The search for the creator of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin — who goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto — has sent the media scampering all over the world, but according to two new reports, they should have just come to Sydney, Australia.
According to Wired and Gizmodo, all signs point to a 44-year-old Australian computer expert and businessman, Craig Steven Wright, as the mysterious Nakamoto.
Yet despite what Wired calls “a massive trove of evidence,” neither are able to say they’ve found their guy once and for all.
Emerging in 2008 after a Bitcoin white paper was published by Nakamoto, the peer-to-peer digital currency has been cast as both the future of money and as a doomed social experiment.
Not issued by a central bank, Bitcoin is created by a computer-generated process known as “mining.” Although the value of Bitcoin has fluctuated dramatically over the years, Wiredsuggests that whoever Nakamoto is, they appear “to control a stash of bitcoins easily worth a nine-figure fortune.”
Wired and Gizmodo both report suspicion fell on Wright when an anonymous source leaked them documents, including blog posts, emails and accounting statements, which indicated connections between Wright and the supposed creator of Bitcoin. The documents apparently show Wright has been suggesting he is Nakamoto to friends and associates since 2008.
Some of the leaked emails show Wright has in the past used the email address firstname.lastname@example.org — the address Nakamoto used to communicate with the early cryptocurrency community, Gizmodo reports. In a draft email, he even appeared to consider using the email address, and his Bitcoin clout, to lobby Australian Senator Arthur Sinodinos regarding Bitcoin regulation, according to Wired.
The senator’s office said it is not aware of any correspondence between Wright and Sinodinos, when contacted by Mashable.
According to Craig Steven Wright’s LinkedIn profile, he lives in Sydney and is the CEO of DeMorgan Limited, a “company focused on alternative currency, next generation banking.” In his DeMorgan profile, he claims to have done work for the Australian Federal Police.Mashable Australia has contacted the AFP for comment.
Calls to DeMorgan on Wednesday morning went straight to voicemail.
American computer forensics analyst David Kleiman, who died in 2013, also appears to have been in the mix, both as a confidante for Wright and as the possible recipient (or creator) of an immense Bitcoin trust.
In 2014, Newsweek published the claim, now mostly considered debunked, that the Bitcoin-Nakamoto was a Californian man, helpfully named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. In a leaked email, Wright wrote in response to the media report: “I am not from the bloody USA! Nor am I called Dorien [sic].”
According to a document released to Gizmodo, in 2011, Wright wrote to Kleiman about his frustration with his apparent legacy. “I cannot do the Satoshi bit anymore. They no longer listen. I am better as a myth,” he said, “My pseudonym is more popular than I can ever hope to be.”
On Wednesday afternoon local time, the Guardian reported Wright’s north Sydney home had been raided by police. It is not clear what they were looking for, or if any documents were removed or people questioned. The AFP told Mashable the raid was “an [Australian Tax Office] ATO matter.”
Due to confidentiality provisions, an ATO spokesperson told Mashable it could not comment on Wright’s tax affairs or the raid.
In the documents obtained by Wired, which have not been verified by Mashable, Wright details a number of tussles with the ATO. In Australia, Bitcoin are treated as an asset for capital gains tax purposes.