Gavin Andresen: “It Was a Mistake To Trust Craig Wright”

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  • Gavin Andresen has admitted that it was a “mistake” to trust Craig Wright back in 2016
  • Andresen was used by Wright to try and bolster his Satoshi claim during the disastrous proof sessions
  • Andresen has rarely spoken about the event, which cost him his reputation and Bitcoin development job

Gavin Andresen has admitted that it was a “mistake” to trust Craig Wright when the Australian used him to claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2016. Andresen added a footnote to the blog post he wrote in May 2016 in which he claimed that he had met Satoshi, saying that he now regrets allowing himself to be used in the way he was and that he is drawing a line under the entire Satoshi identity “game”.

2016 Signing Sessions

Andresen was one of a small number of selected individuals chosen as part of a ‘proofing session’ in 2016 that was supposed to prove Craig Wright was Satoshi in the public domain, but which backfired spectacularly and shattered both mens’ reputations. Wright had been supposedly outed by Wired and Gizmodo a few months earlier, although no one was aware at the time that Wright had signed a contract in 2015 that promised him a seven-figure payout if he was publicly proved to be Satoshi Nakamoto, including the rights to his life story.

The proof package was put together by two Calvin Ayre-funded PR teams, which included interviews with the Economist, GQ and the BBC. Andresen and Jon Matonis were flown to London to witness the signing of a Bitcoin address supposedly belonging to one of the first 10 bitcoin blocks, with Wright using a private key that only Satoshi Nakamoto should have access to.

In May 2016, Matonis and Andresen published blog posts about the experience, with Andresen’s starting, “I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin.” Andresen backed up these claims at the Consensus event the following day, where Vitalik Buterin won a huge round of applause when he offered an opposing view:

Wright Backs Down

Wright, however, undermined their efforts when he didn’t back up his claims with public proof, saying that he couldn’t go through with it because he didn’t want to cope with the ramifications of what that would bring. It also emerged that he could have fooled both of them with a simple two-line code change to the Electrum wallet used, and refused to do a public signing to put these suggestions to bed.

Wright followed this by failing to send bitcoins from the early wallets to Andresen and the BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones as promised, leaving Andresen especially to pay for his endorsement with his Bitcoin career. Less than a week after his public support emerged, his commit access to the Bitcoin development hub was revoked – an unfortunate end for the man Satsohi had handed Bitcoin to in 2011.

Wright claimed last year that shortly after these sessions he “stomped on a hard drive” containing the private keys to the Satoshi wallets so he could never be forced to prove anything again.

Andresen Suffers

As Wright’s claims to the Bitcoin crown washed down the drain, Andresen’s reputation went with it. The stain of being an early and powerful Wright supporter followed him, despite him raising the concerns that he could have been tricked not long after the blog post was published.

In the years since the 2016 signing session fiasco, GQ has called Wright’s attempts to claim the Satoshi Nakamoto mantle an “£8 billion swindle”, Wired and Gizmodo both have disclaimers on their 2015 stories that the evidence received for their reveals was fabricated, and Rory Cellan-Jones is now a vocal critic of Wright.

Mistake to Trust Wright

Andresen has kept largely silent about his experiences, popping up only in the Kleiman vs Wright case to say that he might have been “bamboozled” by Wright but that he still believed he owned the keys to the wallet. This has led to both sides still claiming Andresen for their own argument, not helping his case one bit.

However, this can now be put to bed – Gavin Andresen believes that Craig Wright lied to him. Andresen’s blog has lain unedited since May 2, 2016, used as proof by Wright fans, but it was updated perhaps as late as this weekend to include the following header:


If there was any remaining hope for Craig Wright supporters that Andresen still believes Wright is Satoshi and didn’t trick him with the signing sessions, then that hope is gone. It’s just a shame for Andresen that it has taken him this long to publicly show his colors, given that it cost him his respect and Bitcoin career.

But better late than never.