The BCH hash wars have left very little room for reasonable fact-based debates. As it turns out, the two combating factions, ABC and SV really like to make use of appeal to authority. It’s a little logical fallacy which fools short-sighted investors – otherwise why would anyone bother to use it?
On one side, we have those who own most of the Bitcoin Cash infrastructure and repeat every five minutes that they want to bring more financial freedom to the world. The other camp is led by Craig S. Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto who likes to act like a destructive Old Testament deity. Arguably, none of these factions represent the principles that Bitcoin really stands for, as they diminish the decentralization factor. But this doesn’t stop some combatants to get extra creative.
On November 16th 2018, the @Satoshi Twitter account has posted an interesting cryptographic message. It basically read “Sig (Rx, S) for Message H(m) Rx: 97921318692748166969765893503724782362221860890089306445657980140065784098104”. The interpreted meaning behind this signature is “I am Satoshi, I’m still alive and well, and I want to send you all a message”.
In reality, this proved to be nothing but a tactic that BCHSV proponents use in order to justify their “Satoshi’s Vision” divergent approach. Due to content similarities, it’s suspected that Craig S. Wright himself is behind the @Satoshi account (which has been suspended in the meantime).
— Dr Craig S Faketoshi ? (@ProfFathead) November 17, 2018
To make this situation even more ridiculous, BCH investor Calvin Ayre has written a speculative tweet to support the angry Satoshi hypothesis. However, Mr. Ayre has adjusted the narrative to fit the ongoing hash wars: “Satoshi lives and is likely upset at Bitmain and Bitcoin.com for attacking Bitcoin”.
For the sake of common sense and cryptographic decency, Jimmy Song came to the community’s rescue with a Medium blog post. In a nutshell, the Programming Blockchain educator and Bitcoin developer applies to “Don’t trust, verify” ethos by debunking the myth with mathematical evidence.
Craig S. Wright (Faketoshi) gets busted by Jimmy Song
Since his emergence in the world of Bitcoin in 2015, CSW (also referred to as “Faketoshi”) has constantly claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto. He’s even managed to fool Gavin Andresen (at the time the most important Bitcoin developer), and he kept on gaining (undeserved) credit and recognition. Mr. Wright has spoken at big conferences alongside influential crypto developers, and in the meantime, he admirably resisted the fraud allegations (while dodging challenging debates).
When the Bitcoin community split in 2017, Craig S. Wright received a false prophet role in BCH. This move was meant to bring more legitimacy to the big block project, as people fell for the Satoshi narrative. But in the long run, he ended up dividing the community and meddling with the plans of Roger Ver and Jihan Wu. It’s no surprise that the Bitmain co-founder is the proponent of an unpopular conspiracy theory which claims that CSW is a Blockstream spy.
From the very beginning I have had a conspiracy theory that CSW is a spy controlled by Blockstream.
— Jihan Wu (@JihanWu) November 8, 2018
But this time, it’s likely that CSW has bought the @Satoshi Twitter handle for the sake of spreading Bitcoin FUD and SV propaganda. Lately, he hasn’t been shy in threatening the communities of BTC and BCH with costly hash wars that would bring down the market for extended periods of time.
To unknowledgeable outsiders who don’t know anything about cryptography, coding, and mathematics, Craig S Wright can look like an eccentric polymath with destructive and vengeful intentions. But to people like Jimmy Song, Andy Poelstra, Greg Maxwell, and Pieter Wuille, he is nothing but a con artist who makes big claims that he can’t back up.
Jimmy Song’s demonstration
As a social scientist who never really was good at mathematics, I don’t find Mr. Song’s mathematical approach (or the supposed signature of Satoshi, for that matter) easily comprehensive. Therefore, in the spirit of the verification ethos, there is no way I can personally certify for the correctness of the mathematical demonstration.
Nevertheless, it’s enough to look at the intentions of the actors involved to figure out who acts in good faith: Faketoshi and Calvin Ayre are in the middle of a hash battle that they will most likely use and require all the appeal to authority in order to compel the bystanders to pledge allegiance to their cause. On the other hand, Jimmy Song and all the other Bitcoin developers don’t have a clear stake in the BCH narrative and their best interest here would be to protect the legacy of Satoshi.
One can speculate that, on the long term, the Blockstream-sympathizing BTC developers may have an agenda of their own, and destroying the credibility of the big blocker camp can speed up their efforts. But even if we compromise and say that the truth is the middle ground between two extremes, we conclude that CSW is not Satoshi and this BCH SV affair is one big scam (we have irrefutable empirical evidence that no coins have been moved from Satoshi’s wallet, after all).
If you would like to read the mathematical demonstration for yourself, you may access it here. It basically explains the principles of cryptographic messages and replicates the @Satoshi tweet by generating a similar ECDSA “Key9” signature. The conclusion is simple: this type of messaging is bogus and the equivalent of claiming to have run an entire marathon after suddenly appearing close to the finish line.
Jimmy Song’s article ends with a challenge: if anyone wants to prove that they are the real Satoshi, then they must sign a specific message.
Does this demonstration ruin the reputation of Craig “Faketoshi” Wright?
Normally, this would be the end of someone’s career as an influential figure and the ones proven to be scammers would step out of the spotlight. However, like many figures in the cryptocurrency industry, Craig S. Wright has always expressed a shameless attitude. He never cared about the critics who told him he can’t claim to be Satoshi unless he signs a BTC transaction from the original wallet, he gave no importance to people like Vitalik Buterin who repeatedly called him a fraud, and he kept on seeking acknowledgement and legitimacy through a process of obtaining patents and suing other projects (which is completely against the ethos of the Satoshi we all know).
Buying a Twitter account and using it to fool the unknowledgeable masses isn’t that much of a big deal if you compare the action to every ridiculous claim that Faketoshi has made over the years. It’s definitely an action that the community should frown upon and condemn, but not enough to completely phase out this toxic and destructive character. There is nothing to really ruin in the case of CSW, and there will always be blind followers and believers to trust his claims no matter what efforts some people make to reveal his true colors.
The initiative of Jimmy Song is truly admirable and worthy of praise, it’s great that he’s bringing reason to this debate, but we will most likely need much more in order to forever banish this false prophet. Maybe that the end of the BCH will reveal a financially-broke and spiritually-humbled Faketoshi. But then again, the man has constantly found ways to reinvent himself and acquire new resources, so we can only hope for a miracle.
Crypto Insider has contacted Jimmy Song to comment on the situation. At press time, he hasn’t responded.
Cover image credit: Hackernoon