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Uber TL;DR: Craig Wright, anonymously via a paper relating to the PGP key from December, attempted to smear and discredit members of the Bitcoin development community, accused Bitcoin Core of hijacking Bitcoin by imposing a blocksize limit, attacked small-block supporters, and heavily promoted big blocks. I hypothesize that the on-going blocksize campaign and Craig are highly connected. Scroll down for a non-Uber TL;DR, or just read the whole thing (yes, its long :)).
First, some background. After the December leaks, a paper pertaining to disprove Greg Maxwell's allegations of backdating the PGP key has been released by an unknown (at the time) author, titled "Appeal to authority: A failure of trust".
In the recent Economist article, they mention the following:
As for the backdated keys revealed in the December outing, Mr Wright presents a report by First Response, a computer-forensics firm, which states that these keys could have been generated with an older version of the software in question.
While they do not explicitly state that this is the same paper linked above, what are the odds that two different papers were written to support Craig's version? In all likelihood, Economist refers to the same "Appeal to authority: A failure of trust" paper, mentioning that it was written by a computer forensics firm named First Response.
Now, to the interesting part. Within the paper (supposedly written by an independent third party firm), we have the following text:
Generally, an appeal to authority is fallacious when we cite those who have no special expertise. This is of greater concern when we have an individual believed or purporting to be an expert who abuses trust. Even experts have agendas and the only means to ensure that trust is valid is to hold those experts to a greater level of scrutiny.
That very same text (the bold portion) is also mentioned in that same Economist article, but this time attributed to Craig Wright himself:
In an article in the press kit accompanying the publication of his blog post, he takes aim at Gregory Maxwell, one of the leading bitcoin developers, who first claimed that the cryptographic keys in Mr Wright\'s leaked documents were backdated. “Even experts have agendas,” he writes, “and the only means to ensure that trust is valid is to hold experts to a greater level of scrutiny.”
This could mean one of two things: either that Craig wrote that report (and presented it as-if it was written by an independent third party forensics company), or that The Economist mis-attributed the text to Craig instead of to the First Response report. However, they already refer to this report earlier in the very same article (the first quote on this post) and attribute it to First Response. It is very unlikely that they later in the same article they would mis-attribute this report to Craig. In addition, what does a forensics company has to do with Bitcoin politics? Why would they even mention that subject? And how would they even have the knowledge to do so?
My conclusion is: this report was written by none other than Craig Wright himself, who later used similar phrasing for self-attributed texts in his press kit. He then managed to get First Response to sign-off on that report (or simply just lied about them being involved - would be interesting to try and check that).
Now, to the disturbing part. The author of this paper goes out of his way to attack and discredit Gregory Maxwell, over and over, throughout the entire article. He also repeatedly attacks the Bitcoin Core development community, the Bitcoin governance model, and those advocating for smaller blocks. I would say that 70%-80% of that paper is focused on politics, personal attacks against the Bitcoin technical community and heavy promotion for big blocks (later, in the Economist article, he's also advocating for 340GB blocks), in various phrasing that repeat over and over, with only 20%-30% of it actually being related to the technical questions surrounding the PGP key.
Here are some selected quotes (there are many more!):
We may either conclude that Gregory Maxwell understood what he was asserting and has intentionally misled the community in stating that the PGP keys referenced had been backdated, or that a Bitcoin core developer did not understand the workings of PGP sufficiently.
In addition, a warning is rung regarding the onset of centralised authority in the control of bitcoin that has been achieved through Blocksize restrictions.
There is an inherent warning in the foregoing discussion with regard to the growing power of individuals who may not fully grasp the full potential of the Blockchain but who nevertheless have a disproportionate level of influence.
In limiting the size of the Block, the issue of control and the use of the protocol is centralised to a limited number of developers.
The bitcoin core protocol was never designed to be a single implementation maintain by a small cabal acting to restrain the heretics. In restricting the Blocksize, the end is the creation of a centralised management body.
Several core developers, including Gregory Maxwell have assumed a mantle of control. This is centralisation. It is not companies that we need to ensure do not violate our trust, but individuals.
Gregory Maxwell has been an avid supporter in limiting Blocksize. The arguments as to the technical validity of this change are political and act against the core principles of Bitcoin. The retention of limits on Block size consolidates power into the hands of a few individuals.
The position that has been assumed by those seeking centralisation of Bitcoin for many years is to create an artificial scarcity within Bitcoin associated with the limits on the Blocksize.
Those with power need to be held to a higher standard.
We can clearly assert that the evidence Maxwell has presented to justify his assertions to Motherboard that the PGP keys is false. His motives in this remain a mystery.
This report also uses the strawman logical fallacy, attributing Greg with claims that he never made while avoiding quoting his exact words (instead, optin to quote the press's paraphrase of Greg's words). While Greg says that the algorithms weren't in wide use at the alleged time of the key creation, they repeatedly mis-quote him as claiming that it was impossible to generate such a key at the time. Based on this strawman, they build mountains and hillsides, claiming that they can prove their claim in absolute logical terms ("This is a binary outcome and there cannot be any other result. Either creating the keys was possible, or the evidence reported by Motherboard was unfounded").
That was what Greg actually wrote: "Incidentally; there is now more evidence that it's faked. The PGP key being used was clearly backdated: its metadata contains cipher-suites which were not widely used until later software."
This is what the report claims:
In the logical analysis of evidence, we cannot have contradictions. Where such a contradiction exists, we need to check our premises. In this process that we are exploring together, either we can recreate a similar key along the lines of the one Maxwell has stated could not have existed (WAS NEVER SAID! N.I.) and must have been backdated, or we cannot. If we can create a key using the GnuPG software from 2007 and add the attributes of the disputed keys to a newly created key pair, then Maxwell is wrong. If we cannot complete this process, then he was correct and the keys could have been backdated. This is a binary outcome and there cannot be any other result. Either creating the keys was possible, or the evidence reported by Motherboard was unfounded.
We see here the default hash list of “2.8.3” as Maxwell asserts is the only available choice. (WAS NEVER SAID! N.I.)
The importance of this statement is that Maxwell has firmly asserted that the algorithms, “8,2,9,10,11” have only been added from a later period in 2009 ... We have engaged in this exercise in order to demonstrate that the former statement made by Maxwell is incorrect.
This exercise proves that those algorithms that had been stated to not exist at the time within GnuPG 1.4.7 had indeed been implemented. Maxwell\'s assertion is false.
That report is, of course, total and utter nonsense. The algorithms did exists in PGP (no one claimed otherwise), but there was no ciphersuite that combined them together. It was indeed possible to manually select that ciphersuite, the command to do so would look like that:
setpref SHA256 SHA1 SHA384 SHA512 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES CAST5 ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed
There's no way that anyone would choose these exact algorithms under the exact same order before it was added as the default to PGP. Its important to note that the ciphersuite was chosen by the open source community after much discussions and knowledge acquired over time regarding the algorithms, which showed this combination to be the most secure. Foreseeing that this suite is going to be the state of the art, a few years before the PGP community figured it out, is extremely unlikely.
TL;DR sequence of events
After Greg exposes Craig's bluff regarding the PGP key from December, Craig writes a report that allegedly proves his key wasn't backdated. It is published on late December '15 - Early January '16 (anyone has an exact date?).
That entire article is based on a strawman, and doesn't really prove anything. It shows that it could be technically possible to create such a key at the alleged time, but completely disregards the fact that the likelihood of that happening is near zero.
He released this report anonymously, not attributing it to anyone.
He uses this opportunity to discredit Greg, repeatedly attacking his personal integrity and technical competence. He also attacks Bitcoin Core with claims of an hostile takeover by a "small cabal" that wants to control Bitcoin by restricting the blocksize. He smears the "small blocks camp", while heavily advocating for larger blocks. He does that using personal attacks and severe words pointed at highly respected members of the community. About 70%-80% of the report isn't related to the PGP key at all, but rather to politics and attacks.
In his press kit for the revelation, he attaches this report, this time attributed to a forensics company called First Response. In addition to the report, he attaches more attacks against Greg, which he does attribute to himself. The phrasing of his self-attributed attacks strikes an extraordinary resemblance to the attacks in the report.
Having read this report, I now believe that what we're seeing is another stage of a well orchestrated attack on Bitcoin, whose goal is to discredit reputable members of the Bitcoin community, create factions within the community and to sow distrust among community members.
This attack hasn't started now. The opening shot was the block size campaign, which was designed to spread toxicity and dissent, promote personal attacks against thought leaders and technical experts, and split the community into two opposing camps. The goal is to dissemble the human and social fabric of Bitcoin, to subvert our trust in the cypher-punk "leaders" of the bitcoin space and to create chaos and confusion, in order to prepare the ground for the second stage - an hostile takeover of the Bitcoin protocol development via a person claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto, which will support this new development team and lead people after him.
I don't usually tend to be overly conspirative, but this report is highly disturbing. It has the very clear agenda of attacking Bitcoin Core and the consensus mechanism, while heavily promoting big blocks. We have appealing evidence that it was written by Craig, which also continues his attack as part of his press release. All of that leads me to believe that the blocksize campaign, the non-stop attacks against the Bitcoin development community and opinion leaders, and the Craig revelation as "being Satoshi" are all tightly connected as part of an orchestrated attack.
And all of that follows repeating evidence of ongoing sock-puppets and rating manipulation within our online communities, Sybil attacks on the P2P network to create a false image of Classic support, and DDoS attacks. (interesting to note that voting manipulation was put into use with greater vigor during the Craig revelations, according to /u/theymos - "there's substantial vote manipulation in /r/Bitcoin right now").
I truly believe that this is the real thing. We're witnessing an orchestrated full-scale attack on Bitcoin, by a well-organized entity with significant financial means. Buckle up!submitted by /u/shesek1
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