On January 19th, the Guardian put out a Spotify podcast on bitcoin entitled: Is bitcoin a scam? The interviewee Alex Hern is a Guardian journalist and has been a crypto writer since 2013.
Now it may be no surprise based on the title, but the podcasters take a decidedly bearish tone on the future and purpose of bitcoin. In this piece, the second in a multi part series, I explore more of their claims to understand whether it’s fake news or fact.
To read part one which explored their definition of money and the bitcoin mining process: https://www.linkedin.com/post/edit/6760131184832872450/
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Hern discusses the mysterious figure behind bitcoin’s creation — Satoshi Nakamoto, and the infamous Craig Wright who claims to be the man behind the myth. I’ve written on this topic before about a) why we never need to know who Satoshi is but most importantly b) that it’s not CSW, and it appears that Hern and I are alined with this.
As noted in the podcast, there have been doubts over Wright’s claim since he was first rumoured to be Satoshi and this has been fuelled by; Wright trying to dupe WIRED and Gizmodo with fraudulent PGP keys, multiple claims of plagiarism including on his doctoral thesis and a 2019 bitcoin paper he presented at a conference , exaggerations about his educational attainment , providing multiple fabricated documents in his ongoing court battle against the Kleiman estate, and most audaciously claiming to own a number of bitcoin addresses only to have 145 of them jointly sign a message on the blockchain saying;
Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message
Wright’s relentless pursual to be recognised as Satoshi has caused a schism in the industry with anyone denying his claims hit with litigation — his weapon of choice. This was seen in his libel cases against Hodlonaut which led to the twitter hashtag #WeAreAllHodlonaut and a crowdsourcing of funds to help defend the charges, as well as prominent crypto leaders speaking out against Wright’s actions. More recently Wright attempted to sue a number of crypto websites for IP infringement due to hosting ‘his’ bitcoin whitepaper. This was met
with strong criticism from across the industry and saw companies such as Square and Fidelity, as well as the Estonia and Columbian governments responding by hosting a copy of the whitepaper on their own websites.
As noted in the podcast, the way to prove that you’re Satoshi is to move some of the bitcoin’s he/she/they originally mined. Craig has not been able to do so.
Hern then highlights a key danger in the true Satoshi coming forward; that it is public knowledge that you own billions worth of bitcoin yet haven’t spent it on a top notch security team. In addition to those who would seek to steal your riches, you’d also likely have amassed some powerful enemies both at a state and organised crime level so outing yourself would probably be a short lived and perilous move. Luckily for Satoshi, he/she/they have remained hidden and its probable that we’ll never know who released this financial revolution into the world.
So whilst Hern and I may disagree on the environmental impact of bitcoin, it seems we share a belief about who Satoshi is, or more importantly isn’t. In part three of Why does the Guardian think bitcoin is a scam? I’m going to take a look at the claims made about criminal use of bitcoin.
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If you want to follow the ever increasing evidence that CSW is not Satoshi then I’d recommend these twitter accounts:
- DebunkingFaketoshi: https://twitter.com/jimmy007forsure?lang=en
- Arthur van Peltonaut: https://twitter.com/MyLegacyKit
(All views expressed are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect that of their employer or any associated organisations.)