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Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto Denies Being Bitcoin Creator

Max ‘Beast from the East’ Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope.

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The quiet Japanese-American man says he never admitted creating the virtual currency

Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, the 64-year old man from California who allegedly created the Bitcoin peer-to-peer protocol, has denied any involvement with the cryptography project.

Nakamoto was named as the secretive ‘father’ of the virtual currency by US publication Newsweek, which revealed his identity and his address, drawing the attention of the wider media, which has sought him out at his home.

Reuters reports that at first, he refused to engage the press, but after several hours under siege, Nakamoto finally left the house and asked if any of the journalists wanted to buy him lunch. An Associated Press reporter agreed, and received exclusive access to a former software engineer who claims he first heard of bitcoin a few weeks ago.

The search continues

The Bitcoin protocol was originally introduced on 3 January 2009 by a developer known only as ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, which most conspiracy theorists took for a pseudonym. Over the years, there have been countless attempts to track down ‘Satoshi’, with different sources claiming he was an academic, a visionary teenage hacker from Japan, or an invention of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Bitcoin (c) Julia Zakharova, Shutterstock 2014However, Newsweek described this  Satoshi as a quiet model train enthusiast who created Bitcoin for political reasons, and had never been interested in wealth. The article pointed at circumstantial evidence – such as Dorian’s classified work for the US military, his obsession with privacy and considerable maths prowess.

Nakamoto told the Associated Press that the report was fairly accurate in the description of his biography, but that it didn’t prove he was the ‘real’ Satoshi Nakamoto. “I got nothing to do with it,” he said, repeatedly.

According to Nakamoto, the author of the article simply misunderstood his brief statement. When he said “I am no longer involved in it and I cannot discuss it,” he was simply referring to his engineering work, some of which was still classified. Nakamoto also mispronounced the name of the currency as “bitcom” several times.

Newsweek journalist Leah McGrath Goodman told AP she was standing by the story, and that her conversation with Nakamoto wasn’t taken out of context.

The article in Newsweek, which has just re-launched its print edition, was widely criticised for posting a picture of Nakamoto and revealing his address. Personal details of McGrath Goodman have since appeared on Pastebin, including everything from her birthday and current address to a list of possible relatives and the model of her smartphone.

Gavin Andersen, the chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-developer of the open source protocol who was quoted extensively in the article later said he regretted talking to the journalist.

Meanwhile, the author of the original Bitcoin v0.1 proposal on P2P Foundation forums who had used the ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ name to post it in 2009, has come online for the first time in five years, in this very old thread, to utter just one sentence: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto”.

The fate of $400 million worth of bitcoins thought to be held by their inventor is still unknown.

This is the second news story to shake the world of Bitcoin in less than a week. Last weekend Mt Gox, once the most popular virtual currency exchange in the world, announced bankruptcy after losing at least $500 million worth of bitcoins.

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