Craig Wright maintains that he alone has access to the ‘Satoshi’ Bitcoin addresses filed in court, despite a message apparently signed by 145 of the addresses calling him “a liar and a fraud”.
Wright says anyone that thinks his credibility is now in tatters as a result “doesn’t understand digital signatures at all”.
He is being sued by the estate of his alleged former business partner Dave Kleiman, which is seeking a share of billions of dollars of Bitcoin (BTC) the pair may or may not have mined together.
As part of the case, Wright filed a list of early Bitcoin addresses he claims are his. However, on May 24 an unknown actor posted a message, signed with the private keys to 145 addresses on the file list. This was seized on by the Kleiman estate to suggest the entire list was a fabrication.
But in an interview with Patrick McLain on REIMAGINE 2020’s YouTube channel on June 3, Wright said: “No message was signed,” refuting the idea that anyone could sign such a message anonymously:
“You have to either have an identity attribute or an identity to sign in this issue. Someone can’t go and say ‘Hey, I’ve got a key — I’m signing’. If you think that, then you don’t understand digital signatures at all.”
Wright said that because there was no signature included in the May 24 message, “You can’t have a digital signature that is anonymous... It’s not signing a message.”
Dread Pirate Roberts’ defense
The Kleiman team have argued the list Wright presented to the Court was a forgery, quoting Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos in their legal motion as saying no message like the one on May 24 could be signed without private keys.
Wright refuted this directly with McLain, saying the claim was the same as Antonopoulos’ defense of Ross Ulbricht in the Silk Road case:
“It wasn’t signed [...] that was Antonopoulos’ Dread Pirate Roberts’ defense that got kicked out of Silk Road prosecution, saying to sign you have to register a key, and that has to be protected.”
Last week Bitcoin developer Rene Pickhardt said it was possible the signatures could have been exploited: "Of course security might be compromised and the signatures could only be created for this particular message but not for potential coin transfers.”
Twists and turns
The addresses filed with the court — holding Bitcoin mined between May 10, 2009 and January 10, 2010 — have been under intense scrutiny since being leaked from court documents. On May 20 an unknown party moved $486,000 BTC from one of the addresses associated with Wright.
The case between Wright and Kleiman is still ongoing, with a trial scheduled for July 6 in the Southern District of Florida.