A Bitcoin software developer has revealed his knowledge about Satoshi Nakamoto's secret network alert key, returning Dr. Craig Wright's statements as the true founder. LedgerX developer Bryan Bishop said the key was inadvertently copied by many hundreds of Bitcoin cat-copies.
The Bitcoin network alert key was maintained until the end of 2016 to transmit critical messages to node operators. Satoshi himself is said to have created the key but never used it, although Gavin Andresen deployed an alert in 2012 to get the miners back to an earlier version of the software after a protocol update went wrong.
It's time to reveal the bitcoin alert keys. The bitcoin alert public key was unwittingly copied by many hundreds of bitcoin copy-cats. Folks, it's going to be an interesting show.
— Bryan Bishop (@kanzure) June 14, 2018
A reddit user noted in August 2016 that only three people were known to have the key: Satoshi Nakamoto, the developer of the Bitcoin principles Gavin Andresen, and “Theymos” Michael Marquardt, administrator of BitcoinTalk.org and r/Bitcoin of Reddit.
Before Bishop's announcement, someone could have claimed to be Satoshi by possessing the key. This could have been part of a campaign to convince the community.
A common meme, often repeated in news articles and social media publications, is that Wright was “unable” to prove he was Satoshi. In fact, he finally refused, leaving open the question of why if he knew he did not have the ability to access Satoshi's BTC, he would have chosen to look bad in front of the public. Some people think that perhaps he did it to make himself known to the world, even though it would later cost him his reputation.
Satoshi alert key's signature of sha256("I am not CSW. Unlike me, he can't sign with the Bitcoin alert key.") -> 304402205d9ee1b1697ce3722b92a0931aae10fb76ab07a624d61b27ba5af39e85a1653d0220520ed2e30ed1c89e5c876a4e7e8f9b04a8b43c3a37b55623cae964b3938f779a https://t.co/JwpEEt2dHI
— Bryan Bishop (@kanzure) June 15, 2018
Whoever controls the private keys to these wallets has in his hands an estimated net worth of around 1 million BTCs, equivalent to 6.5 billion dollars, at the moment of writing this article. Which makes them a potential target for criminals and government officials.
Before anyone gets too excited about the nefarious plans to sabotage the BTC network with false alerts, we must keep in mind that the alert system was retired in November 2016 with Bitcoin version 0.13.10. The final alert, encoded in version 0.14.10, simply overrides all other alerts with an “Alert Key Compromised” warning.
The alert key was to be launched to the public in May 2017, but was postponed. Part of the reason for their retirement was fears that the key might have come into Japanese police possession after they began investigating Mt. Gox's CEO, Mark Karpeles, in 2014.
The real identity of the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is yet unknown, to the extent that it is not known whether it is a group of people or just an individual.