Tech News : Bogus Bitcoin Boffin

A High Court judge has ruled that Australian computer scientist Dr Craig Wright is not the inventor of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, despite him claiming to be so since 2016.

Real Bitcoin Inventor A Secret

The challenge with trying to conclusively identify Bitcoin’s inventor is that, from the outset, Bitcoin’s creator has only been known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and they have chosen to keep their real identity hidden. Also, the creation and early development of Bitcoin were done under this pseudonym, with all communications conducted online via emails and forums. With the additional complications of Bitcoin being a decentralised currency (i.e. not controlled by any single entity or individual) and the fact that no definitive evidence from numerous investigations has been found linking the pseudonym to a real individual or group of individuals, it’s possible to see why many people have claimed (or suspected) to be Bitcoin’s inventor.

Dr Wright

Dr Wright, who has claimed to be Satoshi for almost 8 years (challenged many people in court who have disputed his claims) has had his evidence questioned by cryptocurrency experts for some time now.

The Court Case

The recently concluded case against Dr Wright was brought by a consortium / alliance of Bitcoin companies called the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) as a way to stop what has been described as Dr Wright’s campaign of intimidatory lawsuits against anyone challenging his claim to be Bitcoin’s creator. The case was held at the Intellectual Property Court (a division of London’s High Court). There, the judge declared that the evidence against Dr Wright being Bitcoin’s creator is “overwhelming.” The four key declarations made by the judge (prior to writing the full, lengthy ruling) were that:

1. Dr Wright is not the author of the Bitcoin White Paper.

2. Dr Wright is not the person who adopted or operated under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in the period 2008 to 2011.

3. Dr Wright is not the person who created the Bitcoin system.

4. Dr Wright is not the author of the initial versions of the Bitcoin software.

Forgery For Fraud?

COPA’s KC, Jonathan Hough, accused Dr Wright of backing his claim with forgery ‘on an industrial scale’ and of trying to use the courts (through his many legal challenges) ‘as a vehicle for fraud’.

So, If Dr Wright Didn’t, Invent It, Who Did?

Over the years, there’s been a great deal of speculation as to the true identity of Bitcoin’s creator(s). Figures who have been suspected (although none have been proven) include:

– Dorian Nakamoto. In March 2014, a Newsweek article identified Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese-American physicist and systems engineer, as the Bitcoin creator. This speculation was based on similarities in name and background. Dorian Nakamoto has since denied any involvement with Bitcoin.

– Hal Finney. Hal Finney was a cryptographic pioneer and the second person (after Satoshi) to use the Bitcoin software, file bug reports, and make improvements. He also lived only a short distance (a few streets away) from Dorian Nakamoto. Finney denied being Satoshi but suspicions about him remain due to his early and deep involvement with Bitcoin and his background in cryptography.

– Nick Szabo. A computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer known for his research in digital contracts and digital currency. He developed a precursor to Bitcoin called “bit gold” in 1998, which shared many similarities with Bitcoin. Szabo has consistently denied being Satoshi.

– Wei Dai. Another figure linked to Bitcoin’s creation is Wei Dai, the creator of “b-money,” an early proposal for an autonomous digital currency mentioned in the Bitcoin whitepaper. Dai’s involvement in the cypherpunk movement and his innovative ideas about digital currency led some to speculate about his possible involvement with Bitcoin. However, Dai has denied being Satoshi.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

As highlighted in COPA’s comments after the ruling against DR Wright, developers in the Bitcoin community may have felt for many years as though they were being bullied and intimidated by Dr Wright and his financial backers’ many challenges to those who questioned his assertion that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. The ruling, therefore, is likely to have brought them some satisfaction and some peace, plus the hope that the legal challenges will now cease. Also, some see the ruling against Dr Wright as a win not just for the truth, but for the whole open-source community which is known for its focus on collaboration transparency, freedom, and inclusivity.

It’s also been noted that the judge’s willingness to comment on the outcome prior to the full written judgement being released is unusual and may be taken as a sign of how solid and sure the judgement was in this case.

Possible reasons why Bitcoin’s real creator has chosen to remain anonymous could include avoiding legal and personal repercussions, maintaining the decentralised ethos of the currency, and protecting their privacy and security. It may have been all part of what appears to be some very successful original planning on their part.

The culmination of the case coincided with Bitcoin reaching its highest value of $69,000 recently which the real inventor of the currency is, no doubt, privately enjoying.

Tech News : Bitcoin Value Hits New High

With the famously volatile Bitcoin cryptocurrency briefly hitting a new all-time high value of $69,000 recently, we look at the reasons why this happened and what could happen next.

Why? 

This latest surge in the value of Bitcoin has been attributed to US finance giants like Grayscale, BlackRock, and Fidelity investing billions of dollars into Bitcoin, thereby driving up its value and becoming major players or “Bitcoin whales” in the cryptocurrency market.

Some reasons why Bitcoin is so appealing to them include:

– Bitcoin’s scarcity. This particular cryptocurrency has a cap of 21 million coins, of which 19 million have already been mined, thereby giving potential for high returns.

– Bitcoin ETFs offering a more accessible way for investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin, especially in retirement accounts like IRAs, without dealing with the complexities and costs of direct cryptocurrency purchases and management.

Last High 

Bitcoin reached its new high of $69,000 (on March 5, 2024), only to see its trading value fall to around $62,185 just six hours later that day. Bitcoin’s previous highest value of $68,789.63 was reached back in November 2021. At the time, the rise was fuelled by its increased adoption by mainstream finance and significant investments from large corporations and institutional investors. Also, there was heightened interest in cryptocurrency as a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation amid expansive monetary policies worldwide.

Volatile 

However, from its inception in 2009, Bitcoin’s volatility has become legendary. For example, in 2021 it saw a drop from highs of over $63,000 in April to as low as $29,000 in a few months, while in 2022, Bitcoin’s value plummeted from a high of $68,000 to below $20,000. At that time, the fall was driven partly by the broader instability in the crypto market and the collapse of TerraUSD Classic (USTC). However, many of its famous crashes have been triggered by a variety of factors, including hacks, regulatory changes, market sentiment shifts, and broader economic conditions.

General Upward Trend 

All that said, it’s worth noting that despite the many downturns, Bitcoin has shown a general upward trend and a pattern of recovery and growth over time, though the timing and trajectory of these recoveries have varied widely.

Good News For Some 

Clearly, the current high value of Bitcoin is good news for many investors, not least of which is El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele’s national government which has followed a policy of purchasing 1 BTC daily following the FTX exchange collapse. What many may see as a somewhat risky endeavour (especially for a nation’s public funds) has seen the country adopting Bitcoin as legal tender, acquiring nearly 2,800 Bitcoins, and now having an investment that could potentially yield a 40 per cent profit! For some, therefore, El Salvador’s policy could be viewed as a forward-looking strategy that could redefine financial sovereignty and economic stability.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The recent surge to a new all-time high of $69,000 for Bitcoin, albeit brief, is significant for several reasons, especially for so-called ‘Bitcoin whales’ and other business investors in the UK and globally. This peak, driven by massive investments from US finance giants, underscores Bitcoin’s appeal due to its scarcity and the potential for high returns. Also, the introduction of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) provides an accessible investment route, avoiding the complexities of direct cryptocurrency management.

This latest high-point reflects Bitcoin’s ongoing appeal amidst a landscape where digital currencies are increasingly viewed as a hedge against traditional financial uncertainties. However, the sharp decline in its value just hours later also highlights the inherent volatility of Bitcoin. Its history is riddled with rapid ascents followed by steep declines, clearly illustrating the risky nature of investing in cryptocurrency.

For businesses considering Bitcoin or other digital currencies as an investment, the current high represents both an opportunity and a cautionary tale. Bitcoin’s appeal lies in its decentralised nature, finite supply, and its potential to offer significant returns. Businesses attracted to Bitcoin enjoy the advantage of high liquidity and the potential to diversify their investment portfolio away from traditional fiat currencies, which may be subject to inflation and devaluation.

That said, its volatility suggests a cautious approach is best, where businesses should not invest more than they can afford to lose and rather consider Bitcoin as part of a diversified investment strategy.

Looking ahead, predicting the future value of Bitcoin and the duration of its current high is challenging with market analysts divided. Businesses should, therefore, try to stay informed and agile, ready to adapt their investment strategies in response to Bitcoin’s rapid price changes.

For businesses wary of Bitcoin’s volatility, there are, of course, alternatives in the cryptocurrency space, such as stablecoins, which are pegged to fiat currencies and offer less price volatility, or investing in blockchain technology itself, which underpins cryptocurrencies and has broader applications across industries.

All things considered, despite this latest rise being good news for some, companies may be well advised to approach cryptocurrency investment with a strategy that acknowledges its volatility, incorporates thorough research, and includes a plan for managing potential downturns.