Craig Wright, who has claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin, has reneged on a promise to present new “proof” to support his case.
The Australian entrpreneur had pledged to move some of the virtual currency from one of its early address blocks, an act many believe can only be done by the tech’s creator.
This would have addressed complaints that earlier evidence he had published online was misleading.
On his blog, Craig Wright said: “I believed that I could put years of anonymity and hiding behind me.
“But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.
“When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know now that I am not strong enough for this.”
Craig Wright had earlier indicated that he would transfer some Bitcoins from “block 9” by using a private key thought to be known only to Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym used by the person or team that designed the crypto-currency.
Satoshi Nakamato is known to have used the address in 2009 to send coins to a computer scientist.
Craig Wright had promised the “proof” in light of a growing backlash against one of his blogs.
On May 2, he posted what seemed to be evidence that he had Satoshi Nakamoto’s key by describing a process that led to the creation of a “digital signature”.
However, soon after, this was attacked by security researchers who linked the signature to an earlier Satoshi Bitcoin transaction that could be found via a search engine.
Craig Wright subsequently wrote that he was the victim of “false allegations” and would prove his case by both moving the coins and by sharing “independently verifiable documents”.
His claims had initially been bolstered by the fact that two senior members of the Bitcoin Foundation – an organization set up to protect and promote the virtual currency – had said they were convinced he was indeed behind the technology.
Bitcoin is often referred to as a new kind of currency.
It may be best to think of its units being virtual tokens rather than physical coins or notes.
However, like all currencies its value is determined by how much people are willing to exchange it for.
To process Bitcoin transactions, a procedure called “mining” must take place, which involves a computer solving a difficult mathematical problem with a 64-digit solution.
For each problem solved, one block of bitcoins is processed. In addition the miner is rewarded with new bitcoins.
This provides an incentive for people to provide computer processing power to solve the problems.
To compensate for the growing power of computer chips, the difficulty of the puzzles is adjusted to ensure a steady stream of several thousand new bitcoins a day. There are about 15 million bitcoins currently in existence.
To receive a bitcoin a user must have a Bitcoin address – a string of 27-34 letters and numbers – which acts as a kind of virtual post-box to and from which the bitcoins are sent.
Since there is no registry of these addresses, people can use them to protect their anonymity when making a transaction.
These addresses are in turn stored in Bitcoin wallets which are used to manage savings.
Bitcoin wallets operate like privately run bank accounts – with the proviso that if the data is lost, so are the bitcoins owned.
Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as digital cash system Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
The Australian entrepreneur’s admission ends years of speculation about who came up with the original ideas underlying the virtual currency.
Craig Wright has provided technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin’s creator.
Prominent members of the Bitcoin community and its core development team have also confirmed Craig Wright’s claim.
He has revealed his identity to three media organizations – The Economist, the BBC and GQ magazine.
During a London proof session, Craig Wright digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during the early days of Bitcoin’s development, the BBC reported.
The keys are inextricably linked to blocks of Bitcoins known to have been created or “mined” by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Renowned cryptographer Hal Finney was one of the engineers who helped turn Craig Wright’s ideas into the Bitcoin protocol, he said.
Craig Wright said he planned to release information that would allow others to cryptographically verify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto.
Jon Matonis, an economist and one of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he was convinced that Craig Wright was who he claimed to be.
By going public, Craig Wright hopes to put an end to press speculation about the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Newsweek, The New Yorker, Fast Company and many other media organizations have all conducted long investigations seeking Bitcoin’s creator and named many different people as candidates.
In December 2015, two magazines, Gizmodo and Wired, named Craig Wright as a candidate after receiving documents believed to be stolen from him that revealed his involvement with the project.
Soon after these stories were published, authorities in Australia raided the home of Craig Wright. The Australian Taxation Office said the raid was linked to a long-running investigation into tax payments rather than Bitcoin.
The stories in December have led to many more journalists and others pursuing him and people he knows, Craig Wright said.
Bitcoins are now accepted as payment for a vast variety of goods and services.
There are currently about 15.5 million Bitcoins in circulation. Each one is worth about $449.
Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to amassed about one million Bitcoins which would give him a net worth, if all were converted to cash, of about $450 million.
Newsweek magazine’s claim that it has found the creator of the Bitcoin virtual currency sparked controversy.
Before now it was assumed that the name behind Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a pseudonym for the group of coders who developed the system.
Now Newsweek claims Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is a 64-year-old model train enthusiast who lives on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
The claim has drawn criticism with many saying Newsweek had only circumstantial evidence for its assertion.
Newsweek reporter Leah Goodman said she tracked Satoshi Nakamoto down by seeking public records for US citizens bearing that name. She then investigated people whose background, education and employment history showed they might be capable of creating the crypto-currency.
Newsweek claims Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is a 64-year-old model train enthusiast who lives on the outskirts of Los Angeles (photo Newsweek)
Leah Goodman’s enquiries focused on one candidate in particular who seemed to have the right profile and whose involvement was hinted at by other Bitcoin developers.
Further evidence, she said, arose when talking to his family members revealed his obsession with privacy, his political leanings and his facility with maths.
The evidence led Leah Goodman to confront Satoshi Nakamoto as his home where she asked if he was the creator of Bitcoin.
In response, Satoshi Nakamoto said: “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it.”
Many Bitcoin commentators on social networks have expressed skepticism about the find saying the evidence Leah Goodman gathered was not convincing. The story was called “fake” by some commentators on the Bitcoin Talk forum who demanded Satoshi Nakamoto carry out signed Bitcoin transactions to prove that he was the currency’s originator.
Others criticized Newsweek for publishing a picture of Satoshi Nakamoto and revealing so much about his life.
On Twitter, Leah Goodman said Newsweek magazine had only printed information that was publicly available.