Australian Claims He Is Creator Of Bitcoin

Australian technology entrepreneur Craig Wright has claimed he is the secretive creator of the controversial cryptocurrency bitcoin.

He appears to have ended years of speculation about the real identity of the person who has until now used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

Mr Wright has reportedly given technical proof supporting his claim to using bitcoins known to be owned by the digital currency's creator.

The BBC said during a meeting, he digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created in the early days of bitcoin's development.

Craig Wright

The keys are inextricably linked to blocks of bitcoins known to have been created or "mined" by Satoshi Nakamoto.

"These are the blocks used to send 10 bitcoins to Hal Finney in January [2009] as the first bitcoin transaction," said Mr Wright during his demonstration.

"I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," he was quoted as saying.

Since the code's launch, it has grown from a digital novelty to a currency with a total value of around £4.7bn and has attracted the interest of banks, speculators, criminals and regulators.

Bitcoins are now accepted as payment for many goods and services - including international money transfers and ransoms for data encrypted by computer viruses.

Each bitcoin is worth about £306 and there are currently about 15.5 million in circulation.

Bitcoin currency

Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to have around a million bitcoins which would give him a net worth, if all were converted to cash, of about £390m.

In March, Microsoft dropped bitcoin payments, just over a year after announcing it would support the virtual currency at its Windows Store.

In 2015, Mr Wright became the latest in a line of people alleged to be the creator of bitcoin.

Last December, his Sydney home was raided just hours after Wired magazine named him as the man probably responsible for the digital currency.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said the police action was linked to an investigation into tax payments rather than bitcoin.

When questioned about the raid, Mr Wright said he was co-operating fully with the ATO.

"We have lawyers negotiating with them over how much I have to pay," he said.

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