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Bitcoin

Satoshi Nakamoto Found? Not So Fast 182

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cryptoidentity-crisis dept.
Yesterday, Newsweek outed the creator of Bitcoin. Or did they? An anonymous reader tipped us to news that the account on p2pfoundation that posted the original Bitcoin paper, posted for the first time in five years simply noting "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." And the Satoshi Nakamto Newsweek claims was the creator? In an interview with the AP, he claims to have only learned of Bitcoin recently, and that his comments were taken far out of context. From the article: "He also said a key portion of the piece — where he is quoted telling the reporter on his doorstep before two police officers, 'I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it' — was misunderstood. Nakamoto said he is a native of Beppu, Japan who came to the U.S. as a child in 1959. He speaks both English and Japanese, but his English isn't flawless. ... 'I'm saying I'm no longer in engineering. That's it,' he said of the exchange. '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 said.

Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman, who spent two months researching the story, 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.'"
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Satoshi Nakamoto Found? Not So Fast

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  • by selectspec (74651) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:07PM (#46428695)

    Doesn't matter what is true, its what people believe.

  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:10PM (#46428721)

    Let's have a third discussion on the same thing, and re-hash the same arguments! Excellent.

    Also, editors, "This Day on Slashdot" has been broken for like a week.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So has the HardOCP window, for months.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:39PM (#46428977)
      The real inventor was Keyser Soze!!!

      (Credit: Patent Lover [slashdot.org])
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "The real inventor was Keyser Soze!!!"
        That's the name I use on one of my e-mail accounts, and I can assure you it's not me!

      • John Galt?

        OK this late on Friday I am really not even trying anymore...

        • Who is John Galt?

          Some fucking sad-sack libertarian survivalist hanging out in the woods with his guns.

    • This just in: Satoshi Nakamoto, the famous Japanese man, was recently discovered to have changed his name from Momomoto, and can thus swallow his own nose.

      In other news, Leah McGrath Goodman is actually a cabbage.

      Hail Eris! :)

      • by idontgno (624372)

        This just in: Satoshi Nakamoto, the famous Japanese man, was recently discovered to have changed his name from Momomoto, and can thus swallow his own nose.

        Ridiculous, incredible, too far gone to ever be believed.

        In other news, Leah McGrath Goodman is actually a cabbage.

        OK, this I could believe.

  • If it is the Satoshi Nakamoto, there is a pattern: a complete lack of the understanding of how personal privacy works on the internet.

    1. He uses his own name, or at least a variation on it, when he created bitcoin.
    2. He outs himself assuming he'd still maintain privacy because he's no longer "involved."

    The fact that he's fairly old adds to the evidence. If he were in his mid 20s he'd never have used his real name or outted himself because he'd understand how privacy works (or rather, doesn't work) with respect to the internet.

    • by iluvcapra (782887)
      There's some variation on the "Only old people in Korea..." Slashdot meme in this.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        So you are saying that it makes sense that he is the guy who created bitcoin because he A) doesn't understand how the internet works and B) doesn't understand privacy...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428)

      The original Bitcoin paper claims that the currency described by the protocol is "anonymous" ("Participants can be anonymous") yet it's a protocol where every transaction is logged. Can't get much less anonymous than that. So yeah, while it's unlikely this is the Mr Bitcoin Nakamoto, if it were the lack of understanding of personal privacy would fit in at all levels.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You don't quite understand what "anonymous" means, do you? Every transaction is logged, but what gets logged is only a record of which wallet transferred funds to another wallet. At no point in that chain does it say "squiggleslash gave a bitcoin to Darlene the Hooker for services rendered."

        That is anonymous.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, that's pseudonymous.

          • by osu-neko (2604)

            Understanding of basic vocabulary seems to have gone out the window today.

            anonymous: without a name attached to the work/deed/etc. cf. greek/latin "an-" (without) prefix and "onym" (name)

            pseudonymous: with a false name attached. cf. greek/latin "pseudo-" (false)

            What's being described here is not pseudonymous, unless a note is being attached to each transaction saying "This transaction was made by Mark Twain" (assuming the actual person conducting the transaction isn't actually named Mark Twain).

        • by lgw (121541)

          Right - the protocol only fails for anonymity when someone can log the IP addresses associated with every bitcoin transaction ever, and get the physical address associated with every IP address. So, yeah, here on Earth it's not anonymous, but it looks great on a whiteboard.

          If you keep logs, you out your users when the government gets the logs - that's hardly news. And bitcoin "keeping logs" is fundamental to the protocol. It's still a neat protocol, and it's probably easier to anonymize (or steal) an IP

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's pseudonymous, it's up to you to decide if you want to use that feature or not. So the answer is both, it's anonymous if you take the effort and not anonymous if you don't. That's what "Participants can be anonymous" means.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:49PM (#46429583) Homepage Journal

          I think both you and the sibling poster, quibblings about "pseudonymous" aside, both make the same mistake "Hypothetical Nakamoto" make, namely a failure to understand what privacy means when the Internet gets involved.

          Transactions in Bitcoindom are logged, and effectively logged eternally (how easily this can scale is open to question, Bitcoin's advocates argue the blockchain can be truncated at some point, but it isn't right now and I suspect there's a lot of agreement that will have to go on to make that happen.) The logging is public - anyone can read it. From the Blockchain, you - and everyone else - can determine every single transaction that's affected a specific coin or a specific wallet. To actively isolate transactions from a wallet you'd have to do an enormous amount of work and receive help from a third party that's laundering transactions for so many people it's close to impossible to link them, and, of course, that third party would know what you're up to.

          Does this mean you can tell that "squiggleslash" spent 0.1BTC on coke, hookers, and gambling last week? That depends. Without the laundering service, it's relatively easy to tell that someone who's your customer (or your employee...) did that. And as more and more information leaks from you about you and your wallet, more and more information becomes available as to what you're doing.

          By comparison, whenever Google logs what you're doing, most people here are up in arms. But the funny thing is that Google doesn't publish logs of every single browser's history to the Internet. It keeps that information to itself. So for most of us, Google invading our privacy means a handful of Google employees might be able to do the research.

          The Blockchain, however, is public.

      • by osu-neko (2604)
        By that absurd definition, anonymous posts aren't anonymous because they are posted, anonymous letters aren't anonymous because they're printed, etc. You fundamentally fail at understanding what "anonymous" means if you think being logged makes it not anonymous. What makes anonymous things anonymous is not the fact that they're not recorded, because indeed they all are, and have been for the thousands of years of anonymous writing/deeds/etc. What unites all the things we've described as "anonymous" for m
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        That is absurd. Just because everything is logged does not in any way make it less anonymous.

        Posting as an AC. Now that we've got that behind us, prove to me you know who I am and what my actual Slashdot account is. DICE probably can if they look at the IP logs but can you?

        The only way I would have a lack of understanding is if I signed this post with my name.

        -thegarbz

        • Congratulations. You're the fourth (fifth, if we count hypothetical Nakamoto) person (maybe more, if we assume the moderators currently modding me back down also share the same misconception) who seems to have no understanding of how the Internet works and what the effect is has on privacy.

          You are correct that logging, by itself, makes no difference. But logging is one of the key components of Bitcoin that destroys the ability to be genuinely anonymous on it. For more details, I suggest you read the resp

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            No I'm aware of how it works, you just don't seem to understand what the word anonymous actually means. Here's a hint: stop using the word privacy when talking about anonymity, they are NOT related.

            Please do tell me how posting under a pseudonym with a traceable record on slashdot makes you more anonymous that an entry in a ledger saying *indescipherable text* transfered* 0.05BTC to *indescipherable text*

            The fact that you can track and follow anonymous transactions does not make them any less anonymous. It

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:57PM (#46429141)

      "If he were in his mid 20s he'd never have used his real name or outted himself because he'd understand how privacy works (or rather, doesn't work) with respect to the internet."

      Says the dumbshit who has an email address publicly displayed right next to his username

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If he were in his mid 20s he would have posted the whitepaper on his facebook next to photos of him vomiting copiously, and other such treasures.

    • If he were in his mid 20s he'd never have used his real name or outted himself because he'd understand how privacy works (or rather, doesn't work) with respect to the internet.

      In my mid-40s, and having been active online since my teens, I understand that using a pseudonym is no guarantee of privacy.

    • He would have posted a video of himself creating bitcoin on YouTube instead... we all know that's what 20 year olds do these days when they do something that nobody should know about.
    • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Friday March 07, 2014 @03:31PM (#46429949) Homepage

      If he were in his mid 20s he'd never have used his real name or outted himself because he'd understand how privacy works

      That's the part of this Newsweek story that makes no sense. The Bitcoin Satoshi took his privacy pretty seriously. People have been over and over his public and private communications over a couple years- and gleaned virtually no private information. Nobody could even agree on what country he lived in. And it's not a case where he created the account/identity when he didn't care about privacy and then did the bitcoin thing. That identity shows up on the internet specifically to reveal the bitcoin protocol. It doesn't fit at all that he would use his full first and last birth name as his username. People do weird stuff, and this Dorian guy seems like a fairly odd bird (but aren't all engineers?). It's not impossible, but it just doesn't fit the rest of the story.

  • Sue? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:11PM (#46428729)

    I feel bad for the guy. Even though I'm Canadian, this seems like the kind of thing you should sue over (publishing all your private info on the cover story of newsweek when the entire premise of the article is false). Does he have any grounds to sue Newsweek or the reporter who stalked and exposed him?

    • you probably would have a case if something was intentionally misrepresented by the author(Tailhook), or the fact checking failed upon review due to negligence(stephen glass)...if you truly believe something is true and you can present the case to a judge that the material you gathered pointed to this person being who the evidence says he is. You'd have a difficult position to sue for any damages as a result...a retraction is about all you'd be entitled to.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      An eye for an eye. Publicly post Leah McGrath Goodman's home address, phone number, names of her family and their address, license plate number, etc.

    • Re:Sue? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swb (14022) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:34PM (#46428941)

      I think basically Newsweek would claim "we did all this research and a lot of points to this guy as being the guy. Our news story doesn't say "this guy is the guy, our news story lays out the evidence and says we think this is the guy based on this evidence."

      Fair? Maybe not, but I'm guessing the newspaper's free speech rights cover their ability to investigate and speculate as long as they are clear about the fact that they are indeed speculating. It's a question of ethics and credibility as to whether the evidence is of enough quantity and quality that they should publish a news story speculating.

      • It's easier to understand why people do things when you stand back and look at people's motives and the motives 90%+ of the times are who stands to gain what.

        Newsweek wanted a huge story for their brand new print edition, the journalist was investigating alleged Satoshi for months, bitcoin was the flavour of the week. Of course they were going to run with the story true or false. This story is on the front cover of the print edition. The alleged Satoshi just got used to make Newsweek big, that's what journa

      • It's a question of ethics and credibility...

        "Them I'm still looking for." -- Leah McGrath Goodman

    • Which brings up the question is it slander/libel when the things told about you are not specifically reputation ruining, just generally wrong.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Not without malicious intent.

      • Which brings up the question is it slander/libel when the things told about you are not specifically reputation ruining, just generally wrong.

        If it were, most journalists would be in a world of hurt. If the subject is not harmed and the things told about them are based on good faith and some research, and you are a journalist or person in position of power, any such suit would be rejected.

        This is due to the fact that pretty much all news reporting that goes beyond reporting the bare facts (and even some of that) is generally wrong. News reporting is about telling an interesting story, so the narrative is often "embellished" to make it more int

      • by schnell (163007)

        Which brings up the question is it slander/libel when the things told about you are not specifically reputation ruining, just generally wrong.

        In the US, at least, there are different rules for people based on whether they are "public figures" or not. Libel (for the record, slander applies to something you say; libel applies to something you print) laws generally say that if you are Joe/Jane Average, you can successfully sue someone for saying something wrong about you. If that wrong thing caused you harm, you can win monetary or other damages. If you are someone who is already "in the public eye" then in order to successfully sue for libel you mu

    • by Desler (1608317)

      What private info? Outside of info from his family the rest of the info is in the public record.

    • I have no idea if he could sue or not, but if this indeed the guy, the $400 million worth of bitcoin he's rumored to have could buy all sorts of retribution!
    • by ADRA (37398)

      It has to be false to sue, and even if it was false, the falsehoods have to be presented as a fact (not a supposition) in order to be a successful law suit. All of which would likely cause more headlines before being resolved. Plus, if it was the real whomever/whatever, it is of complete non-starter unless there was actual continual harassment, which doesn't seem to be the case.

  • Who cares... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:12PM (#46428737)
    ... who originated bitcoin? Is this all newsweek can come up with for news nowadays?
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:15PM (#46428771) Homepage Journal

      Nope, their front page also has an article about an app for your phone that provides cookie recipes. Is there no depth their reporters won't provide on an important story?

    • Re:Who cares... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Virtucon (127420) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:47PM (#46429057)

      Considering the news stories lately of MtGox and other exchanges failing or reporting thefts, it's newsworthy. More newsworthy than any Kardashi-West BS that graces the headlines constantly.

      Given that peoples' attention spans are so short, this will blow over for the guy in a couple of weeks and everybody will focus on more important things like the new Cold War and for the EU and Ukraine the Russians will literally make it cold for them.

    • It matters as much as finding out that the person behind Groklaw was Pam Jones. As much as finding out about the life of Howard Hughes when he went into hiding. And as much as finding out who Banksy is.

      It's not at all important, but it is interesting. But unfortunately people's interest is satisfied only at the cost of the privacy of the person who wants to remain hidden.

  • by Kwelstr (114389) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:29PM (#46428893)
    Seriously, this was once a very respected mag that will never publish such trash and make it pass for true journalism just to get page views. Newsweek may be happy with all the attention, but the reporting was amateurish. That's what happens when you cut cost by firing all the carreer pros and get sub par people to do the vetting. I hope they go the way of Time mag sooner rather than later. The poor guy that has only a name to share with the true creator of bitcoin probably will get a lawyer and a big cash settlement. The bitcoin community sees this as a lot of fun after a few weeks of distressing news. Bitcoin as a whole is benefiting from all the publicity. All in all, bad journalism and not a bad week for bitcoin.
    • It makes me think. Are media outlets that are doing stories about bitcoin also trading in them with hopes of inflating the value?

      • by Algae_94 (2017070)

        It makes me think. Are media outlets that are doing stories about bitcoin also trading in them with hopes of inflating the value?

        Of course they are. Don't you know everyone is in some sort of scheme or another. Trust no one.

      • Bloomberg LLC is. They invested in venture company Andreessen-Horowitz, who in turn put $25 million into Coinbase, a company that processes merchant payments in bitcoin and deposits local currency to their bank account. They also have 1 million online wallets and sell bitcoins to individuals. Bloomberg TV does a lot of stories about bitcoin these days.

  • Police interview (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CurryCamel (2265886) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:35PM (#46428945) Journal

    He also said a key portion of the piece - where he is quoted telling the reporter on his doorstep before two police officers

    I know one should not mention the pink elephant in the room, but why did the newsweek reported do the interview with the police present?

  • Two Months? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rabun_bike (905430) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:37PM (#46428953)
    Once people inside the publication or organization get wrapped up in these stories they can no longer think subjectively. They convince themselves they have it right and sometimes they don't but it is hard to convince yourself otherwise.

    Two months is not a huge amount of time to do research for a story that no one else has come close to cracking. Just because the guy's bio sounds plausible doesn't make it so. Heck a few years ago a lawyer in the US was a partial thumbprint match on a bomb that exploded in Madrid. In the end his fingerprint matched the bomb maker's partial print and the FBI had to apologize but not before they put him through the ringer. Everyone was convinced he was the guy. They just couldn't see past the finger print match.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5053... [nbcnews.com]

    Another example is Dan Rather's early career retirement due to back research on then president Bush military service. Dan just couldn't let it go and it ended his career.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush_military_service_controversy

    Another FBI example was the Atlanta Olympic bomber suspect Ricard Jewel. FBI got that one wrong as well but plowed ahead anyway.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Jewell

    There are many more of these example.
  • by SystematicPsycho (456042) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:40PM (#46428985)

    Newsweek is going print, they need a front page story, Mt Gox went bust, another bitcoin exchange boss was found dead, bitcoin was already the flavour of the week. Combine these events, Newsweek going print, lots to write about bitcoin. Now, a journalist along with two forensic analysts were researching the alleged Satoshi for 3+ months, at some point they have to deliver the goods.

    The perfect storm run with the bitcoin story no matter if true or false. Newseek's front page is the bitcoin story.

    Journalistically the story was a success. On moral, humanitarian, investigative, common sense, ethical grounds the story is a massive fail.

    What will be the repercussions? Poor guy was chased and hounded by journalists for having the same name, journalist making appearances like a hero on some shows. Forbes was calling it journalistic brilliance.

    At least retard achieved one thing, the real Satoshi stood up and said it's not me.

  • by bbeesley (2709435) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:41PM (#46429001)
    If I was a genius recluse who had just been outed and was being hounded by the media, the first thing I would do is login to an account I hadn't used in years and say, "it ain't me!"
  • by marciot (598356) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:44PM (#46429027)

    First off, let me say I don't care who Satoshi is and I think everyone should leave this Dorian guy alone, but I don't understand how a denial coming from that account proves anything. If in fact Dorian was BitCoin's creator, wouldn't he try to draw attention away from himself by posting from the original account saying that he wasn't who in fact he is?

    -- Marcio

    • Maybe he felt sorry for the guy after all the real Satoshi isn't a serial killer.

    • Yes, the only thing that post really proves is that Satoshi is alive and paying attention to the news. The only way that account could prove it wasn't Dorian is if someone put Dorian in jail or something (without giving him any advance warning so he can't set up a delayed script) and THEN this post was made.

      Well.. that or the real Satoshi could come forward (assuming it isn't this guy).

    • by azcoyote (1101073)
      True--and, in fact, it makes more sense for someone who really wants to remain anonymous to remain silent and let an imposter be the center of attention. He might have posted to exonerate Dorian because he felt sorry for him, but what does it really matter? It's not like he was under arrest or being investigated by the police. Perhaps he posted to clear Dorian because he didn't like someone else getting credit, even if he won't stand up and take the credit himself. Or maybe Dorian just posted in order to fu
    • by mbkennel (97636)

      If in fact Dorian were Bitcoin's created, he wouldn't have agreed to talk with a reporter from Newsweek.

      Some background on Newsweek. This article is the first for Newsweek's newly relaunched print edition, and the first under it's entirely new owners after bankruptcy.

      a) Motivation for Dorian to out himself, immediately following a high-profile bankruptcy/crash/fraud at an exchange? None whatsoever.
      a) Motivation for newsweek or reporter (reporter jobs are very scarce now) to somehow stretch the truth Putin
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:44PM (#46429033)

    I'd say "Yeah I'm him, give me my $600 million for the Bitcoins I own and I'll tell you my story."

    Which would begin...

    "I was born a poor black child."

    He should play it for all its worth.

    • In that case, I'd say it's clear that he found his 'special purpose!'

    • Actually, I was thinking the opposite:

      If I were NOT him, how could I parlay this into something worth my while? Grant an exclusive interview for $100k stating beforehand that I am NOT him so there are no misconceptions? Pose in Playgirl? What? He might as well try to turn lemons into lemonade...

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I overcame cancer by keeping the dream alive that one day I would win an olympic gold medal in a sport you've never heard of, in a city I've never heard of. When that dream failed to come true (apparently you need athletic talent) I invented bitcoin instead and used my dentist's name on the paper.

  • by morgauxo (974071)

    How does that prove anything?

  • It's all a Jimmy Fallon prank on Leah McGrath Goodman. He's been setting it up for months.
  • Journalism in the US, especially journalism about anything even slightly "technical," is total shit.

  • If they believe that was the real name of bitcoin inventor(s). Of course there are some people in the world with that name unfortunately.
  • If I were organized crime, I would either create exchanges to ponzy people's coins, or else take over the exchanges at gunpoint. I'd also track down the creators and experts, and threaten/browbeat information out of them to break the system. Bit coin is like the keys to Fort Knox given to a couple dozen random people around the world. Hey, just saying.

    Of course after you take your initial cut, you'll find that taking the scheme legit (semi-legit really) is the way to cash in big. In that regard, bitcoin

    • by Agripa (139780)

      Instead of using the exchange to steal the coins of others, I would use it to launder money. Aren't casinos used the same way?

  • '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 said.

    So ... you meant that you are still involved now? I think I see what you're saying, Satoshi/Dorian ...

  • It would be hilarious if Dorian were to be reversing Newsweek's tactics on them. Newsweek - "We have evidence - here, and that's good enough to thrown open the curtain on this guy." Dorian (via credible source of Bitcoin news, which he has control over) - You want evidence? We're the biggest authority on Bitcoin - we know this dude is not the inventor - in fact he was probably using loose language - go ask him again. Dorian to reporters "I was just using loose language, nope, I was talking about general com

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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