May 04, 2017

Oh no, not another bloody Satoshi sighting...

So, the intertubes are a-buzz with Yet Another Satoshi Sighting.

YASS... It seems that Craig S Wright, erstwhile scamming Satoshi #777, is no longer hiding away in obscurity as befits his skullduggering claims and dark history, but is actually talking openly to all comers. The horror, the horror.

Open the Kimono, Satoshi

We may as well get it all off the chest and move on. Let's open the kimono, let's do a little reveal (!) and *let's move on folks*.

When I said that Craig was part of the team that was Satoshi Nakamoto - that statement sort of hung there and became an urban legend. You might recall that I made that statement in May of 2016, but within days, the events went out of control and it all collapsed.

So I pulled out of the discussion - privacy, remember? Meanwhile, the statement was never retracted. Outrage! So, in scandal piled on trauma lumped on insult and infamy, today, the statement isn't being retracted, again.

Instead I'm here to report that Satoshi Nakamoto is dead. It's all over folks.

RIP Satoshi Nakamoto 2005 - 2016

But, now that it's all over, let's put some facts down so we can all properly grieve for the passing.

RIP Satoshi Nakamoto. Harken back a year or two.

The assassination of Satoshi Nakamoto started around mid 2015 with several episodes, some of which I reported at the time. But I didn't hear details of the gathering coup de grace, the 'big reveal', until end 2015. To be honest, I and others briefed always expected this to be a disaster; I well remember my good friend and shepherd JVP saying on a conference call to the circus ringmeisters "Since you turned up, everything has gone to sh*t."

The reason was the publicity team - they had little clue as to who/what/when they were dealing with, and their starry eyes were blinded by $$$ dollars.

When I asked him the point of the whole exercise he said it was simple: ‘Buy in, sell out, make some zeroes.’

FFS. They, arrogant ringmasters that they were, were also not capable of taking criticism and dealing with people who wanted to help and knew the scene, a flaw that eventually brings down even the bestest and most spirited.

The practical mistake of the May 2016 Circus known as nCrypt was to set up a sort of London pop star roadshow with BBC, big name journalists, authors of famous books, the media team behind David Bowie and dozens of other frills and press releases.

Just because, right? And as a sort of hand wave to the community, they contacted some big names. Many of whom smelled a rat and stayed away, in retrospect decisions of wisdom.

I point this out as the first fact: the ringmasters really fooked the circus. Do you feel my anger? That needs to be understood, first and foremost, in all that relates to the death of Satoshi, May 2016.

The Big Fubar

Now, the next question, in light of the circus fubar is the phenomenal response of the community. *People demanded proof.* "Pix, or it didn't happen." Which is kind of weird because we live in a post-truth world now, and everyone knows pix can be faked. I mean, read the political news, people!

And so it is with cryptography. As I outlined on the metzdowd cryptography list at the time, no signature will be proof:

The technical argument is simple, so I'll repeat the governance story quickly: The keys were moved very early in the piece to a safe set of hands (like, around 2009, I don't know for sure, I wasn't there), because the original set of hands was now in danger, which you can confirm if you read all the published documents. Then a bit later on, the keys were moved again to another set of safe hands (maybe 2013). And finally, they were moved yet again.

I wasn't there except for the last move, and even that not physically but net-wise. I can tell you that (a) it happened and (b) it was traumatic. Don't be around when that happens. Really, don't. More on that below.

There are lots of other issues, but basically a signed message proves something that is unreliable - a person might have been a member of the team at one point in time. And, we don't even have a clear view as to who was in the team, because actually, it didn't matter, there was work to be done, not social niceties. Like, there wasn't a ceremony, there wasn't a list or a secret handshake. The various Satoshii only met average of once each, in their brief, starry bright lifetimes.

There was work to do.

There is no Spoon

Finally people are getting that - somewhere someone said the other day "even if he posts a crypto proof, I won't believe it." Good. I'll post that juicy oxymoron if someone can reprise me the link.

So here's the next fact: there will be no proof. Sorry about that folks, it's up to you to accept it, Satoshi is dead, and nobody is any longer able to read you the fairy tale that ends "and the Satoshii all lived happily ever after."

Craig S Wright was part of the Satoshi team way back when, and he isn't going to prove it. He was "contracted" to prove something back in the May2016 circus, and the contract was breached. No new contract, no new proof, no more Satoshi.

On Relevance, and Relevance on...

People still have lots of questions, so I'll try and fill in what is fair and reasonable to know. Remember, it's not my business to know, or to reveal. But I get that people are hurt over it all. I get it bc I hurt, I watched people hurt each other, I watched otherwise intelligent humans do desperate damage to each each other to scrape some personal gain out of others vulnerabilities.

Why me? How do I know?

Sometime around early 2015, I was 'involved' through no choice of mine, and since then I have seen a wealth of material. I've not seen a slam dunk proof, and I suspect that is implausible at this stage, but I will say this:

the volume of material that I have seen - documents, personal testimony, discussions in person - added up cannot be forged.

That's in my opinion, but I can also suggest I've been around the block a few times. And I've probably seen 100x more than is in the public eye. This shyte can't be forged.

What else that is relevant can I add? *Satoshi Nakamoto was a team*. The members haven't all been named, so as I said before, I won't, and it turns out there isn't even an authoritative set. Having said that, CSW was in.

Two additional relevant team points to help: the team worked on writing the paper, and, managing the communications. Both. Did you ever wonder why the communications and the paper were so concise, well written, literate, on point? The reason was that it wasn't a person: *it was a team*, and it was deliberately, carefully, painstakingly set up that way.

This might be the most important reveal - why you believe Satoshi is a god, and the man is not worthy. Of course, he wasn't worthy - it was Satoshi the team god writing.

Is, is not, IS, is not...

Why is / is not a scammer? The evidence of scams comes totally from public mind - it's a fiction created by the community. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence - the community fiction rests on two things: the botched May 2016 reveal, and that CSW is not the god you wanted him to be.

Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself.

The 'fake signing' event was shocking. But it actually makes some sort of sense, if only you had the inside view. Here's some background: the 'big reveal' was not what CSW contracted for. He didn't want to 'out' at any time, but was persuaded this had to happen. And I've written elsewhere about how it was inevitable, unpleasant, but not IMHO an option.

Fine, but at the time, CSW also set limits on the public exposure: He contracted for one low key interview. Just. That's it. Only.

Fair enough, right? Apparently not. The performance artists that did the reveal totally breached those limits. They created a circus. They took an insular, isolated maths code geek and turned him into a pop star.

As young children, we sing to the mirror, we all want to be a rockstar, sing to the adulating masses, be the star, until it happens - in practical fact most of us are psychologically incapable of being that person. nCrypt's big reveal didn't work - psychologically CSW wasn't capable and was wasted by the experience.

When Craig did the false signing trick, it was actually as a result of the process - "I'm out of this circus." Whether it was by mistake or intentional or machiavellian or whatever, I don't know. But "we who knew" also knew by around Tuesday of that week that the reveal was off the rails and it was going to blow up.

We saw. We could tell that just by watching the TV interviews. You'll have to take my word for it, and it is painful for me to write such ... opinion. But we saw and we knew.

(OK, it is also fair to say - when we knew it was all going to die on Tuesday, we torpedoed the whole process by Thursday. We're human, biased, involved, even cruel. But that's a story for another day.)

Is it even possible?

Does Craig have the chops to do Bitcoin? Yes. So say I, as with the rest of the team.

How do I now? A little thing called due diligence. I've now quizzed Craig on three outrageous statements. In each case, these statements have been founded. With serious arguments that change ... a lot of things.

Remember, I've been around the block. I built Ricardo, I assisted Gary on SOX, I invented Ricardian Contracts, I co-invented or re-discovered triple entry, I worked on a lot of other things which probably don't reach the reader because they're too ex-discipline (like OpenPGP, AES, identity, dispute resolution, PKI, security, social finance, R3's Corda...). I know when someone is talking crap, when someone's drowning in their own sandbox, and when someone is brilliant.

Craig has more knowledge than just about anyone else I've come across in the field. Certainly of Bitcoin, and a lot besides. Here's the clanger: Craig S Wright has the capability to integrate many diverse fields. He's a polymath, which is the roadblock that stops most others no matter how good they are at their select discipline. That's what I mean by transcendent financial cryptographer on this blog, and what I wrote my old fc7 paper about; it's not about what you know, it's about how you integrate the disparate, discordant fields together.

Start Your Career as a Marked Man

Should you work with Satoshi? Hang out with Craig? Ask silly questions on chat? Spend your journalistic career filling out the other members? Ask the Satoshii for advice on altCoins?


I can tell you, if you're a friend of Satoshi, you're marked. Everyone who's got close to Satoshi has suffered. Just my one little ol' post alone has cost me dearly - even though I'm not a Bitcoiner, I was tarred for life. And all I did was write a shitty little post - others did much more and the damage was commensurate.

People died for Bitcoin, folks, people died.

You're better off being a coder and just getting on with whatever you've got to do. DLT isn't a circus, people, and those that would turn it into a reality show for public consumption are not helping the cause.

Death to circus masters I say, and can we please get back to coding?

What next? Nothing to do with Satoshi Nakamoto. As I say, Satoshi Nakamoto the team is dead. The brand has been absorbed and distributed across the community. When I wrote "we are all Satoshi" it was for that purpose - Satoshi was the spirit, the movement, the needs... and we had to share that before others destroyed it. We had to save it before they captured it. He, she, they, it, all of that ... weren't the man, woman, them, they all. Satoshi is the spirit of blockchain, please help us save the spirit before they destroy the people.

You don't know the nations, the genders, the spirits. But it matters not, they died, they ran, they denied. But, we stayed we held, we programmed.

We are Satoshi.

These are not the Gods you're looking for

Craig is not the god you wanted. Like most geeks of extraordinary talent, he didn't get there by working on his social skills - he's your average grade-A certifiable techno arsehole, when you get to know him. Folks, I know this because I grew up with these arseholes, I observed many of them in their natural habitat, or maybe because I am one, and that makes me special. Just like a lot of gifted people in the sector, that is the sacrifice that is made. That we make. That is made over we. Something.

Learn to live with your false vision, as nobody else is going to help you on that - none of the Satoshii are suitable to be a god, not one, and CSW is possibly but arguably the least suitable. OK, I take that back. Let me put it this way - you don't want to treat these arseholes as gods and get caught between them.

The Team

And it is a singular observation that *the team*, this team of misfits, reprobates, arseholes, this Belbin experiment, this accident of history, this scum of the security coding pentesting world, this team could achieve what did.

Given the crosses they had to bear.

So I'll end this post with thanks to the rest of the team - the ones named like the late Dave Kleiman, and those not as yet named, one other who also died, sad to report. I wouldn't introduce them to my sisters & sons, but what they achieved was spectacular.

We who are about to code, salute you.

Posted by iang at May 4, 2017 10:34 AM

It makes NO sense whatsoever to "transfer" a private key instead of transferring the coins.

You can only _share_ a private key, you cannot transfer it. There is always a possibility that a "previous owner" has a copy, and thus is the current co-owner.

Are you going to tell me that people who developed a system for transferring coins were using utterly broken and non-secure private key "transfers" in 2009? This makes no sense whatsoever.

In 2009 there were no tax consequences or anything like that, so there is absolutely no reason to not do it in a secure way. Especially if you have reasons to transfer said keys.

Posted by: killers at May 6, 2017 01:35 PM

@killers, your thinking is way too narrow about private keys.

A private key can sign something yet it may be that no one knows the key. And for that reason it can be transferred between different groups of people securely.

That the team had all this figured out and implemented from the beginning in the very clever way they did, is like everything else about Bitcoin's creation, astonishing indeed.

Posted by: japanophile at July 21, 2017 03:16 AM
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