Robert Jenkins

Craig Wright had a decades-long interest in finance and transactions, says former colleague Robert Jenkins

Dr. Craig S. Wright was “highly intellectual” and demonstrated deep knowledge on topics related to security and digital ledgers, according to Australian IT professional Robert Jenkins. Jenkin’s stories of Wright’s past came out during his testimony before the Oslo District Court in the “Hodlonaut trial,” in which Dr. Wright defended his case against Twitter troll Marcus Granath.

A full video of Jenkins’ testimony and questioning is available here, and all witness testimonies are available on CoinGeek’s YouTube channel. We encourage all those interested to watch the full sessions and make their own judgments about Bitcoin’s history, free of internet and social media spin.

Jenkins, who is originally from the U.K. but migrated to Australia as an adult, first encountered Dr. Wright in 1999. Jenkins was tasked with building more engaging online services for customers at Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile telecommunications provider at the time. Part of that involved increasing Vodafone’s security presence and implementing a tamper-proof firewall. Dr. Wright was engaged in “absolutely every moment of that build” through his company DeMorgan, and Jenkins remembers particularly the levels of care Dr. Wright took in creating the system.

The two stayed in communication since those days, meeting from time to time at conferences or when their work involved topics of mutual interest.

“I had the good fortune of being trained by Craig,” Jenkins said. He’d visited DeMorgan’s physical office and noted the heat its server rooms generated. For Vodafone, Wright and his team built a firewall system with a dedicated PC for management, with access via biometric/fingerprint scans. That PC had a direct connection to a data center on a different floor and had its own dedicated server rack secured with a physical lock and key.

“To this day I haven’t seen anything so secure,” Jenkins noted.

Post-Vodafone, Jenkins moved into the banking and finance sector, later holding positions with “Big Four” Australian banks Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac, and National Australia Bank (NAB). Given these positions, the conversations with Dr. Wright often moved into financial technology matters.

As well as technical specifics, Jenkins recalled that their conversations also frequently delved into more conceptual issues, such as trust in banks and how financial system elements derived their value. It was Wright who had first introduced him to the term “fiat currency” (publicly a little-known term before the late 00s).

Previously, they’d both discussed the now-defunct “eGold” network, which in the 1990s delivered a non-blockchain, gold-backed digital currency. He’d found it was a useful way to make online payments, especially when tied with escrow providers on sites like eBay. eGold was later shut down by the authorities, and Jenkins said he probably had some money still locked away there.

Over the years, he’d also discussed topics with Dr. Wright, including the distributed ledger concept, title transfers, trust in digital transactions, and IT security. Although Wright had never shared anything with him as specific as a white paper or discussed “Bitcoin” under that name, when Wright was eventually “outed” in the media as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto in 2015, Jenkins noted that its concepts seemed very similar to topics he’d discussed with Wright in the previous two decades.

He’d been due to catch up with Dr. Wright in late 2015, but Wright canceled the appointment. Concerned that something was wrong, Jenkins sent some messages but then saw the news about the Federal Police raid on DeMorgan’s office. He recalled an earlier conversation when they’d discussed digital transactions, and Wright had mentioned a plan he was working on and said, “you may get something in the mail.” Jenkins never did receive that information, but, like others, he was unsurprised to hear that his old friend Dr. Wright had been involved with creating Bitcoin.

Watch Granath vs Wright Satoshi Norway Trial Coverage Livestream Recaps on the CoinGeek YouTube channel.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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