Video: Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto Denies He's Bitcoin Inventor, Says Newsweek Was Wrong
After Newsweek unmasked a man whose real name is Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto as the elusive 64-year-old inventor of the Bitcoin, a media firestorm ensued. ("Satoshi Nakamoto" is a name connected to Bitcoin that people have long speculated was a pseudonym.) Reporters hounded the man outside of his Temple City, CA home on Thursday and he randomly selected an AP reporter for his only interview—and vehemently denied his involvement with Bitcoin. In fact, he said the Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman was wrong.
(Oh, and there was also a car chase when he left with the AP reporter as other journalists followed them on the road—all the makings for a made-for-TV movie.)
Over a sushi lunch at the AP bureau in downtown L.A., Nakamoto told the reporter in the video: "The main reason I'm here to clear my name that I have nothing to do with Bitcoin, nothing to do with developing. I was just an engineer doing something else."
Although he said Newsweek had some facts right such as quotes about his personal life from his children (by responding with "Oh jeez, that too?") and information about his medical history, Nakamoto claimed Goodman misunderstood him when she quoted him as saying, "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it." He said he was talking about his engineering work, not about Bitcoin.
"It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and [it] looks like I'm not involved now, but that's not what i meant," Nakamoto said. "I want to clarify that."
The story even gets stranger, as Nakamoto says he was working for the government around 2001 when Bitcoin was supposed to be developed. According to the Washington Post, he said he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in 1999, but was laid off after September 11, 2001. He thinks someone just used his name as a fictitious one in connection with the project. As for calling himself "Dorian" instead of "Satoshi," he claims that was to Westernize his name.
When the AP reporter showed Nakamoto a Bitcoin email proposal that was in the Newsweek story, he said it wasn't his email address. "That's not me, I never communicated with Bitcoin," he said.
Nakamoto isn't a native speaker and Gawker showed a side-by-side comparison of two emails—one written by a Satashi Nakamoto in perfect English regarding the Bitcoin proposal dated 2008, and one written in not-so-perfect English on a local issue in his Temple City community. However, we don't know if the Bitcoin email had a proof-reader before it went out.
The Bitcoin Foundation put out a statement on Thursday that they "have seen zero conclusive evidence that the identified person is the designer of Bitcoin."
They added, "Curiosity in Satoshi’s identity is understandable, but please consider responsible disclosure, and the danger such a revelation may generate."
Newsweek stands by its story. Goodman told the AP (via the Washington Post), "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.”
Here is the AP video:
Also, another AP video offering a few more details:
And from yesterday, when journalists were camped outside of Nakamoto's home:
UPDATE 4:00 p.m.: L.A. County Sheriff's Department Captain Mike Parker told the AP he spoke to the two deputies who were at Nakamoto's door when Goodman questioned him. He confirms that the deputies' and Nakamoto's quotes were accurate as reported by Newsweek.
This is an excerpt from the Newsweek piece:
Two police officers from the Temple City, Calif., sheriff's department flank him, looking puzzled. "So, what is it you want to ask this man about?" one of them asks me. "He thinks if he talks to you he's going to get into trouble."
"I don't think he's in any trouble," I say. "I would like to ask him about Bitcoin. This man is Satoshi Nakamoto."
"What?" The police officer balks. "This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he's living a pretty humble life."
However, Joe Bel Bruno of the L.A. Times is skeptical of how familiar the deputies were with Bitcoins:
Update 12:30 p.m.: Newsweek has issued a statement today about the validity of Goodman's article, writing that they stand strongly behind her. However, as The Wire points out, their strong stance wavers a bit when they write: "The facts as reported point toward Mr. Nakamoto’s role in the founding of Bitcoin."
In addition, Reuters questioned how credible Goodman's story is:
Even within Goodman’s piece, then, there are reasons to doubt her thesis. And in the wake of Dorian’s interview with the AP, there are more. His lack of fluency in English is clearly real; he has a credible explanation for the words he said in front of Goodman; and he has a guilelessness to him which would be very hard to fake, especially over the course of many hours with a skeptical reporter.
Newsweek has also touched upon the "criticism of Ms. Goodman’s reporting and ad hominem attacks on her character." She has indeed be criticized greatly on the Internet. Andresen even wrote an open letter to her discussing his "disappointment" with her on Reddit (via Forbes) on Thursday:
And all of your evidence is circumstantial, EXCEPT for the "I'm not involved in that any more" quote, which might simply be an old man saying ANYTHING to get you to go away and leave him alone.
But that's not all. The Daily Dot reported that the Internet community is retaliating against Goodman, by "doxing" out her personal information on 4chan, including info on her family, cell number, and current and former home addresses.