The man Newsweek named as bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto has denied any involvement with cryptocurrency.
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese-American resident of Los Angeles, found himself thrust into the the limelight just a day ago when Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman claimed the anonymous, or pseudonymous, man who released bitcoin on the world had been found at last.
Newsweek ran the story on the front cover of its newly-relaunched print edition, but after being pursued through the streets of LA by reporters for a day, Nakamoto said: "I got nothing to do with it". Yesterday, Newsweek quoted Dorian Nakamoto as saying: “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.”
This matches closely what the 'real' Satoshi Nakamoto posted on the Bitcoin Talk forum in April 2011, when he claimed not to be involved in the bitcoin project any more and had “moved on to other things”. However, when Dorian went to lunch yesterday with a reporter from the Associated Press, he claimed his comments had been taken out of context:
"I'm saying I'm no longer in engineering. That's it. 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."
"It sounded like I was involved before with bitcoin and looked like I'm not involved now. That's not what I meant. I want to clarify that," he added.
Has the 'real' Satoshi spoken?
Earlier this morning (GMT), the simple denial "I am not Dorian Nakamoto" was posted as a reply on a P2P Foundation discussion thread by user 'Satoshi Nakamoto'. This user's email address supposedly matches that of the original Satoshi Nakamoto.
Dorian's free lunch
Dorian was plagued by reporters yesterday, and when he emerged from his house he selected one reporter to take him for a free lunch and an exclusive interview.
The two drove to a nearby sushi restaurant before driving to the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles, all the time pursued by the media.
Does it even matter?
Whether or not Newsweek's man is indeed bitcoin's creator is unknown and will probably remain so, since he refuses to confess.
Many bitcoin users say the true identity of its creator is not even relevant. The concept of transmitting value via the internet has existed in theory since 1992 at least, when it was first mooted on the Cypherpunks mailing list.
Neal Stephenson wrote about cryptocurrency in detail in his 1999 novel Cryptonomicon. The issue remaining was how to solve what is sometimes called the "Byzantine Generals' Problem", or how to send a message over a link that cannot be trusted. Bitcoin's public ledger, or block chain, solved this. Users cannot spend the same coin twice and all transactions exist in public view to be scrutinized and analyzed by anyone with the time and nerve to do so.
Co-authored by Jon Southurst and Emily Spaven. Featured image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
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