Bitcoin SV or BSV is a contentious fork of Bitcoin Cash that occurred in 2018. The claim by the developers was that Bitcoin SV was to fulfil the original vision laid out by Satoshi Nakamoto in his original Bitcoin whitepaper. The main proponent of BSV has been the notorious Craig Wright, you know the guy who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the guy who went on BBC television to prove the authenticity of his claims by signing a transaction using Satoshi’s original bitcoin wallet. Or at least that is al he had to do if he indeed was Satoshi Nakamoto.
To this date, Wright has yet to do the one simple thing that would prove himself as the creator of Bitcoin. Instead he continues to make the claims, open lawsuits against anyone who defames his character and push the BSV asset as the ‘Real Bitcoin’.
So, let us just for a moment forget about Craig Wright and look at BSV itself, is it Satoshi’s Vision? Does it fulfil the vision of the infamous Bitcoin whitepaper?
The very first paragraph of the Satoshi’s infamous white paper states:
A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending.
Bitcoin(BTC) to some degree has failed at this, or at least in its current state. With the bitcoin block size still at 1MB, the number of transactions in each block is limited, so competing for space in each block is high and therefore transaction fees remain high (in excess of $50 in busy periods).
While it is true, Bitcoin is still a perfectly valid form of cash for high priced purchases, its high fees make day-to-day purchases like a cup of tea or even a new phone a poor choice of currency for payment.
Meanwhile, BSV has a 4GB and growing block size limit, meaning each block on the blockchain can be 4GB in size if required. This avoids competition in getting your transaction in the next block and thus avoiding high fees. The average transaction feed on the BSV chain right now is around $0.02.
Transaction speeds however, are the same on both networks with an average confirmation time of 10 minutes. But because of the first point mentioned, you are guaranteed to get your transaction entered in the next block without having to pay an extortionate fee. So while block size is the same for both networks, BSV can guarantee entry into the next block (every ten minutes).
The Coingeek website, which is the media arm of Craig Wrights vision states:
BSV is the only blockchain truly capable of supporting mass adoption as Satoshi intended. With support for truly unbounded scale, versus the hard limit artificially imposed on BTC, this is another area where BSV wins out.
While it is true that BSV is far more scalable than BTC in its current form, it is not true that 1. Satoshi intended mass adoption; he makes no reference to this point in the whitepaper, and, 2. BSV is the only blockchain truly capable of supporting mass adoption.
There are other blockchains out there perfectly capable of mass adoption. Never tried Monero? Or what about DASH?
Finally, BSV does have all the original opcodes still active to integrate smart contracts, unlike BTC.
So technically, on the face of it, BSV wins hands down. It is clearly a faster and cheaper way to transact. But, then again, XRP is brilliant way to transact, it’s cheaper than BSV and much faster than BSV, but I don’t support it or by any means prefer it to BTC.
Who is Craig Wright?
You don’t know? Where have you been…… OK, let me give you a quick catch up summary.
Born October 1970 in Brisbane, Australia. He worked as a part-time academic and researcher at Charles Sturt University, where he was also working on his PhD ‘The quantification of information systems risk’, which he later was awarded in 2017.
Prior to his ‘coming out (as satoshi)’, he had a relatively short career with a multitude of IT companies and even claimed to invent the first online casino. In 2004 he was convicted of contempt of the court and sentenced to 28 days in jail.
Then in 2015, rumours began emerging that Wright was painting himself up as the real satoshi.
Here is a great excerpt from an article in WIRED magazine from back in 2015:
The 44-year-old Australian, Skyping into the D Hotel ballroom’s screen, wore the bitcoin enthusiast’s equivalent of camouflage: a black blazer and a tieless, rumpled shirt, his brown hair neatly parted. His name hadn’t made the conference’s list of “featured speakers.” Even the panel’s moderator, a bitcoin blogger named Michele Seven, seemed concerned the audience wouldn’t know why he was there. Wright had hardly begun to introduce himself as a “former academic who does research that no one ever hears about,” when she interrupted him.
“Hold on a second, who are you?” Seven cut in, laughing. “Are you a computer scientist?”
“I’m a bit of everything,” Wright responded. “I have a master’s in law…a master’s in statistics, a couple doctorates…”
“How did you first learn about bitcoin?” Seven interrupted again, as if still trying to clarify Wright’s significance.
Wright paused for three full seconds. “Um. I’ve been involved with all this for a long time,” he stuttered. “I—try and stay—I keep my head down. Um…” He seemed to suppress a smile. The panel’s moderator moved on.
Wright either is, or was, playing the part of a humble computer scientist who was quietly screaming “I am Satoshi, I am Satoshi!”, while saying nothing of the sort. At the beginning, he spoke and acted with utter caution.
The first evidence we saw which indicated Craig Wright could be the real Satoshi came from some leaked documents from an anonymous source close to Wright. The documents leaked to dark web analyst Gwern Branwen. Here are the major points from the documents which began to raise eyebrows:
- An August 2008 post on Wright’s blog, months before the November 2008 introduction of the bitcoin whitepaper on a cryptography mailing list. It mentions his intention to release a “cryptocurrency paper,” and references “triple entry accounting,” the title of a 2005 paper by financial cryptographer Ian Grigg that outlines several bitcoin-like ideas.
- A post on the same blog from November, 2008. It includes a request that readers who want to get in touch encrypt their messages to him using a PGP public key apparently linked to Satoshi Nakamoto. A PGP key is a unique string of characters that allows a user of that encryption software to receive encrypted messages. This one, when checked against the database of the MIT server where it was stored, is associated with the email address [email protected], an email address very similar to the [email protected] address Nakamoto used to send the whitepaper introducing bitcoin to a cryptography mailing list.
- An archived copy of a now-deleted blog post from Wright dated January 10, 2009, which reads: “The Beta of Bitcoin is live tomorrow. This is decentralized… We try until it works.” (The post was dated January 10, 2009, a day after Bitcoin’s official launch on January 9th of that year. But if Wright, living in Eastern Australia, posted it after midnight his time on the night of the 9th, that would have still been before bitcoin’s launch at 3pm EST on the 9th.) That post was later replaced with the rather cryptic text “Bitcoin – AKA bloody nosey you be…It does always surprise me how at times the best place to hide [is] right in the open.” Sometime after October of this year, it was deleted entirely.
- a leaked message from Wright to his lawyer date June 2008 in which Wright imagines “a P2P distributed ledger”—an apparent reference to bitcoin’s public record of transactions known as the blockchain, long before it was publicly released. The email goes on to reference a paper called “Electronic Cash Without a Trusted Third Party” that Wright expects to release in 2009.
- Another leaked email from Wright to computer forensics analyst David Kleiman, a close friend and confidant, just before bitcoin’s January 2009 launch discusses a paper they’d been working on together. Wright talks about taking a buyout from his job and investing in hundreds of computer processors to “get [his] idea going.
But it gets far more interesting. WIRED reached out to Wright in December of 2015 using an encrypted email suggesting that they knew his secret.
The following are the events that followed:
On December 1st, WIRED sent an encrypted email to Wright suggesting that we knew his secret and asking for a meeting. A few hours later, we received a wary response from the address [email protected], a cyberpunk reference to a rich and powerful corporate dynasty in William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy.
Wright had referenced the same fictional family in the bio of his private twitter profile. The email’s IP showed that it came from an IP address in Panama controlled by Vistomail, the same service that Satoshi Nakamoto had used to send his emails introducing bitcoin and to run Bitcoin.org. “This is a throw away account.
There are ways even with [the anonymity software] Tor, but the people in Panama are exteremly [sic] good and do not violate people’s desired privacy,” the email read. “You are digging, the question is how deep are you?” The message ended, “Regards, the Director of Tessier-Ashpool”
A few hours later, we received another, even more perplexing message from the same account. “The nature of this moniker is selected for a purpose. I now have resources. This makes me a we now. I am still within that early phase of learning just what my capabilities happen to be. So, even now with resources I remain vulnerable,” it read. “You seem to know a few things. More than you should.”
When we responded by describing the three blog posts that showed Wright’s clear connection to bitcoin’s creation and asking again for a meeting, he gave a revealing answer. “Although we all desire some level of credit, I have moved past many of these things,” read his response from the same Tessier-Ashpool account. “Too many already know secrets, the world does not need to know. There are other means to lead change than to be a dictator.”
After our second followup message asking for a chance to talk, Wright responded that he would consider our request. Then he stopped responding altogether.
There are two obvious possibilities here. The first is that Craig Wright is indeed the humble satoshi, his identity leaked by untrusting associates and exposed to the World, or this entire Hollywood style mystery is an elaborate hoax setup by Wright himself to try and make the World believe he is Satoshi.
The big question is, does it matter and whatever the truth is, should it reflect on the validity of BSV?
Fake Satoshi Pushing a Bitcoin Fork ?
If this is the scenario at play, then we should have serious concerns. After all, how can we trust the ultimate intentions for BSV if the central figure who has been pushing the cryptocurrency is an elaborate and cunning fraudster. The depths of deception required to pull off the Satoshi hoax would be the makings of a very damaged and immoral entity, one you really do not want associated with anything you consider to be of value.
Now, I’m not outright pointing the finger and calling Wright out as the fraud, after all, history has taught us that such claims against Wright result in legal action, as popular crypto podcaster Peter McCormack discovered:
Wright is also taking vigorous action for defamation against those who dispute his claim. Judgment in a pre-trial review of one such action, against posts by a podcaster named Peter McCormack, resulted in a 256-paragraph ruling in the Queen’s Bench Division earlier this month. Legal action is understood to be under way against another blogger. – Source
One has to ask oneself though, what type of anti-establishment cypherpunk who claims to have created a monetary alternative to compete with the banking elite uses the legal system to fight petty battles of defamation?
It seems, to me at least, this behavioural response to denialists of his Satoshi’s claims is out of character and if indeed Wright is Satoshi, I find this response disappointing, to say the least.
It is hard to deny that BSV is technically far superior to BTC, but is that enough and does that even make it the ‘real-bitcoin’?
But also, if we are to agree that BSV is at a protocol level far closer to the original Bitcoin Whitepaper than BTC is today, does this make it the real Bitcoin?
Wright is BSVs Greatest Strength and Greatest Weakness
Craig Wright is many things. What these things are I will leave to your imagination and personal opinion, but one thing I will say, is that he is an excellent salesman, he’s obnoxious, arrogant and ruthless. He has cleverly built an entire alternative crypto infrastructure around BSV in an attempt to validate his ‘real bitcoin’ claims.
If you google anything related to Bitcoin SV or Craig Wright you will be offered up articles published on his own media outlet, Coingeek. Delivering a Wright biased narrative on just about everything bitcoin, and Wrights Satoshi claims.
I find Craig Wright a fascinating individual to follow, I wouldn’t want him as a friend and certainly not as an enemy, but fascinating nevertheless.
But, fascinating as he may be, I struggle to jump on the BSV bandwagon. Yes, it’s fast, yes, it’s scalable, yes, it seems far better equipped than BTC to take on the world’s monetary systems, but it also has a frontman. This makes it vulnerable. Not at a technical level, but at a fundamental level.
While Coingeek celebrates BSV price action based on news surrounding Craig Wrights glory of the day, I see this as a weakness. While the protocol is decentralised, the value is very much centralised.
If some smoking gun evidence came out, defying all of Wright’s claims and revealing him as nothing more than a cunning hoaxer, BSV would become worthless. It may rebound in time and eventually find its own place in the crypto space, but I doubt it.
Craig Wright is BSVs greatest asset and greatest weakness.
Based on everything we know about Bitcoin SV, and the mysterious man who claims to be Satoshi backing the asset, I would remain very cautious in investing any significant amount into this crypto.
Craig Wright’s influence over the asset makes it highly unpredictable.
That said, I think anyone with a significant crypto portfolio would be wise to match their BTC holdings with an equal BSV and BCH holding. With the cost of BSV and BCH now so low, insurance against a flippening of Bitcoin with one of its competitors doesn’t break the bank.
If you own 5 BTC, keeping 5 BSV will not do your portfolio any significant harm and eliminates risk ‘if’ Craig Wright’s BSV does eventually win the day.