Australian Federal Police have raided what witnesses say is the Sydney home of a man named by Wired magazine as the probable creator of cryptocurrency bitcoin. As Ivor Bennett reports, his identity has long been a mystery.
Who is the man behind bitcoin? It's a question that's puzzled the cybersphere ever since the virtual currency was created in 2009. The only lead a mysterious pseudonym: Satoshi Nakamoto. But tech magazine Wired now claims to have solved the riddle. Naming its creator as Australian entrepreneur and academic Craig Steven Wright. Linkedin lists him as the CEO of DeMorgan Limited - which he describes as a company 'focused on alternative currency'. Barely hours after the outing, this happened. A police raid on the house rented by Wright in a leafy suburb of Sydney. A modest property at first glance, but if its occupant is who Wired says he is, then he's believed to be sitting on about 1 million bitcoins. Worth more than 400 million dollars at present exchange rates. Though it's often been linked with allegations of money laundering in the past, the cryptocurrency is gaining traction, says IG's Alastair McCaig. SOUNDBITE (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "As skeptical as many in the city are, over bitcoin and the legitimacy of the template it uses, it has become increasingly commonplace to see many of the retail businesses on a global scene, utilise bitcoin payments. There is a very wide range of some very large companies that accept bitcoin payments." Police have said the raid on Wright's house was about tax and not bitcoin. But the link between the two has provoked considerable debate in Australia. Last year, its tax office ruled that bitcoin should be considered an asset, and not a currency. Meaning it would then be taxed under capital gains rules.