New Hal Finney-signed message - is it authentic?
What an odd rabbit hole I didn't ask for...
A few days ago I received a message which I felt was clearly a prank: there is a new signed message by the recipient of the first bitcoin. I get a lot of cranks calling me with ‘discoveries’. But sometimes they’re real: Lil Wayne’s Carter V album appearing in a luxury car auction comes to mind.
But the signed message I posted yesterday is cryptographically authentic. Many have tested it, and you can try it yourself: https://www.bitcoin.com/tools/verify-message/
The only problem is it doesn’t appear authentic. My guess is the consensus response is correct: someone has Hal Finney’s keys and signed this somewhat bizarre message. There are two questions, one more important than the other, but neither particularly breathtaking: 1) Who has Hal Finney’s keys? 2) Why are they doing this?
The important one is the first question. I reached out to Finney’s family to see if there was some chain-of-custody we can follow over Hal’s old key pairs. In the 1% chance they are adamant no one could have these keys other than the family, and the family is not signing weird messages, that would be quite interesting. In the 99% chance the keys have been sold, leaked, hacked, etc., then the message is what it appears to be: authentic from a cryptological perspective, but still some lunatic attempting to lead everyone down a wild goose chase.
I will report back with what I find, but I certainly thought the message was worth passing. It is noteworthy that the private key which received the very first bitcoin did successfully sign this message. Does that make Paul Le Roux, a long-suspected possibility, Satoshi? No, not quite.
That's why timestamps from another, _trusted_ party are important...
Leroux bragged about everything he's ever done to the DEA. Highly unlikely creating bitcoin he would fail to mention.