April 5 was Satoshi Nakamoto’s birthday. The mysterious founder of bitcoin was born on this day in 1975, according to an online profile, meaning Tuesday would have been his 41st birthday. And yet according to a report in Financial Times, the elusive bitcoin creator is planning to reveal his identity once and for all.
In December, both Wired and Gizmodo identified Australian cryptocurrency expert Craig Wright as the actual person behind the Nakamoto identity. The investigations, based on the same set of leaked documents, concluded that Wright either is the same person as Nakamoto or he’s the mastermind of a clever hoax designed to lead people to believe he’s Nakamoto.
Now, according to sources speaking to FT, Wright has made “conditional approaches” to media organizations and other institutions to brief them on an “big reveal” where Wright claims he will finally prove conclusively that he is Nakamoto by performing a “cryptographic miracle.”
The date for the big reveal is supposed to be some time between April 7 and April 14, with media being offered the inside story of Wright’s life ahead of a public demonstration and press conference.
The claim that Wright is Nakamoto was widely debunked as quickly as it was made public, with Wired admitting that it may have been the victim of an elaborate hoax. An analysis of Wright's writing carried out exclusively for International Business Times also indicated that Wright was not Nakamoto when it was compared with work known to be written by the bitcoin creator.
However, sources speaking to FT claim some senior figures within the bitcoin community are apparently impressed with Wright's current efforts to prove his claim. Jon Matonis, a founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation, confirmed he has been in touch with someone in relation to this matter: “I have been contacted by a private group, and I am under a strict [nondisclosure agreement] and press embargo during due diligence phase.”
Not everyone will be as easily convinced. Gavin Andresen, one of the core developers of bitcoin and once bitcoin’s chief scientist, said he would need a lot of proof to believe Wright is the creator of bitcoin, and warned that a lot of the “evidence” Wright may produce could be falsified.
The potential reveal is not igniting much interest within the bitcoin community on Reddit or on the official Bitcoin Forum — with many of those interested in the cryptocurency experiencing fatigue related to the latest “exposé” of Nakamoto's identity.
Wright has not been seen since the revelations in December, after which his home in Australia was raided by the Australian tax authorities, who claimed it was not in relation to his links to bitcoin. Ultimately Andresen told FT he would “want to see a conversation about technical stuff, ideally via email, so I can see if it feels like the same person I communicated with in 2010.”
Bitcoin is a digital or cryptocurrency first proposed in white paper written by Nakamoto in 2008 and the individual bitcoins are created — or mined — by solving increasingly complex mathematical equations. The bitcoin network is built on a technology called the blockchain which is a distributed, decentralized ledger which allows every bitcoin transaction to be recorded and verified by the network, meaning their is no need for a central regulator like a bank or financial institution. Transactions are also anonymous and theoretically instant, though recent over-saturation of the network has led to problems in this regard.
Bitcoins were initially virtually worthless but as the popularity of the bitcoin idea grew, so did their value, peaking at the the end of 2013 with a value of over $1200 per bitcoin. The value of bitcoin quickly plummeted however to under $250 but has since stabilized around the $400 mark, though fluctuations of over $20 per day in the cryptocurrency's value are still a regular occurrence.
Happy Birthday, Satoshi
Wright was born in 1970, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, but then again, given how paranoid Nakamoto was about keeping his identity secret, the birthdate of April 5, 1975, might just be a bit of misdirection.
In fact, that date has a hidden meaning, according to Dominic Frisby, the author of “Bitcoin: The Future of Money?” Writing for CoinDesk, Frisby says: “For those who study their money, April 5 was one of the most significant dates in history. On that day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal for American citizens to own gold.”
Roosevelt then confiscated all Americans’ gold, gave them dollars in exchange and devalued those dollars by 40 percent, pushing up the price of gold from $20 to $35. This was done to devalue U.S. debt to try to manage the Great Depression — but some argue Roosevelt effectively stole 40 percent of Americans’ money.
Given that some see this move as one of the most unconstitutional acts ever, it would be no surprise to see Nakamoto reference it, given bitcoin’s libertarian ideals. The second part of Nakamoto’s birthday — 1975 — is also significant as it refers to the year it became legal for American citizens to own gold again.