Link between 'Satoshi' bitcoin account and the Silk Road dissolves

Israeli researchers defend their paper, while the real account holder blamed sloppy research

By , IDG News Service |  On-demand Software

A research paper speculating Bitcoin's creator may have transferred US$60,000 to the Silk Road marketplace has been dispelled, as the account holder in question came forward on Tuesday, denying he is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto.

Dustin Trammell, a security researcher who is CEO of the vulnerability marketplace ExploitHub, wrote in a blog post that the Israeli researchers failed in their analysis, which was subject to blistering criticism from the bitcoin community.

"I hope this puts to rest any further speculation regarding whether or not I am Satoshi Nakamoto and whether or not I have had any involvement with the Silk Road," Trammell wrote. "I am not and have not."

The paper was written by Adi Shamir and Dorit Ron of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Shamir is a noted cryptographer credited with co-creating the RSA encryption algorithm, which is widely used to protect corporate data.

In an email to IDG News Service, Shamir defended their work, writing that "we were extremely careful in our choice of words and repeatedly stressed that we have no proof."

In four paragraphs at the end of their 13-page paper, Shamir and Ron described a 1,000-bitcoin transaction, worth around $60,000 at the time, sent in March. It came from a bitcoin account established just a week after the system launched in 2009, a so-called "founder" account.

Many of the early bitcoin accounts are believed to be controlled by the person who supposedly created Bitcoin, who used "Satoshi Nakamoto" as a pseudonym.

Their analysis claimed the virtual currency eventually ended up in another account belonging to DPR, short for "Dread Pirate Roberts," who controlled the Silk Road marketplace. U.S. federal prosecutors allege DPR is 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, who faces murder-for-hire, narcotics trafficking and computer hacking charges.

Trammell wrote that he sent the 1,000 bitcoins to Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, "for trading purposes."

"Mt. Gox should be able to easily confirm that they indeed control this destination address," he wrote.

Although the researchers hedged on the claim, their wording was strong enough to suggest that they might have spotted something stunning.

"The short path we found suggests (but does not prove) the existence of a surprising link between the two mysterious figures of the Bitcoin community, Satoshi Nakamoto and DPR."

The paper touched off a firestorm of criticism on Reddit. By studying Bitcoin's public ledger of transactions, called the "blockchain," commentators quickly cast doubt on it.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

On-demand SoftwareWhite Papers & Webcasts

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question