The Craig Wright Hoax and the Bitcoin Community

Samantha Avotch

By now, everyone involved with the world of Bitcoin knows about Craig Wright. The Australian businessman came forward in April of 2016 and claimed to be the unknown founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. He had Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen, both members of the Bitcoin Foundation, convinced. He even managed to convince the BBC and many other news sources.

But the Bitcoin community was suspicious, and rightly so. After a week of dramatic statements and promises, Craig Wright finally backed away from the world of Bitcoin, with a message that said “I’m sorry…and goodbye”. His reluctance to provide real proof meant for most of the community that he simply couldn’t be Satoshi. What reason could he have for not offering the proof?

The Effect on Bitcoin

Shortly after Wright came forward with his claim, the Bitcoin fell more than three percent. It was sitting at $454.89, but quickly dropped to under $440. As of the date that this article was written, Bitcoin sits at $440.90, still not quite recovered from the drop that seemed to be linked to Wright’s outrageous claim.

For the most part, though, the backlash against Wright and his claims hasn’t seemed to present much harm to the Bitcoin community. In fact, the attention from major news providers such as ABC is only offering more proof to investors that the Bitcoin is a serious financial industry, and that it’s here to stay.

Does Satoshi Matter?

In the long run, it’s unclear whether the true identity of Satoshi matters. Wright claimed that he was stepping forward in order to put a stop to some misinformation about the Bitcoin’s origin, but if he hadn’t, is it possible we could have seen a steady rise in the Bitcoin value from where it was sitting at $454.89? Quite probably.

Even if Satoshi Nakamoto were to be revealed, there’s no evidence that he or she could do any major good – or harm – to the Bitcoin community. The currency is a valuable asset in its own right, and its founder’s secretive identity hasn’t been more than a quirky bit of lore in the community.

It’s also unclear what anyone has to gain by claiming to be Satoshi, other than their 15 minutes of fame. Satoshi, being one of the first miners of Bitcoin, currently owns over four million dollars’ worth of Bitcoin; the real Satoshi wouldn’t necessarily need the monetary gains that can come from fame, and their anonymity makes it clear they aren’t particularly interested in the attention.


Overall, Craig Wright is a small, sad blip on Bitcoin’s history. There may be more hoaxes like this in the future, but the outcome of this particular instance shows an optimistic result for Bitcoin and the community: other than the slight dip in value, no major harm was done. Satoshi’s motivations for staying anonymous are more stable than ever, meaning that the next wise guy who wants their moment to shine is going to have to come up with some very convincing proof. Hopefully this means that only the real Satoshi will ever make such a claim again.