When I first approached Dr. Craig S. Wright’s team for an interview with him on behalf of CCN, they were very courteous and responsive. I emailed them questions, and Ed Pownall told me I’d have responses shortly. However, before I got them, Craig Wright publicly slammed CCN (and other crypto media) while he was at Oxford. CCN responded.
Weeks later, Mr. Pownall contacted me again. He asked if we could still do the interview. I said of course, but when I pitched it to my editors at CCN, they said we needed to ask some follow-up questions. Of course we did.
Reading over Wright’s responses to my initial questions, I knew I needed to get the follow-up in-person. As luck would have it, in our initial correspondence, Wright told me to come to Toronto to find out (some answers). So I contacted Mr. Pownall and asked if I could get a press pass and an in-person video interview with Craig Wright. He said yes to both. So I went.
CCN will publish the video I captured for them and my accompanying article this weekend (6/7/19). I will admit though, the video is not the highest quality since I was alone and filming with my iPhone on a tripod. Further, there are times when Wright walks all over me and doesn’t answer the questions I asked.
The following is the transcript of my interview with Dr. Craig S. Wright, the man who created Bitcoin SV, and according to him the original Bitcoin as well. It is a direct interview. I asked him questions, and he answered.
Craig Wright Video Interview Transcription
Nicole: “I’m Nicole with CCN and I’m here today with Dr. Craig Wright in Toronto at the CoinGeek Scaling conference. Dr. Wright, thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me today”
Wright: “You’re welcome”
Nicole: “And for your invitation to the CoinGeek conference here in Toronto.”
Wright: “Again, you’re welcome.”
Nicole: “And for anyone interested in the questions and answers from my previous correspondence with Dr. Wright, I will have a link to the full text of that conversation in the description and a transcription of this conversation as well. So that being said, I do have some follow-up questions.”
“And first, shortly after you initially agreed to talk with me – at Oxford discussing your detractors and cryptomedia, you singled out CCN, and uh said CCN is ‘owned by a group of people who are backing alt-chains, who are backing multiple coins, who are backing unregulated and uncontrolled exchanges’
Craig: You mean like most of the exchanges, or sorry, bucket shops.
Nicole: okay, Yes, as you said in our previous correspondence, that was a term that you used. So, my question is…
Craig: It’s not just a term. It’s actually a term in law. Um, these aren’t regulated by definition they’re bucket shops. They do wash trading, they facilitate illegal trades, in fact, um I think at the moment 30% of the trade through Binance and Bitfinex actually happens to be, Islamic Migrab and also Syrian fighters. So basically, 30% of the current funding in Bitfinex is actually terrorist funding. Doing the analysis and whatever else and about 17% is in people smuggling. So basically what that is is taking older women and forcing them into labor, and younger women and forcing them into sex slavery. And they wash the money and trade it through that, so what you’re really seeing is Tether used as a means, now that Liberty Reserve has been gone and e-Gold is gone – of taking those people’s funds and legitimizing them. So yes, their bucket shops.
Nicole: Okay, okay, well, that is…
Craig: “And I notice you’ve got ‘hardcore cypherpunk’” [he’s referring to my shirt, which says ‘hardcore cypherpunk’], “but does that mean you don’t want law at all?”
Nicole: “No, sir…”
Nicole: “It just means I support privacy-enhancing technologies.”
Craig: “So, privacy requires law by definition. Anonymity is different. So, what these other people want is anonymous. They don’t want privacy. They don’t want to be traced. Why they want not to be traced is very simple: because you go to jail for a long time when you get women addicted to heroin so that you can make them sex slaves, and that’s where a lot of this money is going. When you’re saying you support privacy, do you support people forcing sex slavery? “
Nicole: “No, of course not.”
Craig: “So, there’s your question. So, do you support the right for terrorism?”
Nicole: “I suppose that would depend on the definition of terrorism.”
Craig: “So, women and children – I spent some time in the Congo where there were 12-year-olds with guns. Do you support that?”
Nicole: “Um, no, but actually my question…”
Craig: “Do you support where people in Rwanda had their arms cut off because they weren’t the right racial group?”
Nicole: “Of course not.”
Craig: “That’s terrorism. Do you support funding them?”
Craig: “Do you support the terror groups that have come into the US – for people who have nothing to do with any of this including blowing up an Islamic mosque because they didn’t agree with the hardcore radical group?”
Nicole: Actually, I’m not wanting to argue with you on the exchanges or even really discuss it. What I’d like to know is why you singled-out CCN? If there was a catalyst while you were at Oxford, if there was a catalyst that sort of led to that…
Craig: It’s your own hit-pieces. Look at what your media is. You’re supporting pumping coins on wash exchanges. That enables – it enables these people to get things like Tether out. It enables crime. None of this is about building an ecosystem. It is funded by criminals who basically want to get their money in and out. So a good percentage of this comes from Russian State. There’s a reason why the Russian state loves Ethereum and ICOs. Because there’s a lot of money coming out of there that is actually tainted. So, let’s see articles, what article have you said about building an ecosystem – not cryptoshitties or something like this – real building; real securities, where people are protected. Not some guy who like in Token2049 sat there and said “I raised 50 million US dollars. I was able to democratize finance because I was able to get money from all these people who would never invest or be able to in a regulated system. They gave me 50 million dollars, and my project, well, there was no hype for it, but it’s okay. I can sit here until I have another idea with that 50 million dollars now.” Do you know that’s called fraud? That guy raised money on a promise. He actually actively sat there saying how he raised money in small amounts from pensioners, from the unemployed, from disabled people, whatever else – who weren’t able to act – who weren’t actually registered investors and said he’s able to steal from thousands of people because it’s democratizing finance, and you guys gave him a big write up – in the past. And said his wonderful idea about this huge thing he’s building that never got built, never hired someone. He took all $50 million dollars and is retired. That’s what you built. Now, where is your thing about someone actually building a regulated exchange? Where people aren’t ripped off?
Nicole: Everyone from CCN is an independent journalist…
Nicole: and every piece is independent, unique to that person. It’s not necessarily speaking to CCN’s ownership or CCN as a whole.
Craig: But they allow it. It’s an organization. What you’re saying is: ‘We’re CCN. We don’t care. It’s independent. We let anything go out there no matter how scammy and fraudy apart from one thing.”… apart from one thing. Where are the articles on the real exchanges, the ones that are regulated, the ones that make sure that people don’t lose their money?
Nicole: Well, perhaps that’s something I should look into. Do you have some suggestions for exchanges I should consider?
Craig: I would love to give you some real ones.
Nicole: So, I do want to move to our next question, and that is, in our email correspondence, you talked about the importance of know your customer and anti-money laundering laws.
Nicole: So, why didn’t you, why didn’t you build those into Bitcoin?
Craig: I did. This is what people are trying to remove. Bitcoin is a system where the identity is firewalled. Read the whitepaper. That’s the, there’s a section in there. The core taking out allows all this. Right now, you’ve seen, if you’d been through any of this yesterday, dev day, Ryan talked about identity systems that can be built right on top of bitcoin. Totally private. No one knows who you are, apart from the KYC entities, apart from the businesses. Allowing you to have full traceability but privacy at the same time. That was right there in the beginning. The nature of bitcoin has an immutable evidence trail. You don’t reuse addresses, but you still have fungibility under the law.
Fungibility actually means – it’s a legal term – and it means that you are able to trace money. Monetary tracing is actually a requirement of money. It goes right back. So money is legal and fungible when it’s exchanged for valuable consideration without knowledge of fraud. To have no knowledge of fraud, you can’t have an anonymous coin. You need to be able to go to the person and say, “Here’s your coffee, here’s my money” that’s a valuable exchange. If someone gifts you money right now, if someone walks up, that you know even, and gives you 50,000 dollars in US dollars, and says it’s a gift, it’s not fungible. Under law, the police can walk in and say, give me that back. By law. It’s always been that way.
Nicole: So, um, can you tell us about the value proposition of bitcoin if it cannot be used anonymously the same way that cash is? Okay, there’s nothing illegal about cash, currently.
Craig: The value proposition of bitcoin is exactly the same. What we’re doing in SC is the value proposition. The reason e-Gold was shut down was because it became an anonymous crime coin. That goes to zero. What happens one day when they finally get confidential transactions and all the rest working. And you’ve already got the money laundering laws etcetera.
In Europe, they’re clarifying so that if by the 20thof January next year, you don’t have all these things in place, you’re a criminal – that simple. So if you’re not going to do that, it doesn’t just end in a slow, decline where you can get out. It ends like [snaps fingers] that. You’ll have no value. When those dates hit, and the first exchange is taken down, and it will be – quicker than lightning, quicker than eighteen months, I guarantee you this. Within the next eighteen months, the first exchange is going to get taken down, and when it goes down [snaps fingers lighter this time] that’s BTC. Whatever it is now, 8000 or whatever US dollars, and mere possession will be a crime, exchanges will be a crime, ownership will be a crime. Like e-Gold. E-Gold was worth a lot of money one day, the next day zero, Liberty reserve, zero. It goes one day valuable, next day, nothing.
Now, Bitcoin on the other hand, has a way of tracing. The Value proposition is we can distribute money globally to anyone legally, cheaper, faster, quicker. We can have micropayments. We can enable people in countries like Africa and India. People who can’t get bank accounts today. Not this bull from people like Samson Mao saying people under 2 dollars a day shouldn’t have bitcoin. They’re the people who should have bitcoin. There are billions of people right now who cannot get money, who cannot get bank accounts, who cannot register their ownership and goods, who cannot sell online, who cannot buy, sell, and trade like we do here in the west and we take for granted.
Nicole: the unbanked
Craig: The unbanked. All of them who can access on not these old phones like people think but feature phones will be able to do this simply. Not because people sit there going that’s unsecure, because it’s unsecure for large amounts of money, but people who only have a few dollars don’t want to pay $4 in fees or $40 in fees. They don’t want to pay a cent.
If you’ve spent any time in Africa or India or whatever else then what you will see is people, women, children, etc who go into stores and buy boxes of matches so that they can sell individual matches. That’s trade in commerce. But they can’t do that unless they have a way of doing it. People trade, right now, for things like fish and whatever else in markets. And they can exchange on mobile phones, but they can’t pay for it and lock it in. With bitcoin they can.
The aspect everyone is missing, that you’re forgetting, code is law is stupid. It is the dumbest thing you ever want to do because people matter. Bitcoin was designed with all these escrow contracts and whatever else, not to get rid of people, to integrate us, to build society. Someone like you could build a reputation as an arbitrator and then people can come to you to sort problems. Not fix the code. Not cold impersonal computers that are set no matter what. People you can talk to and explain problems. Things happen. What happens if you set up a contract and something goes wrong? Do you want a way of negotiating your way out? Do you want to say, I’m sorry I broke my leg, I couldn’t make it, please give me another day? Is that reasonable.
Nicole: Of course it is.
Craig: My child got sick. I couldn’t make it, I’m an hour late, please don’t close my contract. Is that reasonable?
Nicole: Yes, of course I think it is. I’m sorry I do have to move on. I have so many questions and such a small amount of time. So I do have some questions to follow up about Satoshi.
Craig: Mm, hmm.
Nicole: So you’ve said that signing a message with a PGP key won’t prove anything, and I can understand that. But, wouldn’t it be more convincing…
Craig: To whom?
Nicole: To naysayers
Craig: To people who want the idea of code is law, yes. To people who want to say mere possession is ownership, to people who want to say Ross Ulbricht shouldn’t be in jail because he didn’t break the law because other people have his keys. And they can sign them proving that he doesn’t have the keys so therefore it’s not him.
Nicole: I understand your argument but I mean for people who argue that you are not Satoshi
Craig: No, what you’re saying is for people who don’t want me to be Satoshi because they want anonymity. You know how much funding there is to make a criminal store? You know Mr. Maxwell used to be an anti-seg member, and leader of Ulsich and others, and what his really saying, and I’m happy for you to put this on, and I’m happy to go into court and libel and we’ll present evidence. What Mr. Maxwell and others really want is they want ransomware, andextortionware that cannot be traced, that’s what anonymity is for them. They want to lock company computers and force people to pay. Right now, bitcoin ends up in jail for a lot of hackers and criminals. When they do this, they tried it, Mr. Maxwell helped. He’s got a background in this stuff. So, unfortunately, he’s also a weasel and when Aaron Schwartz went to jail, Mr. Maxwell managed to weasel out by coming to Canada and whatever else. But criminals like this want a system that enables them to anonymously make money, anonymously steal, corrupt, basically engage in every dirty thing society has and there’s a lto of money out there for that.
Nicole: So, I understand that’s why you’re not signing a message with the PGP key. You have
Craig: No, No, I’m not signing with the PGP key because that’s not evidence. We have a system called law and evidence. Evidence doesn’t come because I’ve got a key and I possess something. I’m going to court. ..
Nicole: Okay, that’s what my next questions is about. So, you say that evidence law has been developed over centuries to make decisions based only upon real evidence that can be authenticated and is reliable.
Nicole: So, what kinds of evidence could someone provide to prove identity as Satoshi?
Craig: Everything I’ve put out there. Like it or not, my entire history that is easily discredited. So is you want to be Satoshi you need an entire history going back to 2005 with everything that matches my life. You need to have stopped working in 2009 in January. You need to have been working on digital money before that. You need to have a foundation in law, mathematics, computer science. You need to actually not be a cypherpunk. You need to be able to show all of that. And here’s the thing, if you can discredit one little bit, if you can show one little bit of my history that’s fake, I get to wear an orange suit. If you get to yell out there and say you’re Satoshi, I get to put you in an orange suit.
Nicole: So you say that you need to not have been a cypherpunk, and that was something that came up in our first conversation. You said that
Craig: James A Dulld was a cypherpunk, and unfortunately, he twisted many of the arguments. The typical anti-government bit was where I stated how I alighted James’ rant and the bit that no one seems to link is James’ rant. So the alighted statement means to cut short or curtly. It’s my wife likes to point out that I should use words that people understand. I read too many old books. And unfortunately there’s all these words that people think are misspelled that are actually real words.
Nicole: So, in 2016, you told Andrew O’Hagan, the author of The Satoshi Affair that “we were all using pseudonyms, that’s the cypherpunk way”
Craig: Umm, I wouldn’t believe everything the way – Andrew wanted to make a book that painted everything in his three parts so Andrew didn’t sign the NDA and Andrew didn’t end up doing what he was sort of initially bred for, which I wouldn’t have been out. He would have been following us as we produced patents over the next decade uhh, but Andrew wanted to basically. He already had a story and he fitted me into it. So like my mother made a statement. My mother said I dreamed big and came up with whacky ideas when I was a child. Andrew put that down as Craig’s mother says he lies. So it’s basically, you take something that has a grain of truth and you make it into a fiction.
Nicole: Okay, so I’m sorry just a question. You said that you did not create bitcoin as a reaction to the 2008 financial crisis
Craig: You can’t have it as a reaction to the 2008 financial crisis because it started, and I’ve said this, before in 2007. Beginning of 2007. So it isn’t a reaction. Read the Genesis block article. It isn’t a reaction to that. Because a reaction to a statement by chancellor Dali, saying I am going to nationalize the banks unless they do what I say. He said that. He said, I will renationalize the banks if they don’t do what I say
Nicole: So you did tell, I’m sorry, perhaps you did tell Andrew O’Hagan that you saw the crisis coming. Is that true?
Craig: No, it’s not true.
Nicole: Alright, so…
Craig: Andrew, we talked about a few things, and I said there are a lot of problems in the economic system at the time. Credit fault swaps were problematic especially with the inability to actually value assets, and we discussed those things. That’s not the same as what he put down.
Nicole: So one more question and then I know you have to go.
Nicole: Mike Hearn once asked Satoshi if the Electronic Funds Transfer law would apply to bitcoin. And Satoshi said, “I’m not a lawyer, and I can’t possibly answer that.”
Craig: So I finished my masters in law in sort of the 2008, beginning of 2009. Now everyone says that means I’m a lawyer. I wasn’t. It was in 2013 that I did college of law. So I followed up, and I did my training to be a barrister and soliciter years later. Now, as an academic who teaches law, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m certainly not an American lawyer or your lawyer. Now, at the time, in 2009, I was not a lawyer. You became a lawyer not by doing a law degree but by doing practice. And it was on;y when I went to the college of law and did barrister training and etc and then became I’m now what is called an academic lawyer, so I’m a member of the society of legal scholars and other such things there. So when I spoke to everyone in the past I was not a lawyer. I know that’s a distinction that many people don’t get. So an academic who teaches law, may not be a lawyer unless you have done practice training, you’re not a lawyer. Do you see the difference?
Nicole: Yes, I do. Okay, well I know that you have to go. I have so many more questions, but we are out of time. So thank you very much for agreeing to talk to me today.
Craig: You’re welcome.
After the Interview…
I stayed to attend some of the lectures, interview Calvin Ayre (which I will also post), talked to a lot of BSV proponents, and attended the after-party. I’ll write about all of that. But this was just the direct transcript of my interview with Dr. Craig S. Wright, who – no matter what else he is or has done – was involved in Bitcoin earlier than most of us, and is a highly intelligent human being. .. We are ALL Satoshi.