the bitcoin bubble

After Newsweek Reveal, Man Insists He Isn’t Bitcoin’s Creator

Nakamoto, surrounded by reporters outside his home on Thursday. Photo: Splash News/Corbis

In the hours after Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto was outed as the creator of Bitcoin, we learned that either Newsweek’s cover story was totally wrong, or the mysterious coder is pretty good at pretending he’s just a random 64-year-old California man being harassed by the media. After he made his way past a throng of reporters outside his Temple City home on Thursday, the press chased Nakamoto and an AP reporter to a sushi restaurant, forcing them to move to the AP office. According to the AP’s report, Nakamoto insists he had nothing to do with the digital currency, and hadn’t even heard of it until his son was contacted by a Newsweek writer three weeks ago. He backed that up by referring to it as “Bitcom” several times during the interview – but of course, that’s exactly what someone pretending they didn’t create Bitcoin would say.

Nakamoto, who was born in Japan, said Newsweek got many of the details about his life right. However, he attributed a key quotation in the story to secrecy surrounding his former work as a defense contractor and his flawed English. This is how Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman describes questioning Nakamoto about Bitcoin at his home (after he called the police):

Tacitly acknowledging his role in the Bitcoin project, he looks down, staring at the pavement and categorically refuses to answer questions.

I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he says, dismissing all further queries with a swat of his left hand. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

He told the AP that McGrath Goodman misunderstood him. “I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it,” he said. “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 added, “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.”

McGrath Goodman told the AP: “I stand completely by my exchange with Mr. Nakamoto. There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation — and his acknowledgment of his involvement in Bitcoin.” (Update: Asked by Gawker if Newsweek stood by Goodman’s story, editor-in-chief Jim Impoco said, “Yes. Standing by our story. Yes.”)

And there’s one more twist in the story: After more than three years of inactivity, there was a post to an online Bitcoin forum from the account believed to belong to the real Satoshi Nakamoto. It read, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”

After Reveal, Man Denies He’s Bitcoin’s Creator