Craig Wright, an Australian businessman, claimed on Monday that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of the bitcoin. Mr. Wright told the BBC, The Economist and GQ that he was the currency’s founder. He said he had been forced to come forward because so many people were pursuing him.
“I didn’t take the decision lightly to make my identity public,” Mr. Wright said in a news release, “and I want to be clear that I’m doing this because I care so passionately about my work, and also to dispel any negative myths and fears about Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin is designed for secure financial transactions that require no central authority — no banks, no government regulators. That makes it attractive to off-the-grid types such as libertarians, people who want to evade tax authorities, and criminals, even though Bitcoin doesn’t guarantee anonymity, since it documents every transaction in a public forum.
According to Coinbase, each bitcoin is now worth $446.23 which increased $215.40 compared with last year. As of March 2016, there were 15,285,225 bitcoins in circulation.
According to the BBC, Mr. Wright supported his claim to being the founder by signing digital messages using cryptographic keys used during the early days of Bitcoin. If Mr. Wright is the founder, he is likely a very wealthy person. The person going by the pseudonym Nakamoto is believed to have amassed about 1 million Bitcoins, which would be worth about $450 million if converted to cash, the BBC says.
Gavin Andresen, who succeeded Satoshi Nakamoto as the lead Bitcoin developer, wrote on Monday on his blog that he believed Mr. Wright’s claim.
“After spending time with him, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi,” Mr. Andresen wrote. “During our meeting, I saw the brilliant, opinionated, focused, generous — and privacy-seeking — person that matches the Satoshi I worked with six years ago.”