Australian police raid possible Bitcoin creator’s house

A house owned by Craig Wright, the man who Wired and Gizmodo today reported may be the secretive Satoshi Nakamoto character behind Bitcoin’s creation, has been raided by Australian police. The Guardian reports that more than 10 police personnel arrived at a house owned by Wright in the Sydney suburb of Gordon at around 1.30 PM local time, who set about searching through cupboards and storage areas, clad in white gloves. The raid comes some six hours after reports were published that indicated a connection between Wright, an Australian info-security expert, and the formation of Bitcoin, but Australian police issued a statement that said its “presence at Mr. Wright’s property is not associated with the media reporting overnight about bitcoins.” Rather, the Guardian says, it’s the result of an Australian Tax Office investigation.

The raid is reportedly connected to tax issues

Gizmodo today published a transcript of an interview the Australian Tax Office apparently conducted with Wright in February last year, in which Bitcoin is discussed at length. Wright is quoted as saying “I did my best to try and hide the fact that I’ve been running bitcoin since 2009 but I think it’s getting — most  — most — by the end of this half the world is going to bloody know.” A spokesperson for the Australian Tax Office told the Guardian the body could not confirm the meeting had taken place due to “obligations around confidentiality under the law,” but if the transcript is indeed reflective of reality, Wright could be pointing to his larger role in Bitcoin’s creation, or simply be referring to his private holdings of the cryptocurrency.

Another email identified in Gizmodo‘s investigation — reportedly sent in January 2014 from an address linked to the Satoshi Nakamoto figure, to a lawyer the previous transcript identifies as being used by Wright, and signed “Craig (possibly)” — questions whether the sender should contact the Australian Tax Office about Bitcoin regulation. In December of that year, the governmental body ruled that the cryptocurrency should indeed be subject to capital gains tax.

It’s not yet clear whether Wright actually is Satoshi Nakamoto, or whether the name was even used by a single person, but the mysterious creator of Bitcoin has been historically tricky to pin down in the years since the cryptocurrency blew up. In 2014, Newsweek pinned the blame for Bitcoin on an engineer in California who — despite being named Satoshi Nakamoto at birth — strenuously denied that he had any part in its creation. The report has since been largely discredited.