akin to gold. Digital gold.

There are now industrial sized farms of computers dedicated to mining Bitcoin, which have muscled the average PC out of the mining game.

A Bitcoin mining complex, with hundreds of ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) units designed for mining Bitcoin. Source: buyinbtc.com

Back in the early days, though, it was relatively easy to mine with a PC.  Because of this, Satoshi mined approximately 1 million Bitcoin between 2009 and 2010, an amount unspent to this day. They are spread across thousands of wallets, all containing 50 BTC — the original reward for mining Bitcoin. The mining reward has since decreased to 25 in 2012, and then to 12.5 in 2016, and will continue to halve every four years; a design feature which has caused deflation and a rapid increase in value against the dollar.

Satoshi’s fortune has fueled a worldwide hunt to discover his true identity. And as with is the case with many tales of buried treasure, there’s a curse that lingers around those who are identified as Satoshi. It has resulted in raids by tax authorities, and ruined lives. And it has perplexed many journalists – present company included.

In 2011, Satoshi cut all ties with the Bitcoin and disappeared, just as mysteriously as he had appeared. Serious problems now threaten Bitcoin’s future due to lack of clear leadership in his absence.

Let’s examine possible Satoshis in descending order from least to most probable.


The CIA, Aliens, and Time Travelers

Ok, strap on your tin foil hats, and let’s get the unsubstantiated Alex Jones-type theories out of the way first, as they are definitely the least probable.  Some theorize Bitcoin is a CIA project, which is used for financing black ops and possibly to track criminal activity. (A design feature of Bitcoin is that every transaction on the network is public, and searchable.) Russian lawmaker Andrei Svintsov went so far as to say that “All these cryptocurrencies [were] created by US intelligence agencies just to finance terrorism and revolutions.”

I personally think that this is giving the government far too much credit, although I bet they would love the world to think that they created it.  In 2011, The CIA requested a meeting with Gavin Andresen, who was a lead developer for Bitcoin at the time. Andresen was one of the few people who had close contact with Satoshi via email and chat.  Shortly after the meeting, Satoshi cut all contact with Andresen and the rest of the Bitcoin community.  The timing could be coincidental, or perhaps Satoshi was spooked by the spooks.


I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.


Other theories suggest that Bitcoin is alien technology, and if you believe that one, then surely you’ll find it plausible that Satoshi is actually a time traveler who came back Terminator-style to save (or possibly enslave) humanity with his future-money.

My opinion on these kinds of theories is that Bitcoin is of mysterious origin and is hard to explain, kind of like the pyramids of Giza. We tend to view great mysterious achievements under an ethnocentric lens. This couldn’t possibly be the work of a normal human being.  This strange self-doubt in our own species only increases the mystique surrounding Satoshi.  But let’s get real now.


“I am not Dorian Nakamoto”

In March 2014, Satoshi made the front page of Newsweek in an article identifying Satoshi as a California man named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian is an out of work engineer of Japanese descent who is in poor health.

Dorian was quoted in the article saying “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” and “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

If true, this certainly points to Dorian.

He later released a statement denying any involvement, and even mistakenly referred to the project as “Bitcom.”Dorian said he confused Newsweek’s questions about Bitcoin with that of his work on classified defense projects for the US government.

Newsweek’s story lead to a massive amount of unwanted attention on Dorian. Journalists camped outside his house, whose address was identified by Newsweek story, and tailed Dorian in an OJ-style chase through downtown Los Angeles.

Dorian Nakamoto hounded by the press outside of his home in Tempe City, California. Source: ibtimes.com

According to his family, this was the opposite of what Dorian Nakamoto wanted out of life. He was a recluse, and a very guarded person- even to those closest to him.

Although these secretive characteristics seem in line with the creator of Bitcoin, no concrete evidence exists that Dorian Nakamoto is Satoshi.  Additionally, Dorian and his family were under significant financial strain due to his health issues and subsequent unemployment. So it doesn’t add up that Dorian didn’t tap into some of his Bitcoin treasure to cover these expenses.

Days after the story ran, Satoshi emerged from the depths on P2P talk, a forum he frequented when he was still involved with the project. He posted a single sentence: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”

Satoshi surfaces on P2P Talk on March 7, 2014

It could be that Dorian posted this to throw the media off of his trail, or that the benevolent Satoshi, the creator of Bitcoin, had seen the media rampage and took pity on Dorian, because it was the right thing to do.  This is where things start to unravel in the search for Satoshi.

Bali Nakamoto

Let’s fast forward to 2017.  Bitcoin has skyrocketed in value from around $500 to around $3,500 at the time of publication, after the latest halving of mining rewards in July 2016. Satoshi’s treasure is now worth upwards of $3.5 billion.  As such, claims of being Satoshi seem to be on the uptick.  Here’s where I became actively involved in the search for Satoshi, as a journalist for the UC Tangerine.

On April 20, 2017, news.bitcoin.com ran a story on a man who claimed to be Satoshi, who resides in Bali, Indonesia.  Bali Nakamoto, as I will refer to him, had an interesting backstory to his claim. He said he had a mental breakdown in 2010. He claimed he had tossed the laptop which contained the private keys to his Bitcoin into the sea.  He said that the email where he stored a backup to his keys was hacked, but he “knew who did it and who held his backup keys.”

This was enough to pique my interest and reach out to Bali Nakamoto for comment.

My first impression of Bali was sketchy.  We first connected on Facebook after the article was published.  He later called me on video chat while I was driving home from a wedding. Bali wore a full disguise including head garb and sunglasses, and the audio was muddled and crackling. It was of zero use in terms of gathering any information.

I explained that his comments would be better in text so that I could accurately report. It seems that the real Satoshi would want to avoid any sort of visual identification.  Still, I promised to entertain the idea that perhaps, this man was the creator of Bitcoin.

When we finally connected, the conversation was odd.  “You can ask me exactly 15 questions, and no more.  I will answer them but please cut me off as I tend to ramble and could go on about anything for hours,” he said.

Bali’s writing was disjointed and littered with spelling errors, and it was apparent to me that he lacked any clear technical knowledge of Bitcoin, nor the writing skills demonstrated by Satoshi. Bali threw in mannerisms that were notable in Satoshi’s writing, such as the use of British or Australian slang.  It seemed forced, though.

I prepared the 15 questions ranging from his motivations for creating the tech to why he would want to come out and announce himself as Satoshi, and whether he was scared of a media frenzy like the one that enveloped Dorian. The following day when I sent the questions, his Facebook account had been deleted, or reported.

I’m sorry, news.bitcoin.com, I know it was April 20 when the Bali Nakamoto story broke, but you must have been pretty high to give this guy any sort of credence without any supporting evidence.

There is only one reason why I mention Bali Nakamoto, and perhaps he should be higher on the pecking order of improbability. The Bali connection put me in touch with Dr. Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who had his own run-ins with the media.

In December 2015, Wright was identified as Satoshi by Wired.com in an article titled Satoshi Nakamoto is probably this unknown Austrialian genius.

According to Wright, Bali was among the extortionists to threaten him and his family after the news broke.  Wright provided this threatening message that Bali had sent to Wei Dai, which Dai forwarded to Wright.

Threatening email sent by Bali to Wei Dai about Craig Wright. Note the use of forced Australian mannerisms and the crummy spelling.


Dr. Wei Dai

Dr. Wei Dai is a computer scientist who created the concept of B-Money, which Satoshi referenced in his whitepaper on Bitcoin. Dai has patents registered with Microsoft, and is described by The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper as an “intensely private computer engineer.”

Dai is one the first people to have communicated with Satoshi.  The coding library which Dai wrote, Crypto++, is used extensively in Bitcoin’s code, and Dai’s style of coding is notably similar to Satoshi’s.

His influence is so widespread in the cryptocurrency community that a denomination of ethereum named in his honor. Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency.

But don’t think that we’ve covered all of the possible Satoshis yet. The list goes on.


Other candidates

It’s a strong possibility that the real Satoshi is having a good laugh at all of this finger pointing, and has not yet been identified by the media, or anyone else.  Here are a couple of others who could be Satoshi.

Famous cypherpunk Nick Szabo is often mentioned high on the list. In 1998 he created the concept of Bit Gold, a precursor to Bitcoin, which utilized a proof of work mechanism for securing transactions similar to Bitcoin.  Szabo has denied being Satoshi Nakamoto.

Hal Finney was an early Bitcoin developer and a gifted computer scientist. He was the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi.  Could it be that Finney was moving the funds to another wallet he controlled?  Also, Finney lived just a few blocks away from Dorian Nakamoto in Tempe City- an interesting coincidence to say the least. Unfortunately, Finney died of ALS in 2014.  So perhaps the secrets of Satoshi died with him.

But who knows for sure? Nobody yet. Maybe it was me.  Maybe it was you.  Maybe Satoshi is the Zodiac Killer. They both like cryptography, right?


Dr. Craig Wright

I first came into contact with Dr. Craig Wright in the comments field of the Bali Nakamoto article, where he was sparring with Bali about his claim.  At one point Wright said “I own Bitcoin” – to which I asked for some clarification.  I read the Wired article where Wright was identified as Satoshi, but hadn’t really developed a firm opinion on the matter. I thought that Wright was egotistically claiming ownership of Bitcoin as a whole.  Wright clarified that he meant he held the currency Bitcoin, not that he was the owner of the Bitcoin network.

After talking for a little while with Wright in the comments, I revealed that I was writing a story on Satoshi. Wright provided a twitter handle for me to reach him on, and then quickly deleted it.  His name on twitter changes often, which appears to be an effort to avoid detection.

This is how I came into direct contact with Wright, a brilliant yet conflicted man who I personally believe is the most likely Satoshi candidate that I have mentioned thus far– and yet at the same time, he isn’t. Or doesn’t want to be.

Dr. Craig Wright. Source: news.bitcoin.com

Let’s first talk a little about who Wright is.  He is a 46-year-old Australian man with neatly trimmed brown hair and of average build, and likes to wear sport coats with jeans. His face holds the confident expression of a seasoned businessman.

He’s a computer scientist, and an academic with multiple laureates; ranging from philosophy to mathematics, cryptography and economics.  He has a family and three children and currently resides in London. Wright is a staunch libertarian with a blunt world view. He’s often braggadocios about his accomplishments and wealth.

His uncle, Ronald Lynam, was a wing commander and head of military intelligence for the Australian Military Forces in World War II.  Wright’s grandfather, who was of Tuscan descent and spoke perfect Italian, played an intriguing role in the war. He was tasked by the allies to penetrate the Japanese Type B Cipher Machine program, code named “Purple.”

“They used him to infiltrate the Philippines as a representative of the Italians for the German push,” Wright said. “So the Japanese allowed him in with faked documents and he used that to learn from the inside.”

Ronald Lynam’s Australian Military Forces picture and attestation form. Source: Craig Wright

Wright was a chalkie for the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in the 1980s.  A chalkie was someone who kept track of buy and sell orders on a chalkboard before computers handled such processes.  “It was the Brisbane Stock Exchange then, before automatic trades. We were guys who took orders and managed the board. There was lots of screaming,” Wright said.

Since then he’s had a successful career as an entrepreneur and businessman in the tech industry. Wright designed systems architecture for the first online gambling website, Lasseter’s Online. He’s had his hand in system designs for numerous organizations, including K-Mart, Mahindra & Mahindra, which is India’s largest automobile manufacture, and the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now days Wright focuses mainly on his studies, and his family.

“I’m a man who cares about my family and who loves to gain knowledge. That has made me somewhat isolated in many aspects,” Wright said in an interview with Eli Afram. “[I] cannot say that I am a terribly social person but the last couple years have been learning exercise. [I] never hoped to be thrust into the position I am now in. I like the research I’m doing and I love having the opportunity to build systems, software and mathematics.”

Probably most significant to this story, Wright possesses an immense knowledge of Bitcoin, its design, and its early history.  It’s clear to me that regardless of whether Wright is Satoshi, he is one of the most well-informed people I have ever talked to on the topic.

An early implementation of Bitcoin which included a built-in E-bay like marketplace. Source: Craig Wright


Trouble began when rumors first circulated in 2015 that Wright was Satoshi. Wright received threats, such as the one from Bali, and internet trolls threatened to harm his family.

And that’s just the beginning of Wright’s problems with the alleged connection to Satoshi.

Hours after the Wired story broke, The Australian Tax Authority (ATO) raided his home in Sydney, although it supposedly had no relation to the Satoshi news. The ATO also audited Wright’s sister’s film company. “They wanted to make sure that I didn’t gift her anything,” Wright said.  The ATO has since cleared Wright and his sister of any wrongdoing.

Proof in private

In May 2016, Wright decided to prove he created Bitcoin. Wright agreed to a closed-door meeting with Gavin Andresen and former Bitcoin Foundation Director Jon Matonis in London. One of Wright’s terms was there were to be no cameras recording the event.

During the meeting Wright signed a cryptographic message using Satoshi’s PGP key, one of the two methods to indisputably prove the claim. Andresen and Matonis were convinced.


Satoshi’s PGP key.


“During our meeting, I saw the brilliant, opinionated, focused, generous – and privacy-seeking – person that matches the Satoshi I worked with six years ago,” Andresen said. “And he cleared up a lot of mysteries, including why he disappeared when he did and what he’s been busy with since 2011. But I’m going to respect Dr. Wright’s privacy, and let him decide how much of that story he shares with the world.”

That should have been it, right? Case closed?  Not so fast.


Public proof and the aftermath

After the meeting with Andresen and Matonis, The Bitcoin community demanded further proof from Wright.  He was asked to move some of his early, unspent Bitcoin around on the network. He initially agreed to do this, but then seemed to have a change of heart.

In an odd turn of events, Wright wrote a lengthy blog post that referenced Jean Paul Sartre, who famously refused a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964 because a “writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”

Perhaps herein lies Satoshi’s motivation for writing a protocol for Bitcoin anonymously.

The blog post, which has since been deleted, included a cryptographically signed message with a quote from Sartre, which caused an uproar in the Bitcoin community. And the trolls, tasting blood in the water, seized the opportunity.

The blog post was ripped to shreds by critics of Wright, mainly in the subreddit r/Bitcoin. (More on that community later.) And some Reddit users pointed to evidence that the signed message on the blog was copied from an early transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain. It is important to note that the blog’s signed message was not veritably the same one that was signed in private, for Andresen and Matonis.

“I have a thirteen year old girl. I have two boys– have…” Wright said. “I received extortion threats. Scam-toshi [Bali] was one of the people – I know who he is. I was also promised no TV camera.”

Wright was concerned about his family’s well-being. Two Special British Forces (SAS) guards were assigned to him and his family day and night during the London meeting.

“I did not like what my life was becoming,” he said. “And I do not like people moving the goal posts on me”- referring to BBC news presence at the London meeting.

The blog post was later removed and replaced by this message:

Screenshot from Wright’s blog website, which has since been deleted entirely.

“I’m sorry. I believed I could do this. I believed I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of the week unfolded, and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I cannot.

When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know that I am not strong enough for this.

I know that this weakness will cause great damage to those that have supported me, and particularly to Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen. I can only hope that their honour and credibility is not irreparably tainted by my actions. They were not deceived, but I know that the world will never believe that now. I’m sorry. And goodbye.”


Back to square one

And so it seems, the search for Satoshi is right back to the beginning.  Wright left 2016 seen under many lenses; by his critics and by many on r/Bitcoin, he was a fraud. Wired and Gizmodo, along with many other news outlets, reported that Wright had staged an elaborate hoax.   Others were confused by his blog post, and the reference to Jean Paul Sartre’s refusal of the Nobel Prize.

Ironically, Satoshi was considered for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences by Bhagwan Chowdhry, who was invited to nominate that year.

“Not only will Satoshi Nakamoto’s contribution change the way we think about money, it is likely to upend the role central banks play in conducting monetary policy, destroy high-cost money transfer services such as Western Union, eliminate the 2-4 percent transactions tax imposed by intermediaries such as Visa, MasterCard and Paypal, eliminate the time-consuming and expensive notary and escrow services and indeed transform the landscape of legal contracts completely. Many industries such as Banking, Finance, [and] Law will see a big upheaval” Chowdry explained.

“The consumers will be big beneficiaries and indeed the poor and marginal sections of the society will reap the benefits of financial and social inclusion in the coming decades. I can barely think of another innovation in Economic and Finance in the last several decades whose influence surpasses the welfare increases that will be engendered by Satoshi Nakamoto’s brilliant, path-breaking invention. That is why I am nominating him for the Nobel Prize in Economics.”

Chowdry’s nomination was denied because Nobel Prize recipients cannot be pseudonyms, and must be publicly identifiable.


Andresen removed from Bitcoin development

Shortly after the London meeting, in a shocking turn of events, Gavin Andresen was kicked off of Bitcoin’s development by the other developers. Andresen had been on the project for longer than almost anyone, and in close communication with Satoshi. He remains highly respected among many in the Bitcoin community, however.

Andresen saw a big problem looming on the horizon for Bitcoin; its need to scale to the increased volume of transactions.  The problem seemed to be ignored, though, perhaps purposefully.

Block size

When a miner finds new Bitcoin, they verify a group of transactions by creating what’s known as a block. Blocks are cryptographically signed and linked to each other in historical order from oldest to newest, to form a chain.  The blockchain makes it nearly impossible for anyone to alter the transaction history, which is a security design of Bitcoin and one of Satoshi’s true innovations.

Only a certain number of transactions can be included in a block, however. Early developers of Bitcoin put a cap of 1MB on the size of each block, which was intended to prevent flooding attacks on the fledgling network.  Now days this cap is causing a backlog of transactions waiting to be included in a block, resulting in a massive increase in the average fee per transaction.

Fast forward to 2017 and block size is one of the most divisive issues that Bitcoin faces.


A rotten core

The core development team of Bitcoin is now headed by a financial tech startup called Blockstream. While this may seem a logical progression, there are some rotten things going on in core, aside from ousting Andresen.

Blockstream, the company that now essentially controls Bitcoin development.

The main investor in Blockstream’s initial $55 million funding round was AXA Strategic Ventures. Its CEO, Henri de Castries, has been chairman of the Bilderberg Group since 2012.  All one needs to do is follow the money to discover the truth about Blockstream.

The ultra-rich bankers of the Bilderberg Group; the very people that Bitcoin was built to disrupt, are now in direct control of development of the Bitcoin protocol via Blockstream.

And conveniently enough, Bitcoin core development now seems focused on profits rather than changing the world. They seem content with the status quo, full blocks and higher fees. The dream of a global currency that empowers the poorest citizens of the world is slipping away due to business as usual in the world of finance.

A house divided

Instead of advocating for a block size increase to relieve transaction backlogs and higher fees, Blockstream and Core has taken a stand against removing the 1MB cap.  They have proposed a different road map for scaling through a complicated upgrade called Segregated Witness (Segwit), which splits the Bitcoin transaction into different parts, thus nominally increasing the amount of transactions in a block.

Core is betting on the development of payment channels on top of the open-source Bitcoin blockchain to alleviate transaction congestion. The problem is these side channels are still in development, and are not fully tested.  This seems to be putting the cart before the horse, a risky move for a $70 billion-dollar project.

The scaling debate has been so divisive that the community has split, with r/btc being pro-bigger blocks and r/bitcoin being pro-core and Segwit. r/bitcoin censors any comments that are pro-block size increase.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to censorship of information, and the dirty PR tactics that are deployed by the well-funded Blockstream.

It truly has become an ugly battle. The two opposing Bitcoin factions hurl insults at each other, in an effort to undermine the other’s credibility. It is obnoxious to read for any given period of time. And it’s confusing to determine which side is right. It feels like I’m in the audience of a low-brow daytime talk show.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said, “One of the worst aspects of crypto culture is the idea that because math and code are supposedly apolitical, we do not have to be polite.”

I personally believe that r/bitcoin is the worst place to go for open Bitcoin discussions, due to their heavy censorship and its pro-core agenda. Anything that mentions a block size increase in a positive light is deemed off topic and deleted.  It seems like bad practice for a supposedly open-source project community.

No kings allowed

In June 2017, Wright made a surprise appearance at The Future of Bitcoin Conference, in the Netherlands.  His hour long talk detailed his plans to scale Bitcoin by removing the block size limit, and why any other method such as Segwit are a bad idea.  He was very impassioned, peppering his talk with expletives – and as one Redditor put it, “Satoshi is back, and he’s pissed!”

But Wright wasn’t there to talk about ruling Bitcoin, and in fact, is against the idea of one person wielding the powerful influence that Satoshi once did.

“There should be no king in Bitcoin; there will be no king in Bitcoin. We are a community, and it is time we start acting like one,” Wright said.

“We like to think we’re something right at the moment. We are not. If we want to be something, we need to scale and radically,” Wright said.  “Not offchain. Not moving some of the security into side chains and splitting the model. We need to, right now, today, start scaling.”



At one point Wright alluded to inventing Bitcoin, but then slanted it in another direction.  “I created things… I get to choose, my choice,” he said with a smile creeping halfway up his face. “I will put some out free. We will put some out otherwise. Our choice,” – in reference to his Bitcoin company n-Chain, which is patenting technology to scale Bitcoin.

This is one example of Wright’s use of misdirection, an important tactic in hacking and cybersecurity, and for maintaining anonymity. And it’s something that an intelligent, privacy-seeking individual like Wright deploys to obfuscate the truth.  Plausible deniability is crucial to personal safety– especially if you have the keys to billions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin collecting dust in a shoe box in your closet.

It’s my opinion that misdirection was similarly deployed by Wright in May 2016 after he was spooked by the media in London. It is likely, in my opinion, that he intentionally clouded the truth about creating Bitcoin after having second thoughts.

I can’t blame Wright for doing so, I have a daughter and a family myself, and if someone at Newsweek decided to run a cover story fingering me as Satoshi, I would probably react in a similar manner.   I can understand his reasons for wanting privacy. And as it happens, that’s not the only thing Wright and I have in common.


Curmudgeons and dragons

“It is better to be hated and left alone than to prove that I am not a fraud,” Wright said to me. He has told me multiple times that he is a curmudgeon, and it is better that way.

I can relate as I am an aspiring curmudgeon myself.

The last twelve years of my free time had been dedicated to event promotion for an artist and DJ collective in Utica, which is possibly the most thankless job on the planet.  Last year I made the difficult decision to quit event promotions, which allowed me to allocate more time to other, more important pieces of my life.

I needed to reset and prioritize. I cannot chose all eventualities of life, only a select few- the most important few. I think that Wright can relate.

There are other things that I can relate to Wright very well, such as his Confucian-esque  pursuit of knowledge in many different subjects areas. We both seem to be generally misunderstood, and may share a mild case of social anxiety.

Of course, we have our differences as well. He’s Australian, I’m American. He has numerous degrees, I have zero. He’s a libertarian, I lean towards socialism. He has nice hair, and my hair is constantly disheveled. But the most profound difference of all is that he hates country music, and I happen to love it.  Yes, you heard it here first, Satoshi Nakamoto hates country music.


Let the mystery live on

At this moment, I realize that my search for Satoshi has been selfish and misguided. Satoshi wanted his privacy, his solitude, and we should all afford him that freedom and let it be, and not demand proof or pressure suspected Satoshis. The victims of Satoshi’s curse are real people, with families, obligations, and personal flaws.

At its core, Bitcoin is about privacy. Unveiling the creator’s identity to the world is the ultimate injustice to Satoshi.

There will never be a resolution until cryptographic proof is shown, either by moving Satoshi’s Bitcoin or signing a PGP message with his key. Bitcoin is built on the premise of trust in the immutable laws of mathematics and on a distrust of authority, so speculation and grandiose stories just do not cut it. Publicly reviewed evidence is necessary to identifying Satoshi.  And this is probably something that Satoshi, a brilliant anonymous coder, doesn’t want to do.

For now, Satoshi’s treasure remains untouched, safe and sound, buried deep within the blockchain.

And maybe it’s for the best, that this mystery remains unsolved. I will keep on wondering, as will the media, as will everyone but the author the original Bitcoin code. And every time there is a new lead that is discovered to be false, the plot thickens.  For now, the mystery of Satoshi lives on.






  1. Great article and very well put together.

    To anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of unwanted contact with the government and/or other threatening people/entities, it is obvious why Craig has choosen the path he has done, because we understand the damage that can be done.

    Unless you are willing to risk your life for a cause like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange there is little more than threats, extortion, risk of kidnapping and thousands of letters with (true and untrue) sob stories from people asking for money to be gained by coming out as Satoshi with undeniable proof.

    After all it’s not like Core is suddenly going to come out and say:

    “Oh, so we were wrong. You ARE Satoshi. Let us please welcome you now then to take the leadership going forward!”.

    No they will simply say something along the lines of:

    “Craig/Satoshi created something great, but that was many years ago and now we have more than 100 brilliant scientists and programmers who have improved on his creation.

    Although we understand his frustration the reality is that Bitcoin has moved so far beyond the original whitepaper he wrote. We don’t want to deal with his abrasive personality, no one should have to deal with that kind of abuse in a workplace in 2017.”

    One question that intrigues me is if there is any publicly known connection between Craig and Nick Szabo from the early days?

  2. One of the most profound revelations while writing this piece for me was that Satoshi isn’t some idealized saint as many in the crypto community would prefer; but rather possesses the personality flaws and quirks that any normal person does. I appreciate your feedback and comment.

  3. What a Julius Caesar’s Lori…
    I really enjoyed reading my own material. The lesson here is: don’t step on my Blue Suede Shoes! I have a dozen writing styles, how else would someone trained in cryptographic techniques hide in plain sight. Do you really think Satoshi Nakamoto is the only other name that I have? Anyone that ever uses a pseudonym will always have more than one alternative name.

    • Thanks for responding. This is just my opinion based on the information I gathered, if per chance the interview questions that were sent were ever responded to, and your Facebook account wasn’t deleted for abusive or spam content, it may have swayed my opinion in another way. As I stated in the conclusion of my OPed, it will take more than grandiose stories to prove the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

      If you have a rebuttal to any of Dr. Wright’s claims, I would be happy to hear them in the comments. Thank you.

  4. “The ultra-rich bankers of the Bilderberg Group; the very people that Bitcoin was built to disrupt, are now in direct control of development of the Bitcoin protocol via Blockstream.”

    “Are now in direct control of the Bitcoin protocol”.. This is pure nonsense.

    Please back this up with some proof.

    • Thank you, Martii for your reply. This subject was really just a footnote in my article about Satoshi. I did provide proof by connecting the dots between AXA Strategic Ventures investment in Blockstream, which is arguably the most influential startup guiding core development. This is, of course, my opinion; as stated in the headline. There is also a correlation between the AXA investment in Blockstream and when a blocksize increase suddenly became an issue of contention. Adam Back, (Blockstream CEO) even changed his opinion on a blocksize increase after this investment was made.

      And now fees on Bitcoin Core are ~20.00 per transaction, effectively pricing out billions of poor unbanked and underbanked people from using it. I’m just glad that Bitcoin Cash has flourished and has reclaimed that use case. Again, just my opinion. Thanks for your thoughts.


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