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Satoshi Nakamoto Found? Not So Fast 182

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.

  • 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?

  • 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 the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:15PM (#46428765)

    It's all about truthiness.

  • 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.
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:30PM (#46428899) Homepage Journal

    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: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.

  • 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. []

    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.

    Another FBI example was the Atlanta Olympic bomber suspect Ricard Jewel. FBI got that one wrong as well but plowed ahead anyway.

    There are many more of these example.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • by Aerokii ( 1001189 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:55PM (#46429129)
    Possibly- but the more I think about it, the more I can see why the creator would make such a post if it isn't him. Based on discussions yesterday, there's good reason to believe the creator's sitting on millions upon millions of USD worth of bitcoins. If people were to assume the gentleman "outed" in Newsweek had such funding available to him, that might put him in danger.

    So, rather than put someone in danger who has nothing to do with this situation, the creator makes this post. I think it seems logical, but that's just a theory.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:55PM (#46429131)

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:03PM (#46429185)

    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 Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:07PM (#46429243)
    Because we all know Wikipedia can't be edited by someone with an agenda.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:08PM (#46429251)

    No, that's pseudonymous.

  • 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 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.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351