I was very curious about the past days' rumors of Paul Calder LeRoux having a chance at being Satoshi and I read Elaine Shannon's book so I figured she'd be the preeminent expert on the subject. I was expecting a short reply (I just used the Contact Me page on her website) and was astounded to get this reply. Thanks again to her for taking the time to write it. It's shared with her permission, and I'll direct her to this thread so maybe she can answer questions if she has time under her own account. I can't wait for the Michael Mann's movie!
My original question was something along the lines of, "Do you think that LeRoux could be Satoshi because of the timelines matching up roughly with the time that Satoshi disappeared and that LeRoux was arrested? Also their backgrounds in cryptography (E4M / Truecrypt / etc.)."
Thank you for writing me. I agree that it's fun to speculate about Paul LeRoux and what a man with his brainpower would make of cryptocurrency, the dark web and all sorts of marriages of technology and crime. But if you’ve read Hunting LeRoux, you know I’ve had extensive and in some cases exclusive access to several people who know Paul LeRoux as well as anyone can. I’ve concentrated on exploring his character, as they observed him at close range. Since that theory came out, I’ve contacted all of them. The unanimous opinion is, no, he’s not Satoshi Nakamoto. As I mentioned on my Twitter feed, he didn’t have the necessary time to spend experimenting with a project whose money-making potential was uncertain at best. in the 1990s, he was hustling hard. He published E4M in 1998, as a means of advertising his skills, but he was also chasing IT jobs on several continents and looking to get married again. From 1999 to 2002, he was working long hours as CTO of SecurStar, a cybersecurity venture set up by Wilfried Hafner, LeRoux’s mentor at the time. Hafner was close to LeRoux but fired him in 2002 when he discovered that LeRoux had pilfered and sold a valuable string of code developed by others in the company to operate security devices called crypto-tokens. After that, LeRoux went off to make his fortune and founded RX Limited as a star-up internet commerce pharmaceutical sales venture in 2004. His sites brought in $300 million in sales between 2007 and 2011, according to a DEA analysis. He never asked for payment in bitcoin or offered to pay for anything in bitcoin, as far as my sources know. He always took payment for pharmaceuticals in the form of credit card charges, usually VISA. He considered setting up his own bank and VISA franchise. For darker deeds, he wanted cash or gold bars. Iran paid him for an explosives formula with $5 million in gold bars.
In 2009, when bitcoin emerged, he was busy launching multiple ventures As I detailed in Hunting LeRoux, among these were small arms sales, trading in hard drugs, trading in smuggled gold, building a submarine, devising a new missile navigation system for Iran and setting up a new base in Somalia, where he intended to make himself into a white warlord, expanding his arms business into an Amazon-for-arms platform with fortified bases, his own militia, barracks, warehouses for arms, an airstrip, a seaport and so on. Significantly, he discovered oil on the land he controlled but declined to drill it, saying it would take too long to turn a profit.
To sum up, several associates say he might have the intellectual skills to participate in the invention of cryptocurrency, but he didn’t have the resolve, patience, passion for that particular kind of secrecy or collaborative bent necessary to pull off such a feat. He was a man in a hurry for guaranteed results, fast, and he dropped a series of ideas that wouldn’t deliver huge returns. He was a loner with no real friends and business partners. There’s a reason he demanded to be called Boss and regularly threatened to kill his senior lieutenants.
Now, however, no one discounts the possibility that he might be thinking of a new way to mine cryptocurrency or game the system. He is in a federal facility, awaiting sentence, and has a lot of time on his hands.
Journalist and author, “Hunting LeRoux,” and other works