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Private Keys Don’t Equals Identity : Self-Proclaimed Satoshi Craig Wright

  • Since 2016, Craig Wright has been resorting to cryptographic proof to testify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin
  • An anonymous user signed a public message using 145 of those same keys claimed by Wright, exposing his ‘fraud’
  • A legal dispute is currently on to testify Craig’s claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto

Ten years have passed since the world woke up to perhaps the most pathbreaking innovation in the field of finance and technology – Bitcoin. All this began in 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of today’s highest-performing cryptocurrency Bitcoin, published a paper. The content was mind-blowing, as Nakamoto successfully solved the double-spend issue that had defeated the attempts of many others in their quest to create a cryptocurrency. Mysteriously enough, Satoshi chose not to reveal his identity. Enthusiasts, however, were sharp enough to pick up hints to decode the big question: Who is he?

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Nakamoto had mentioned in his blog that he was born in Japan, and although this hasn’t been confirmed, it’s evident that he has great command over English, and apparently, only work during UK business hours.

The most vociferous claim of being the real Nakamoto came from an Australian computer scientist and investor, Craig Wright. Ever since 2015, he has been uninterruptedly attempting to convince the crypto-community that Satoshi Nakamoto and he were the same person.

Craig Wright: The Creator of Bitcoin?

Since 2016, Craig Wright has been resorting to cryptographic proof to testify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. The claim was met with severe criticism, scepticism and raised some really uncomfortable questions for him. For instance, White Ops Chief Scientist Dan Kaminsky alleged that Craig was the “world’s first cryptographically provable con artist.”

Recently, an anonymous user signed a public message using 145 of those same keys claimed by Wright, exposing his ‘fraud’ and claiming that “[Wright] doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message.” To this, Wright responded in a recent interview at the REIMAGINE 2020 conference claiming it was impossible to have an anonymous digital signature.

Digital Signature Scam

In a revelation made in consultation with cryptographers, Coindesk pointed that Bitcoin or any Blockchain operations cannot function without digital signatures which testify ownership and authorisation of transfer.  First, the user is issued a private key,  and then produces a signature proving that they are in full control of the address and are the actual owners of  cryptocurrency it holds.

Interestingly, not many are aware that a Bitcoin owner can use his/her private key to sign written messages, proving that the key owner is the same individual who signed the message. As cryptographers explained, using such a Bitcoin private key, an anonymous person was able to sign the aforementioned message, thereby alleging that Wright was nothing more than “a liar and a fraud.”  The feasibility of this very technique implies that Wright does not control the addresses he claims he does, or he may not be the only owner of the keys.

“Key Unrelated to Identity”

On August 8, Craig clarified through his latest blog post that private keys don’t equal to the identity. The explanatory article by him explores the intricate technical and legal aspects of being in possession of a private key and its relation with ownership, hinting that going by the elaborate legalese details furnished, there shouldn’t be any dispute on his claim to be Nakamoto.

In May 2019, Wright also resorted to the UK libel law to sue all those who denied his claims of being the Bitcoin creator. The group of people sued by him also includes  Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin who called Wright a ‘fraud’.

A legal dispute is currently on to testify Craig’s claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, one made primarily on the basis of his ownership of many Bitcoin addresses active during the initial days and presumably, directly linked to the creator. To settle the controversy, the court decided to move ahead with a trial by jury in June this year.

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