LONDON • Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has identified himself as the creator of bitcoin, following years of speculation about who invented the digital currency.
Mr Wright was identified by three media outlets - the BBC, The Economist and GQ magazine - and posted a blog on the subject on his website yesterday.
However, he told the BBC he would have preferred to remain unknown: "I don't want money, I don't want fame, I don't want adoration, I just want to be left alone."
A BBC video shows him demonstrating the signing of a message with the public key associated with the first transaction done on bitcoin following its 2009 launch. These keys had to be created by bitcoin's creator, who until now has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, the BBC said. It said members of the bitcoin community confirmed Mr Wright's claim.
Mr Wright declined requests from The Economist to provide further proof. "Our conclusion is that Mr Wright could well be Mr Nakamoto, but that important questions remain," The Economist said. "Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created bitcoin."
Bitcoin is a technically sophisticated and untraceable currency based on the same underlying mathematics used to encrypt codes used by governments and the military. Unlike traditional currencies, which require the sponsorship of a central bank, bitcoin is decentralised.
Digital coins are created by supercomputers, and then traded online or exchanged for goods and services by a peer-to-peer network of computers connected to the Internet. The system has grown beyond its radical libertarian roots and is being taken more seriously by the financial establishment. Billions of dollars' worth are in circulation.
According to Fairfax Media, Mr Wright was born in Brisbane, lives in Sydney, is about 45 years old and has three master's degrees from Australia's Charles Sturt University.
In December, police raided Mr Wright's Sydney home and office after Wired magazine named him as the probable creator of bitcoin and holder of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of the cryptocurrency. The treatment of bitcoin for tax purposes has been the subject of investigation by the Australian Tax Office.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS