Jeff Garzik used to exchange e-mails with Satoshi Nakamoto before the anonymous creator of bitcoin disappeared years ago. He doubts Satoshi has resurfaced again.
When an Internet posting on Sunday claimed to come from Satoshi, and promised to reveal his or her true identity on Tuesday, Garzik read it. His verdict: “The writing style does not strike me as the same,” Garzik said in an interview.
In an even more unexpected twist, the writer of the post wrote on Monday that he’s a Pakistani national living in the UK who has changed his name to James Caan from Bilal Khalid. He decided to publish the last two of his planned posts at once due to “overwhelming interest we have received”.
The first post only contained publicly available information, said Garzik, who says he hears from would-be Satoshis on a regular basis.
“I actually get this every couple of months — a new fraud every couple of months,” Garzik said. “Usually it’s either information, or it’s a common scam: ‘All my bitcoins are locked up, send me some of yours.’”
Multiple people have claimed to be Satoshi over the years, while many others have been pointed to as possible bitcoin creators. Australian scientist Craig Wright is currently involved in several court cases that could help prove or disprove his claim.
An easy way to settle the controversy is for the supposed Satoshi to use a digital signature only the real bitcoin creator knows. No one has so far, including today’s poster. The signature can be used on messages.
“The litmus test is always pretty definite and easy to prove or disprove, it’s signing something with a digital signature,” said Garzik, co-founder of Bloq, which develops blockchain technology for use by companies.
Billions are potentially riding on the real identity of Satoshi. The bitcoin creator likely owns about US$10-billion bitcoins based on current prices, casting great sway over the market. But he or she hasn’t posted a forum message or e-mailed anyone since 2010.
Caan, who shares the same name as the American actor best known for his roles in The Godfather and Misery, said his bitcoins were lost after a computer malfunction lead to a loss of his computer hard drive, storing them. — Reported by Olga Kharif, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP