- Paul Le Roux, one-time Satoshi Nakamoto candidate, has been jailed for 25 years in New York
- Le Roux’s crimes included drug smuggling and technology and weapon sales to Iran
- Former coder was intending to start a business making super-efficient Bitcoin miners
Paul Le Roux, considered by some to be a candidate for the title of Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto, has been jailed for 25 years for a raft of charges ranging from drug trafficking to technology and weapon sales to Iran. Le Roux, who was arrested in September 2012, emerged as a potential Satoshi Nakamoto candidate last year and even stated to a judge in his case that were he to be granted his freedom he would start work on his plans for a super-efficient Bitcoin mining machine.
Le Roux Planned to Make Bitcoin Miners
Le Roux came to prominence in the Bitcoin world after his name was referenced in the court case of one-time Satoshi Nakamoto candidate Craig Wright, after which his history as a coder, creator of the E4M encryption software, and libertarian advocate was unveiled. The Zimbabwean, who some believe was behind a 2002 internet post that envisioned a deflationary and divisible form of currency free from government and bank influence, turned state’s witness and worked with US authorities in a seven-year sting operation to bring down Le Roux’s accomplices.
Le Roux wrote a letter to sentencing judge Ronnie Abrams to plead for clemency, apologizing for his actions and stating his plans for life on the outside, which primarily involved starting a business “selling and hosting bitcoin miners”. These miners, he claimed, would use a custom chip design that would mine Bitcoin “at an order of magnitude faster” than those currently available.
Celebrating Bitcoin’s Birthday From Behind Bars
Much of the evidence supporting Le Roux’s claim to have created Bitcoin is circumstantial and has huge gaps, to the point where Wired writer Evan Ratliff has dismissed the idea:
In 2019 I examined the argument for Le Roux as Satoshi and found that while his biography made him a compelling possibility, there was no direct evidence to substantiate it.
If Le Roux did in fact invent Bitcoin, having ‘enjoyed’ the 10th anniversary of his work under the watchful eye of the Drug Enforcement Agency, he will likely see its quarter century inside an American or Philippine prison cell, where he is wanted for murder.