Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has been identified by tech publications as possibly the mysterious founder of online cryptocurrency Bitcoin, shortly before his Sydney home was reportedly raided in a tax probe today.
There has long been speculation about who was behind the software written in 2009 under the Japanese-sounding name Satoshi Nakamoto, with various media outlets unsuccessfully trying to find out.
Whoever is behind it likely wants to keep their identify secret as detractors say Bitcoin’s use on the underground Silk Road website, where users could buy drugs and guns with it, could link them with criminal activity.
Technology-focused websites Wired and Gizmodo have now both suggested Wright was responsible, saying he fit the creator’s profile in nearly every detail, citing leaked documents.
“The signs point to Craig Steven Wright, a man who never even made it onto any Nakamoto hunters’ public list of candidates, yet fits the cryptocurrency creator’s profile in nearly every detail,” said Wired of its investigation.
“Despite a massive trove of evidence, we still can’t say with absolute certainty that the mystery is solved.
“But two possibilities outweigh all others: Either Wright invented Bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.”
Today, police raided a home in Sydney where Wright reportedly lived with his family.
The Guardian Australia said police forced open the property with staff wearing white gloves seen from the street searching the cupboards and surfaces of the garage.
“The Australian Federal Police can confirm it has conducted search warrants to assist the Australian Taxation Office at a residence in Gordon, Sydney,” police said in a statement, without confirming it belonged to Wright.
“This matter is unrelated to recent media reporting regarding the digital currency Bitcoin.”
The Australian Tax Office did not comment, citing confidentiality.
Gizmodo reported that Wright and Dave Kleiman, an American computer forensics expert who died in 2013, were both involved in the development of the digital currency.
It cited hacked emails and other documents, passed to its website, apparently showing Wright making repeated claims to being Satoshi Nakamoto over a period of years.
None of the details could be verified by AFP.