The creator of Bitcoin, formerly identified with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, has revealed his true identity, but crypto-currency experts have cast doubt on his claims.
Australian tech entrepreneur Dr Craig Wright has claimed that he created the Nakamoto pseudonym, which has long been known as the alias for the creator of the internet-based payment system.
Bitcoin is a global, decentralised digital currency introduced in 2009 that uses peer-to-peer technology to enable transactions between users directly without an intermediary.
The system provides anonymity to its users, but has also been criticised for its role in illegal transactions and its wildly fluctuating market value.
Wright claims that he decided to reveal himself as Bitcoin’s creator to stop the spread of ‘misinformation’ about the cryptocurrency and its digital infrastructure Blockchain.
"I firmly believe that Bitcoin and the Blockchain can change the world for the better,” he said.
“I didn't take the decision lightly to make my identity public and I want to be clear that I'm doing this because I care so passionately about my work and also to dispel any negative myths and fears about bitcoin and the Blockchain.
"I cannot allow the misinformation that has been spread to impact the future of Bitcoin and the Blockchain.
“I'm now able to build on what I have previously completed by releasing my research and academic work and help people understand just how powerful this can really be."
Yet many bitcoiners have said Wright has not done enough to definitively prove that he was Nakamoto, who maintained his anonymity throughout his involvement with bitcoin, which he stepped away from in 2011.
Gavin Andresen, who Nakamoto chose to succeed him, published a blog post in which he described meeting Wright last month and said he is ‘convinced beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the Australian is Nakamoto.
Jon Matonis, a founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation who now works as a bitcoin consultant, wrote a blog post on Monday which, like Andresen's, supported Wright's claims.
"According to me, the proof is conclusive and I have no doubt that Craig Steven Wright is the person behind the Bitcoin technology, Nakamoto consensus, and the Satoshi Nakamoto name," Matonis wrote.
"I was the main part of it, other people helped me," said Wright when discussing the origins of Bitcoin with the BBC.
"Some people will believe, some people won't, and to tell you the truth, I don't really care.”
Bitcoin is worth $7bn (£4.8bn) at current levels, it fell more than three per cent on Monday after Wright made his claims to below $440 from around $455, before recovering slightly. Market shocks such as this are common for the volatile currency.
In September, the former head of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was charged with stealing £1.7m of clients' money by Japanese prosecutors.