Australian fits bitcoin inventor's profile: reports
AUSTRALIAN entrepreneur Craig Wright has been identified by tech publications as possibly the mysterious founder of online cryptocurrency bitcoin, shortly before his Sydney home was reportedly raided in a tax probe yesterday.
There has been speculation about who was behind the software written in 2009 under the Japanese-sounding name Satoshi Nakamoto, with various media outlets unsuccessfully trying to find out.
Whoever is behind it likely wants to keep their identify secret as detractors say bitcoin's use on the underground Silk Road website, where users could buy drugs and guns with it, could link them with criminal activity.
Technology-focused websites Wired and Gizmodo have now suggested that Mr Wright was responsible, saying he fit the creator's profile in nearly every detail, citing leaked documents.
"The signs point to Craig Steven Wright, a man who never even made it onto any Nakamoto hunters' public list of candidates, yet fits the cryptocurrency creator's profile in nearly every detail," said Wired of its investigation.
"Either Mr Wright invented bitcoin, or he's a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did."
Yesterday, police raided a home in Sydney where Mr Wright said to have lived with his family.
The Guardian Australia said police forced their way into the property with staff wearing white gloves searching the cupboards and surfaces of the garage.
"The Australian Federal Police can confirm it has conducted search warrants to assist the Australian Taxation Office at a residence in Gordon, Sydney," police said in a statement, without confirming it belonged to Mr Wright.
"This matter is unrelated to recent media reporting regarding the digital currency bitcoin."
The Australian Tax Office did not comment, citing confidentiality.
Gizmodo reported that Mr Wright and Dave Kleiman, an American computer forensics expert who died in 2013, were both involved in the development of the digital currency.
It cited hacked e-mails and other documents, passed to its website, apparently showing Mr Wright making repeated claims to being Satoshi Nakamoto over a period of years.
Tech entrepreneur Zhenya Tsvetnenko, who exchanged e-mails and then met Mr Wright in Sydney about a possible business venture, saidhe was smart and knowledgeable enough to be bitcoin's mastermind.
"He was a very mysterious type of guy, he didn't say a whole lot," Mr Tsvetnenko told Agence France-Presse, adding that he was "ultra intelligent".
"The reason why I say it's not out of the question is he was in bitcoin from the very beginning. I'm not sure he would like me saying that."
Bitcoins are generated by complex chains of interactions among a huge network of computers around the planet, and are not backed by any government or central bank, unlike traditional currencies.
Its initial success has since met with a number of highly publicised setbacks.
One of bitcoin's biggest exchanges, the Tokyo-based MtGox, closed last year after admitting 850,000 coins - worth US$480 million at the time - had disappeared from its digital vaults.