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Is Paul Le Roux the man behind Satoshi Nakamoto?

By Felix Morrison

The most extreme side of the spectrum believes that: Paul Le Roux and Craig Wright worked together on the creation of Bitcoin.

It is very rare to find a real mystery in modern times and nothing has captivated the public’s imagination more than who is behind the true identity of Satoshi Nakomoto.There have been many theories and candidates but to this day we truly do not know who was the mastermind behind the most famous cryptocurrency in the world.

In this article we will plunge into the rabbit hole that is Paul Le Roux and try to see if there is any real evidence tying him to the creator of Bitcoin. Spoiler Alert : No conclusive proof was found, but a myriad of interesting connections exist. Read on to see where the paths of Satoshi and Paul cross. 

Paul Calder Le Roux Solotshi (yes Solotshi, more on that later) was born in 1972 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and quickly developed an affinity for computers that lead him to be the founder of E4M, Encryption for the Masses, one of the first encryption softwares known to be unbreakable. His life became a colorful patchwork of bold and brave decisions, transforming him into a genius criminal mastermind that forged an empire spreading all around the world. This included online pharmacies distributing drugs in USA, stash houses full of gold bars in Hong Kong, North Korean methamphetamine deals, logging operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo just to name a few. He is now spending his days inside a federal prison in USA working as an informant for the government  in hopes of protection for his family and leniency in his sentence.

Paul Le Roux, E4M and Evan Rattlif’s Investigation

The first real connection ever published between Satoshi Nakamoto and Paul Le Roux was mentioned in Evan Rattlif’s book The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder, Betrayal. Le Roux’s skills in programming, encryption and general activity in cryptography mailing lists suggests that he at least had the basic knowledge and interest to create it. His work in E4M as well as his alleged involvement in Truecrypt, and several posts including an online ‘manifesto’ calling out increasing electronic surveillance from governments, definitely give this theory much more plausible ground.The author also noted many similarities between the way Bitcoin and E4M software was distributed and disseminated online, making the case of Le Roux being a possible candidate even stronger. The fact that Satoshi Nakamoto stopped all communications and Paul Le Roux was arrested in the same year, possibly giving an explanation to the mystery of why there have been no movements in the Satoshi’s wallet, was also hard to overlook.

This theory was left as an afterthought until the name Paul Le Roux appeared in Craig Wright Vs Ira Kleiman court documents as part of a clerical error, where a footnote was left unredacted, showing clearly a mention to Paul Le Roux’s wikipedia page and a news article about him turning into a informant after being apprehended.

Following this discovery, author Evan Rattlif went over all his notes and decided to pursue this path once more. He had Bitcoin core developer, Gregory Maxwell compare the code of Bitcoin and E4M, he analyzed language in forum and mailing list posts, he analyzed possible ties between online casino, gambling sites and multibiollonaire Calvin Ayre as both Craig Wright and Le Roux had worked with them, and he even considered the possibility that his family name Solotshi could be a clue. Unfortunately this produced no satisfactory results and after exhausting every lead and being unable to find any conclusive evidence, the author discarded this hypothesis and moved on.

Craig Wright and the unredacted footnote 

Craig Wright deserves an article on its own, but to make a long story short, a piece in both Wired and Gizmodo outed an IT security specialist hailing from Australia, as the possible creator of Bitcoin in 2015. After first being reluctant to speak in public, Dr. Wright confirmed he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto. He is likely as famous for this claim as for his many failed attempts to be able to prove it. Subsequent investigations and reporting lead to debunking many of his so-called proofs, combined with his personality, demeanor and online remarks he quickly earned the disapproval, if not hatred, of most of the crypto community. 

At the moment he is currently in a heated court battle against the brother of his former associate, Dave Kleiman. The crux of the case is that Craig Wright claims he owns all the Bitcoin they mined together in their joint operation in 2009, the family of Mr. Kleiman, deceased in in 2013, argues that they are entitled to half of the proceeds. The case was filled with multiple attempts by Dr. Wright to drag the court process, including contradictory statements, forged documents, childish outbursts in court and a general unwillingness to provide any real proof to many outlandish claims. As part of his deposition he was asked about certain websites, individuals and encryption software and he agreed to answer them as long as any names were redacted, in order to avoid any possible repercussions from these criminals. Here is where we find the mention to Paul Le Roux, in the now famous unredacted footnote in Document 187. The context is hard to figure out as most of the document is redacted, but we see that Wright was somehow involved in creating a special software used by government sites with ties to criminal and terrorist investigations.

Theories and Conclusions

What we are meant to believe from Craig Wright’s deposition is that he was somehow involved in creating software used by the American government in the operation that led to the incarceration of Paul Le Roux. This would explain also why he would be afraid of any possible repercussions, as some of his associates could put his life in danger. At the same time it is also widely known that, to put it politely, Craig Wright does not always stick to the truth. so we have to take whatever he says with a grain of salt and realize that there is nothing but his word on this whole affair.

At the end of the day there was no conclusive evidence to tie Paul Le Roux, Craig Wright and Satoshi Nakamoto.However this didn’t stop the community to speculate and come with theories on their own. 

The most extreme side of the spectrum believes that: Paul Le Roux and Craig Wright worked together on the creation of Bitcoin, once Le Roux was arrested, Dr. Wright took over and with the help of multi billionaire Calvin Ayre, they are actively trying to break the encryption of the hard drives seized in his capture. The more moderate side believes that Paul Le Roux is just another candidate and there is no real proof that he is the inventor of Bitcoin. Wired’s journalist,  Evan Rattlif, writes in his article Was Bitcoin created by this international drug dealer? Maybe, that he felt that the analysis of core developer, Gregor Maxwell, put the final nail in the coffin, as not only there was no real similarities between the code of E4M and Bitcoin, there was also no connection between Paul Le Roux and any of the only activity of Satoshi Nakamoto, including E-mails, forum posts and mailing lists. 

The need for a perfect narrative is very hard to avoid in this case as Paul Le Roux would indeed be a good candidate, but without any real proof, we can not say one way or the other. Hopefully in the future unsealed documents from both Le Roux’s and Craig Wright’s case will shed some light on the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, or possibly just add more fuel to the burning bright fire of this modern mystery.

LINKS

Was Bitcoin created by this international drug dealer? Maybe – Evan Rattlif

https://www.wired.com/story/was-bitcoin-created-by-this-international-drug-dealer-maybe/

The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder, Betrayal – Evan Rattlif

Motion For Protective Order (Document 187)

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.flsd.521536/gov.uscourts.flsd.521536.187.0.pdf

Paul Le Roux Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Le_Roux

E4M

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E4M

Truecrypt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrueCrypt

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