The Cryptographically Provable Con Man
It’s not actually surprising that somebody would claim to be the creator of Bitcoin. Whoever “Satoshi Nakamoto” is, is worth several hundred million dollars. What is surprising is that credible people were backing Craig Wright’s increasingly bizarre claims. I could speculate why, or I could just ask. So I mailed Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, “What the heck?”:
What is going on here?There’s clear unambiguous cryptographic evidence of fraud and you’re lending credibility to the idea that a public key operation could should or must remain private?
He replied as follows, quoted with permission:
Yeah, what the heck?
I was as surprised by the ‘proof’ as anyone, and don’t yet know exactly what is going on.
It was a mistake to agree to publish my post before I saw his– I assumed his post would simply be a signed message anybody could easily verify.
And it was probably a mistake to even start to play the Find Satoshi game, but I DO feel grateful to Satoshi.
If I’m lending credibility to the idea that a public key operation should remain private, that is entirely accidental. OF COURSE he should just publish a signed message or (equivalently) move some btc through the key associated with an early block.
Feel free to quote or republish this email.
Good on Gavin for his entirely reasonable reaction to this genuinely strange situation.
Craig Wright seems to be doubling down on his fraud, again, and I don’t care. The guy took an old Satoshi signature from 2009 and pretended it was fresh and new and applied to Sartre. It’s like Wright took the final page of a signed contract and stapled it to something else, then proclaimed to the world “See? I signed it!”.
That’s not how it works.
Say what you will about Bitcoin, it’s given us the world’s first cryptographically provable con artist. Scammers always have more to say, but all that matters now is math. He can actually sign “Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto” with Satoshi’s keys, openly and publicly. Or he can’t, because he doesn’t have those keys, because he’s not actually Satoshi.