Unmasking the mysterious creator of Bitcoin

Kai Ryssdal Dec 9, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Unmasking the mysterious creator of Bitcoin

Kai Ryssdal Dec 9, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Australian Police swarmed a suburban Sydney home Wednesday belonging to academic and businessman Craig Wright. 

Gizmodo and Wired have both named Wright as the likely creator of Bitcoin, the real man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Authorities insist the raid is “unrelated” to reports about Wright.

Nakamoto was the first to publish an academic paper about Bitcoin and — after participating in forums and email lists in its early days — has largely disappeared. The identity of the person or people has inspired wild speculation among fans of the virtual currency.

Part of Nakamoto’s legendary status is due to the legendary amount of money involved; each Bitcoin is worth about $410 today, and Satoshi — whoever he/she/it is — has about a million of Bitcoin in an account that has remained untouched.

“I am sure that this is the most compelling case for Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity ever published,” said Sam Biddle, who with Andy Cush, co-wrote Gizmodo‘s story on Wright’s potential connection to Nakamoto.

What’s strange, Biddle says, and why the mystery remains so tantalizing, is the magnitude of the technical achievement. 

“Whatever you think of Bitcoin,” he said, “it is an incredible piece of software. And whoever made it, or whichever people made it, would be heroes in the field. And so it’s bizarre that they would remain completely anonymous. That’s never happened before.”

Biddle spoke with Wright directly, as well as his current and former colleagues. Gizmodo also interviewed former colleagues of the man the site names as Wright’s co-creator, Florida security researcher Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013.

That said, Biddle isn’t sold on Bitcoin as the technology that will upend the financial system.

“The ability of this open source software to bring the big banks and Western Union to their knees, I think it’s safe to say, has not panned out. There was always an element of scifi, William Gibson dreaming to the Bitcoin story.”

 

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.