Aussie entrepreneur Craig Wright backed off from his offer to produce more evidence that he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. He's also wiped his website, except for a final, rather ominous message.
The BBC reports that he regards himself as the victim of false allegations after security researchers revealed his earlier "proof" was no such thing.
Craig Wright had pledged to move some of the virtual currency from one of its early address blocks, an act many believe can only be done by the tech's creator.
This would have addressed complaints that earlier evidence he had published online was misleading.
Dr Wright said that he was "sorry".
"I believed that I could put years of anonymity and hiding behind me," he blogged.
"But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot.
"When the rumours began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know now that I am not strong enough for this."
This doesn't prove that he isn't Satoshi. But the evidence being requested would be no big deal were he the real Satoshi, as he claims, and wanted to convince people of it, which he does. It's all very odd. At this point, he looks like Uri Geller smiling helplessly in front of Johnny Carson, explaining that he can't bend the spoons because something bad is in the air.
But that's a bit easy, isn't it? People are going to be talking about hidden agendas as much as simply writing him off: is he deliberately obscuring things? Is he a stalking horse or scapegoat of some kind?
Technically-brilliant people aren't necessarily good at social manipulation (or avoiding being socially manipulated). The old sawhorse is
to say "follow the money". Funny how that's not always an option, especially when the ledgers are immaculate.
The tone of his blog post -- an enigmatic disappearance that leaves the suggestion of his identity unresolved -- is very alarming.