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Craig Wright is Satoshi, counter arguments

This post originally appeared on ZeMing M. Gao’s website, and we republished with permission from the author. Read the full piece here.

Concerning the identity of Satoshi, someone suggested that I “dig deeper.” I appreciate the suggestion for more diligence, but I’ve done more than my share. And I’ve got more important things to do than proving someone’s identity, even if it is one as important as Satoshi’s.

I’ve carefully looked into the arguments against Wright. They all come from the following two categories of allegations:

(1) that he didn’t sign, and that someone else signed against him; and
(2) that he lied.

Why hasn’t he signed?

The question of signature has always ranked at the top in the inquiry of Satoshi identity. That is, if Wright is Satoshi, he could easily prove that by publicly signing a message using the private key of one of the bitcoin addresses known to be Satoshi’s.

I took the signature matter seriously, and investigated into it deeply, not only from a factual viewpoint, but also from a legal and a strategy viewpoint. I had previously written on this issue: Why doesn’t he just sign?, emphasizing the fact that he did sign it, multiple times, but only privately for key witnesses and partners, but not publicly.

But there is more to it.

My conclusion is that, if I were Craig Wright, I too wouldn’t sign it publicly until I have proven that legal ownership of Bitcoin is more than just possession of a key.

There are three chief reasons.

First, Craig Wright has got more than 100,000 BTC coins (which are separate from the 1.1 million Satoshi coins) stolen from him, and the only way to get them back is to prove that legal ownership of the coins as an asset trumps possession of a key. Wright is in fact actively pursuing this route to recover the stolen bitcoins through a pending lawsuit[1]. That alone is billions of dollars at stake.

Second, more importantly in principle and greater scheme of things, Wright wants to prove that only the original Bitcoin complies with the law because it has both traceability and enforceability of property laws, that means his coins held in the Tulip Trust may only move according to the law.

Third, although there is an acute need to vindicate himself personally, that is not the most important thing. For safety reasons, Wright didn’t even want to be outed as Satoshi initially. He was doxed. If others don’t understand him, he himself knows that his endgame is not to prove he is Satoshi but to prove he is right about Bitcoin and how it will change the world for the better according to his own vision.

Therefore, his publicly signing under pressure just to prove his identity would be self-defeating. It would seriously undermine not only his multibillion-dollar lawsuit, but also the very principle about Bitcoin he tries to prove. Signing on demand by others only shows to the world all that matters is indeed the possession of a key, not the legal ownership, exactly what Bitcoin’s enemy claims, and contrary to what Craig Wright wants to prove. In addition, it also violates basic sense of personal rights, as Wright owes no obligation to those who demand him to sign.

“Sign it!” is a trap designed by Wright’s enemy. Signing under pressure just to prove an identity to an enemy is also to succumb to the cult of tech worship, which today manifests itself in the absolute authority of a digital signature, but tomorrow may manifest itself in something else.

In fact, considering the above, if I were Craig Wright, I wouldn’t have promised to sign it publicly in the first place, which he foolishly did. But I’m talking about this with the benefit of hindsight. Craig Wright had to do it under an enormous amount of pressure with limited foresight, and he nevertheless realized his mistake quickly.

On the other hand, if I were Craig Wright, I will sign it after the legal ownership issue has been settled. That would establish the right order of things.

Why did someone else sign against him?

Like in many cases, a simple headline does not tell the real story, but only creates a misleading impression that is factually wrong.

False impression 1: Someone signed from Satoshi addresses to prove that Wright was not Satoshi. Further, many clearly extrapolate from here to assume that the real Satoshi has signed to rebuke Wright.

The fact: Those addresses signed by others are not among the special addresses that are known to be Satoshi’s. Yes, they are found to be among the tens of thousands of addresses submitted by Wright to the court, but that is a different concept. The known Satoshi addresses are a subset of the list of addresses Wright submitted to the court. In the court, the matter was not about Satoshi identity, but about Wright’s bitcoin ownership. Wright naturally submitted all addresses that he assumed to be owned by his Tulip Trust, and those addresses constituted a larger set.

Given the large size of the submitted set which included tens of thousands of addresses, how does the fact that somebody else signed from a small percentage (less than 1%) of those addresses constitute a dispositive proof that Wright was not Satoshi? This is logical fallacy. It maybe considered as a factor among many in a probabilistic determination, but violets the logic and law of probability to consider it to be determinative alone. See Mathematical proof that Craig S. Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright can be Satoshi, and there can be many reasons why some of the addresses submitted to the court either do not belong to him but were included mistakenly, or they do belong to him but somehow the access to those keys was compromised.

Besides, the court only cared about ownership, not the key access. Why didn’t Wright’s opponents go to the court to tell the judge that Wright didn’t own those bitcoins and therefore should not be subject to the Kleiman lawsuit?

Therefore, think about what the signature has proven. Firstly, just because someone signed using some of the submitted addresses doesn’t mean the person has signed using the addresses certainly known to be Satoshi’s.

Secondly, even if someone did sign from some of the Satoshi addresses, it only casts a doubt on Wright’s claim that he is Satoshi, but does not constitute a dispositive proof that he is not. All evidence should be considered together to estimate the probability of a certain claim using the proper mathematical model.

See Mathematical proof that Craig S. Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto.

False impression 2: Craig Wright was bragging about owing Satoshi addresses, but got a slap on face when somebody else signed from those addresses.

The fact: Craig Wright was ordered by the court to make an exhaustive list of all bitcoin addresses he owned. In an attempt to comply the court order, he made a long list of tens of thousands addresses, of which a small percentage (less than 1%) turned out questionable because somebody else appeared to have the private keys of those addresses (but with true ownership of the bitcoin in those addresses is undetermined).

You see how far the false impressions created by the media and propaganda are from the facts.

About someone else signing against Craig Wright, I also wrote about it in section “controversies and biases” in the article: Why I believe Craig Wright is most likely Satoshi.

An important point is that there were tens of thousands of addresses involved, and Wright was ordered by the court to provide a complete list of addresses. Given the circumstance, it is understandable that he would choose to err on the conservative side and include all addresses believed to be owned by him.

That someone else appears to have the private keys to a small percentage (145, less than 1%) of all tens of thousands of addresses submitted isn’t shockingly unusual. It could be a result of mistakenly including some addresses that do not or no longer belong to him, or those addresses that were legitimately included because they do belong to him, only with their keys stolen without the owner’s knowledge. Or it could be some other unidentified reason.

A small percentage of all tens of thousands of addresses turning out that way is not an unusual thing to happen. It has its own weight as evidence, but does not carry a weight anywhere close to the kind that proves Wright is not Satoshi, especially given the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately, that is exactly how his opponents are ascribing to it, with strangely high level of conviction – so high that they’re willing to ignore all other counter evidence. Only a narrowminded fixation on the digital keys can explain it.

Alleged lies and inconsistencies

Concerning the lying and inconsistencies, they carry even less weight.

First, it is not a valid argument, because it is purely ad hominem attacks on the person, rather than logical reasoning.

Second, the thought of a live person evolves as he deepens and broadens his understanding. Sometimes even if the person’s thought has never changed, his wording can still change due to the change of context and even the very definition of the words and phrases. Find a person in this world who has 100% literal consistency in everything he’s said over 14 years! In fact, Wright is exceptional even in this respect. I could hardly find a person more consistent than Wright even if the inconsistencies he allegedly committed were all true.

Third, the accused inconsistencies are all quoted out of context and have little or no relevance.

Fourth, many of them are no more verifiable than the opposite claims regardless of the relevance.

An intelligent person’s thinking is a system as well as a process, and is far more important than mechanical matches of words spoken. In this regard, Wright is simply exceptional. Both the overall picture and the deep insights plus surprising nuances about Bitcoin in his recent publications (including patents, articles, and forum posts) are amazingly consistent with what Satoshi described in the white paper and early Bitcoin communications. Measured by either the depth or the consistency, there isn’t a single person who comes even remotely close to it.

Finally, put this in perspective: The task is to prove or disprove Wright invented Bitcoin, not that he is a perfect saint, nor whether he fits the image of the Satoshi persona according to what you and I had imagined.

Treat Satoshi identity as a probabilistic matter

If you are a firsthand witness, you can probably say, “I know” with near certainty. And the closer you are to a firsthand witness, the more certain you are.

Even for people who are not a firsthand witness, evidence must be properly weighed according to the distance to a firsthand witness. Not everything carries the same weight as evidence.

Furthermore, once you are moved away from firsthand witnesses, everything becomes a probabilistic matter, and you must evaluate all things together accordingly.

There is always contrary evidence to any proof. For one who starts with a preconceived conclusion, you will almost always find something to support your conclusion, but you may be far off the truth because you have hung yourself on isolated piece of information or even just a sentiment.

For important public matters like the identity of Satoshi, the inventor of Bitcoin, the public should treat every independent element of evidence as a factor, put all evidence together according to a probabilistic determination, and evaluate the probability mathematically.

Everything is connected, and increasingly so. It is time to be done with the mentality of seeing things in a mechanically isolated pieces and expecting an absolute proof to separately come out from each piece, and learn to evaluate all available evidence holistically with a proper probabilistic model.

Therefore, put everything together, reach your conclusion. Don’t be fooled by dishonest and manipulative assertions and presentations in the media.

Many things are probabilistic in nature, and few can be proven with 100% certainty, especially complex matters. A mathematical probabilistic determination is only right way to appraisal such complex matters. See Mathematical proof that Craig Wright is Satoshi.

I’ve weighed the evidence I could discover and reached my conclusion. But I cannot speak for others.

See for example:

Mathematical proof that Craig Wright is Satoshi
Why I believe Craig Wright is most likely Satoshi

Note [1]: The case is quite unique in that although the thief stole the keys placed in a digital safe box, so far they have not been able to access those keys. The safe box was created by Wright himself using a rather elaborate scheme. It is unlikely that the thief will be able to break into the box anytime soon. But because the digital safe box is stolen, Wright himself can’t access those keys either. In the lawsuit, Wright tries to provide clear evidence that he is the owner of the related BTC addresses, and asks the court to move the coins to another address without keys. The case is not only about the underlying asset itself, but also a matter of principle that Wright wants to prove. See Digital assets are subject to property laws. Also see the above discussion in the circle.

This article was lightly edited for clarity purposes.

Watch: Dr. Craig Wright’s keynote speech: A Better Internet with IPv6 and BSV Blockchain at the BSV Global Blockchain Convention

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