Interviewing Dr. Craig Wright for CCN
A few months ago, I started to notice what I thought was an imbalance in media coverage of Craig Wright and his blockchain BSV. It’s not that I was sold on BSV’s value or utility, I just wondered: was it possible that in all of the talk about “BSV is a cult” and “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” – that those (like me) who support BTC and multiple alt-coins could be alternatively brainwashed? I wanted to give people the opportunity to make up their own minds about Wright and his coin without injecting my bias. I wanted to ask Wright some questions and get his answers. Period.
At the same time, I started to realize that Wright – like anyone – is a human. I thought it was unkind for humans to treat each other in the way much of the press was treating Wright. Even though Wright himself is not innocent, and he typically slams those he disagrees with, two wrongs do not make a right. I know that in Wright’s shoes, my feelings would be hurt. I wanted to do something.
I reached out to my editors at CCN and asked: If I could get Wright to talk to me, could we publish an interview with him? Emphatically, they responded: yes! So I reached out to Wright’s team on CoinGeek and quickly Ed Pownall responded, also yes! I sent over some questions. Unfortunately, before Wright responded, and before I could write the article, Wright publicly slammed CCN while at Oxford, and I had to conduct a second interview. You can read the transcript of that interview here. In both pieces, Wright’s answers are in red. I have not edited them.
This piece is my first interview with Craig Wright.
Are you Satoshi Nakamoto?
- Are you Satoshi Nakamoto?
Wright: I created Bitcoin and published the Bitcoin white paper under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Can you please tell us exactly what that means? To be clear, does it mean that you – with some help from people like Hal Finney and Dave Kleiman – invented the Bitcoin we know today as BTC? Is it a reference to your assertion that Bitcoin SV is the real Bitcoin? Does the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” refer to a team of people who you lead or worked with? Or is your claim singular?
Wright: As I’ve said before, I had some input and help from other people. But I am the creator of Bitcoin.
- Do you have any idea why the media and social media personalities are so obsessed with saying and “proving” that you are not Satoshi? Good journalism represents multiple sides of story without demonstrating inherent bias, why is perspective lacking in this case?
Wright: Media outlets and social media personalities like controversy and conflict. It feeds them traffic.
Also, many powers in the current crypto world have a vested interest in me not being Satoshi because my vision is for Bitcoin to be the world’s single electronic cash and single blockchain. When my vision succeeds, all the other altcoins and supposed other blockchain projects become moot and will disappear. That undermines the needs for many of the crypto media and social media influencers, who thrive because of a multi-coin world.
Please Explain why This Isn’t Adding Up…
If it’s okay with you, I’d like to address some of the most prevalent reasons people and the press have provided as “evidence” that you’re not Satoshi Nakamoto to give you the opportunity to explain and tell your side of the story…
- A CCN article says that there are certain philosophical differences between you and Bitcoin’s creator. Namely, the article says that Satoshi didn’t hate the Liberty Reserve and even floated the idea of Bitcoin integrating with the Liberty Reserve, but in your 4/24 blog post, you said that Bitcoin was designed to ensure that the Liberty Reserve – among others – were the real target. Can you please explain why you changed your mind, if you did? Or can you shed some light on why this is not a philosophical difference at all?
In 2010, Liberty Reserve was being used legally in Australia, where I was living at that time. It was linked to the National Australia Bank and Westpac. When I (as Satoshi) posted in 2010 about the idea of Liberty Reserve integrating with Bitcoin, there was nothing definitively bad known about Liberty Reserve and it had not yet been found out to be a criminal hub. It was only later that learned Liberty Reserve cared more about facilitating criminal use of Bitcoin than simply being an exchange.
In 2010, we still had no value for bitcoin. Bitcoin was an economic system and remains secured through the economics of exchange. It needed something for exchange value. At the same time, we had managed to push Second Life (with its Linden dollars) to allow exchange with Bitcoin, but not many people use Linden dollars. Even now, there is evidence that Liberty Reserve wasn’t just for criminals; it just started devolving into criminal usage because its operators did not care about compliance with anti-money laundering regulations and thought they were above the law. If Liberty Reserve had bothered to protect its customers by following AML laws, they would not have created the problems which led to their collapse.
I want money to be neutral but also subject to law. If Liberty Reserve had acted within the law, I would have no problem with them. I have the same feeling about today’s crypto exchanges; I have no problem with them if they start acting within the law.
People wonder why I don’t like bucket shops, such as Binance. Mt. Gox caused massive damage to the industry. And when Liberty Reserve closed, it took billions of dollars away from people.
I was a client and customer of Liberty Reserve. I used them to pay for legitimate goods and services, as well as for trading Bitcoin. David Kleiman and I both lost a lot of money because of the collapse of the Liberty Reserve. I personally lost millions in US dollar and Euro value.
So, if you’re wondering why I am a little bitter, I don’t like people stealing my money and I don’t like people turning it into a joke. More importantly, Liberty Reserve’s collapse led to many people losing huge amounts of Bitcoin, and Liberty Reserve’s operators did an exit scam as they were collapsing.
- Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and John McAfee, among others – claim that the real Satoshi “can digitally sign any message to prove it.” And a 2015 Forbesarticle says, “Until someone signs a statement with the one PGP key people know is linked to the Satoshi who wrote the original Bitcoin paper, it’s hard to trust any claims.” Have you signed any messages with that key? And if not, why? Do you have any plans to do so in the future? Can you tell us when?
Signing with a PGP key does not definitively prove that you are Satoshi. That only proves that someone owns or controls a key. Proof of being Satoshi or creating Bitcoin has nothing to do with ownership or control of keys. That was never the intention of Bitcoin. This narrative about proving identity by signing a message comes from people who seek to create something that is very different from bitcoin.
The CEO of the bucket shop you reference is running a money-laundering operation. He benefits from getting people to believe that signing with a PGP key changes the way the law works. They want to do things such as saying that Ross Ulbrecht is innocent because keys that were captured with him have been used later, and therefore he cannot be responsible for Silk Road crimes.
Proof of identity has nothing to do with signing, and this is a misunderstanding of how Bitcoin works. Bitcoin is pseudonymous and requires differentkeys for every use. In fact, the Bitcoin white paper documents how you do notre-use keys: “The receiver generates a new key pair and gives the public key to the sender shortly before signing.”
So this entire argument about (proof of Satoshi by signing with a private key) is from a group of people who seek to change the narrative, who try to bamboozle people into believing that Bitcoin is about getting around law and ignoring evidence, who they think all that matters is a cryptographic key. E-Gold was like that. But Bitcoin was never designed to be anything like E-Gold.
- In 2016, the International Business Times (IBT) conducted stylometry analysis to compare your writings with those of Satoshi. The chief scientist at Juola said that he doesn’t believe you authored the bitcoin white paper. Can you explain why there are stylistic differences between your known writings and those associated with Nakamoto?
I’m flattered that someone went to all the trouble to try stylometry analysis. But the whole idea of it is somewhat absurd. People write in different styles all the time for any number of reasons: subject matter, audience, purpose, mood, even age. Do you write your resume for a job in the same style you text a friend to join you for a drink? Interestingly, my law thesis and my statistics thesis have been “judged” to be written by completely different people. I know that this is not the case.
- You’ve been very vocal about obtaining and filing for blockchain and crypto-related patents. Some opponents claim that your patent-seeking behavior doesn’t reflect Nakamoto’s cypherpunk ethos. They use this as “proof” that you’re not Satoshi. Is the notion of intellectual property ownership contrary to cypherpunk ethos? If so, how has your thinking evolved from the early days of Bitcoin’s development?
Satoshi Nakamoto did not follow a cyberpunk ethos. That is a fake narrative that took hold just because early followers of Bitcoin were cyperpunks and cryptoanarchists. In truth, Bitcoin was never designed to bypass law. It is exactly the opposite. Bitcoin was designed to create an immutable evidence trail that could not be degraded into something like EGold I was on the cyberpunk mailing list. But I also respect the law.
- On April 24th, cypherpunk Jameson Lopp released information comparing your online activity with Satoshi’s from 2009-2010. Crypto Insidersays: “Upon clear comparative analysis, it appears that Craig Wright can’t be Satoshi Nakamoto.” Lopp does say that his study is not conclusive evidence of anything, but just another piece of the puzzle. Can you explain the error (if there is one) in Lopp’s analysis?
Lopp seeks to create an anarchist system outside the law. His so-called analysis is one of the word I’ve ever seen. He fails to even note that blog posts are not written and loaded at the same time stated. Blog posts are often pre-written, and like my current ones, set to be published at a later time. Consequently, the date and times of blog publishing has nothing to do with my sleeping activities, and cannot necessarily be correlated to the dates and times when emails are being sent.
BSV & Satoshi “Libel” Lawsuits
Next, I’d like to ask a few questions about your pending lawsuits and your plans to prove your identity. Also, I’m hoping you can help readers (and myself) understand a little bit more about Bitcoin SV.
- Can you please provide a couple of specific examples of how BSV aligns with the Bitcoin White Paper and is the real Bitcoin? Please use as little technical language as possible. This reporter is a non-tech person, just seeking to understand and explain it as simply as possible to readers.
Bitcoin is set in stone. It doesn’t change the protocol. Adding things like SegWit changes the white paper’s definition of a coin (which is a “chain of digital signatures.”) The SegWit fork created an air drop of a new coin (SegWit coin) that is no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin does not fork. There are no protocol changes in Bitcoin. That is what set in stone means. Miners can vote on rules, not protocol. To change rules, this alters the way that blocks are discovered but not transactions. The basic protocol in Bitcoin is one that is set and remains forever. This is important to ensure Bitcoin is reliable money forever.
Bitcoin also must massively scale on-chain, in order to support higher transaction volumes and more transaction fees for miners. As block rewards continue to halve every few years, miners need to earn more in transaction fees so they remain profitable and continue sustain the chain. That is a critical aspect of Bitcoin’s original vision, not Layer 2/Lightning Network disasters which take the transactions off the chain.
- Is your current lawsuit against Peter McCormack and Vitalik Buterin – among others – only a libel/defamation suit? Or will you prove that you are Satoshi conclusively to a judge? In an interview with Bloomberg, you told the reporter that this lawsuit “will give me the chance to prove my credentials in front of a judge rather than being judged by Twitter.” What credentials will you be seeking to prove? And can you tell us anything about the evidence you’ll present or how you plan to do so?
The cases are for libel. I will present my evidence to the court, and not talk about it in advance.
But I will explain why I chose to fight these battles in court rather than online. Social media battles never get you anywhere, because people just make up information and fight with memes. But evidence law has been developed over centuries to make decisions based only upon real evidence that can be authenticated and is reliable.
Also using the court system is a way to reject the “code is law” movement, which is driven by misguided anarchists who have no true understanding of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is designed to work within law and was never designed as an anarchist system, and was not developed for people to buy and sell drugs or other illicit material. Therefore, I choose to win my disputes in court, with real evidence and real law.
- Until you get your day in court, the court of public opinion is the only one that matters. Obviously, claims like the ones McCormack, McAfee, and Vitalik made against you and your integrity cost you heavily, with Binance, Kraken, and Shapeshift all delisting BSV and temporarily tanking the coin’s price. I can understand your intense frustration at influential people in the crypto space slandering your name and your coin. Can you provide any information, proof, or evidence now – to all the Twitter and other social media judges out there – that might help to change the narrative or at least cause some readers to question their preconceived judgements about you and your claims?
You’re wrong in saying the court of public opinion is all that matters. Truth is what matters, and truth always wins out in the end.
Libel cases are all about truth. It is better to have one source and that will be the UK court – of course those who don’t really want to know the truth will stick to their guns but that will become increasingly irrelevant in the face of that decision.
Binance, Kraken and ShapeShift made a big mistake in ganging up against BSV. By delisting BSV because they do not like me personally, they hurt the public market and investment value of many people around the world who have nothing to do with me. That’s market manipulation.
BSV will recover and grow because it is the original Bitcoin. People should form their feelings about BSV because of its long term utility to build real value, not because of speculation and not based on decisions of some unethical exchanges.
- A CoinGeek article says, “BSV is the only real Bitcoin because it follows Satoshi’s Vision and as such is the only one that can scale to meet whatever the future can throw at it. Evidence of this will be amply available at the upcoming CoinGeek conference in Toronto on May 29-30.” Can you tell us anything about that evidence now?
Bitcoin must massively scale. That is the original vision and only BSV can accomplish this. The CoinGeek Toronto conference will be full of scaling news and businesses explaining why BSV’s massive scaling plan leads them to build their enterprise applications on BSV. Come to Toronto to see.
- You correctly predicted the downfall of Tether, so I have to ask if you have some predictions about what will happen to other coins if/when you prove that you are Satoshi Nakamoto. In a recent article, a Bitcoinist journalist asks the question: “would we all eschew Bitcoin if we foundout that he had been the inventor?” He concludes that we – the bitcoin community – would not. Do you have any predictions about what will happen to Bitcoin (BTC) if/when you, Dr. Wright, definitively prove that you are Satoshi Nakamoto? (both what will happen to the community and the price of the coin).Do you anticipate the price of BSV to increase significantly following the upcoming CoinGeek conference? How about after your lawsuit against those who defamed you on social media?In your vision of the future, is there room for more than one blockchain and more than one cryptocurrency? Or will one (presumably BSV from your lens) super-cede all others?
This is the mistake you and everyone else is making – focusing on price. We do not focus on the price of other coins or even of BSV. We focus on building Bitcoin to be the global blockchain and the world’s new money. When that comes, everything else follows – including real price value. But you have to build real utility.
And yes, Bitcoin [BSV] will be the single global blockchain and the dominant electronic cash for the world.
- Do you have any plans for the 1.1 million BTC in the Tulip Trust? Should we expect to see it move on January 1st, 2020?
I don’t ask you about your finances, and people should stop asking me about mine.
Of course, I had to follow up, and I video recorded that interview. You can read a transcript of that interview, along with a few of my thoughts on the topic here. I will continue to write about it and provide a link to my CCN article when it’s published.