10/04 update below. This post was originally published on October 2
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency devotees have been gripped by the mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto—bitcoin’s anonymous creator—for more than a decade as bitcoin has rocked the worlds of finance and technology.
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Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared shortly after publishing bitcoin’s white paper in 2008 and the name has since been linked to various coders, developers and so-called cyberpunks—with Australian computer scientist Craig Wright orchestrating an elaborate but unconvincing demonstration that he is Nakamoto in 2016.
Now, after Wright has spent years claiming to be Nakamoto and dragging naysayers through the courts, a leaked email has suggested one of his biggest backers has lost faith.
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A bronze statue commemorating the mysterious bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto was unveiled in … [+]
Christen Ager-Hanssen, the former nChain chief executive, has quit the bitcoin SV infrastructure company, going on to leak emails suggesting former gambling billionaire Calvin Ayre who has heavily backed the company doesn’t believe Wright, nChain’s chief scientist, is Satoshi Nakamoto.
10/04 update: An X (Twitter) account calling itself “Satoshi Nakamoto” with the handle @Satoshi has posted for the first time since 2018, sparking fresh speculation about bitcoin’s creator.
“Bitcoin is a predicate machine. Over the following months, we shall explore different aspects that were not explicitly contained within the white paper,” the account posted. “These aspects are all parts of bitcoin, and are important. Some of these ideas were touched upon in the early years; now is the time to extrapolate and explain.”
However, X’s community notes feature added: “This isn’t the real Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of bitcoin. Its an account related to Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi with no material proof.” Ager-Hanssen posted that the “account has been taken over by Craig [Wright],” while others have linked it to Andy Rowe, an associate of Wright.
Bitcoin SV, which stands for Satoshi’s vision, is a fork of the payments-focused bitcoin cash, itself a fork of bitcoin that split from the original bitcoin blockchain following the so-called blocksize war of 2017.
“I can confirm I have departed from nChain Global,” Ager-Hanssen posted to X (Twitter). “I have also reported that I have found compelling evidence that Craig Wright has manipulated documents with the aim to deceive the court that he is Satoshi. I’m today myself convinced that Craig Wright is not Satoshi.”
Ager-Hanssen followed up his resignation with a leaked email he claims Ayre sent to Wright that appears to show Ayre is poised to pull his support for Wright’s various lawsuits, calling it “shocking evidence.”
“I have been operating under the assumption that you … have the keys and you were simply pretending not to have them as part of some strategy,” the leaked email purports to show Ayre writing, referring to the private keys that would prove Wright has access to bitcoin known to be mined by Nakamoto. “But now we are looking at a situation where continuing to deny you ruin your life and damage your supporters.”
Ayre appeared to warn that Wright will lose an upcoming case brought against Wright by the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA), something that “will set a precedent that you are not Satoshi in law.”
In 2021, the COPA filed a U.K. civil suit against Wright, challenging him to prove he authored the bitcoin white paper, with the expected trial date last year pushed out to the beginning of 2024.
“Calvin losing faith in CSW [Craig Stephen Wright] is the only way this thing would ever end,” Nic Carter, a crypto investor with Castle Island Ventures, posted to X. “It’s incredibly good news that it appears to be happening now. Without his patron, none of his legal harassment of ordinary bitcoin devs and advocates can continue.”
Earlier this year, Wright told Forbes his legal strategy will hinge on the movement of the bitcoin codebase to Github and the alleged circumvention of his administrator control.
Last month, a U.K. court dismissed Wright’s lawsuit alleging crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken had infringed on his copyright by using the name “bitcoin.”
Thank you for joining us on this exploration of blockchain news.
Until next time, stay curious and keep exploring.