It started with a claim.
We know it well—Craig Wright has said he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the author of the famous 2008 bitcoin white paper, the catalyst for all the crypto riches and blockchain hype that came after. Many have disputed this claim, but lately, one particular person has come under fire from Wright and his former colleague and fellow Bitcoin SV supporter, Calvin Ayre, for spreading what Wright’s lawyer asserts is “libel.”
That person’s true identity remains unknown, but on Twitter, they go by @hodlonaut. Hodlonaut created the Lightning Torch, a Lightning Network experiment that people passed around on Twitter, adding 10,000 satoshis (currently worth about 50 cents) at a time to accumulate a store of bitcoin. The Torch (and therefore the bitcoin) ultimately went to the charitable organization Bitcoin Venezuela, which provides food to Venezuelans in a variety of special-care facilities.
If you’ve been on Crypto Twitter lately, you’ve likely seen the name “Hodlonaut” popping up everywhere. That’s because a number of people have taken on Hodlonaut’s identity on the platform in a show of solidarity, after Wright offered up a $5,000 bounty (in Bitcoin SV) for whomever could locate Hodlonaut and prove their identity. People have already been publicly attempting to identify Hodlonaut, posting information they believe could help pinpoint their location. One even posted photos of a man they think could be Hodlonaut on Twitter.
Hodlonaut has left Twitter and other social platforms as a result of these attempts to locate and identify them. Here’s what you need to know about the situation so far.
What did Hodlonaut do that drew so much ire from Wright?
While many have disagreed with Wright’s claims that he is Satoshi, Hodlonaut was reportedly instrumental in starting the hashtag #CraigWrightIsAFraud. The Hodlonaut Twitter account also posted tweets, now deleted, that questioned Wright’s mental stability and called him a “scammer.”
What was Wright’s response?
Wright threatened to sue Hodlonaut for defamation and libel, according to Bitcoin Magazine. The publication viewed a letter written by Wright’s lawyer asking that Hodlonaut tweet an apology for what he’s posted about Wright on Twitter. The lawyer also demanded that Hodlonaut delete certain tweets about Wright. As mentioned, Hodlonaut has already deleted those tweets, as well as their Twitter account.
Hodlonaut has not posted a public apology, and the lawyer’s letter states that Wright will file for legal proceedings from his home in the U.K. if the letter’s demands aren’t met. This is a problem for Wright because he does not know Hodlonaut’s identity. He only seems to know, according to his lawyer’s letter, that Hodlonaut lives in Norway.
CoinGeek, a cryptocurrency site owned and founded by Ayre, reported that Wright is now offering a $5,000 bounty in Bitcoin SV. The CoinGeek post names some possible distinguishing features of Hodlonaut and goes on to suggest that Wright is indeed Satoshi, referring to “when two technology magazines involuntarily outed him as Satoshi in 2015.”
With this bounty, people have suggested that Wright is essentially attempting to dox Hodlonaut. Since Wright presumably has very little personal information about Hodlonaut, he—with the help of CoinGeek’s article—is trying to aid and incentivize others to provide more information about the Lightning Torch creator.
Ayre’s PR representative sent us a statement from Ayre, in which he calls Hodlonaut’s past tweets about Wright “illegal trolling” and says that what he is doing “is not doxing.”
“Unlike many people I have nearly 20 years’ experience of being trolled from forums to Twitter so I am simply better equipped than most to fight back,” Ayre writes. (Ayre recently faced backlash on Twitter for posting multiple pictures of him with women who appeared to be very young.)
How have people responded to the situation?
Some have already attempted to track down Hodlonaut and have posted their efforts on Twitter, even collaborating with other users. One Twitter user posted multiple images of a man sitting in a crowd and wrote, “This is Hodlonaut.” However, an informed anonymous source tells BREAKERMAG that this person is not Hodlonaut.
Many on Twitter have rallied to show support for the anonymous individual. In an “I am Spartacus” move, multiple people changed their Twitter handles and avatars to resemble Hodlonaut’s. A Twitter user called @CryptoScamHub posted a mosaic of “every single [Lightning Torch] bearer” in the image of Hodlonaut’s former cat astronaut avatar on Twitter, to which Stacy Herbert, cohost of “Keiser Report” and CEO of Heisenberg Capital replied, “How can we buy this as a poster? Or other artwork???”
Now, @CryptoScamHub has brought up the possibility of selling the art in an effort to benefit either Hodlonaut (by contributing to their potential legal fees if Wright moves forward with his lawsuit) or Bitcoin Venezuela, the recipient of the proceeds from the Lightning Torch.
Hodlonaut isn’t the only subject of Wright’s complaints. Podcaster Peter McCormack posted a letter from Wright’s lawyer this morning.
Update: Cofounder and CEO of Lightning Labs Elizabeth Stark announced a crowdfunding campaign around 12 p.m. EST on Friday to help pay for Hodlonaut’s legal fees should Wright pursue legal action. As of this writing, contributors have raised more than $3,000 of the $20,000 fundraising goal. Whatever Hodlonaut doesn’t need will go to Bitcoin Venezuela, according to the fundraising page.