Elusive Aussie Bitcoin founder reluctantly reveals identity
He admitted on Monday to being the creator of the cryptocurrency after months of speculation about his role, providing technical “proof” amid debate over whether it was true.tech Updated: May 03, 2016 13:31 IST
Secretive Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright, who has revealed himself as the creator of the virtual Bitcoin currency, is an elusive individual who appears to have covered his tracks well.
Details are scant on the Brisbane-born computer scientist, 45, who has a blog but warns against any of the content being published without his permission.
He admitted on Monday to being the creator of the cryptocurrency after months of speculation about his role, providing technical “proof” amid debate over whether it was true.
But the public-relations firm that has worked with him, the Outside Organisation, calls the media-shy Aussie “an inventor and academic” who used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto to protect his identity.
His cover was first blown by tech-focused websites Wired and Gizmodo, when they went public in December with evidence that pointed towards him being the brains behind the currency.
Wright himself told the BBC: “I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration, I just want to be left alone.”
He claimed other people had decided he should go public, adding to the mystery.
Wright studied at Australia’s Charles Sturt University, which has campuses across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and left highly qualified.
While there he completed a masters degree in networking and systems administration, another one in management, focused on information technology, and a third in information systems security.
He maintained a close relationship with CSU and spent three years at the facility as an adjunct academic between 2011 and 2014.
The university stressed it was an unpaid position and he was not formally employed.
“CSU can make no comment on Mr Wright’s activities outside the university and will make no further comment on his education or employment,” CSU said.
Until recently the elusive Wright was director of more than a dozen companies, some involved in cryptocurrency, but divested himself of 12 of them in the space of a week in July 2015, The Guardian reported.
Difficult to track down
After years of guesswork over who invented Bitcoin, the finger was first pointed at Wright when an anonymous source close to him began leaking documents to Gwern Branwen, a pseudonymous, independent security researcher and dark web analyst, Wired said.
Branwen passed the details to Wired, and they immediately led to several direct, publicly visible connections between Nakamoto and Wright, it added.
But tracking him down proved difficult.
Wired said it sent an encrypted email to Wright suggesting they knew his secret and asking for a meeting. A few hours later, they got a wary response from the address Tessier-Ashpool@AnonymousSpeech.com.
It said the email’s IP was based in Panama and controlled by Vistomail, the same service that Satoshi Nakamoto had used to send his emails introducing Bitcoin and to run Bitcoin.org.
Two more emails arrived from the same address, including one that said: “You seem to know a few things. More than you should,” before he stopped responding.
Around this time, Wright lived in Sydney with his wife and two children who attended a local public school, neighbours told Australian media, describing the family as somewhat reclusive but normal.
They reportedly left for London shortly before the home was raided in a tax probe.
With his identity now out in the open, the reluctant Wright said on his blog he wanted to “create a forum about Bitcoin, which dispels myths and helps to unleash its full potential”, according to the Outside Organisation.