An Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur has come forward to reveal himself as the long-unidentified founder of Bitcoin. For those who follow such things, the name will be familiar: It's Craig Wright, the man Wired magazine identified as the all-but-certain creator of the digital currency last year. Now Wright himself has given interviews to the BBC, the Economist, and GQ to say that he is indeed the man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright also posted a blog entry with technical details to buttress his claim, one that will surely be pored over in the coming days. "Satoshi is dead," he writes. The Economist's takeaway: "Our conclusion is that Mr. Wright could well be Mr. Nakamoto, but that important questions remain. Indeed, it may never be possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who really created Bitcoin."
Wright says he's come forward now to end the speculation—"there are lots of stories out there that have been made up and I don't like it hurting those people I care about," he tells the BBC—but he says he isn't interested in being the "public face" of Bitcoin. "I just want to be left alone." The revelation comes at a pivotal time for the currency, as two competing camps within the community wrestle with whether it should remain "smallish and pure" or go more mainstream, says the Economist. Wright says he chose the fictional name Nakamoto after a 17th-century philosopher and merchant in Japan. As for the name Satoshi, "some things should remain secret." If he is indeed Nakamoto, Wright is a wealthy man, because "Nakamoto" holds the equivalent of about $450 million in Bitcoins. Still, GQ notes that the revelation also puts Wright in danger of prosecution, given the use of Bitcoin in the Internet's shadowy realms such as the Silk Road. (Read more bitcoin stories.)