Who invented Bitcoin
The question of who invented bitcoin remains an issue of much debate and controversy. The standard answer is that bitcoin was created by “Satoshi Nakamoto.” Satoshi Nakamoto was the name that appeared on the 2008 paper which launched bitcoin: ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’.
But, unfortunately, that doesn’t answer the question. That Japanese-sounding name was just a placeholder the original creators of the currency used to hide their true identities. We still don’t know who they are.
What’s incredible is just how much the creators of bitcoin are worth. At the peak of the currency in December 2017 when prices briefly surged to almost $20,000 per coin, the creator (either an individual or a group) had a net worth of more than $19 billion, making him or her the 44th richest person (or people) at the time.
For the first six years of bitcoin’s existence, nobody had any credible information on who Satoshi Nakamoto was. All we had to go on was gossip and rumour, but there weren’t any verifiable facts.
Then in 2016, Australian investor and technologist Craig Wright created a stir by claiming that he was the inventor of the currency and that he set it up as a way for people to transact across borders without having to go through the international banking system. Wright backed up his claim by showing others in the crypto community what he claimed was the first bitcoin transaction: ten bitcoins sent to his friend Hal Finney in January 2009.
Why would bitcoin’s creator suddenly want to come forward and reveal himself?
The news took the story and ran with it, with some outlets claiming that the mystery had finally been solved. But, as with many things, it wasn’t quite that simple. Though some people in the community believed Wright’s story and accepted the evidence on face value, others were more sceptical and looked for holes in the evidence. Why would bitcoin’s creator suddenly want to come forward and reveal himself?
Wright initially claimed that the reason he had revealed himself was that he wanted the community to be able to see the work he was doing for the bitcoin behind the scenes. In an open letter to holders of bitcoin, Wright said that he had been trying to distance himself from the Satoshi Nakamoto moniker for a while and that he was willing to play a more prominent role in the development and future of bitcoin.
Unfortunately, since that reveal, Wright hasn’t had much time to work on his currency. He’s been embroiled in a series of court battles, both as a defendant and plaintiff. Things got ugly for Wright at last year’s cryptocurrency conference in Seoul when Vitalik Buterin, of the creators of rival currency Ether, said that Wright was a fraud and he could prove it.
Wright VS. Buterin
Wright was, understandably, not happy with the claim, especially from such a senior person in the crypto community, and decided to hit back, serving Buterin with notice that he was going to take him to court for defamation.
Wright was also the defendant in a lawsuit involving former business partner and now deceased Dave Kleiman, who claimed before his death in April 2013 that Wright had stolen money from him.
If Wright is indeed the founder of bitcoin and has a wallet with more than a million of the units, he shouldn’t have any problem financing his court battles. What’s more, court proceedings may reveal that Wright was the first person to transact bitcoins and even that he was the one who penned the original article on how the currency would work.
If Wright is not the inventor of bitcoin, he’ll go down as one of the greatest villains of the modern era, at least in the eyes of those who oppose defamation laws and the hijacking of the Satoshi Nakamoto persona. The real inventor of bitcoin, in the eyes of many, couldn’t possibly be a man who uses the power of the state to crush his enemies. The whole purpose of the bitcoin project was, in their view, to undermine the stranglehold of government on the economy and give regular people a real shot at genuine economic freedom. Bitcoin was a gift that would finally allow the average person to escape the nightmare of fiat currency.
Many high profile and trusted people have opened come out to say that they know who the inventor of bitcoin is and that it’s not Craig Wright - John McAfee, for example. And interestingly, John McAfee has a lot of money and isn’t afraid of being sued.