For those out of the loop, Phil Wilson claims to be the third person who created bitcoin, in addition to Dave Kleiman and Craig Wright. The three all allegedly made posts using the Satoshi Nakamoto identity online, although Wright was the primary figure behind the Satoshi identity.
While some have dismissed Wilson’s claims, Wilson insists he played a role in creating bitcoin back in 2008. He claims he worked with Kleiman and Wright prior to the publication of the bitcoin whitepaper online and continued contributing to the project until 2011.
Why haven’t you heard about Wilson until now? Well, in 2011, scrutiny against bitcoin was heating up related to its connection with dark web marketplaces like Silk Road. Wilson scrubbed his bitcoin fortune – worth $40,000 at the time – from his computer along with all files linking him to bitcoin.
The claim, understandably, sounds fishy, and that’s why Wilson has been largely ignored since first announcing the claim late last year.
But new evidence released today adds fuel to the fire and suggests there’s a deeper connection between Craig Wright and Phil Wilson.
Earlier today, Phil Wilson tweeted a link to a Dropbox folder containing a series of emails allegedly sent between himself and Wright since 2016. Wilson insisted they seem more like emails between old friends – not an extortion attempt.
Emails between myself and Craig since 2016:https://t.co/mMou8u6xsR
The "ordered" file has them in chronological order.
Do they appear to be from someone attempting to connect with an old friend, or do they look like an extortion attempt ?
You can decide for yourself.
— Phil Wilson (@_Phil_Wilson_) September 4, 2018
“Do they appear to be from someone attempting to connect with an old friend, or do they look like an extortion attempt?”
Wright has claimed Phil Wilson has been trying to extort him by coming public with his story. In the emails, Wilson mentions that half of Satoshi’s bitcoins belong to him due to an agreement between Wright, Kleiman, and Wilson. However, he never demands the bitcoins from Wright – despite the fact that they’re worth billions of dollars.
So what do the emails claim? Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.
What’s in the Emails?
Below, we’ll talk about some of the highlights of the emails.
Phil Wilson Emailed Craig in Mid-2016 After 7 Years Away from the Project
- Phil Wilson frequently references Craig as “Satoshi.” The first email, sent on July 31, 2016, for example, begins with, “Afternoon, Satoshi”
- Craig claims the Australian Taxation Office was concerned with his lack of GST reporting and tax accounting. Craig’s office and home were famously raided by Australian Taxation Office (ATO) authorities soon after he was “outed” as Satoshi Nakamoto. Based on Craig’s (alleged) email to Phil on August 4, the ATO was concerned with Craig’s GST and tax reporting.
- “Enough time has passed so that it is no-longer necessary from = me to remain hidden,” writes Phil Wilson on August 4, 2016. Wilson claims
- Phil Wilson isn’t certain that the Craig Wright he saw in interviews is the same Craig Wright and Satoshi with whom he communicated during the early days of bitcoin. Phil Wilson appeared to email Craig out of the blue in mid-2016. “If you are Satoshi, you should recognise my old…handle (Scronty) and email address ([email protected]),” writes Phil Wilson.
Wilson Noticed Craig Wright Saying Things that Only Satoshi Could Have Known
- Wilson claims that “Many of the things that you [Craig] said could only have been said by someone within the team. Or someone who has access to the emails sent by members of the team,” writes Wilson.
Wilson Explains Why He Came Back After 7 Years of Keeping Quiet
- Wilson explains why he pulled back from the bitcoin scene. “I’ve spent the past seven years ignoring and suppressing all memories of what went on and focusing on ‘white’ subject matter.”
- “I’ve begun to write down what I recollect so that there is a record from my perspective “BitCoin Origins”,” writes Wilson in one email to Craig. Wilson, of course, published this account online in late 2017. In his account, Wilson claims he wanted to name the currency “BitCoin” with a capital “C”, so that’s what this email is referencing.
- “Before I left the project I purged all possible evidence of my involvement. There are no email messages and no private keys in my possession from those days anymore. And definitely no bitcoin.”
- “I do not yet recall who I initially interacted with – it may well have been you. That may come back to me in time. It’s always difficult to recall…”
Phil Wilson Wants to Create a “Rebooted” Version of Bitcoin With Government-friendly Tax Features
- “I think it’s time for the experiment to be rebooted,” writes Wilson in one interview. “And this time, I will also do the coding.” Wilson wrote the email from a fintech hub in Sydney surrounded by “crypto-nutters, business CEOs and government officials”
- Wilson claims bitcoin was released “six months too early”. Wilson claims they originally wanted to add “the identity problem and the taxation problem” that were to be included in the final system
- One feature mentioned by Wilson is a sliding transaction scale, where lower priced transactions would remain anonymous while higher-priced transactions would require identification
- The proposed bitcoin taxation system wold allow every source or destination of a transaction to pay a local VAT to a city, county, province, state, nation, region, or hemisphere automatically; the purpose of this system was to get governments on board with bitcoin while dissuading criminals from using it
- Wilson’s proposed reboot of bitcoin would include such a system
Wilson Claims Craig Promised to Publicly Verify His Claims Using the Satoshi Handle Online
- Craig might have a copy of Wilson’s emails from the early days of bitcoin development. Wilson famously deleted his connections to the project, including all emails sent with the bitcoin team. In one of the new emails released online today, however, Wilson asks Wright if he still has a copy of those emails, and to send those emails to Wilson if possible “so that I may have an accurate record of how the development evolved.”
- “You Said if I ever asked you to publicly verify that it was my work that was in the bitcoin white-paper you would log in using a Satoshi handle and confirm it to everyone,” writes Wilson. However, Wilson admits that Wright may have lost control of the Satoshi handles over time, which “will make it much more difficult for this public confirmation to happen.”
Craig Might Owe Phil Wilson Billions of Dollars’ of Bitcoins
- “You said that half of the generated bitcoins that you’d mined over the couple of active years on the project are mine when I ask for them
- “I’m Sure There’s a Possibility of a Netflix Movie in the Near Future”
- In one email, Wilson writes that Craig should be more honest about the development of bitcoin because “there’s a possibility of a Netflix movie in the near future.”
- “I’m pretty sure many folks would be interested in what happened.”
- Even if Wright doesn’t have accurate records form this time period, Wilson insists they could probably come up with the details if they ever sat down together.
Wilson Confirms Wright and Kleiman Are (2) and (3) in His Blog
- Phil Wilson’s “Bitcoin Origins” story posted on Reddit and his blog featured numerous references to two people called (2) and (3). These were widely believed to be Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman, the other two people involved with bitcoin in the early days.
- Wilson confirms this in his latest emails.
- “I’ll be keeping you and Dave as (2) and (3) for now until I get guidance from you as to how you’d like to be presented.”
- “You Kept your Promise to Never Expose Me. Thank You”
- In one email, Wilson thanks Wright for never exposing him – even as he faced scrutiny from the ATO.
- “I told you that you had the more difficult path as you had to be in the limelight showing that you first didn’t know anything about bitcoin and second to be actively opposed to the idea so that if the searchlight beam came across you you’d be dismissed as impossible for the role you played. And you kept your promise to never expose me. Thank you”
Wilson Admits He’s “Concerned for 2020” When the Bitcoin Trust Will Expire
- If you believe that Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman created bitcoin and were responsible for the Satoshi identity, then you’ve probably heard of the “trust” designed to hold Satoshi’s bitcoins
- That trust is reportedly scheduled to expire in 2020, which would release all bitcoins to Craig. This is the reason why Satoshi’s bitcoins have never been moved: they’ve been locked in a trust controlled by the “Tulip keys” held by Kleiman, Wright, and Wilson.
- “I find it disappointing that you have chosen to ignore my emails to you after all these years. If there was one single person you’d talk to about the tech, it would be me. After all this time I have finally been able to get back in contact with you, only to have you chose to ignore the correspondence. This makes me concerned for 2020.”
- “I take it you’ve had a change of heart and have decided to keep the entirety of the mined bitcoin keys for yourself. But what has happened to the keys Dave had. Both you and Dave decided that half of each of your bitcoin belonged to me. I’m the one who told you both to put my coins into a trust for five years. You said “Why not round it up to 2020.”
- “It appears you both may have placed a large number of coins into a trust. Are you willing to tell the trustees who the recipients of the coins are? OR are you the only recipient now?”
Phil Wilson Will Create a New Bitcoin Whitepaper
- Phil Wilson’s last emails in the document reference the release of a new bitcoin whitepaper. Wilson asks if Craig Wright wants his name on this new whitepaper.
- This new whitepaper would detail a vision of bitcoin closer to the original idea planned by Satoshi Nakamoto (Kleiman, Wright, and Wilson). The vision would include tax systems like the one mentioned above.
- “Updating the bitcoin white paper does not necessarily meant the destruction of the current bitcoin cryptocurrency. Think of it more along the lines of a massive upgrade that would replace the current nodes.”
- “We are the only ones in the world who can release an updated version of the bitcoin white paper”
What Does All of This Mean?
These emails show the story from Phil Wilson’s perspective. We cannot verify the authenticity of these emails. If you believe Phil Wilson, then these are genuine emails from Wilson to Wright throughout 2016 and 2017. If you don’t believe him, then these are just text documents posted online to bolster his claim.
Let’s assume we do believe Phil Wilson. What does that mean? What do the recent emails mean?
- If you believe him, then Phil Wilson partnered with Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman in May 2008 to create bitcoin. Wilson didn’t contribute code to the project, but he did contribute heavily to the whitepaper.
- Wilson continued contributing to bitcoin during the first 1-2 years of the network, either by mining or actively developing the project.
- Wilson also claims that Wright and Kleiman both had an agreement: half of the bitcoins Wright and Kleiman had mined belonged to Wilson.
- It seems like Wright responded to Wilson’s initial email in summer 2016, but stopped responding shortly thereafter. The email dump from Wilson only shows one side – Wilson’s emails. We don’t know what Craig said back.
- Wright and Wilson never met in person, and Wilson never claims to have met Craig – despite the fact that they both lived in Sydney, Australia while developing bitcoin.
- Wilson started to believe Craig Wright was the person he said he was when he started referencing things that only Satoshi Nakamoto would know.
Of course, Phil Wilson could also be making everything up.
There’s one thing we know for sure: Craig Wright was heavily involved in the early days of bitcoin. If he didn’t invent bitcoin, then he at least was one of the first miners in the space.
This fascinating story continues to unfold. We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, you can read through Phil Wilson’s emails to Craig Wright here. There is also a 7 hour, yes seven hour, interview with Phil Wilson talking about the entire story unfolding here regarding Bitcoin's magical creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.