Much of This Ado is About Nothing
This morning, Leah McGrath Goodman from Newsweek reported that she revealed the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin:
I’d come here to try to find out more aboutNakamoto and his humble life. It seemed ludicrous that the man credited with inventing Bitcoin - the world’s most wildly successful digital currency, with transactions of nearly $500 million a day at its peak - would retreat to Los Angeles’s San Gabriel foothills, hole up in the family home and leave his estimated $400 million of Bitcoin riches untouched. 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.
Tacitly acknowledging his role in the Bitcoin project, he looks down, staring at the pavement and categorically refuses to answer questions.
“I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he says, dismissing all further queries with a swat of his left hand. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Up to this point, I am not truly convinced that he is the Satoshi Nakamoto. If he wants to be anonymous in the first place, why would he be using his real name, and why would he be saying that he is no longer involved in bitcoin? For a man as smart as Nakamoto, he would be very careful not to say that if he wants to stay anonymous. If he wants to come forward, then he would’ve done that a long time ago.
But then how McGrath Goodman got into this point is really interesting, and I think it’s borderline creepy (emphasis mine):
Two weeks before our meeting in Temple City, I struck up an email correspondence with Satoshi Nakamoto, mostly discussing his interest in upgrading and modifying model steam trains with computer-aided design technologies. I obtained Nakamoto’s email through a company he buys model trains from.
So let me get this straight: she got Nakamoto’s email address from a company that he buys model trains from. If I was her, I wouldn’t even mention this fact. Obtaining an email from a mailing list without the subscriber’s concern is just wrong. I don’t think it’s legal for the model train company to give out this information, and I wonder why Newsweek does not prohibit their journalists to get email addresses by soliciting companies for their mailing list.
It gets even creepier. After she sent him the emails, she continues to contact his immediate family members and ask the about Nakamoto’s history. She then found this information that I think is very personal and she have definitely went through a lot to get this:
For the past 40 years, Satoshi Nakamoto has not used his birth name in his daily life. 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.
Descended from Samurai and the son of a Buddhist priest, Nakamoto was born in July 1949 in the city of Beppu, Japan, where he was brought up poor in the Buddhist tradition by his mother, Akiko. In 1959, after a divorce and remarriage, she immigrated to California, taking her three sons with her. Now age 93, she lives with Nakamoto in Temple City.
If you decided to read the whole Newsweek article, you’d also learned that she dig up all of Nakamoto’s work history.
But here’s the interesting thing. Just hours after she published that article, Satoshi Nakamoto posted a comment on the p2p foundation forum right below his original proposal of bitcoin:
I am not Dorian Nakamoto.
Simple and straight. He wants McGrath Goodman to fuck off and leave Dorian Nakamoto alone. He also clearly doesn’t want her or anyone else try to reveal his identity. If he wants to come forward, he’ll do it. If he doesn’t want to come forward, then you are basically trying to reveal the identity of a man who created a digital currency to transact anonymously. You might as well try to play chess with the Deep Blue.
Later, Dorian Nakamoto appeared in a video with AssociatedPress saying that he has nothing to do with bitcoin. I really love his last quote:
Leah wrote all this? Psssh.
It’s clear that he’s really unhappy with what McGrath Goodman did.
Now to put this simply, which one do you believe: a piece of conclusion that is stitched together by a journalist that gets all these information from third party sources and confrontation of the alleged fake Satoshi, or a comment from the man himself made from his account where he posted the original bitcoin paper?
Remember that this man is one of the world’s best cryptographer, if not the best.