Dr Craig Wright and Charles Miller on CoinGeek Conversations

Craig Wright on the very start of Bitcoin

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Dr. Craig Wright is looking at a screenshot of the early Bitcoin website which someone has posted on Twitter. It’s from January 3, 2009. He remembers what was going on at that time: “First launch of the code, making sure everything ran. The first set of problems shortly after that week, when it needed to be restarted.”

Dr. Wright, who signed himself “aka Satoshi Nakamoto” on the previous week’s CoinGeek Conversations, this week reminisces about how it all began. He was testing his systems, with the transaction in question being one he was sending to himself between two of his own computers.

He is happy to admit that the Bitcoin website “demonstrates my lack of design skills.” There were other features he would have liked to have added but it was early days and “you can forgive me for not having everything perfect.”

bitcoin.org inline image

He says he would probably have been making this particular transaction in the computer room he’d constructed in one of the outbuildings of his Australian farm, some hours’ drive from Sydney. It would have been a very techy scene: “Computers, printers, more computers, screens everywhere. And me in the middle with roller-type chairs so I could get back and forth between the sites.”

So it must have been a big moment when the Bitcoin software was finally working? “Having it actually run, yes, it was good,” he says, adding with a smile, “having it crash shortly afterwards wasn’t.”

A Eureka moment in fact? “Yeah, I’d say that would be the way you would look at it. I mean, I had been working on trying to find a solution to micropayment problems since 1997. So yeah, it was nice to finally have something that worked.”

To devise Bitcoin as a technical and economic system, Dr. Wright had studied in a wide variety of fields: “Bitcoin is really a combination of computer science and economics and game theory and by having a background on all of these topics it makes it much easier.”

On the question of who knew that he was Satoshi Nakamoto back then, Dr. Wright says that it was more widely known than he realised at DeMorgan, the business he founded to exploit blockchain opportunities. He didn’t tell his staff that he had invented Bitcoin “but I found out later that they all knew anyway.”

It seems that the staff were keeping a secret from him, rather than the other way round, as he discovered when he questioned a colleague: “‘So you guys know that I’m Satoshi?’ He went, ’well, yes.’ ‘All right, so why didn’t you talk to me about this earlier?’ He went ‘well, we didn’t think you wanted to. Obviously you wanted to be private, so we just didn’t tell.’” As to why he hadn’t told them himself, Dr. Wright just says, “I didn’t think there was a reason.”

There may be a chance to hear from some of those who knew Dr. Wright at this time when he calls witnesses to the appeal hearing in Oslo later this year in the case which he is defending against Magnus “Hodlonaut” Granath. The appeal follows the original case heard in September 2022 at which several character witnesses gave evidence on his behalf. In the re-run, Dr. Wright promises there will be “more” such witnesses talking about his work on Bitcoin. 

Hear the whole of Dr. Craig Wright’s interview in this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast or catch up with other recent episodes:

You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.

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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.