Is Colin Lambert’s apparent technological illiteracy merely an act to mask his true identity as the genius behind bitcoin? Galen Stops reports.
In the latest twist to an ongoing saga, market sources are now suggesting that Profit & Loss managing editor, Colin Lambert, is in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive creator of the digital currency, bitcoin.
Nakamoto released the first version of the bitcoin software client in 2009, before fading from view and eventually disappearing with the enigmatic message that he or she had “moved onto other things”.
Speculation regarding Nakamoto’s true identity continued for the next five years, becoming more intense as the value of bitcoins started skyrocketing in late 2013.
It seemed that the mystery had finally been solved at the beginning of May when an Australian academic and entrepreneur, Craig Wright, identified himself as Satoshi Nakamoto and offered to provide definitive proof that he invented the cryptocurrency.
However, Wright has since failed to produce the promised public proof and his claims have been largely debunked and dismissed by the bitcoin community.
But just as the world had given up on ever knowing who Nakamoto was, Profit & Loss was contacted by a number of sources claiming to have seen concrete evidence that Lambert is actually the creator of bitcoin.
The fall guy
“That Wright guy was just a patsy,” says one source, who requested to remain anonymous. “I don’t know why Colin decided to make him into a straw man, probably to divert any unwanted attention away from himself, or what dirt he’s got on Wright, but I can tell you that Colin is definitely Satoshi Nakamoto.”
The source claims to have seen Lambert move blocks from the first blockchain of the bitcoin protocol – something that only the creator of the cyrptocurrency could do – at what they described as his “technology lab” in his home in Sydney.
“Has anyone ever been to his house? Have you? Has Julie? Didn’t she think it was strange that the editor of her currency publication was moving from London, the centre of the FX market, to Australia? He needed to get out of sight to finish his work on bitcoin,” the source says.
The source adds: “I mean, look at the timeline. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that the bitcoin protocol appeared the same year that Colin left for Australia?”
A cryptocurrency expert, who again declined to be named because, as they put it, “why on earth would I want my name anywhere near this piece?” corroborated this story.
“Don’t be fooled by his outward demeanour, Colin’s a cryptographic genius. He let it slip to me that he invented bitcoin one night after a few too many beers. In fact, have you ever actually listened to Colin when he’s drunk? He’s not just babbling incoherently, you know. Ok, well sometimes he is just babbling incoherently. But a lot of other times, he’s actually talking about some really advanced cryptographic principles and theories,” the source says.
Why is this person breaking their silence now?
“The cat’s already out of the bag, I’m not the only one who knows and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world puts the pieces together. Besides, people need to know that Satoshi Nakamoto is really Colin Lambert,” the source explains.
Not everyone is convinced by this theory though.
“People are saying that Colin Lambert is the creator of bitcoin?” asks one market source after laughing hysterically for several minutes. “No way I’m buying that, this is a guy who until only a couple of years ago was still using his fingers to make air quotes when he was referring to ‘The Internet’. The other day he asked me if I thought it was amazing that you can send emails from your phone now.”
Similarly, a former employer comments: “I was there when we gave Colin his first laptop and it took him a full 20 minutes to figure out how to turn it on. I’m serious, 20 minutes.”
They add: “I’ve been to the P&L events and seen the man struggle heroically with a powerpoint slideshow. And people are suggesting that this is the guy who invented bitcoin?”
Regardless of its accuracy, the notion that Lambert is actually Nakamoto is gaining traction. Last week a Reddit forum was created proposing this theory and within 24 hours it had over 200 comments from users, some of whom also claimed to have seen evidence that Lambert is indeed the creator of bitcoin.
However, the article mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter, with a spokesperson for Reddit saying that they had experienced some “technical difficulties” with the thread. The spokesperson did not respond to questions about when the thread might be restored to the website.
“I hear that was Colin’s doing,” reveals the head of one bitcoin exchange who saw the online posting, adding: “You have to be very careful when you’re publishing anything with his name attached to it.”
Although Lambert himself couldn’t be reached for comment at the time of going to press, apparently he was off on his annual September jaunt across the world, his colleagues have reported some unusual activity from him lately.
For example, Profit & Loss publisher and editor-in-chief, Julie Ros, admits that she thought it was “a bit odd” when Lambert requested to start receiving his pay in bitcoins in July.
“To be honest, I thought he was just upset after the whole Brexit thing,” she adds.
Meanwhile, staff in the London office say that they have received a number of calls this year from various tax authorities looking for a C. Lambert, who is listed as the head of “PR0F1T + L0$$”, a bitcoin exchange based in the Cayman Islands.
“When we asked him about it, Colin just laughed and assured us that it was friends playing a practical joke on him,” says Michelle Hemstedt, commercial director of Profit & Loss. “He has a slightly strange sense of humour and so it seemed believable at the time.”
With speculation mounting about Lambert’s true role in the creation of bitcoin, it was a hottopic of conversation at this year’s Forex Network Chicago conference.
“Everyone’s heard the rumours, everyone’s talking about it,” says the head of FX at one major bank. “It’s about time someone put Colin in the hot seat on this.”
Until then, market participants will have to decide for themselves if they believe that Profit & Loss’ managing editor is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto.