I enjoyed reading this article, among dozens I've read over the years, in a quest for a favorite topic of mine: who is the real Satoshi.
I am but a 3D super hero, so nobody should really care about my position at all... but they do... they really, REALLY do.
Who are "they"? Well, allow me to clarify, as so rarely a person finding themselves surrounded by the SV-swarm might do. "They" are the absolute unstoppable, die-hard, coaxed and cleaned of neutral observation BSV believers, of which there are many. A friend in the crypto community recently asked said community why maximalism had to be the way it is. Their comment has stayed with me, the more I have observed the extremes of our industry, building factions as strong as nation-states, in a time where truly we all should band together for the betterment of the entirety of the industry.
I believe that the longer we all survive and remain serious about crypto, the more our views, or our understanding, or both, are likely to grow, change, or adapt. In my case, I find myself paying more and more attention to code, to law and the b.s. politics surrounding, and the specific people of projects.
While I spend a lot of time honed in on Bitcoin, I do not ascribe to maximalism, and it isn't because of a foggy position, lack of loyalty, or some of the odd accusations made from the BTC-Maxi crowd. Simultaneously, I've found that the BTC-Maxi position tends to hold more water, for more reasons, by more intellectual leaders, business owners and serious investors than maxi's of other projects, I find there are valid criticisms from other camps that I am capable of recognizing on their merit. So, don't get me wrong; I do not take a neutral view on the projects I choose to focus on, and sometimes interests lead to rabbit holes and orange pills, clowns and outright scams.
But, in this case, I find myself back in the wolf pack of CSW believers. This time, I found myself clicking a link to a Reddit thread that I will not share here, because I want you to keep reading, a thread that has people believing that recent activity on the market is directly linked to proof that CSW wrote the white paper, because he subsequently chose to copyright the paper. For the record, if I had thought to do so, I would have been the first to copyright Satoshi's paper, but it would still be a lie for me to say I was the real Satoshi. Hilariously, people truly believing it to be the way the world works, are perplexed why BSV is not skyrocketing in price as vindication of their knighted and deemed demi-god of crypto, Dr. Wright.
I will remain incredibly fair, despite my snarky-ness, and state that I truly do NOT know who the real Satoshi is, and I also do NOT know whether Craig Wright is lying or not. I do not believe he is Satoshi, and I also do not believe Satoshi is a "he", but rather a "they", as in a group. Further, I believe the white paper was written by an individual, who then worked with others within their circle to properly code and test the first iteration of what now remains as a rigorously updated Bitcoin Core application. But, I was not there, and I could be wrong.
Looking solely at evidence and professional opinions from people who write code, who are professional cryptographers (cool occupation!), and those who are the earliest adopters of Bitcoin who know Wright personally, the likelihood that he is not a fraud, is well below the 3-percentile. Even so, I would actually not be surprised. The level of shocking events in crypto that occur daily are enough to both vex and numb a person truly dedicated to the topic.
In this specific circumstance, the attached article is what I perceive, as a fair view of one example, among a vast growing pile of examples, where the real Satoshi, going against his own anonymity, would have chosen accuracy and specificity, to support their claim that they were, who they were. Instead, Wright's response was vague. But, not "I'm trying to remain out of the reach of 3-letter agencies" vague. It was the same kind of vague professionals have stated time and time again, that come from Wright, that show his ignorance of the very creation he both jealously lays claim to, and venomously attacks with a fork that he was determined to prove acclaim, with a willingness to "burn the whole f$%^ing Bitcoin blockchain to the ground" if that is what it would take.
So, let's take a quick look at the substance, in specificity, of just this one instance. Here is the message that 'someone', who owns the extremely early Bitcoin addresses and private keys, posted to the network, as proof of their private keys, when Wright was in question for legally claiming ownership of the white paper:
"Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn't have the keys used to sign this message. The Lightning Network is a significant achievement. However, we need to continue work on improving on-chain capacity. Unfortunately, the solution is not to just change a constant in the code or to allow powerful participants to force out others. We are all Satoshi"
Now, Wright's defense goes like this:
“no message was signed. You cannot have a digital signature that is anonymous, by definition. Sorry. So, no signature. You can run a digital signature algorithm. It’s not signing a message... You either have to have an identity attribute or an identity to sign a message. Someone can’t go and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a key, I’m signing.’ If you think that, you don’t understand digital signatures at all.”
I won't lean on my own limited technical knowledge of these digital signatures, although having read quite a bit, and leaning on a LOT of professional opinions, and, well, technical discussions about how to code such things, it sure seems like the experts referenced in this article understood a major problem with his comments.
First, the experts state that what was done with the above message, was in fact, the very definition of use of a digital signature. Without stepping back into the stinky pile of "it isn't encryption... it's cryptography" nonsense, the issue at hand, is whether someone can sign a message that is publicly posted to the Bitcoin network, and that someone can only do so if they have access to the private key of the address from which that message is posted. Like anything Bitcoin on the Bitcoin network, proof is found by means, that anyone with the data that goes along with the 'transaction', in this case a message, can compare the sender and the attached code that is connected, and verify if in fact the message was really sent from that address, and that only the owner of private keys to that address could send the message.
See, this is irony. This is the perfect simplicity of the white paper in question. Furthermore, the legal case taking place is specifically regarding whether Wright can claim copyright ownership to the white paper, where it states that only the owner of a private key could post a message from that address, and in this case, the message is that Wright is not Satoshi, is a fraud, and does not own the keys.
The article includes speculation that Wright was hoping to mystify non-technical followers, by confusing the difference between the owner of an address, and the identity of an address. In both cases, whether talking about the actual person, which is of course anonymous despite other wildly misleading claims in other Wright articles, or talking about the wallet, which technically is the actual 'address' to the public facing signature, Wright does not explain how someone can fake a message to the network from an address that they do not hold the private keys to. No matter which direction a person tries to take his vague responses, they lack both an explanation and an understanding of the topic. That seems quite strange.
I was proud of my own research, I admit, the first time I stumbled onto this Coindesk article, because I had just been reading Wright's paper regarding encryption, and I found that a huge error he had made in his logic was not one of technical skill or understanding, but one of a legal nature. Interestingly, Wright seems to make a career of suing and being sued, to which his primary motivation, not just interest, logically has been focusing on the legal interpretations of his not-invention: Bitcoin.
Wright responded to Coindesk on the matter:
"He framed digital signatures as a legal matter, rather than a technical one."
This, is why I was pleased with my own understanding, which ends up at the same conclusions as the publisher and 4 experts in cryptography, none of us, which have anything to benefit by calling b.s. on the king of BS....... V.
You see, making claims about digital signatures is exactly the kind of legal battle he is facing with the Kleiman case, the estate of one person who may possibly be among the true Satoshi's, and it is at the heart of legal issues that could come regarding the provided anonymity in using Bitcoin, that is always the government's case in the cryptocurrency's use by criminals. If one can make a legal argument that digital signatures are not encrypted, thus no one's identity is hidden by the technical creation of Bitcoin, then it legally negates any argument that it is coded in such a way to enhance the carrying out of crime. Wright discusses the topics of digital signatures and privacy rights in extremely non-technical terms, for the purpose of displaying compliance; not understanding. At the most basic level, Wright has billions of dollars in Bitcoin to protect, and may likely be giving many of these to the estate of and in taxes, so if he provides clarity of the "who" of who is Satoshi, he may be distraught no matter what happens. Could his vagueness simply be a ploy to avoid legal entanglement? All of his papers seem to be only about the legality of Bitcoin's use.
In this case, digital signatures are designed to protect the integrity of a one-way hash, and a two-way verification. The outer world can know 100% that a genuine transaction posted to the network was signed by the owner of that address' key, and the public also cannot ever know the private key. This uses one way encryption, to provide two-way cryptography.
Dr. Wrong continued:
“When judges talk about the need for a signature to provide that ‘an authenticating intention can be demonstrated,’ they are stating the authentication of the individual and their name. They are not talking about the authentication of the algorithm. Unfortunately, too many people in the Cryptocurrency space think that they can alter the meaning of words and create a new reality. They cannot.”
This is quite literally Wright speaking to his denial that "Craig Wright is a fraud and a liar" could come from the owners of 'his' private keys, to which someone falsely simply pretended to post a message to the network, but really just used an algorithm to do so. Wright is piling on that somehow the legal misunderstanding of identity, in this case proving who a person is, has been mistaken for his statement that, of the technical signature, proves someone's address aligns with their ownership of corresponding private keys. Sorry, but was that supposed to work? He literally uses the 'alter the meaning of words' to detract from the fact that he literally alters the meaning of words in his defense. The question left unanswered, is whether someone can spoof to the Bitcoin network, using some algorithm, to pretend that they posted a message verified to come from a specific address, while not having access to the private key of that address? If yes, then Bitcoin has failed. If no, then Wright still hasn't answered how the message got posted, and not just once, but by 145 of the Bitcoin addresses in legal question in his case. Furthermore, if he does own the private keys, would he discredit himself and then build a vague defense against it, guaranteeing he either loses his case and loses a vast amount of Bitcoin, or loses his case and warrants a judge ruling that he is not who he claims to be? These are the specifics currently in motion.
Yes, I have read the full statement. Yes, I have read his even longer papers dealing specifically with the protection of Bitcoin's design from legal attacks that it protects criminals. No, Wright is not using cryptography or encryption in their proper terms, and yes it is a problem. If he wrote the white paper, he had ample help in carrying out the results, while safely escaping a decade later to his own fork, where he still apparently doesn't understand the hash function or how it 'protects' digital, yes digital, identity.
No matter how you cut it, Wright may be Satoshi, he may have reasons for not using logic or facts to protect his image and may actually understand these things. But, the contradictions are quite strong. Someone so fixated on not being called out and so insistent upon being Satoshi, after all of these years, seeking to prove his identity, by disproving his understanding of Bitcoin's use of technical identity-identifiers, and thus causing a double-conundrum by calling himself a fraud and a liar, simply makes no sense, if the point is that he understands and we do not. You either explain how a person can prove they own private keys to an address, using Bitcoin and its blockchain network process as the proof, or you prove that everything stated in the white paper has failed. You either can, or cannot, spoof a digital signature to the Bitcoin network. If you can, I assume the key-holders of 145 early addresses are not the only person with the knowledge of how to spoof the network. Am I wrong? Tell me how in the comments, but you best be much more precise than Wright on the subject. I mean this genuinely.
Next, who else is calling Wright a fraud? 4 cryptographic experts, Vitalik Buterin, Roger Ver and his other prior Bcash teammates. Add to this anonymous entities on Crypto Twitter, who he has also sued for stating he is a fraud. So, don't add me to the list. I am just reporting what happened and asking questions.
There were people who were equally disappointed in the direction Bitcoin Core developers were taking the project, and they decided to create a fork; Bitcoin Cash (should be Bcash). These folks were set to correct the err of Bitcoin's ways, which in their eyes strayed from Satoshi's original vision. But, they also were unable to agree with their new vision. They split and caused havoc on the blockchain in an epic battle of hashes with an equal validation of childishness and venom that literally could have taken all of cryptoland down with them. The end result; everyone other than Wright, who know him personally, who used to be directly involved in development, are all calling him a fraud and a liar.
I don't know the guy. I actually sometimes kinda like him. I think he appears on the surface to care about a lot of things, loves to study, and when talking about himself and other aspects of his life, is quite a lovely personality. But, when it comes back around to this subject, it appears that the people who know how Bitcoin works, and know how to code it to make it work, all believe his explanations in his defense just bury the man deeper in a sea of ineptitude. I personally, think the experiment of BSV and BCH are both fine, of merit, and should remain as top ranking coins, but that is despite their creators, not in support of them. Their public-facing actions have been nothing but harmful to the cryptocurrency community, and even so, it bothers me not, for them to remain for those who are loyal and deeply invested in their projects.
All of this calls to question something very meaningful, though. All of this, like so many topics, are going to be revisited. It is simply too interesting not to fly deeper into the abyss of such topics. For now, the meaning I wish to seek, is the topic of the "scam". In modern terms, some understand the branding, while others truly don't. A scam is an intentional swindling. A scammer enters the arena with the specific intention to misinform, misguide, lead astray, and usually with the intent to part the fool from their money. In defense of Wright, people are calling Vitalik Buterin a scammer. The main premise, usually, though sometimes using actual documentation that may be misinterpreted in its own rights (see what I did there? phonetically... anyway), is that Vitalik calls Wright a fraud and a scammer and a liar, and that his entire intent to claims of Satoshi-ness, are to further his BSV project. If Vitalik is right, he certainly knows more about it than I do. If he is wrong, Wright has been invited to sue him where it can be worked out in legal terms.
More importantly, we look at the accusation "scammer". In Vitalik's case, he isn't mincing words. In Roger Ver's case, he isn't mincing words. They both mean in a literal sense, that they believe Wright is a fraudster, a scammer seeking to separate fools from fortunes. This is a co-editor creator of Bitcoin magazine and the original Bitcoin evangelist who went on to join Wright in Bcash, until splitting into the on-chain civil war. We're looking at 3 extremely early Bitcoin adopters who know more from the inside, about one another's persona.
Outside looking in, everyone who dislikes someone or is mildly skeptical of their claims, calls "scam" as a catch-all, where in context, has a much deeper meaning, than the one I think they actually understand. Calling something a scam because it might drop in value, or because an independent group might choose to pump that coin, or because they don't like the creator, or because it takes too long to accomplish "x" or "y" is invalid, and could actually be legally challenged to their dismay. But, a true scam has actual intent to cause customers to act based on false information. It is about being intentionally misleading.
Especially in times where the SEC, FATF, FinCen and other agencies seem content on finding angles to launch witch hunts in the cryptosphere, we as a community need to be more supportive of one another, and that includes myself. I can sometimes forget the difference in my role amid the community, and the voice I find when I'm particularly edgy in an editorial sense. Some scorn should be reserved for articles, as I want to treat others with respect and believe sometimes under the guise of poking fun, I might actually bother someone. That being the case, I publicly apologize if my edginess places any BSVers on high defense.
I believe anyone who really likes BCH or BSV has the right to do so, to invest in it, to write papers in its defense, and I hope Wright untangles himself from the myriad webs he seems to have woven himself into. If he ends up having the superior project, then bless him, and may the market show its appreciation. But, if it is true that he is making false claims about his own identity, then by definition, that does actually qualify for what one could call a true scammer; a true fraud. I don't know, but it if were the case, then billions of dollars of investments are on the line for innocent parties who believe the lies. Again, I don't know, but of all the huge risks we are all taking in crypto, it's not one of the shaky grounds I'm willing to stand upon. This whole thing could go down, and I mean all of it. But, for humanity and my profits, I hope the best projects remain. Just as important, I hope that people who invest in projects based on their confidence in the leaders of those projects, are not taken advantage of, and I hope they do not lose their investments if court cases happen to rule unfavorably when creators are called into question, and their defense is not only weak, but contrary to the stated knowledge they are supposed to represent.
And on that note, let's all be kind even if snarky while saying for now... crypto Gordon Freeman... out.