Dorian Nakamoto Hires Lawyer, Denies Knowledge of Bitcoin

| Published on March 17, 2014 at 11:24 BST

It's hard not to feel sorry for Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, recently 'exposed' by Newsweek as the creator of bitcoin.

Whether or nor he is the genius behind the ubiquitous cryptocurrency, it is obvious that he is a private man who shies away from the intrusion of the public eye.

In the latest chapter of the saga, Nakamoto has said in a statement issued through his recently hired lawyer, LA-based Ethan Kirschner, that he "did not create, invent or otherwise work on bitcoin".

'Unfamiliar' with bitcoin

"I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report," Nakamoto said, adding that:

"I am writing this statement to clear my name."

The statement was initially published by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon on his Twitter feed, and Kirschner has confirmed to TechCrunch that it is genuine. Nakamoto stated that, until February, he had not heard of bitcoin, and it was his son who first told him about the cryptocurrency.

In an interview with Associated Press soon after the Newsweek article, he claimed he "called the technology 'bitcom' [as he was] still unfamiliar with the term".

Hard times

According to the statement, life has not been easy for Nakamoto – an American citizen living in Temple City, California.

Nakamoto has a background in engineering and does "have the ability to program", he said, but he has not been able to find steady work in the field for over 10 years – instead taking assignments as a "labourer, polltaker and substitute teacher".

Apparently, he discontinued his internet service in 2013, "due to severe financial stress". This is all at odds with what you would expect from a man who is said to hold $400m in bitcoins from his early mining efforts.

Furthermore, Nakamoto is trying to recover from prostate surgery undertaken in October 2012 and a stroke he suffered in October 2013, he stated.

Closing the statement, Nakamoto thanked people around the world "who have offered me their support" and asks for his privacy to be respected. "This will be our last public statement on this matter," he says.

What we know about bitcoin's creator

The Bitcoin protocol was published in a paper via the Cryptography Mailing List in November 2008 – with the author named as Satoshi Nakamoto.

The same person then released the first version of the bitcoin software client in 2009, and participated with others on the project via mailing lists, until he finally began to fade from the community toward the end of 2010.

The last anyone heard from him was in the spring of 2011, when he said that he had “moved on to other things”.

Since the Newsweek article, an account supposedly linked to the inventor of bitcoin was used to post to the P2P Foundation's Ning page, stating: "I am not Dorian Nakamoto".

If indeed this anonymous individual is the real creator of bitcoin, the publication of irrefutable evidence to the fact would quickly put the issue to rest, and allow the beleaguered Californian some peace and quiet.

Featured image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

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