Craig Wright is an Australian computer scientist associated with Bitcoin SV.
Craig Steven Wright is an Australian computer scientist who had gained both popularity and notoriety in the cryptocurrency space after claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Monikered as “Faketoshi” by some members of the industry, Craig Wright is responsible for the emergence of Bitcoin SV (BSV), a hard fork of BCH, after leading a new faction of the Bitcoin Cash community to acrimoniously split from the original project due to technical differences.
The Bitcoin SV software was intended to increase the Bitcoin Cash blockchain’s block size limit to 128 MB, which was also supported by billionaire entrepreneur Calvin Ayre. In Mar. 16, 2021, BSV’s block size was reported to have reached 638 MB.
Wright currently works as a chief scientist at nChain Inc., a company that provides enterprise blockchain solutions powered by the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
According to his own website, Wright is said to be one of the earliest minds behind what we now know as blockchain technology, as well as the world's first online casino.
Wright has worked in IT and security, describing himself on LinkedIn as a senior management executive information security specialist. He has also acted as chief scientist at blockchain developer nChain, CEO of technology firm Hotwire PE and director of many other companies.
According to Wright, he had direct involvement in the creation of Bitcoin, with the assistance of his late friend, computer forensics professional Dave Kleiman.
In July 2015, Wright divested his office holdings and left his position as director at a number of companies. Shortly after, in December 2015, WIRED and Gizmodo publications reported that Wright may be the inventor of Bitcoin.
In 2015, Wright had presented a collection of cached documents and blog posts that have since been erased from the internet, as pieces of evidence supporting his claim.
Wright’s announcement was later supported by former Bitcoin lead developer Gavin Andresen, who believed that Wright was the real Satoshi after he met Wright at a hotel in London in 2016. Wright is said to have validly signed a message to Andresen with his initials and private key from one of the first 50 Bitcoin blocks mined claimed by Nakamoto.
Wright also signed a message using Bitcoin’s first and ninth blocks according to Bitcoin Foundation director Jon Matoni.
The evidence included leaked unverified transcripts from an interview with the Australian Tax Office surrounding his tax affairs in 2014, documents revealing his involvement with the Bitcoin project, and emails delivered from addresses linked to Nakamoto that lobbied for Bitcoin as well as one sent to Wright’s lawyer, Clayton Utz, signed off as “Craig (possibly)”.
The transcripts quoted Wright saying: “I did my best to try and hide the fact that I've been running Bitcoin since 2009.”
Gizmodo and WIRED also stated that Wright's PGP keys were created in 2009 and could be traced back to Satoshi Nakamoto's email address. These claims were backed by investigations by the BBC and The Economist in 2016, which reported that Wright had digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during Bitcoin's early development.
However, by and large, most prominent figures in the crypto community such as Litecoin creator Charlie Lee and Lightning Network co-inventor Joseph Poon do not recognize Wright’s proofs as valid and have spoken about the illogicality of his technical commentaries. Vitalik Buterin even went as far as to call him a “fraud.”
Wright's claims have also been disputed by security researcher Dan Kaminsky who said that Wright’s private key was invalid, as it had simply extracted data reusing an old signature from a Bitcoin transaction performed in 2009 by Satoshi.
Vice Media’s Jordan Pearson and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai also reported that Wright’s PGP keys from 2009 can be backdated and fixed to point to anyone's email address.
In Andrew O'Hagan’s book, The Secret Life: Three True Stories, published in June 2016, Wright said he provided an invalid private key rather than the original Satoshi Nakamoto PGP private key because of legal obligations agreed in a Seychelles trust fund signed by David Kleiman who passed away in 2013.
WIRED’s report stated that the trust fund is held through Wright’s company, Tulip Trading, which is speculated to control 1.1 million Bitcoin held by Nakamoto.
While the mystery of Nakamoto continues, Wright maintains his claims by using UK libel law to sue those who call him a fraud, including Vitalik Buterin, the founder of cryptocurrency Ethereum.
This litigious behavior has created an industry backlash against him and Bitcoin SV, with several industries delisting BSV in 2019 after Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao singled him out as the reason the exchange was removing BSV from its platform.