by Nuno Menezes
Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed ‘Satoshi Nakamoto,’ has recently been accused of plagiarism. Apparently, Wright has already tried to steal an identity, this time, he stands accused of taking someone else’s ideas and passing them off as his own.
It all begins with a paper Wright released in July 2017. “The Fallacy of Selfish Mining: A Mathematical Critique” is a paper that Craig Wright published in July 2017 with the intent of showing that there was no need for the proposed changes to bitcoin as it could even be more harmful than constructive.
Bitcoin Unlimited Chief Scientist Calls Out Wright
In this paper, Craig based all his assumptions depending heavily on a theorem of an online gambling system proposed by Wen Liu and Jinting Wang in 2003. The thing is that Craig Wright never mentioned this in his paper. Now, his foremost arch enemy, Bitcoin Unlimited Chief Scientist Peter R. Rizun, found this incongruence and is accusing the self-proclaimed ‘Satoshi’ of plagiarism.
When a scientist is writing a paper, no matter the type of article, he needs to follow specific guidelines. Rizun says that Wright has conveniently overridden these rules to try and cover the alleged plagiarism:
The Craig Wright fraud scandal gets worse and worse the more we dig. He copied Sections 3 (minus 3.1), 4, 5, 6 from Liu & Wang:https://t.co/kLR8TyodIE
— Peter R. Rizun (@PeterRizun) April 10, 2018
From the tweet above, it looks like Wright copied entire equations and sentences from Wen and Wang’s paper. And apparently, this is not the first time that the Bitcoin Cash figurehead has been accused of plagiarism, as Cornell’s computer science Professor, Emin Gun Sirer, already brought the same accusation to the light.
Rizun goes on saying that most of Wright’s paper appears to have been lifted directly from Liu and Wang’s paper. He tries to change some words by using synonyms or omitting them, but the main content just simply stays the same. He also tries to use a different letter to represent a certain integer, but the rest is mainly the same.
When looking through Wright’s Twitter timeline, it is possible to find a few tweets relating to the controversy:
In his defense, Wright tweets that he only produces the drafts and then the publishing is done by a hired company, so this was just a case of a forgotten citation. The problem is that it seems that this is more than a case of a forgotten citation, but rather a whole bunch of them.
Citations are supposed to reinforce an already existing idea and not to be used to be presented has original, and that was what Wright just did. Wright seemingly copied not only a sentence or two, but almost his entire article along with all of the mathematical equations seem to be taken directly from Liu and Wang’s work as well as it is entirely dependent from the arguments laid by Liu and Wang. The formatting is also much alike and uses pretty much the same conditions as well as same places and the same identifiers.
While Wright was able to use 12 more citations during the whole paper, oddly enough, the one that is presented throughout the article is exactly the one he conveniently forgot to mention.
Wright’s work is not valid without the citation, and even if he arguably forgot to mention Liu and Wang’s paper, its influence throughout his work is very questionable. Despite claiming that the paper was only a draft and that he had people taking care of citations and a company running the publication, he should be a lot more careful with his own work, and before publishing the paper, he should go over it one last time. At least, that was what a responsible academic researcher would do.
Wright came into the limelight when he claimed to be the legendary anonymous bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2015. He claimed to show proof but didn’t convince bitcoin experts in the community. After a few skirmishes, he stopped claiming to be the sole designer of this new technology but keeps getting involved in a lot of controversies.