American entrepreneur and stalwart crypto advocate John McAfee says he is holding back on plans to reveal the real identity of bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto, for fear it will expose him to further lawsuits as he fights potential extradition to the United States. The news was reported by Bloomberg on April 24.
McAfee — who founded the pioneering anti-virus firm McAfee Associates in 1987 — claims his technology expertise has helped him track down the real Satoshi. According to Bloomberg, McAfee said he had communicated with Nakamoto in recent days, alleging that the mystery figure is in fact a man living in the U.S. He reportedly stated:
“My entire life I’ve been tracking people who are the best in the world, and hiding their identity. Finding Satoshi was a piece of cake for me.”
McAfee reportedly further noted that the alleged Nakamoto “is not a happy camper about my attempt to out him.” Bloomberg adds that while McAfee had at first told the news agency he would make his disclosure within a week, he is now holding back over concerns that the move could make him the target of multiple lawsuits.
Himself no stranger to controversy, McAfee has allegedly been indicted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over self-avowed tax avoidance, and could thus face potential extradition from the Bahamas, where he currently resides.
In a tweet on April 23, McAfee said he was reluctant to wage a battle on multiple fronts, and would thus heed his lawyer’s advice to pull the brake on imminent plans to out Nakamoto:
“The US extradition request to the Bahamas is imminent. I met with Mario Gray, my extradition lawyer, and it is now clear [...] that releasing the identity of Satoshi at this time could influence the trial and risk my extradition. I cannot risk that. I'll wait.”
As widely reported, Nakamoto’s sudden disappearance in late 2010 has spawned a myth almost as famous as the cryptocurrency he, she or they invented on October 31, 2008 with the publication of the bitcoin white paper.
Parallel to McAfee’s recent claims, controversially self-proclaimed “Nakamoto” Craig Wright has recently published a blog on April 23, alluding to the widespread criticism he has faced in regard to his position and vowing to continue to develop crypto innovations that will place his team “in advance of any other player in the industry”:
“By the end of this year I hope that we will have around 1,000 patents published [...] As you have been hiding and calling me names, I’ve been building and creating.”
Bloomberg notes that McAfee told the agency that Wright is emphatically not the man he has tracked and identified as bitcoin’s creator.
As Cointelegraph has reported, McAfee is meanwhile also planning to run for president in the 2020 United States elections as part of his crypto advocacy efforts. In light of his ongoing legal battles, he has pledged to run his campaign in exile from a boat in international waters.