Craig Wright: Bitcoin truth versus the ‘turd that is fake news’

Dr. Craig Wright has continued to vent at some of the digital asset industry’s bad actors. In his latest blog post, he trained his sights on those peddling misinformation—about Bitcoin’s structure and incentives, digital asset “investments,” and those who use their media platforms to damage his own reputation. Combating fake news, he said “is one of the reasons I invented Bitcoin.”

Dr. Wright named several well-known identities in the Bitcoin and digital asset space, including John McAfee, Ira Kleiman, Peter McCormack, and Greg Maxwell. These people, he said (some of whom are engaged in ongoing disputes with Wright) have used online media and their own platforms to spread false information by citing each other’s words and creating a self-feeding cycle of confusion for the public.

Forbes and YouTube ‘Flim-Flam’

The post begins with a look at Forbes and other famous-name online media outlets that publish unpaid “contributor” articles. These articles, Dr. Wright said, are not properly vetted for accuracy and exist only to drive eyeballs and clicks to site ads. Destroying the internet’s ad-based model, he added, is one of the reasons he invented Bitcoin.

The fact is, such burnishing of the truth does nothing to create integrity in journalism. It is merely adding a gloss to a turd that is fake news.

Access to brand-name media through “contributions” (sometimes unpaid) has allowed both unqualified and outright deceptive individuals to publish investment advice with a veneer of legitimacy. YouTube, he said, has also been an open platform for those promoting digital asset “pump and dumps”—including BTC. He called technical analysis trading YouTube channels “unscientific flimflam” that forever promise big price gains, while their hosts often make the opposite moves they advise their viewers to make.

Wright noted that, even though Google has recently taken stricter action against content it regards as misinformation, Forbes and other contributors continue their free run with digital currency investment promotion.

(We should note that Google’s censorship dragnet has also ensnared several legitimately informative content producers, such as the BSV Channel.)

Some examples: misinformation about Bitcoin

Price isn’t the only topic the fake news media promotes. The nature of Bitcoin itself is often misrepresented, which either demonizes truth-tellers or deflects criticism away from guilty parties.

Dr. Wright gave the example of Bitcoin “transaction malleability” being responsible for the loss of 850,000 BTC from the Mt. Gox exchange in the years leading up to its 2014 collapse. Even though that myth was debunked at its outset, the phrase continues to appear. Most serious investigators believe the Mt. Gox debacle was caused by embezzlement and theft by those with inside knowledge, not a technical issue with Bitcoin.

The structure of Bitcoin’s own network is misunderstood (accidentally or deliberately) due to phrases like “mesh network” and “relay nodes”—neither of which are relevant to the way Bitcoin should function, he added. Believing they are true, or somehow important, creates incorrect impressions about what Bitcoin is for and makes networks like BTC less secure.

Misinformation about Dr. Craig Wright

Given Dr. Wright’s outspoken nature, knowledge of Bitcoin and willingness to challenge some of BTC’s biggest proponents, it’s natural they see him as a threat to their interests. Efforts to smear his character began from the instant he was outed as Satoshi Nakamoto in late 2015, but have ramped up since he took back control of the Bitcoin project with BSV.

Wright gave a few examples: Ira Kleiman and his lawsuit claiming ownership of early Bitcoins; Peter McCormack’s claims that Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, and Greg Maxwell’s more technical takes against Wright and on Bitcoin history.

Easily debunked

Though Kleiman’s lawsuit purportedly concerns ownership of Dr. Wright’s (and/or Satoshi Nakamoto’s) early Bitcoins and company IP, it serves also as a means to generate plenty of headlines and misleading news articles that attack Wright’s reputation. That’s something Kleiman, who “works in the area of search engine optimisation (SEO),” would understand, he wrote.

Misleading reports about Dr. Wright’s past actions resulting from the case have suggested he “fled Australia” for the United Kingdom, has plagiarized research, and is under investigation by the Australian Tax Office’s “criminal investigations unit” (which does not exist).

Like the ATO claim, such myths are easily debunked, but lazy reporters don’t bother to check them and neither do gullible readers. Wright said his U.K. visa showed clear intent to travel there in late 2015. Moreover, the U.K. is hardly a useful destination for anyone trying to escape the law in Australia.

Falsifying documents, he added, has been the domain of his attackers rather than himself. He claimed his own signature was forged multiple times either to make accusations and even to launch the infamous 2015 raid on his property (which coincided with his outing as Satoshi). He called the latter example a case of “swatting”; where bad actors make a false report with the intent to prompt law enforcement action on another individual.

Dr. Wright said Ira Kleiman was perhaps being used by other forces, and was “not smart enough to know when he is being played.”

Plagiarism claims show lack of academic understanding

In another example, Dr. Wright referred to BTC developer and former Blockstream employee Greg Maxwell, who he said publishes articles under his own name and several pseudonyms. Maxwell has long been a Wright adversary with antagonism between the two preceding Bitcoin by years.

Maxwell has in the past accused Wright of plagiarizing research, particularly in a recent “hit piece” article that referenced Wright’s legal cases against both Kleiman and McCormack.

The article concerned mathematical concepts like random forests and decisions, which the article suggested Wright had plagiarized a medical paper whose data was incorporated into a training and example package that researcher John Maindonald created. Maindonald used the original paper to create a CRAN R statistical package, while Wright did not use the original paper and instead took his graph from the courseware. Wright said Maxwell’s lack of academic experience and training had caused him to misunderstand the nature of references in his patent applications, he said. Speaking to CoinGeek, Dr. Wright said:

John is one of the authors of the original R package and incorporated much of the original statistical work into common packages people have now. This included the particular piece of data that that image came from. Ironically, I’ll probably not terribly ironically I don’t think Greg Maxwell has a clue when it comes to academic work, it is referenced. When you’re referencing academically, you don’t actually put different papers if it’s not from a different paper. This particular diagram comes from statistical notes and processes and courseware developed by John Maindonald.

“You see they don’t care about investigating truth. The fact that I’ve actually referenced a document by saying it’s notes from the forthcoming publication does not mean it’s not referenced, it is referenced as part of a statistical software package and it is the image derived from that. Then, if Mr Greg Maxwell had done any statistical training using the CRAN R package before going into calling himself paintedfrog, he would have probably recognised the source, it is a very common one that is used in many statistical programming training courses around the world. Dr Maindonald was one of the original authors of the CRAN R  statistical package and I learnt from him before this was popular or well-known.”

All these accusations, and misinformation about Bitcoin, echo through online media and causes both accidental confusion and deliberate damage. Dr. Wright said reporters hadn’t bothered to investigate their own stories thoroughly, and his own critics chose to “attack the man” rather than address them as technical debates.

What they and other detractors failed to understand, he said, is that he personally has plenty of patience to wait for real facts to emerge—something he attributed to his Asperger’s spectrum condition.

Other people may stop, I dig in deeper. I bide my time.

It sounds like it is going to be a rocky road on the horizon for Wright’s distractors.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.