DEFINITION of 'Craig Wright'

Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of bitcoin. According to Wright, he was involved in bitcoin’s creation along with his friend, the deceased computer security expert Dave Kleiman. He made this claim after Wired magazine and Gizmodo floated the possibility of his being Nakamoto in a December 2015 article. The article quoted from numerous sources, including Wright’s email correspondence and chat transcripts with acquaintances, and referenced business dealings to make its case. 

Wright’s claim generated intrigue and skepticism within the bitcoin community. Some supported his claim. For example, Gavin Andresen, a director of Bitcoin Foundation who corresponded with Nakamoto while doing initial programming work in bitcoin, said he was “convinced beyond reasonable doubt” that Wright was Satoshi. 

But critics have largely remained unconvinced about Wright’s story and asked for conclusive proof. Security researcher Dan Kaminsky pointed to Wright’s botched attempt to prove his story to buttress his claim that the entire exercise was a scam.  

Wright currently works as chief scientist at nChain Inc., a blockchain research and development company. 

WHO IS 'Craig Wright'

Wired magazine and tech news site Gizmodo were the first publications to suggest that Wright invented bitcoin. Wired based its claim on an assortment of evidence, from a trove of cached documents to deleted blog posts on Wright’s personal site to emails passed onto the editors from his acquaintances.

The Case For Wright As Satoshi 

According to the publication, Wright used the same email address as Nakamoto for correspondence. Gizmodo also published emails from Wright lobbying for regulatory acceptance of bitcoin to political figures and government agencies. In the emails, he alluded to the possibility of resuscitating Nakamoto, who disappeared after revealing the existence of bitcoin, to make a case for the cryptocurrency. “Would our Japanese friend have weight coming out of retirement or not?” he wrote. 

Wright is also supposed to have published a blog post announcing bitcoin’s launch on January 10, 2009. The post, titled “The beta of bitcoin is live tomorrow,” has since been deleted. In another bit of "proof," Wright claimed in a conversation with his tax lawyers that he has been running bitcoin since 2009. 

Besides Wright’s posts and correspondence, the publications also pointed to his business interests, which resemble those required to run cryptocurrency mining operations. Through his company, Tulip Trading, Wright is said to control the 1.1 million bitcoins held by Nakamoto. Those bitcoins cannot be moved until 2020, according to a trust fund PDF signed by the late Dave Kleiman, Wired stated.

The Wired article speculated that Wright may be holding on to the stash for future investment purposes. Tulip Trading was also reported to have made the world’s 17th-fastest supercomputer - C01N - that had a speed of 3.52 Petaflops. (One petaflop is 1,000 teraflops, or one trillion floating point operations per second). 

Wright also possessed a streak of anti-authoritarianism like Nakamoto. He subscribed to a cypherphunk mailing list that served to fine-tune and evolve standards for cryptocurrencies. Wright is also a libertarian who recommends a return to gold standards, and a fan of Japanese culture.    

Verifying Wright’s Claims 

According to cryptography experts, Wright needs to perform either of the following two tasks in order to back up his claim of being Nakamoto. He could conduct a transaction using bitcoins using Nakamoto’s private key. Or, he could cryptographically “sign” a message using the same set of keys. (A message signed with a private key is cryptographically secure and can only be unlocked with a corresponding public key). 

Bitcoin Foundation’s Gavin Andresen met Craig Wright in 2016 at a hotel in London to ascertain proof regarding his claims. During his meeting with Andresen, Wright signed a message - “Gavin’s favorite number is eleven” - with his initials and a private key from one of the first 50 bitcoin blocks ever mined.

Wright signed the message on his own laptop and transferred it onto a brand new computer using a USB stick owned by Andresen. After an initial hiccup, during which Andresen realized they had forgotten to add Wright’s initials, the signature was verified by bitcoin’s software Electrum. “I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented bitcoin,” Andresen proclaimed on his website the following day.  

Jon Matoni, another director of bitcoin foundation, also claims to have witnessed cryptographic proof that Wright is Satoshi when the former signed a message using a key from bitcoin’s first and ninth blocks. “The social evidence, including his unique personality, early emails that I received, and early drafts of the Bitcoin white paper, points to Craig as the creator,” Matoni wrote in a Medium post.   

Dubious Claims 

But Wright’s attempt to publicly prove himself as a creator of bitcoin failed. The day after his private demonstration with Andresen, Wright posted a message on bitcoin’s public blockchain with text from French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The document was incomplete and signed with a private key that was supposed to extract the full version. Security researcher Dan Kaminsky found that Wright’s key extracted to transaction data from 2009, which had Satoshi’s publicly-available signature from parts of the blockchain.  

Critics have also analyzed other evidence and found Wright's claim wanting. Wright’s PGP keys were created in 2009 and could be traced back to Satoshi Nakamoto’s email address. Both Wired and Gizmodo claim this as an important part of their case for Wright being Nakamoto. But Motherboard, a Vice publication, debunked that theory. PGP keys can be backdated and, also, fixed to point to anyone’s email address. 

Adding to the murkiness are accusations that Craig Wright misrepresented his academic credentials and lied about his company’s partnerships. In an earlier version of his profile on LinkedIn, the job networking site, Wright stated that he had earned a doctorate from Charles Sturt University in Australia. But the University told Forbes that it had not awarded a doctorate to him.

Cloudcroft, Wright’s company, also claimed to have partnered with Silicon Graphics International, a high-performance computing firm that was subsequently acquired by Hewlett-Packard, to develop two supercomputers which are listed among the world’s top 500. But SGI denied that Cloudcroft was a customer and said it had no record of the C01N supercomputer. 

RELATED TERMS
  1. Bitcoin

    Bitcoin is a digital or virtual currency that uses peer-to-peer ...
  2. Genesis Block

    Learn about the Genesis Block, the first Bitcoin block ever mined. ...
  3. Bitcoin Unlimited

    A proposed upgrade to Bitcoin Core that allows larger block sizes.
  4. Bitcoin Core

    Bitcoin Core is software that includes a wallet, and helps keep ...
  5. Bitcoin XT

    A fork from Bitcoin Core that proposed increasing the size of ...
  6. Bitcoin Cash

    Bitcoin cash is a cryptocurrency created in August 2017, arising ...
Related Articles
  1. Tech

    Is Craig Wright the Inventor of Bitcoin?

    As of Monday morning, however, bitcoin's biggest mystery may have been solved: Craig Stevenson Wright, an Australian computer scientist, has offered what he says is proof that he is the cryptocurrency's ...
  2. Tech

    Self-Declared Bitcoin Creator Sees Company He Inspired Sold to Private Equity

    Craig Wright, who claims to have invented Bitcoin, has witnessed nChain Holdings, a company formulated on his research, as it was sold to investors.
  3. Tech

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk Denies Being Bitcoin Creator

    A former SpaceX intern theorized that Tesla titan Elon Musk could be the creator of bitcoin.
  4. Tech

    Top 6 Books to Learn About Bitcoin

    Bitcoin's rise to prominence shows no signs of stopping. Here are some of the latest and best books to learn more about the leading cryptocurrency.
  5. Tech

    Bitcoin Price Rallies Despite Anti-Crypto Jabs By Billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffett

    Bitcoin prices climbed despite anti-cryptocurrency disses from billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
  6. Investing

    The FV ETF: Playing Momentum with Less Risk

    This ETF is one way to play momentum investing, but even with its steady gains, there are no guarantees.
  7. Tech

    11 Important People in Cryptocurrency's History

    The cryptocurrency world is new and constantly changing. Here are some of the innovators leading the charge.
  8. Tech

    Bitcoin's Main Stumbling Block: Navigating The Law

    Coders created Bitcoin to be decentralized and independent of governments and banks. Authorities are still struggling to create a legal framework.
  9. Tech

    Are There Taxes On Bitcoins?

    Here is a short guide to the tax implications when using or investing in bitcoins in the US.
  10. Tech

    Bitcoin Prices Undergo Wild Swings Over The Weekend

    Bitcoin Cash almost replaced Bitcoin until it didn't.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Is Bitcoin legal in the US?

    Learn about the legality of Bitcoin as a form of payment in the United States, as well as how it is produced and concerns ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why do Bitcoins have value?

    Performing with transactional anonymity, Bitcoin has value as a private digital currency, investment tool and social networking ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Enterprise Value (EV)

    Enterprise Value (EV) is a measure of a company's total value, often used as a more comprehensive alternative to equity market ...
  2. Relative Strength Index - RSI

    Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent ...
  3. Dividend

    A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.
  4. Inventory Turnover

    Inventory turnover is a ratio showing how many times a company has sold and replaces inventory over a period.
  5. Watchlist

    A watchlist is list of securities being monitored for potential trading or investing opportunities.
  6. Hedge Fund

    A hedge fund is an aggressively managed portfolio of investments that uses leveraged, long, short and derivative positions.
Trading Center