Nakamoto Says He Never Heard Of Bitcoin Before Newsweek Reporter Contacted His Son 3 Week Ago

Satoshi Nakamoto has denied he is the founder of digital currency Bitcoin (Photo: REUTERS/David McNew)

“In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Dorian S. Nakamoto, 64, said he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago,” reports the AP’s Ryan Nakashima.

This contradicts the Newsweek feature, which was written by reporter Leah McGrath Goodman. Goodman wrote that she had contacted the man behind Bitcoin, the controversial digital crypto-currency spreading across the world. Her investigation led to a Japanese-American father of six who lives in a single-family home in Southern California.

I don’t have any doubt in my mind,” said Goodman when our Rob Wile asked her if she really believed Nakamoto was indeed the founder of Bitcoin.

Immediately, reporters from numerous media outlets tracked down Nakamoto and camped out outside his Temple City home.

Eventually he emerged and agreed to have lunch with an AP reporter, who we now believe was AP’s Ryan Nakashima.

That lunch led to a chase, which was live-tweeted by the reporters. The most surprising tweet probably came from LA Times Deputy Business Editor Joe Bel Bruno: “OK so #nakamoto DENIES being the the creator of #bitcoin. Yes, DENIED.”

The Newsweek Story

Goodman’s story was published at 6:05 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, and it immediately had the entire digital currency world buzzing.

After completing what she said was “a two-month investigation and interviews with those closest to Nakamoto and the developers who worked most frequently with him,” Goodman said “the facts are much stranger than the well-established fiction.”

Indeed.

The name “Satoshi Nakamoto” first appeared on a 2008 paper proposing the digital currency.

Unable to locate that Nakamoto, many of the Bitcoin-watchers proceeded to assume that “Satoshi Nakamoto” was actually a pseudonym.  Goodman actually made a jab at these folks in her story:

…Far from leading to a Tokyo-based whiz kid using the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” as a cipher or pseudonym (a story repeated by everyone from Bitcoin’s rabid fans to The New Yorker), the trail followed by Newsweek led to a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto…

Reporters, including those at Business Insider, were taken aback by how quickly and easily Goodman was able to track down “Nakamoto.” From her story:

…There are several Satoshi Nakamotos living in North America and beyond – both dead and alive – including a Ralph Lauren menswear designer in New York and another who died in Honolulu in 2008, according to the Social Security Index’s Death Master File. There’s even one on LinkedIn who claims to have started Bitcoin and is based in Japan. But none of these profiles seem to fit other known details and few of the leads proved credible. Of course, there is also the chance “Satoshi Nakamoto” is a pseudonym, but that raises the question why someone who wishes to remain anonymous would choose such a distinctive name. It was only while scouring a database that contained the registration cards of naturalized U.S. citizens that a Satoshi Nakamoto turned up whose profile and background offered a potential match. But it was not until after ordering his records from the National Archives and conducting many more interviews that a cohesive picture began to take shape…

“For the past 40 years, Satoshi Nakamoto has not used his birth name in his daily life,” wrote Goodman.

“At the age of 23, after graduating from California State Polytechnic University, he changed his name to “Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto,” according to records filed with the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles in 1973.”

Without making any conclusions about whether Nakamoto was indeed the “Satoshi Nakamoto” behind Bitcoin, there were a lot of details that readers struggled with.

For someone theoretically worth around $400 million, Dorian Nakamoto lived a remarkably modest lifestyle. He drives a silver Toyota Corolla CE and lives in a single-family home in a less-than-glamorous part of Southern California.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just a bit unusual.

If anything, he wasn’t the type of person interested in attracting a whole lot of attention. Even in her story, Goodwin noted that the first thing he did was call the cops when she appeared at his home. From her story:

…It seemed similarly implausible that Nakamoto’s first response to my knocking at his door would be to call the cops. Now face to face, with two police officers as witnesses, Nakamoto’s responses to my questions about Bitcoin were careful but revealing…

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