Spice lovers were rewarded in Moroccan style, Resiniferatoxin-filled, Scoville levels of near 15,000,000,000 heat, as 2018 offered one of the hottest years on record for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. And while plenty of projects and personalities warrant mention, only a select few managed to make the CoinSpice list for Spiciest of the Year. Meet Craig S. Wright, Spiciest Person of 2018.
Craig S. Wright is Spiciest Person of the Year for 2018
Australian expat now reportedly a United Kingdom resident, Dr. Craig S. Wright easily beat all comers for Spiciest Person of the Year. Whether it was lectures, tweets, emails, scholarly papers, or YouTube appearances, no one crypto influencer quite brought the spice like Wright.
To those salty at the thought of giving him more exposure, consider the following thought experiment: imagine no contentious hard fork on 15 November of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. His insistence on engaging in a “hash war,” a neologism often credited to Wright’s benefactor, Calvin Ayre, altered the ecosystem landscape multiple ways. Where might BCH be now without expending capital, good will, great people otherwise tied in a pointless battle, one can only wonder.
That alone settles the Spiciest Person of the Year question, warranting at least a couple paragraphs highlighting Wright’s exploits. The ensuing Hash War and its implications have been placed at his feet by many observers keen to insist it was that battle ultimately sending the broader market, already wounded, into a death spiral. The man, it appears, moves markets.
Whatever previous decorum Wright had, 2018 let him loose. Famous for flipping off lecture attendees, he was also fond in 2018 of reminding anyone who would listen about his wealth. He even angrily claimed to be worth more than an African country during a goodwill tour of the continent.
The year started off going to the heart of those claims when a lawsuit suddenly appeared from the estate of a former business partner, David Kleiman. It’s a fascinating look inside what appears to be early doings, machinations around the Bitcoin concept. Kleiman’s family, however, believed Wright to have effectively played on their lack of technical know-how, scraping hundreds of millions in bitcoin value to himself.
Wright appealed to have the suit dismissed, and while he won motions on statutes of limitations, a December rebuke by a judge, on the lawsuit’s merits with regard to standing and the family’s quest for missing bitcoin it believes Wright pocketed, means the case will move forward (at least until early next year when he is expected to file an answer).
Proof of Social Media
Wright has been the subject of much derision in the space over claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator. Those articles are vast, everywhere, and can be easily summoned. But 2018 was the year a great many of those who might have somewhat believed him to be Satoshi finally let go.
One giant crack in the Wright veneer among acolytes came after rumblings about plagiarism reared. He is, he will tell you with a patented (!) punctuated “sorry,” degreed many times over and in a variety of disciplines. His scholarly prowess is something he leans upon, hard.
In typical fashion, he shrugged off the controversy, insisting, “So. You have heard it from the horses mouth, I don’t check all my grammar and citations in my drafts as…When they go to publication they are sent to a professional academic editing company who does this for me. Drafts, are drafts,” he dismissed in April. By Fall, new allegations about lifting entire sections were alleged, and Wright continued to wave them off.
Even prior to the later instances, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin had had quite enough. Buterin isn’t known as a bomb thrower nor particularly confrontational, yet stood during a question and answer period at a well-attended conference to denounce Wright in front of peers and supporters. It was a shot heard ’round the world.
Buterin’s chastisement was met with counters and notable push-back. The technical dispute between Buterin and Wright was clearly over many ordinary mortals’ heads, but more than a few Wright supporters, it seems, began to doubt.
Bitmain’s Jihan Wu took off all the gloves in a leaked private chat, according to translated sources, and delivered a slur commonly used to denigrate the nChain chief scientist. Animosity steadily grew, sides were forming, and once positive to neutral Wright cohorts began to break. Just recently, Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com, suggested he started having doubts about Wright’s competency when he could not, to Ver’s satisfaction, explain the concept of a checksum.
The Year of Craig S. Wright
Wright would ultimately save his spiciest impact for late 2018. The 15 November scheduled BCH upgrade quickly turned into a contentious hard fork, resulting in a chain split. Wright spearheaded the break by nearly all accounts, and in the run-up to the fork, he made claim after claim about vanquishing enemies, hoping aloud to have each jailed, often applauding lifetime sentences such as that of Ross Ulbricht. It was time for the space to adult, he scolded, embrace regulation, and be “government friendly.”
The chain split created Bitcoin SV (BSV), and with it Wright was able to garner cheerleading from rather notorious haters such as Blockstream’s Samson Mow and Tone “Buy the Dip” Vays, not to mention an email exchange from Greg Maxwell offering assistance in the fight against BCH. Developers such as _unwriter and Ryan X. Charles, respected in the BCH community, either enthusiastically or while holding their nose joined Wright’s crusade.
He did manage to have a Chinese textbook reference himself as Bitcoin’s creator, and he even sent an autographed copy of the White Paper to a university archive. Wright ended the year at a London conference, where he revealed plans to have terabyte blocks within two years, miner registration, metanet, and a BSV coin safe enough for government approval. All according to plan. Oh, and he earned CoinSpice.io ‘s Spiciest Person of the Year.
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