If Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, Satoshi Nakamoto is a small-blocker

Eric Wall
Eric Wall
Nov 16, 2018 · 10 min read

If you believe Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, I’ve written this blog post for you. If you don’t believe he is Satoshi Nakamoto, go and do something more useful with your time.

A very popular explanation why Craig Wright is unlikely to be Satoshi Nakamoto is given in this video by Vitalik Buterin.

The 1-minute explanation posits that if Craig Wright was Satoshi, he would have proven it by making a simple proof (a signature using the private key using bitcoin block #1), instead of making the messy, complicated and ultimately bogus proof he provided to the public.

That’s what I intend to dispute. In this post, I’m not going to argue that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. But just for the sake of it, let’s pretend that he is. Now ask yourself this: if you were Satoshi Nakamoto, would you provide the public with a cryptographic proof that you own billions of dollars in the most attractive-to-steal asset on the planet? Unless you were crazy and had no regard for your own life or the lives of the people close to you, you likely wouldn’t. But then ask yourself this; if you really were Satoshi Nakamoto, why would you instead provide the public with a bogus proof that you’re Satoshi Nakamoto?

Let’s think about that for a second.

Now, I mean really imagine you actually were Satoshi.

Put yourself in his hypothetical shoes. I’ll help.

First, let’s start off with a few assumptions about yourself as Satoshi.

Assumption #1: You own around 600,000–700,000 bitcoins.

Assumption #2: You care about keeping that wealth.

Assumption #3: If the Bitcoin project is ruined, you lose that wealth.

Assumption #4: If the Bitcoin project is altered in a destructive way, you’d also lose that wealth.

Assumption #5: It is not easy for you to liquidate your bitcoins without crashing the market (it would likely crash the minute you move your coins on the blockchain).

Assumption #6: Just proving ownership of these coins is likely to significantly impact the market.

Assumption #7: If someone knows you own these coins, you including everyone close to you will be in very grave danger.

Assumption #8: There’s a non-negligible chance that some future privacy improvement to the Bitcoin protocol will allow you to spend those coins without anyone noticing.

These eight assumptions should be pretty non-controversial and are likely to hold true if Satoshi is a normal, rational individual with human tendencies. The best strategy based on these eight assumptions should then naturally be to just sit tight and do nothing unless something extremely serious endangers bitcoin’s survival.

But to really get into the character of Satoshi and why he’d plausibly come back, we’re going to need a quick reminder of the situation Satoshi was in leading up to right before his departure. Consider this series of events:

Now, let’s look at the details of Craig Wright’s involvement in the Bitcoin community:

I was flown to London to meet Dr. Wright a couple of weeks ago, after an initial email conversation convinced me that there was a very good chance he was the same person I’d communicated with in 2010 and early 2011. After spending time with him I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi.

Part of that time was spent on a careful cryptographic verification of messages signed with keys that only Satoshi should possess. But even before I witnessed the keys signed and then verified on a clean computer that could not have been tampered with, I was reasonably certain I was sitting next to the Father of Bitcoin.

During our meeting, I saw the brilliant, opinionated, focused, generous — and privacy-seeking — person that matches the Satoshi I worked with six years ago. And he cleared up a lot of mysteries, including why he disappeared when he did and what he’s been busy with since 2011. But I’m going to respect Dr. Wright’s privacy, and let him decide how much of that story he shares with the world.

Theory Gavin

Keep in mind that Gavin has been called out for this many times in public, and yet he refuses to budge. Here’s what he Gavin responded to Dan Kaminsky about the fake proof:

Yeah, what the heck?

I was as surprised by the ‘proof’ as anyone, and don’t yet know exactly what is going on.

Gavin says that it’s possible he is wrong that Craig Wright is Satoshi, but he doesn’t think so. Even after all the absolutely crazy absurdities Craig has demonstrated to the public, Gavin just can’t shake his belief that he is Satoshi. The blog post declaring that he is Satoshi beyond a reasonable doubt still remains on Gavin’s personal website to this day.

Then again, if we assume that Craig Wright truly is Satoshi Nakamoto, it is not really that strange that he was able to convince Gavin of his identity to the point where it’s seemingly impossible to get him to think otherwise. But what would be the reason that Satoshi would go down this extremely risky path of exposing himself as the real Satoshi in front of Gavin, while simultaneously giving an easily disprovable proof to the public? And why Gavin in particular? And why in May 2016?

Assumption #4: If the Bitcoin project is altered in a destructive way, you’d also lose that wealth.

If it’s possible that Craig Wright is Satoshi, one explanation for doing what he did according to our assumptions is that Gavin’s support for removing the block size limit altogether posed a more unwanted threat to bitcoin than the risk of coming out as Satoshi posed to himself did.

Assumption #7: If someone knows you own these coins, you including everyone close to you will be in very grave danger.

By proving himself real to Gavin while proving himself a fraud to the rest of the world, he eliminates Gavin as someone whose judgment is to be trusted, while not taking any substantial risk of endangering himself.

The difference between the quality of the proof he showed Gavin and the proof he provided to the public is so great, that Gavin himself can only react with “what the heck?”.

When Craig’s evidence was challenged, he assured us a better proof was on the way. On Monday, when the new evidence was supposed to come, he instead posted this:

I’m Sorry

I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events 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.

When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know now that I am not strong enough for this.

I know that this weakness will cause great damage to those that have supported me, and particularly to Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen. 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.

And goodbye

Do you really think it’s plausible that Satoshi remained in hiding for five years, flew Gavin to London and signed in his presence a message using the key from block #1, only to later discover a few weeks later that he is “too weak” to provide the real evidence? And isn’t it a bit suspicious that he only did this just as Gavin Andresen had begun taking serious action on his ideas to increase the block size limit with the ultimate intention of removing it altogether?

Theory Satoshi’s Vision

After the Gavin incident, we did not hear all that much from Craig, except for him starting his patent trolling company nChain. I am not sure how to fit this move into the theory that Craig is Satoshi, but whatever. Time passed.

Craig only really became aggressive with joining the Bitcoin community once the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split was underway, which occured on August 1, 2017, a little over a week after a softfork to enable SegWit activation activated on the Bitcoin mainchain. Notably, he appears in the BCH camp 3 days after the ViaBTC Bitcoin Cash futures start trading (at 0.2 BTC each!) on July 23, 2017.

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But he wasn’t one of the people championing the BCH fork leading up to it. No — by some magic, his presence was summoned the moment Bitcoin Cash was proven to trade at a significant price where it could be viewed as a threat to bitcoin.

Since then, Craig has been working tirelessly to increase his influence over Bitcoin Cash, showcasing wheelbarrows of academic degrees on stage as well as proclaiming a divine form of understanding of the Bitcoin invention, primarily focusing on graph theory assertions and its economic model. I’ve spoken with a Bitcoin Cash proponent who was a moderator of /r/btc at the time, who’ve described Craig Wright statements often leading to internal conflicts within the BCH community over basic mathematical principles.

The divide within the community finally culminated in the launch of Bitcoin Satoshi's Vision, which seeked to return Bitcoin Cash closer to the original Bitcoin client by rolling back all changes to the protocol back to the state it was nearly a decade ago. Craig even went so far as to wage a hashwar on the original Bitcoin Cash chain, by amassing roughly 60% BCH hashrate and plotting to obliterate the opposing side.

The dispute has now split the Bitcoin Cash coin into “BCHSV” and “BCHABC” on some of the largest exchanges in the world.

So far, Craig Wright’s only strategic moves in the Bitcoin space have proven extremely destructive to the big-blocker community — dethroning their primary champion Gavin, as well as executing a literal divide and conquer attack on the Bitcoin Cash community.

In fact, Craig’s efforts from a Bitcoin Core proponent’s perspective has been so ambitiously supportive of Bitcoin Core that even Gregory Maxwell is willing to lend Craig a hand in destroying Bitcoin Cash.

If you believe that Craig Wright is Satoshi, it appears indisputable to me that at this point, you have to make a choice: either Satoshi Nakamoto is bitcoin’s biggest, most blundering idiot…

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Perhaps not the hero small-blockers deserve, but the one they need?

Or — he is a careful small-blocker, extremely concerned with preserving his 600,000–700,000 BTC wealth.

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Eric Wall

Written by

Eric Wall

CIO Arcane Assets. Inquiries: info@arcaneassets.io. Also privacy @ Human Rights Foundation. Previously built cryptocurrency exchanges @ Cinnober (Nasdaq).

Coinmonks

Coinmonks

Coinmonks is a non-profit Crypto educational publication. Follow us on Twitter @coinmonks Our other project — https://coincodecap.com

Eric Wall

Written by

Eric Wall

CIO Arcane Assets. Inquiries: info@arcaneassets.io. Also privacy @ Human Rights Foundation. Previously built cryptocurrency exchanges @ Cinnober (Nasdaq).

Coinmonks

Coinmonks

Coinmonks is a non-profit Crypto educational publication. Follow us on Twitter @coinmonks Our other project — https://coincodecap.com

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