The man at the centre of a bizarre media storm after Newsweek outed him as the founder of Bitcoin has insisted that it isn't him who done it. Honest, guv.
Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, who changed his name from the simpler 'Satoshi Nakamoto' (the name or pseudonym of the shadowy character who founded the cryptocurrency) in 1973, was revealed in an article published yesterday as the man who started the currency. Nakamoto is a ’64-year-old Japanese-American man’ who has a ‘penchant for collecting model trains and a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the US military’.
In the piece, he is quoted telling journalist Leah McGrath Goodman that ‘I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it.
‘It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.’
Here's where it gets really weird: as the number of journalists hanging around outside his house mounted yesterday (Newsweek helpfully published pictures of the house), Nakamoto apparently went outside, picked a random hack (who turned out to be AP's Ryan Nakashima) and drove him to a local sushi bar, triggering a high-speed car chase through LA. When they got there, Nakamoto he told the journalist the article had got it all wrong: by 'I am no longer involved', he actually meant 'I am no longer involved in engineering'.
'And even if I was, when we get hired, you have to sign this document, contract saying you will not reveal anything we divulge during and after employment. So that's what I implied,' he told Nakashima.
'It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and looked like I'm not involved now. That's not what Imean. I want to clarify that.'
So that's cleared up, then.
The problem is that when Bitcoin was created in 2009, no one really knew much about its creator, other than the fact that he was an advanced physicist, that he frequented online cryptography forums and that he went by the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. So you can understand people's interest.
What's interesting is the Bitcoin community's reaction against the piece. Readers posted dozens of comments slamming Newsweek for divulging information about Nakamoto and his family, including publishing pictures of his home and even his car (complete with number plate). Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin's chief scientist, who was interviewed for the piece, tweeted:
I'm disappointed Newsweek decided to dox the Nakamoto family, and regret talking to Leah.— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) March 6, 2014
Want more? Of course you do. Read the full Newsweek piece - or join in with the backlash against it - here.