Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright has reportedly provided evidence that he is the creator of bitcoin, possibly ending years of speculation over who invented the cryptocurrency, though some skepticism still remains.
Wright presented technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by bitcoin's creator, previously only known as "Satoshi Nakamoto," and by digitally signing messages using cryptographic keys made during the early days of its development, according to the BBC.
"I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," Wright is quoted as saying.
The BBC said prominent members of the bitcoin community and its core development team had also confirmed Wright's claim. They include Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, who posted his confirmation on his blog.
Wright repeated his claim to GQ and the Economist, though the latter cast some doubt over his assertions.
"Our conclusion is that Mr. Wright could well be Mr. Nakamoto, but that important questions remain," it said. "Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin."
In a blog post dated Monday, Wright appeared to out himself as bitcoin founder by posting a technical explanation, including examples of code, of the process by which he created the currency. He thanks all those who had supported the project from its inception.
"This incredible community's passion and intellect and perseverance have taken my small contribution and nurtured it, enhanced it, breathed life into it," he wrote. "You have given the world a great gift. Thank you."
However Wright did not make a clear admission that he was Nakamoto. "Satoshi is dead," he said. "But this is only the beginning."
According to the BBC, Wright said he had reluctantly gone public to end the feverish press speculation that has seen several major media outlets launch extensive investigations and name numerous people as possibly being Nakamoto.
"I have not done this because it is what I wanted. It's not because of my choice," he told the BBC. "I really do not want to be the public face of anything."
Wright told the Economist he named himself "Nakamoto" after a 17th-century Japanese philosopher and merchant, Tominaga Nakamoto, who strongly advocated free trade. He refused to reveal why he chose "Satoshi", saying "Some things should remain secret."
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) and police were not immediately available for comment.
In December, police raided Wright's Sydney home and office after Wired magazine named him as the probable creator of bitcoin and holder of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency, which has attracted the interest of banks, speculators, criminals, and regulators.
Police at the time referred all inquiries about the raids to the ATO, which said it could not comment on "any individual's or entity's tax affairs" due to legal confidentiality.
The treatment of bitcoins for tax purposes in Australia has been the subject of intense debate. The ATO ruled in December 2014 that cryptocurrency should be considered an asset, rather than a currency, for capital gains tax purposes.
Unlike traditional currency, bitcoins are not distributed by a central bank or backed by physical assets like gold, but are "mined" by users who use computers to calculate increasingly complex algorithmic formulas.
Bitcoin experts say that unmasking Nakamoto would be significant for the industry. Not only would the proven founder likely hold some sway over the future of the bitcoin protocol, but Nakamoto may also hold enough bitcoin to influence its price.
As an early miner of bitcoins, Nakamoto is sitting on about 1 million bitcoins, worth more than $400 million at present exchange rates, according to bitcoin expert Sergio Demian Lerner.
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