Australian entrepreneur Craig Steven Wright reneges on promise to provide proof he created bitcoin

By @chelean on
Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris July 11, 2014.
Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris July 11, 2014. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Craig Steven Wright has backed out of his promise to give more proof that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin. Earlier this week, the Australian businessman provided first evidence to prove that he was indeed the inventor of the digital currency, vowing to provide more. He has now changed his mind, though.

Australian Craig Steven Wright claims to be bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

In a statement he posted on his website, Wright apologised for not going through with it. And although he was aware he would be unwittingly damaging the reputation of those who supported it, he admitted that he wasn’t ready to come forward yet.

“I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the vents of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot,” he wrote.

Wright further explained that he has been besieged with allegations from the start, and though the allegations have been proven false, he is just not “strong enough” to handle more.

He admitted that his decision not to continue would harm the reputation of Jon Matonis, the founding board director at Bitcoin Foundation, and Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the same organisation. Both have given their public support to Wright when he claimed he was Nakamoto.

“I can only hope that their honour and credibility is not irreparably tainted by my actions. They were not deceived, but I know that the world will never believe that now. I can only say I’m sorry,” Wright ended his message with, “And goodbye.”

Wright, 44, revealed his identity to three media organisations -- BBC GQ and the  Economist -- on Monday, digitally signing messages for them using some of the earliest bitcoin cryptographic keys. These keys are linked to the bitcoin blocks that were “mined” by the mysterious Nakamoto, the known creator of the digital payment system.

He said then that he was coming out to “dispel any negative myths and fears about bitcoin and the blockchain.”

His withdrawal fortified doubts about his claim, with cynics calling him on his bluff. They claimed that Wright’s about-face meant he simply could not provide the evidence needed to prove Nakamoto’s identity.