Craig Wright. Cypherpunk connoisseur, libertarian, anti-authoritarian, accomplished coder, holder of multiple postgraduate degrees, and allegedly a fan of Japanese culture. His profile could certainly fit that of the mastermind behind Bitcoin.
The hard fork of Bitcoin Cash which occurred in November 2018 resulted in a civil war of two opposing camps: Bitcoin ABC (Adjustable Blocksize Cap) led by Roger Ver, and Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision) led by Calvin Ayre and the aforementioned, Craig Wright. Soon, most of the crypto community adopted Bitcoin ABC as the only “true” Bitcoin Cash, and it had more hashpower and nodes. Of course, if Craig Wright could prove that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, that would significantly change the situation for Bitcoin SV. So he tried to convince the community, but ended up making things even worse. Read what he did, what the consequences were, and how the community reacted in our summary.
The first claim that linked Wright to Satoshi didn’t come from Wright himself, but was actually a result of multiple, concurrent events. It all began in late 2015, when, as reported by WIRED and Gizmodo, Nakamoto was allegedly hacked by somebody who worked for him, who managed to steal multiple emails and documents that revealed that Nakamoto was actually Australian entrepreneur, Craig Wright, a man who had never been in the suspect pool to begin with. The emails date all the way back to prior to the November 2008 publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper, including e-mails to his lawyer discussing a P2P distributed ledger and an email to business associate, Dave Kleiman, in which he stated, “I need your help and I need a version of me to make this work that is better than me”, pointing at the creation of the Satoshi pseudonym.
At the same time, an investigation on Wright’s blog began, which resulted in the finding of three blog posts that could link him to Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin. One of such posts, published in August 2008, talks about Craig’s intention to release a “cryptocurrency” paper. Another blog post, which was subsequently deleted, simply read “The Beta of Bitcoin is live tomorrow. This is Decentralized… We try until it works”.
Wright was very careful with words. When he was asked about his possible relationship with the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto he would reply back with things such as “you seem to know a few things. More than you should,” which only added fuel to the fire.
However, the cracks quickly started to show. Further investigation into the blog posts showed that they were retroactively edited multiple times—meaning that Wright went back to old blog posts to insert evidence of his involvement with Bitcoin. In fact, some of those retroactively inserted clues were inserted a full year and a half before the leaks and investigations began, showing that Wright exerted great restraint to make everyone believe that he was, indeed, Satoshi.
Soon afterwards, Wright himself started dropping hints that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. When it was reported in late 2015 that Nakamoto could’ve been nominated for a Nobel prize, but he was not eligible due to his secret identity, Wright didn’t hide his anger. What’s more, these events led to a now-deleted tweet where he didn’t explicitly say that he was Satoshi, but looking at the context it was a pretty obvious hint: "I never desired to be a leader but the choice is not mine (...). We are a product of the things we create. They change us”.
Soon after, Wright finally “came clean” and he claimed to BBC on May 2, 2016, that he was indeed Satoshi. At the meeting with BBC, Mr Wright digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during the early days of Bitcoin's development. The keys are inextricably linked to blocks of Bitcoins known to have been created or "mined" by Satoshi Nakamoto. He also stated that he’s not revealing his identity for fame or money, but rather because other people made him do it, and that the speculation around the subject was hurting his work, his family, and his staff. This demonstration was enough for Bitcoin enthusiasts Jon Matonis, founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation, and Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin developer, to vouch for his claims.
But all of the leaks, evidence, and support from developers that pointed towards Wright being Satoshi still left a bitter taste in people’s mouth, which was justified when it was revealed that the key that Wright had used to prove he was Satoshi had just been reused from a 2009 Bitcoin transaction and he had just copied it. This rendered his proof and support from other people worthless. If Wright was actually Nakamoto, all he had to do to prove that he was Satoshi Nakamoto was to sign a message with block zero—dubbed “genesis block”, a privately mined block that could have only been made by Nakamoto himself. The failure to do this, and the all too convoluted alternative ways in which he wanted to prove he was Nakamoto, rendered his claims useless. All of this led to a blog post where he stated that he was sorry and that he believed that he could “put the years of anonymity behind him”.
On February 10, 2019, new evidence of Craig Wright lying about being Satoshi surfaced when he published a research paper — called “Black Net” — he allegedly wrote for the Australian government in 2001. The abstract shared by CW is identical to the corrected version of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper published in October 2008. Nakamoto’s first draft of the Bitcoin white paper, however, was published in August 2008, which leads to the conclusion that CW probably could not have written the “Black Net” research paper in 2001 and then published a lesser version 7 years later.
Craig Wright’s false claims received backlash, resulting in the #CraigWrightIsAFraud hashtag launched in mid-March 2019. Calvin Ayre, a strong supporter of Bitcoin SV, together with Craig Wright, offered 70 BSV to anyone who could dox @Hodlonaut, the most active revealer of “Faketoshi” on Twitter. His “highly defamatory and abusive tweets” even made Craig Wright contact his attorneys. Legal threats and legal letters were also addressed to Peter McCormack, a “What Bitcoin Did” podcast host, who claimed that "Craig Wright clearly is not Satoshi Nakamoto. He is a fraud and he is an absolute moron and for once and for all this needs dealing with."
According to a letter from Craig Wright’s attorneys, their client had not “fraudulently claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto. He is Satoshi Nakamoto”. Therefore, everyone who participated in this “campaign of harassment and libel” owed Craig Wright an apology, the text is annexed:
Though Hodlonaut’s account has since been deleted, the community continues to support all members being threatened by Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre. “We are all Hodlonaut”, claimed many crypto enthusiasts, analysts, and even media; they changed their Twitter nicknames to Hodlonaut and put cat avatars to show their solidarity.
Moreover, a crowdfunding campaign was launched to support Hodlonaut’s legal battle against Craig Wright, and it hit its $20k goal in less than 24 hours. As it reads on their website, “As a community, we are resilient. An attack on one of us is an attack on us all. Let’s ensure this kind of conduct is vigorously opposed by us so that it may never happen again.”
Twitter user, @ModeBillionaire, came up with the #DelistBSV hashtag on April 11, when the account tweeted about how Craig Wright had had plenty of time during the past years to come out as Satoshi and had no proof of anything he claimed. Many, including Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin, and Morgan Creek co-founder, Anthony Pompliano, have supported this hashtag, especially after CW openly offered money to dox Twitter user @Hodlonaut, wanting to instill fear in the crypto community.
All the bad publicity has made the community take serious actions regarding the future of Bitcoin SV. The hashtag #DelistBSV has gained momentum in the last few days and some exchanges have materialized their concerns. CZ tweeted his willingness to delist the coin without hesitation after Wright’s threats to individual members of the community, and, on April 15, Binance issued a statement saying the exchange will delist BCHSV on April 22, 2019, after a periodic review of the currency lead to a more in-depth review, since the coin was no longer meeting the exchange’s standards – most likely due to the evidence of the unethical/fraudulent conduct led by the coin’s founder when he unfoundedly claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto and then harassed people on social media for speaking freely.
The Blockchain Wallet, which started providing limited support for BSV back in January, has also announced they will stop supporting the coin (all Bitcoin SV transactions will cease by May 15, 2019), citing their investment in the “long-term health of the crypto ecosystem” as one of the reasons.
CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Shapeshift, Erik Voorhees, tweeted the exchange’s stance regarding delisting BSV, as he seconded CZ’s sentiments:
Kraken exchange, in a different method, held a poll asking the community if they should delist Bitcoin SV, and the results indicated a strong posture that leaned toward the shunning of the cryptocurrency.
Crypto podcast host, Peter McCormack, took to Twitter on April 16 to mention all the exchanges and wallets that have cut relations with BSV:
On that same day, Kraken announced they were delisting BSV, following their Twitter poll, in which more than 70k users stated their opinion. In the announcement, the exchange points out “fraudulent claims, escalating to threats and legal action” from the Bitcoin SV team to people speaking out against them – A.K.A. stating that Craig Wright is not Satoshi-- as the reasons behind the decision. The exchange also noted that the “freedom digital currencies offer… from centralized systems… from oppression” was being compromised by the BSV team in taking the aforementioned actions. Kraken’s team stated that the BSV team had been engaging in “behaviour completely anti-ethical” and that the threats made last week to members of the crypto community were what finally led them to delist the controversial currency.
Most opinions on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) controversy seem to lean towards stopping support of the cryptocurrency. Many people have started to show their aggravation on social media, as we have seen on Twitter. Some users have showed their support of exchanges in delisting Bitcoin SV from their platforms, as they believe the situation has tainted the history of crypto.
Others, however, prefer to keep business and “personal issues” separate and believe that CZ’s decision of delisting Bitcoin SV from Binance is a poor business choice, as nothing illegal has been done on Craig Wright’s side.
Some users were also skeptical about the reasons for delisting and exchanges’ utopic claims of making the crypto world a better place by removing the “toxic” and “hateful” coin. If that was the real case, why didn’t they stop listing all unreliable, shady and sometimes quite scammy cryptocurrencies?
The Bitcoin community has, once again, split into two warring camps. Despite recent events, Bitcoin SV supporters are still enthusiastic and full of energy to prove their loyalty to the BSV coin. There has been a special hashtag launched for this purpose, #WeChooseSV. Supporters argue that Bitcoin SV is the only true Bitcoin left.
Bitcoin SV is no stranger to price slumps. Soon after the hardfork that divided Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, the former became 2 times more expensive than the latter. With time, this gap has only widened even further and at press time, Bitcoin ABC is at $307.85, while Bitcoin SV is only at $56.15. Though the price of Bitcoin SV hasn’t yet hit its all-time low of $36.87, it’s also far away from its all-time high of $243.79, and the trend is quite discouraging.
Bitcoin SV has experienced major losses following the latest controversy. During the past week, the price of BSV shred 30.8% — going from $80.07 on April 10, to $55.4 at press time — standing out from the rest as the market stays relatively stable or only with minor losses.
7-day price graph. Source: COIN360
After Binance announced on April 15, 2019, that it would delist BSV, the market was affected as well — hours after the news of the delisting broke, the market went into a temporary descent and lost $6B. Bitcoin Cash, on the other hand, benefited from BSV’s plunge. At press time, the market cap has regained a bit, and no direct evidence has been discovered revealing that Binance was, in fact, responsible for the drop.
7-day price graph. Source: COIN360
It’s hard to say what Craig Wright’s motive for proclaiming himself to be Satoshi was. Even after being exposed multiple times, he didn’t give up hope that he would convince the community that Bitcoin Satoshi Vision is the real Satoshi’s vision. Perhaps, his plan included more gullible masses, but now we can say for sure that it didn’t work.
Craig Wright’s allegedly false claims and legal threats have led to a wave of negativity and protest. Bitcoin SV has been delisted by several grand crypto exchanges (and it seems as if more delistings are coming), lost a huge amount of its price, and the Bitcoin Cash community has become even more dissociated than ever. Not to mention the loss of reputation and trust, which, actually, is an even greater setback than the price drop itself.
Thanks for reading,
The Coin360 Editorial Team