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Australian man could be Bitcoin founder

Journalists and Bitcoin enthusiasts have long tried to establish its founder.

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Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym for the creator

One of the great mysteries of the digital age, the identification of the creator of controversial virtual currency Bitcoin, may have finally been answered.

Craig Wright, an Australian IT consultant, has been named by Wired and Gizmodo, two online tech blogs, as the most likely creator of the currency following a raid on his house in Sydney on tax-related matters.

Allegedly, emails and documents – which have so far not been verified – point to Wright as the creator of Bitcoin and that Satoshi Nakamoto, the supposed inventor of the virtual currency, was his pseudonym.

Australian police searched his home and office on Wednesday, though they insisted it was not relating to any involvement in Bitcoin.

It is thought currency’s founder, be it Wright or someone else,  holds around 1mln bitcoins, currently worth around US$400mln at today’s exchange rate, but has never made a transaction.

Journalists and Bitcoin enthusiasts have long tried to establish its founder.

Previous investigations into the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto have been attempted by the New Yorker, Fast Company and Newsweek.

The New Yorker suggested he was Michael Clear, a student in cryptography at Trinity College in Dublin.

Meanwhile, Fast Company's investigation brought up circumstantial evidence showing similarities between a patent application filed by Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry on 15 August 2008, and the bitcoin.org domain name that was registered just 72 hours later.

Last year, Newsweek claimed Satoshi Nakamoto was a 64-year-old Japanese-American living near Los Angeles, though he has also denied this.

Created in 2008, Bitcoin is a network that enables a payment system of completely digital money.

The currency can be bought from specialist exchanges, with all transactions placed on a public ledger known as a block chain.

Earlier this year there was said to be around US$7bn-worth of the virtual currency in circulation, a total that is rising rapidly.

Controversy has surrounded the virtual currency almost from the start as it has been used for criminal activity, including on the infamous black market site Silk Road.

Bitcoins make the ideal untraceable currency for illegal trade, as a criminal can purchase anything without giving a single personal detail about themselves.

There are around 40 Bitcoin transactions per minute, 57,600 per day, at an average value of US$2,000.

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