Wright isn’t mad, actually he’s laughing.
Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency with a market cap in the billions, is still largely guided by the writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, its pseudonymous inventor. Satoshi first described the system in 2008 and remained anonymous for years, so it was rather extraordinary when, in May of last year, Australian businessman Craig Wright set up a tightly coordinated press tour designed to prove his identity as Satoshi.
If Wright could back up his extraordinary claim, he would become one of the most influential people in the tech industry overnight. He failed.
Wright gained notoriety in 2015 after an anonymous tip led to parallel investigations in Wired and Gizmodo naming him as likely being Satoshi. At the time, Motherboard laid out why the proof was insufficient. The following year, Wright went on a press tour publicly claiming to be Satoshi himself, but that didn’t clear away the doubt. He didn’t, or couldn’t, do the one thing that everyone agreed would prove his claim and which the real Satoshi should be able to do: cryptographically sign the first block of Bitcoin data, created by Satoshi.
As a result, Wright was labeled a fraud or a scammer by many in the Bitcoin community. Just days after he first made the claim public in 2016, he stopped pushing it entirely with a blog post that alluded to some personal issues that prevented him from remaining in the public eye. Or so it seemed.
In the last six months, Wright has returned to the world of Bitcoin with a vengeance. He is the Chief Scientist of a new Bitcoin research company called nChain, which has already filed numerous patents for Bitcoin technology. He tweets with unrestrained contempt for his perceived enemies in Bitcoin. He gives talks at conferences for the online gambling industry while wearing sunglasses indoors.
The one thing Craig Wright hasn’t done during his comeback tour is to clarify whether or not he is Satoshi. When I reached Wright on Slack, he played coy, sometimes responding to my questions with smiley face emojis.
For many, this apparently calculated laissez-faire attitude (or less charitably, obfuscation) means that Wright hasn’t earned his re-entry into the Bitcoin community.