There’s a man who writes a Medium article on bitcoin nearly every day. The comments range from “You stand like a giant above all the other leaders crypto-fans follow...You will someday be revered, not scorned. I greatly admire you and your work!!!!!!” to “You are talking out of your butt, Dr Craig Wright.” These are articles by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, the (self)-proclaimed creator of bitcoin, aka Satoshi Nakamoto, and the man behind the bitcoin-alternative Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision). Two parallel investigations in 2015 by Wired and Gizmodo pointed to Dr. Wright as being Satoshi Nakamoto, and early bitcoin heads including Gavin Andresen and Jon Matonis have unequivocally said the same. However most of the cryptocurrency community feel it's all a hoax.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin is one of those who have called Craig Wright a fraud. Last week Buterin wrote an eloquent (as usual) blog post on his views on free speech and its importance in all community spaces, not just public government spaces. However he's forced to address, somewhat unsatisfyingly, the time he himself tried to censor Craig Wright.
Combing through Dr. Wrights writings one finds fascinating, informative and iconoclastic nuggets, no matter what you believe about his backstory. Here are some random, non-technical, selections from a few of his posts:
1. Satoshi Nakamoto. The name “Satoshi Nakamoto is an amalgamation of 富永 仲基 (Tominaga Nakamoto) and Ash Ketchum (サトシ; aka Satoshi)” Wright identifies with the ideas of Japanese philosopher Nakamoto and calls him the Eastern Voltaire. Wright is not motivated by Tominaga's words to come into the limelight. “The time for remaining in the shadows has passed. Tominaga taught us that ‘concealment is the beginning of the habit of lying and stealing.’”
Wright introduces some of his most serious complaints how many of touted features of bitcoin and cryptocurrency are corrupt and not the ideals he fashioned bitcoin with. "Bitcoin was carefully considered, and no blockchain-based system ever allows you to create the totalitarian utopia that is the ultimate dystopia of a world where code is law and order is crushed in anarchy.” These repeatedly takes issue with the prevalent ideas that bitcoin is a way to be anonymous and avoid government interference, and that "code is law".
2. Another myth he takes issue with is saying bitcoin will put an end to banks. “Forget the lies you have been told about Bitcoin. Bitcoin doesn’t stop banking, it doesn’t even stop central banks.” He goes on to say there is little difference between Coinbase and a bank, and that’s ok.
3. Bitcoin is not supposed to be anonymous but rather just private. There's some privacy but not true anonymity by design, because governments (really society) won’t allow it. We don’t want cryptocurrencies to be used for money laundering and illegal activity. “Please tell me, how do you convince the majority of people in the world to use a new system when you make it opposed to the government system that they live within? Most people vote in democracies and choose. For every anarchist there are at least 100 others who do not want anarchy. Such is the simple situation.”
4. In Forget Anonymity he makes the point again bringing attention to the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive that will come into effect in the EU on Jan 20, 2020. It will require tighter oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges and the use of cryptocurrency. It calls for the gathering of sufficient data so that Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) should be able to determine the real-world identity behind every cryptocurrency address. “This is the beginning of the end for anonymous cryptocurrencies. The reality is, all of them need to be able to be exchanged for use to have value. Without the ability to integrate merchant services, custodial wallets, and payment systems, a cryptocurrency has no value.” Wright goes on to say, “The law may be slow, but there is a reason Bitcoin was designed to work within the law. There is a reason it was designed to work without needing changes to legislation and why it is private but not anonymous.”
5. Talking issue with the changes made to the bitcoin protocol, he says by making protocol changes you in fact turn valid transactions into invalid ones, and vice versa. For instance, if one creates a transaction today to send a payment in 1 year or 10 years (an nLockTime transaction), but then there's a fork changing the format of the transaction signature (as is the case with SegWit), then that transaction cannot be executed. “Changes to the protocol leave transactions that are already on the blockchain to be marooned in a way that they cannot be later spent”.
6. In addressing the the overarching focus of bitcoin (BTC) to value decentralization over all else in the name of security, he argues there’s a limit to the security needed in any system. Striving for the best possible security to the detriment of the utility of the whole, is wrong.
7. He registered bitcoin.org in 2008 using a credit card. Those records are kept by law for 25 years. In addition Wright was audited in 2009 for expenses claimed in creating bitcoin, so these records are well filed by the Australian tax authorities.
Find here all of Craig Wright's blog posts--there’s a book’s worth.
About the author
Dr. Lederer has over 15 years of technical experience in computer system design and programming. He has been teaching about blockchain and Ethereum for 3 years and recently co-authored Blockchain: A Practical Guide to Developing Business, Law, and Technology Solutions. Prior to working on blockchain technology, he worked at The Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley and BAE Systems, where he held a DoD TS (top secret) clearance to develop a novel mobile ad-hoc network for the US Air Force.