Phil Wilson Bitcoin Interview: Was He the Nakamoto to Satoshi’s Team?
The saga regarding the identity of the group known as Satoshi Nakamoto, credited with the creation of the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, continues to develop with each passing day.
To give this context, we broke the story just hours after Phil Wilson, who allegedly claims himself as the Nakamoto of Satoshi in his Bitcoin Origins story, sharing details about the Satoshi Nakamoto team and early day dealings. Make sure to read about that here before going on.
The past week has really saw a flurry of responses by recognized Bitcoin developer Craig Wright to the statements and accusations made by cryptocurrency personality and claimant to the Satoshi throne Phil Wilson, who alleges that he was a significant part of the original team that created, released, and promoted the Bitcoin project way back in 2012.
Wilson’s claims have been attacked by many within the cryptocurrency community, mainly because of the lack of proof he supplies to back his outlandish arguments. For Wilson, though, the main point of his story is that he can’t have proof, as he had deleted all of his involvement in the project for fear of attention from certain three-letter agencies in the United States—mainly the FBI and the CIA.
He isn’t entirely wrong in this fear; Bitcoin’s use in illicit darknet markets led to the creation of teams in both organizations tasked with researching Bitcoin, as well as with finding ways to decrypt its transactions to expose the source of major crimes.
Despite the plausibility of his excuse, Craig Wright has been clear that Wilson’s story is almost entirely false. In his tweets responding to the matter, Wright argued that Wilson only has access to key information relating to Bitcoin because he was an employee or an associate of an employee who had stolen records from Wright’s company years ago. He ended the tweets with a cliffhanger, promising to expose the fraud through the use of false “Easter eggs” of information included in the documents for this express purpose.
Reporters from Bitcoin.com sat down with Phil Wilson to ask him several questions concerning his story. The interview is a resounding piece of journalism, but presents several lasting questions on the ongoing saga of Satoshi Nakamoto.
“The Original Client”
Bitcoin.com (BC): I’m sure you’ve seen Craig’s recent comments. What do you have to say about them?
Phil Wilson (PW): Craig seems to be a tad aggressive towards a supposed ‘no-body.’
BC: Ok. But you say you worked with Craig and Dave?
PW: I initially was trying to help Craig with his attempt at an electronic cash. I left his project in mid-May 2008 when it became apparent that it would never work. Then I started my own project in early June 2008 and got Dave and Craig to help me with it.
BC: That would be the original client?
PW: Yep — What everyone knows as Bitcoin evolved out of my project, not Craig’s. Practically nothing from his code was left. Only the generic crypto functions were taken from his codebase (which was copy/ pasted from elsewhere). The white paper he’d been working on from before 2007 was effectively thrown out. It was complete junk. Just a mish-mash of other people’s white papers.
This is an incredibly important set of realizations from Wilson. In particular, pay very close attention to that final answer from Phil, where he outlines that much of the code that eventually became the Bitcoin project was actually derived from a project that he had started. This isn’t just a claim that he was in some way involved in the Bitcoin creation process. Phil Wilson’s claim is that he had created what was effectively the backdrop of Bitcoin.
This also very much throws Craig Wright under the bus. At the end, Wilson directly acknowledges that Craig’s white paper, and much of the code behind his project, was thrown out entirely in exchange for the important functions of Wilson’s own project. Furthermore, he is clear in his conviction that Craig Wright had copied and pasted even the small bits of code which were useful in the end product for the Bitcoin project.
Another thing to take from this section is Wilson’s argument that Wright is especially aggressive in his attacks, especially when one considers that he believes Wilson to be a “nobody.” There seems to be a contradiction in Wright’s decision to vehemently condemn and consistently attack the claimant while simultaneously saying that he is “nothing.”
“The Logo Creation”
BC: You say you have no hard evidence though to corroborate with your story. Is this true? Only you do say that if someone contacts ‘Bitboy’ he would know about the logo creation and could confirm your origins story. But Bitboy doesn’t seem to be around anymore at least not since 2015.
PW: Correct. Last Bitboy activity on bitcointalk board appears to be late 2015. He’s a Chinese native living abroad. I’m pretty sure he was only one time zone away from me, so it’s likely he was in Indonesia.
Though it may seem relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of the story, Wilson’s role in the creation of the Bitcoin original logo is an essential element in the public’s appraisal of the truth behind his story. The lynchpin behind the argument seems to be someone going by the name “Bitboy.”
The caveat to this corroborating guy, though, is that he appears to have been offline for quite some time, for three years to be exact. It is possible that Bitboy decided to go offline for a reason similar to Wilson, which would help to add some legitimacy and plausibility to the story.
Finding Bitboy could well be the key to solving the mystery surrounding Wilson’s involvement in the creation of Bitcoin, as well as the actual identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Though it would not necessarily prove that Phil Wilson was a contributing party to the code that made Bitcoin famous, the revelation that he was the creator of the trademark orange Bitcoin logo would make it clear that he was indeed, in some respect at least, a member of the inner-circle of the Satoshi Nakamoto group.
But for now, Bitboy’s identity—or even his location—has yet to be revealed. And without this essential character to publicly back Wilson’s story of the origins of Bitcoin, it is unlikely that Wilson’s role in the Bitcoin logo creation will ever be definitively proven.
“A Fraud and an Extortionist”
BC: Why is Craig calling you a fraud and an extortionist?
PW: Craig has ‘issues.’ I would only be able to blackmail or extort if I had verifiable proof.
Evidence or documents or something. I haven’t anything at all. In emails in late 2016, I was asking *him* for the development emails between us. I don’t know who the trustees are, where it’s held, etc. I was completely reliant upon Dave for keeping those secrets.
BC: Are you a key holder?
PW: Mine is the GMX key. The backdated one to trap Craig if he tried to use it. I had Dave keep it (so I wouldn’t have anything on my machines if there was a knock on the door). He must’ve given a copy to Craig for safe keeping.
BC: Is Craig the only one left with all the secrets?
PW: Craig only has some of the secrets. I had Dave keep all of mine and forbade him from telling Craig. I don’t have any keys, documents, emails, IRC logs, etc. That’s stated in the Bitcoin Origins story in the disclaimer. So I cannot confirm anything. I can only go for plausible.
This admission is one of the core points of Phil Wilson’s argument. In particular, he is quick to espouse that he does not have access to any kind of significant, verifiable proof. This is a problem for his story, but Wilson has largely embraced that many people doubt him, and he has mostly decided to press on regardless.
The mention of the GMX key is interesting, because it seems to hint at something that could potentially be verifiable. But almost immediately, Wilson then deflects back to a lack of proof. He states that he had given all of the information related to his involvement in the creation of Bitcoin to Dave Kleiman, the plaintiff in the massive lawsuit in Florida being levied against Craig.
As a result, Wilson is still without any semblance of proof to corroborate his story, which would shake the cryptocurrency community to its core.
“The Bitcoin Origins Story”
BC: So why do you want people to know you had a part in all this without proof?
PW: For the Bitcoin Origins story, I think it’s important to folks to have a chance to see the thinking process behind solving an impossible problem. To encourage others who keep being told to stop working on a solution no-one else has come up with. The Orange Bitcoin logo instructions (and the Feb 2010 gold coin logo instructions) are an important part of Bitcoin history which the public was never told about.
The only people who knew about the orange logo was me, Bitboy and Dave. Craig was never told I designed and wrote the instructions for the orange logo so that, if he ever turned against me, I’d be able to show something he never knew. A handful of helpers in the outer Satoshi group were given the draft copies of those instructions (for the Bitcoin B symbol only). Only I knew about the instructions for the gold coin portion of that logo.
This selection gives some insight into the psychology behind the Satoshi challenger. His conviction to expose the true origins story of Bitcoin seems to come from a somewhat philosophical place, Wilson believing that he is doing the right thing by giving the community a new glimpse into the beginning days of a massive financial trend within Bitcoin.
And once again, the Bitcoin throne claimant is clear in his conviction that he was involved in the creation of the famous Bitcoin logo, which continues its use even today, years after the original draft was supposedly published in the infamous whitepapers.
“Craig to Expose”
BC: Do you think Craig is going to expose you for something this month?
PW: He’s claiming I was blackmailing or extorting him for coin. You can only do that with some kind of evidential proof, of which I have none. All I did in a few emails was ask what happened to my half of the coin. I never expected him to take this angle that I was a fraud and a scammer.
I thought he’d be elated I was finally able to get in touch with him again. Of course, at that time, only a few memories had returned and it would be another year before I recalled about him becoming mates with another Jamie Wilson so that he could push me out of W&K.
BC: Why is there no mention of you in the W&K documents?
PW: Dave wanted me to be the authorised officer. I agreed. I told Dave I didn’t want my real name associated publicly with W&K in case things went south. He told me that an authorised officer had to have their details public. I told him to find another way, even if he has me inside an offshore trust or company and that company or trust is the authorised officer. I made sure not to know the details.
This section of the interview primarily focused on the legal aspect of the feud. In particular, the first question and answer respond to Craig Wright’s Twitter promise to bring criminal charges against Wilson, who he claims is effectively extorting him for Bitcoins and cash. To this end, Wilson is convinced that there is no case.
He’s not wrong, either. In the United States at least, it is not typically possible to successfully extort someone, legally speaking, unless the use of unfavorable information is integral to the process. In this respect, Wilson’s lack of any kind of verifiable proof would make it hard for Wright to make a genuine case of blackmail or extortion against Phil Wilson.
“Asked to Keep Quiet”
BC: Do you talk to Ira Kleiman?
PW: We’ve exchanged emails since early 2017. I knew the court case was coming, however, I was asked to keep quiet. From his side, he only wants documented proof of Dave’s place in the Bitcoin saga. From my side, I wanted him to send me any info from Dave’s side regarding me.
BC: Do you feel Craig has wronged Dave’s family and estate?
PW: He’s wronged us all. However, without proof, there’s only so much you can do.
BC: Would Ira give you a portion of the proceeds if he won the court case?
PW: Without proof, I doubt Ira would give me anything. And he shouldn’t in any case. From everyone’s perspective, I could be a raving nutter in one corner of the web. If it encourages those with documentation to step forward and show what really happened, then having the story out there is a bonus. When I made that post about NOPs and a couple of folks asked some questions, it wasn’t with the expectation that it’d blow up like this.
Second, Wilson responded to the pending court case by Dave Kleiman, which alleges that Wright owes Kleiman and his family Bitcoin to the sum of billions of dollars. The official name on the court case is Ira Kleiman, a relative of Dave. In this section of the interview, Bitcoin’s news team asked Wilson to elaborate on his relationship to both Ira and the ongoing court case.
Wilson was clear, though, that while he had emailed back and forth with the woman for about a year and a half, he is not participating actively in the lawsuit against Craig Wright. Additionally, his answers reveal that he does believe that he has been wrong by Craig, who had promised that he would never actually claim the title of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Because he has no proof of his role in the process, Wilson believes that he should not be awarded some of the money, should the lawsuit against Wright be successful.
“Both You and Craig Lack Evidence”
BC: Would you agree that both you and Craig lack evidence?
PW: There’s a lot of psychology and manipulation of the masses involved in all of this. Not on my part, of course. I haven’t begun to play yet.
BC: You said you consider yourself a ‘nobody.’ Why is Craig then considered a ‘somebody’ who is respected by certain groups of people in this community?
PW: Perception of authority. People are hard-wired to be attracted towards those who appear to be an authority figure. He most definitely has a few keys lying about so that he can be selective to only prove himself to certain people. Holding keys doesn’t mean they’re yours though. However, it’s far more than anyone on the planet has got.
BC: Why on earth would you literally remove everything that was tied to you and the Satoshi Nakamoto identity?
PW: Back then, we all were concerned about how the governments and banks would take the tech. Plausible deniability for everything. If anyone’s IPs leaked, it wouldn’t get back to me.
These last questions help to sum up much of the story surrounding the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Wilson concludes that both he and Craig Wright lack enough substantive evidence to definitively prove to the public that they are the people responsible for the creation of Bitcoin. However, his view that the difference is that Wright is a “somebody” is particularly interesting.
As for why he would delete all of the evidence that he had been a part of the original Bitcoin team, Wilson stressed once again that he was afraid of public and legal backlash, and consequently wiped all evidence from the face of the earth.
This interview may not have done much to provide additional proof to the Satoshi Nakamoto claims by Phil Wilson. However, it was essential in providing some more biographical and psychological information regarding the claimant to the Satoshi identity and subsequent rumored fortune.