The Case against Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto
Bitcoin,  Commentary,  People

The Case against Craig Wright, Part I (2009-2011)

A #Faketoshi hobbyist walks us through the details behind accusations that Craig Wright lied and forged proofs that he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

The crypto community is pretty much in agreement as to whether or not Craig Wright is “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pen-name used by the author of the bitcoin whitepaper. The vast majority say, “not.”

[Editor’s Note: Part II of this article can be found here.]

In February, one of Wright’s loudest doubters, Binance CEO Changpen Zhao—known far and wide as “CZ”—took another swing at Wright on Twitter. “CSW is a fraud. Investing in a fraud never ends well. See below. Time will tell.” He linked to information on the FCoin pyramid scheme.

It’s not a new fight for CZ, who booted Wright’s Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV) cryptocurrency off the Binance exchange after Wright began suing people like “What Bitcoin Did” podcaster Peter McCormack, after he said Wright was not Nakamoto.

Wright says Bitcoin SV the only version of Bitcoin true to Nakamoto’s—i.e. his—original vision for Bitcoin.

Making the Case against Craig Wright

The problem is that the Grail-hunting types who make various claims to this effect are mostly disorganized. Some say a 2015 timestamp on a document from 2011 is proof of fraud. (Wright blamed OCR software that scanned the document). Many use this to discredit the authenticity of his estimated 600 patents.

Craig Wright basher Arthur van Pelt (Photo: Arthur van Pelt).

So today we are just going to put it all out on the table. For that we look to Arthur van Pelt, a “self-employed Bitcoin entrepreneur, living in The Netherlands.” A Bitcoin software builder, van Pelt said that his company, Cryptoboost, is raising funds to buy European banks and convert them to run on crypto. So Wright’s BSV is, theoretically, a threat to the health of his product.

In his free time, van Pelt goes #Faketoshi hunting, digging for information that will debunk the nChain chief scientist’s claim.

“I map out Craig Wright’s forgeries and false claims as a hobby, and ramped up that hobby substantially after Craig threatened and finally sued several people in the Bitcoin community in March 2019,” van Pelt said.” 

He is very blunt, “Let there be no misunderstanding: Craig Wright IS NOT Satoshi Nakamoto.”

Wright’s lawyers aren’t convinced by van Pelt’s claims. Andres Rivero, who represents Wright in the $10 billion Kleiman Estate lawsuit told Modern Consensus, “This individual doesn’t have any basis for what he’s saying and it has no bearing on our case.”

Modern Consensus spoke to Arthur over the course of several days to hear his story and fact check his facts. 

Is there any basis to this Craig-denier’s claim? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Why we fight

Honestly, what’s in it for you?

Nothing. I’m not being paid by anybody (although I do accept tips on my BTC address 😉). I wouldn’t mind being hired part-time though. 

Fair enough. This has 8 BTC in 38 transactions.

[Editor’s note: That’s $43,000 at press time.]

On a more serious note, what drives me most to do this fraud research is anger. Paying $5,000 to dox someone is ugly behavior in my book. 

[Editor’s note: Zhao delisted BSV from Binance after Wright offered of $5,000 for information that would identify @Hodlonaut, who launched the Lightning Torch, and denied Wright’s Nakamoto claims.]

You have “Dragon Industries” in your profile. But I can’t find any info on that company. Which, already, sounds like you have more in common with Craig.

Dragon Industries is currently a kind of dormant company (we only set an empty landing page for the time being) as we focus full time on a project with Dragon’s sidekick CryptoBoost where we try to buy one or two European banks in the upcoming months to transform them to modern, digital, crypto assets-friendly banks. At that moment we will revive Dragon Industries again. Currently we are not taking customers. 

Recently it came to my attention that [former Wyoming Blockchain Task Force member] Caitlin Long is trying to do the same with Avanti Bank in the US in 2021. We think it’s a good concept long-term.

Just the facts, please

I’ll be honest: I’ve been on the Craig Wright story for about 2 years. I get kind of bored by hearing “fake” and “fraud” and “scam.” They’re just noise to me. If someone wants to patiently walk me through their thinking: go for it. But give me an organized timeline of events.

The people who know the truth about Craig Wright will always say “fraud.” Because it is. And it’s a shame that people still fall for it. But let’s go to the facts. I think these three tweetstorms summarize things nicely. They contain timelines with several highlights and links to articles, blog posts and other tweets with information.

[Editor’s Note: Some responses on the “Bitcoin Fraud Career” thread were hidden by the author.]

Alright. Let’s go through it.

A pattern of inconsistencies

2008

My first question is just: when did you notice a pattern of inconsistencies?

I heard the name Craig Wright [and the] rumor already in 2015, I think. I’ve seen Craig’s self-dox to Wired/Gizmodo in December 2015. The failed signing sessions in May 2016. There was not a clear “pattern” yet. That became more obvious in 2019, when I received several requests to set up a timeline of events happening. 

[Editor’s Note: Wright first made his Nakamoto claim in the joint Wired/Gizmodo interview. The “failed signing sessions” refers to a failed stunt organized by a PR company to have Wright sign a message using Satoshi’s keys—showing he had them in his possession. Many later pointed out he used a public key that anyone could have found. Wright later wrote, “I’m sorry. I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.”]

And you’re going to show us clear documents that can prove this timeline of events?

Yes, a few of them. From these timelines it became perfectly clear that Craig Wright learned about Bitcoin in July 2011, he bought his first bitcoins in April 2013 on [massively hacked cryptocurrency exchange] Mt. Gox. After [his partner] Dave Kleiman’s death [also in April 2013] he entered the Bitcoin arena in a fraudulent way.

Since then, Craig built a mindblowing list of lies, frauds, forgeries, false claims, and unfulfilled promises. The three tweetstorms I just provided will guide you through the [timeline]. They will give you a good, basic idea of what happened when.

Highlights of the timeline

November 30, 2008

Those are pretty big accusations. How do you back them up? 

I back them up with facts. This is the first entry of the “Fraud Fundament” tweetstorm. While Satoshi Nakamoto had already released the Bitcoin whitepaper and had already coded the overwhelming majority of the Bitcoin software, Craig on the other hand just picked up on the “Principles of Programming using C#”. It is clear here that Craig picked up “coding” much, much later than Satoshi.

These come from an internet archive of his now-deleted blog.

Yes. Craig used this blog for many years, he started adding Bitcoin-related forgeries on that blog in 2014 and deleted it around the self-dox to Wired/Gizmodo. 

This is the second time I have to warn you about “fake/fraud/forgeries.” Stick to what you can prove. That is your characterization, not a fact. But you haven’t proven it in any meaningful way. You just have a blog he used for a class-assignment. You assume that deleting or undeleting proves a crime, but, for example, I set my Tweets to auto-delete just because I don’t feel the need to tell everyone how I felt on one day, out of context, 10 years ago.

A more extensive overview of his blog forgeries can be found here: https://pastebin.com/1sTvWEPF 

That’s just a link to someone’s blog. 

I would also recommend using Archive Today. That website bypasses robot.txt instructions.

Patch job

January 3, 2009

Bitcoin goes live for the first time with Block 0.

Right after bitcoin goes live, you claim that Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday 2009” would have jolted the system.

No, Craig claims that, not me. I consider that claim a brazen lie of Craig Wright. Because Craig says that his Bitcoin network [had] almost 70 computers—which is already a ridiculous claim by itself; Bitcoin had only a few computers running at the start, looking at the hashrates in the whole of 2009. [He said that 70-computer network] rebooted on January 3, 2009, and couldn’t continue forming block 1 on that day. 

A computer network cannot reboot on January 3 when a software patch is delivered 10 days later, on January 13, 2009. It’s as simple as that. Craig doubled down on this Microsoft patch Tuesday silliness several times, so it’s clear he “knows” what he is talking about. But he’s lying. The line of events he describes on this occasion, the start of the Bitcoin network with a Genesis block forming over the course of six days, never happened. 

January 6, 2009

While #Faketoshi “frantically ran (and drove) between the distant locations” (and Coingeek quickly deleted the debunk-disclaimer step 1, step 2, step 3) because his Microsoft Windows network went haywire, the actual Craig Wright posted about “Using a CD/DVD Distribution under Linux/Unix”.

You take this to mean that Craig backdated these blogs and that he made a serious error when he did this.

Craig did not backdate the blog itself. Instead, in 2014 he started adding backdated blog entries to “prove” he is Satoshi. They are all failed attempts, as it has been determined they are not genuine blog entries on the dates presented. Allow me to add a hilarious #Faketoshi anecdote here.

This isn’t Twitter, this is journalism. Show us what you can prove and leave the name calling out of it.

You’re right. Please understand, I use that hashtag a lot to make it clear that another brazen lie is following. Anyway, Craig already made an enormous date blunder here with Microsoft patch Tuesday (released January 13, 2009) that by not any chance could have ruined the Bitcoin Genesis block (formed between January 3, 2009 and January 9, 2009).

OK.

But on Craig’s “Cracked” blog, also this (backdated) entry could be found on January 10, 2009. This forgery dates from the time in 2014 that Craig didn’t have any idea yet how it worked with the Bitcoin Genesis block, so he dates the start of Bitcoin Beta on January 11, 2009, while we all know that Bitcoin started on January 3, 2009. 

And “the [Bitcoin white] paper rocks” Craig says, which is wording that the real Satoshi Nakamoto never used. The whole story of this entertaining forgery is painfully unraveled in this little tweetstorm.

Do you even code?

April 25, 2009

So Craig was required to keep a developer’s blog for his coursework while he was at a university to get himself another degree. That blog doesn’t line up with proving he is Satoshi. But at the time he didn’t want anything to prove he was Satoshi. Especially not a blog he was being graded on.

Yes, correct. You will read in the upcoming screenshot [see April 25, below] that Craig was “still getting used to the idea of adding more than a menu.” Meanwhile, Satoshi had already built a sophisticated decentralized money mint with ledger and payment system, starting the Bitcoin project two years earlier. In which he laid the foundation for linked timestamping, smart contracting, 2nd layer scaling with payment rails, a prunable blockchain based on adjustable Merkle trees. [And] he solved the double spend issue, the Byzantine Generals Problem, etc. See the difference in experience between Satoshi and Craig here?

The way I see it, Steve Jobs didn’t code—Craig had the money to hire out some help. Craig told me he was at his farm in Macquarie, Australia at the time of the Genesis launch and he had recently been laid off and had gotten a nice severance.

That part is likely true, but not the part where he claims to have been doing something Bitcoin related. With his developer’s blog in mind, it is perfectly clear that although there are overlaps in interest zones between Craig and Satoshi in very different timeframes, Craig never managed to grow beyond a below-basic understanding of these concepts that Satoshi understood much, much better. Even today, 11 years later, that is still the case.

I need to point out, you’re basing this on Craig’s dinky little blog that he had to keep for a class. Not on his notes or files.

These ARE his notes and files, sir. This is official, educational information needed to follow a class. Information that Craig deleted in December 2015 because he knew it doesn’t fit his Satoshi claim. 

Okay, that’s the part I was missing. I’ve made my position known.

Craig was years if not at least a decade behind Satoshi in building his knowledge about decentralized money minting with a ledger and payment systems attached.

And based on his lackluster understanding of Bitcoin, and in his desperate attempts since 2014 to hijack Bitcoin, Craig changed (I call it raped sometimes) the whole Bitcoin thing, his vision of it, into an immutable data pump monstrosity with no anonymity and only onchain scaling. All things that Satoshi never wanted, never said in the Bitcoin whitepaper or elsewhere.

[Editor’s note: This refers to the Wright’s Bitcoin SV cryptocurrency, which is currently the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, with more than $2.2 billion extant, according to Messari.]

Okay. But the whitepaper isn’t a dictum or some all-seeing bible. It was the paper to get the protocol started.

Satoshi started coding on Bitcoin roughly halfway through 2007. 

I would call that speculation. But go on.

The Bitcoin whitepaper was less important to him (and as Satoshi admitted himself, the whitepaper was also incomplete), as he was a better coder. That’s what Satoshi said himself. Craig on the other hand, is the opposite. He writes a lot, and he totally can’t code as he showed on several occasions. His 2015 supercomputers video series is a perfect example of that. Compare that to Satoshi who, on every possible occasion, showed long strips of his sophisticated code for others to scrutinize.

The coding noob

April 25, 2009

What’s up with this next one?

This one is pretty telling too. Because while Satoshi Nakamoto already had one running for almost 4 months, Craig Wright was about to start learning about “Electronic payment systems.” And the picture will become even more clear with the follow up in February 2011. 

And just to be clear: this blog that you posted is from an archive of Craig’s blog? It has been taken off the internet?

Yes, again correct. Craig actually wrote several blogs. “Cracked” was his longstanding private blog, then there was his developer’s blog, his Cloudcroft supercomputers blog, etc. Except for “Cracked,” most of these blogs were pretty short-lived, and for example his DeMorgan blog contained only one post, as his handfuls of business endeavors never lasted long. All these blogs were deleted by Craig in December 2015. 

Bitcoin, BitCoin, or Bit Coin?

July 2011

July 2011 [is] when Craig learned about Bitcoin and talked like a noob about it in the comments section to a few of his articles, with misspellings like BitCoin and Bit Coin and all, spelling that Satoshi NEVER used in whitepaper or his [approximately] 600 forum posts. [Between then] and April 2013, when Craig, like a noob trader, bought his first few handfuls of Bitcoin on Mt. Gox, all the documents that Craig created to support his false claim to be Satoshi have been dated to be forgeries after April 2013, too. So for anyone with more than one brain cell it’s perfectly clear that Craig is not Satoshi. And everything he says about Bitcoin from a Satoshi point of view is a lie.

I can tell you are passionate about this, but it’s not necessary to attack other people for the crime of not spending six weeks paging through deleted blogs.

Anyway, Craig deleted all these blogs around the self-dox to Wired/Gizmodo in November/early December 2015 because it contained forgeries and false information that he likely didn’t want people to know about anymore. My guess is [he did this] as it was so extremely easy to debunk, which he realized after the first responses after the media publications of his coming out. 

So Craig even made sure that, except for “Cracked,” his blogs could not be found on Wayback Machine. There are technical and functional ways to opt out. But Craig forgot that places like Archive Today bypass these opt-outs and are therefore a treasure dome of information about the years when he built his forgeries to support his false claim to be Satoshi. 

And you can prove this?

Sure. Check Archive Today, they still have these blogs, while Wayback Machine doesn’t. So where Craig crosslinked between these blogs, these crosslinks work on Archive Today, but not on Wayback Machine. That makes it rather clear that Craig deleted them from the Wayback Machine archives, but wasn’t able to do that on Archive Today.

So much of your research depends on documents in the Kleiman case. You think these are forged and that Craig does not have 1.1 million bitcoins hidden away. So why wouldn’t Craig just say he is not Satoshi? He could be on the hook for millions of dollars in legal fees.

So again, it’s no rocket science to conclude, together with evidence from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), my document broker in Australia, and the (forged) documents that Craig produced in discovery and which were filed in the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit, that Craig only learned about Bitcoin in July 2011. [He] started his Bitcoin fraud, including the false claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, after Dave Kleiman’s death in April 2013.

Timing is everything?

February 4, 2011

Do you find it coincidental that Satoshi left the BitcoinTalk forums in 2011 and then Craig started blogging about digital payments?

Yes, it’s pretty funny when you think of it. But this is exactly why Craig’s ramblings about Bitcoin, especially since 2016, make no sense at all: he’s years if not at least a decade behind Satoshi Nakamoto in his understanding of Bitcoin and all of its sophisticated components. Combined with the fact that Craig has no significant coding experience beyond a few times copy-pasting “Hello world,” he makes for a pretty poor Satoshi in this sense too.

So while Satoshi Nakamoto made his last Bitcointalk forum post just a few weeks earlier, Craig Wright came up with his first revolutionary electronic payment system: PayPal on gold.

I do wonder if Craig wasn’t talking about bitcoin, but whatever he thought he could build on top of bitcoin. What do your files say?

Craig learned about Bitcoin in July 2011. Everything before that has been debunked as a lie or a forgery. It’s as simple as that. So when Craig talks about PayPal on gold in February 2011, it’s clearly not Bitcoin-related whatsoever.

Also, I assume that his intended audience is the other students in his division. “Looking for people” sounds like an academic looking for researchers. What happened next?

In late July and early August of 2011 we find the first genuine mentions of Craig about Bitcoin. While Bitcoin was taking a breather from a bull run to $31.91 in the previous month, Craig Wright discovered about the latest hype: Bitcoin.

Magical thinking

July 28, 2011

Okay, so Craig has a history of not liking Julian Assange. They go way back to the 90s, where they had online fights. Craig isn’t like some super smooth secret agent-type. If he were being coy about not being Satoshi Nakamoto wouldn’t his paper trail look the same? In 2011 the Silk Road was in the news.

To be honest with you, I don’t see claims of Craig about Julian Assange or Silk Road as typically above average interesting or relevant. Craig has made shitloads of mostly false claims about just about anybody who matters in or around Bitcoin. From Hal Finney to Wei Dai to Adam Back to Martti Malmi to Anonymous to Andreas Antonopoulos to Theymos to Tim May… you name it.

All these false claims come from an individual who, as a young kid, could tell the doctor, while being examined after a bicycle accident, that he had executed medical surgery on himself several times. The doctor however could find no traces of such behavior.  

I found this anecdote telling, because it is an early example of Craig’s behavior: It starts with a story with a little footing in reality, but then the story quickly expands into a fairy tale supported by no evidence, or supported by forged evidence.

But still you research this.

Yes. And I love it. You know, I’m not in the business of building myths and urban legends. I’m in the business of checking facts and evidence around Craig claiming to be Satoshi. I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that supports the idea that Craig did Bitcoin in 2007-2010 under a pseudonym, and then to reappear in the global public eye in December 2015 to start reclaiming “his” Bitcoin invention under his real name. Craig desperately trying to be Satoshi since 2014 is part of his pipe dream to be meaningful in Bitcoin, but the overwhelming facts are: It’s founded on false claims and forgeries without any substantial footing in reality.

Tell me more about this document.

You’re looking at one of the moments in July/August 2011 when Craig Wright learned about Bitcoin, and started to  write about the subject. These first Bitcoin quotes by Craig Wright can be found here, here and here.

Oh, this is a live quote from Craig on an article about PayPal withholding Wikileaks funds. Timestamp and everything. July 28, 2011.

What is very important to understand here: History-wise this marks a crucial moment, as ALL older Bitcoin quotes by Craig have proven to be forgeries and false claims. So these are the first untampered, not backdated quotes where Craig talked genuinely about Bitcoin, that we know of. 

And what immediately stands out here: Craig had not a freaking clue how to spell the latest hype he just learned about. Within days, he finds almost a handful of ways of how to spell Bitcoin wrongly, while in 2008-2010 Satoshi always spelled Bitcoin correctly on public forums like Metzdowd and Bitcointalk. And now Satoshi would suddenly have lost that ability half a year later? Of course not. 

The tools of forgery

September 20, 2011

While Craig Wright left Bitcoin alone for a while, he learned about [a book titled] “Network Forensics: Catching Hackers on the Wire.”

[Editor’s Note: Amazon currently carries the book, published by Prentice Hall, with the title, “Network Forensics: Tracking Hackers Through Cyberspace.” Co-author Sherri Davidoff, CEO of LMG Security, lists it with van Pelt’s version of the title on both her company bio and her LinkedIn page. ]

November 8, 2011

Craig Wright teaches people about “Viewing Email headers.” Tim Smith is being helpful in the process.

November 29, 2011

Craig Wright teaches people about “Metadata.” All that hacking, email headers, and metadata knowledge become handy in later years, wouldn’t it…

And at this point, according to you, Craig still doesn’t have any actual bitcoins?

Correct. Craig Wright did not have any Bitcoins in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He didn’t invent Bitcoin, nor was he active as a Bitcoin miner in this time frame.

But you think you can prove that he later did have some? Alright, then stay tuned for Part II. We’ll go over everything that happened around Mt. Gox.

My big question is, though, if he made up all this just to pretend to be Satoshi Nakamoto: how can he be so certain that the real Satoshi Nakamoto won’t appear? How can he be certain that he won’t be found out and that the 1.1 million bitcoins in the “Satoshi blocks” will never move?

I’ll get into that.

[Editor’s Note: Part II of this article can be found here.]

Got a question you would like to ask Arthur? Leave it in the comments below.

Brendan Sullivan is a writer, producer, and author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives. Disclosure: he owns cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter.

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