Update: Since this was published, Dorian S Nakamoto has given an interview denying his involvement in Bitcoin, and it appears that the real founder of Bitcoin has posted on a a long-dormant account to say: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto“.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, has reportedly been discovered living in California by an investigative reporter from Newsweek, who tracked him down by screening everyone with that name to see if anyone matched the profile put together from the scant information on the Bitcoin founder.
Leah McGrath Goodman, Finance Editor at Newsweek, appears to have struck gold by assuming that Satoshi Nakamoto was not a pseudonym. The 63-year old engineer was born in Japan and moved to the US with his mother when he was 10. In 1973, after graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a degreee in Physics, he changed his name from Satoshi Nakamoto to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, which he signs as Dorian S Nakamoto.
Goodman has spoken to many of Nakamoto’s family and associates, who describe him as “brilliant” and “private”. But such is his privacy that none of them can confirm whether he is the founder of Bitcoin. Goodman however, says that he tacitly admitted it in an encounter outside his house, after he had called the police to ask her to leave.
“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.”
The “other people” include the Bitcoin Foundation’s Chief Scientist, Gavin Andresen, who spoke freely with Goodman, saying that he had never dealt with Nakamoto except via email and messaging, although Nakamoto had broken off contact four years ago.
Nakamoto’s desire to remain out of sight may relate to a distrust of political and financial instutions. Newsweek reports that his home was foreclosed in the 1990s. His daughter describes him as a libertarian who is “very wary of government interference in general”.
“When I was little, there was a game we used to play. He would say, ‘Pretend the government agencies are coming after you.’ And I would hide in the closet.”
His paranoia might have its roots in experience. Not only is he a naturalised immigrant, it’s reported that he worked on classified military engineering projects at different times in his career.
The Newsweek article paints a picture of a simple but brilliant man, motivated by politics rather than profit, who has carefully guarded his privacy. His Bitcoin wealth is equivalent to several hundred million dollars. However, he has never cashed any of it in, probably because it would have led to him being identified.
Commenters on the Newsweek page appear to be overwhelmingly critical of the magazine’s actions in exposing Nakamoto.
Not only did you out someone who just wanted to be left alone, you published photos of him and his house, as well as the location of it.
Shameful and despicable, I guess all you were really thinking about adding ‘Found Satoshi Nakamoto’ to your resume right?