Another Bitcoin Computer in the Landfill – and More Craig Wright Stories

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The Granath v. Wright trial ended this weekend with a grueling session by KPMG consultants on their forensic analysis of a pile of documents and emails for Magnus Granath’s side.

It was endless discussions about source code, metadata and even more arcane questions. The judge spoke for all of us when she interrupted us at one point to ask, “so what does it feel like meanShe summed up the response as, “There’s something going on, but we don’t know what exactly.”

It was a different world than Craig Wright’s witnesses, who had appeared earlier in the day. They relived bucolic scenes in Australia from Craig’s youth. “We were naughty young boys,” her cousin Max Lynam said. “We were going down to the creek and playing in the mud.” And when they got tired of that, “instead of Lego,” they worked on the Hitachi Peach computer that Max’s dad had just bought.

In college, Craig was even more interested in computers, according to his friend Shoaib Yusuf, now managing partner of the Boston Consulting Group. They loved discussing technology and business, including how credit card companies weren’t suited for the digital world. Craig believed that “we should have a single currency in the digital world that could be accepted globally”.

It was around 2007. Craig had a farm nearby and invited Shoaib over for the weekend. “I had never been to a farm in my life,” he admitted, and he didn’t expect what he found. Craig’s farm was about 500 pounds and incredibly high-tech, even “connected to satellite internet.”

Two other witnesses spoke about Craig’s professional life: Neville Sinclair, who met Craig when they both worked for BDO, the auditors. And David Bridges of Qudos Bank. Between them, they recounted how Craig tried to gain support for his Bitcoin plans, first from BDO and then from contacts he made through BDO.

For all these witnesses, the series of questions ended the same way: what did you learn about Bitcoin from Craig, and what did you think when he was unveiled as Satoshi? If Craig’s team was hoping for a knockout, it never quite happened. The stories were completely compelling and cohesive, but one more step in each would have wrapped it up.

Along with inviting him to his farm, Craig sent Shoaib Yusuf “a lot of stuff” – links, research papers, etc., to follow up on their intellectual discussions. So did he send you the Bitcoin whitepaper? We asked him. Shoaib wasn’t sure: “He may have shared something with me, but I don’t remember.”

Have you discussed Bitcoin with Craig? Neville Sinclair was questioned. Yes, he replied. In fact, in 2011, he even gave me a coin with the Bitcoin symbol on it as a token. He told me Bitcoin “could be worth something down the track”. But Sinclair was never asked if Craig said he made it up.

When did David Bridges first discuss Bitcoin with Craig? Well, he said, it would have been when someone used Bitcoin to buy pizza. “He pulled out his laptop and showed me his digital wallet…showed how it all worked.” But we never found out if Craig talked about his own Bitcoin connection.

Finally, and most intriguing, was Craig’s cousin, Max Lynam. Max and his father, Craig’s uncle, were still into computers when Max was an adult. Max said in late 2008, “Craig had some code he wanted us to test.” Max helped his dad upgrade his computer so he could run Craig’s code 24/7. Craig sent the program and “some updates”, and he was “just sitting there running around on the computer”.

What was this mysterious program? It seems they never asked. But the program ran continuously until the end of 2011. At that time, Max said the global financial crisis hit their business and they had to shut it down. Her dad turned off the computer, threw it in a dumpster, and they moved out.

A few years later, in 2013, Max, his wife and children traveled to Melbourne to meet Craig’s second wife, Ramona, for the first time. Over dinner, Craig asked “if we still had the computer”. When he heard what had happened to him, he said, “You should have kept him; it might have been worth the money.

And that’s when he told them about Bitcoin mining. “We said ‘what does that mean? ““Craig explained that if the value of Bitcoin ever reached $800, he would be a billionaire. He did some math on their computer and the time it had been running and said they would have 6,500 Bitcoins. At the time, Max said, Bitcoin was “still pretty much worth nothing,” and it was “definitely not worth looking for a computer that had been dumped a few years ago.”

It was a sad story, but Max ignored it. And when Craig was unveiled as Satoshi, he was nothing but puzzled: “I don’t know why everyone is so upset that his name is Satoshi – it could be Bob.” Yes, good old Bob Nakamoto. It might have saved a lot of trouble.

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