The most recent candidate was Craig Wright, a former Australian academic, who claimed to be the bitcoin inventor. Wright wrote blog posts and gave interviews to Wired, BBC and the Economist in 2015 and 2016 saying he was behind bitcoin.
After failing to provide unquestionable proof, Wright posted an apology message that said: “I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.”
How many people use bitcoin?
There are as many as 5.8 million users that have cryptocurrency wallets, according to research from the University of Cambridge, the majority of whom use bitcoin.
What is it used for?
Bitcoin is has a range of uses, including funding companies, investing cash and transferring money without fees. It is commonly associated with criminal activity such as drug dealing, cyber crime and money laundering, since it can be near-impossible to tie a bitcoin wallet to any one individual.
Bitcoin can be spent online and at select retailers in the UK. They include CEX stores, Dell’s website, Your Sushi restaurants, and some pubs. A full list of online and offline businesses that accept bitcoin is available here. They can also be withdrawn at a couple of dozen bitcoin ATMs, which can be found here.
Others simply hold their bitcoins, hoping they will accumulate in value and prove to be a lucrative investment. Its price is notoriously volatile, and early investors are now sitting on massive gains.
What affects its price?
The price of a bitcoin has jumped up and down since it first entered the mainstream consciousness in 2013. That year prices rose by almost 10,000 per cent before the collapse of Mt Gox, the biggest online bitcoin exchange, sent it crashing.