Australian says he created bitcoin, but some skeptical

Mon May 2, 2016 3:12pm EDT
 
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By Byron Kaye and Jemima Kelly

SYDNEY/LONDON (Reuters) - Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as the creator of controversial digital currency bitcoin on Monday but experts were divided over whether he really was the elusive person who has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto until now.

Uncovering Nakamoto's real identity would solve a riddle dating back to the publication of the open source software behind the cryptocurrency in 2008, before its launch a year later.

Bitcoin has since become the world's most commonly used virtual currency, attracting the interest of banks, speculators, criminals and regulators.

Worth a total of $7 billion at current levels, it fell more than 3 percent on Monday -- a normal intraday move for the volatile currency -- after the news, to below $440 from around $455, before recovering slightly.

Some online commentators suggested bitcoin's creator could help resolve a bitter row among the currency's software developers that threatens its future.

But Wright made no reference to the row in a BBC interview identifying himself as Nakamoto, and as the protocol bitcoin runs on is open-source and cannot be controlled by any one person, it is unclear whether he would be able to influence the way it develops.

"I was the main part of it, other people helped me," Wright, who is now living in London, told the BBC. "Some people will believe, Some people won't, and to tell you the truth, I don't really care," he said.

Many bitcoiners said Wright had not done enough to definitively prove that he was Nakamoto, who maintained his anonymity throughout his involvement with bitcoin, which he stepped away from in 2011.   Continued...

 
A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo