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Enigmatic Bitcoin creator Nakamoto found: Newsweek

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After years of speculation, the true identity of "Satoshi Nakamoto," the mysterious person or group behind the Bitcoin revolution, appeared to have been revealed by Newsweek on Thursday.

It turns out it is a Japanese-American model train enthusiast whose name is, indeed, Satoshi Nakamoto.

A reporter tracked down the 64-year-old, a physicist, living under the name Dorian S. Nakamoto in a modest two-story house in suburban Los Angeles.

Nakamoto did not admit to being behind the phenomenon that, since its 2009 launch, has been hailed as a financial revolution despite scandals over its use in the drugs trade and money-laundering.

And he called the police when the magazine's reporter knocked on his door.

But Newsweek said the man, whose quiet career involved classified work as a systems engineer for the US government and government contractors, initially tacitly acknowledged his role in creating the crypto-currency that has rocked the banking world.

"I am no longer involved in that, and I cannot discuss it," he said. "It's been turned over to other people."

Later Thursday, Nakamoto told reporters camped outside his house: "I'm not involved in Bitcoin."

The Bitcoin Foundation, which supports the development of the currency, would not confirm Newsweek's story.

"We have seen zero conclusive evidence that the identified person is the designer of Bitcoin. Those closest to the Bitcoin project, the informal team of core developers, have always been unaware of Nakamoto's true identity, as Nakamoto communicated purely through electronic means," it said.

Newsweek however laid out a strong story, in a scoop meant to relaunch its first print issue after publishing online for two years.

It said Nakamoto was born in Japan in 1949 and immigrated to the United States 10 years later.

He studied physics at California State Polytechnic University and worked for a number of companies, but has apparently not held a steady job since 2002.

A couple checks a Bitcoin dispensing machine at a shopping mall in Singapore.
A couple checks a Bitcoin dispensing machine at a shopping mall in Singapore.
Roslan Rahman, AFP

He spends much of his time on his model train hobby and has apparently not tapped the millions of dollars of Bitcoin wealth Newsweek says comes from authoring the computer code behind it.

- A libertarian streak -

His family, including two younger brothers who are also scientists, did not know of his link to Bitcoin.

"He's a brilliant man," his brother Arthur Nakamoto told Newsweek. "He's very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it."

But they described a man with a deep libertarian streak, intensely private and distrustful of the government and banks.

Ilene Mitchell, one of Nakamoto's six children from two marriages, said he taught her while growing up to "not be under the government's thumb."

Nakamoto's 2008 Bitcoin manifesto stressed the need for an online, electronic cash system that did not go through a financial institution, which requires both trust in the institution and payment for its role as an intermediary.

Analysts have called his structure brilliant in the way it issues Bitcoin without a central bank authority, and keeps a cryptographic record of transactions via distributed computing that also protects users' anonymity .

Gavin Andresen, chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he had corresponded online with a man called Satoshi Nakamoto over one year as they refined the Bitcoin code.

But they never spoke on the telephone and Andresen did not learn anything about his personal life.

"He went to great lengths to protect his anonymity," Andresen told the magazine. "All we talked about was code."

The currency's success has made many wealthy.

After trading for cents per Bitcoin for the first two years of its existence, in 2011 it began a frenzied climb that took it to $40 a coin in late 2012 and $1,100 last year, before falling off to the current $650 level.

With the writers of the original code all having been paid in Bitcoin, Newsweek said Nakamoto is now likely worth $400 million.

Newsweek published a picture of Nakamoto and his home and car, a Toyota Corolla, in Temple City, California, east of downtown Los Angeles.

Readers fiercely blasted the author, Leah McGrath Goodman, for revealing the identity and whereabouts of someone who wanted to remain private.

After years of speculation, the true identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the mysterious person or group behind the Bitcoin revolution, appeared to have been revealed by Newsweek on Thursday.

It turns out it is a Japanese-American model train enthusiast whose name is, indeed, Satoshi Nakamoto.

A reporter tracked down the 64-year-old, a physicist, living under the name Dorian S. Nakamoto in a modest two-story house in suburban Los Angeles.

Nakamoto did not admit to being behind the phenomenon that, since its 2009 launch, has been hailed as a financial revolution despite scandals over its use in the drugs trade and money-laundering.

And he called the police when the magazine’s reporter knocked on his door.

But Newsweek said the man, whose quiet career involved classified work as a systems engineer for the US government and government contractors, initially tacitly acknowledged his role in creating the crypto-currency that has rocked the banking world.

“I am no longer involved in that, and I cannot discuss it,” he said. “It’s been turned over to other people.”

Later Thursday, Nakamoto told reporters camped outside his house: “I’m not involved in Bitcoin.”

The Bitcoin Foundation, which supports the development of the currency, would not confirm Newsweek’s story.

“We have seen zero conclusive evidence that the identified person is the designer of Bitcoin. Those closest to the Bitcoin project, the informal team of core developers, have always been unaware of Nakamoto’s true identity, as Nakamoto communicated purely through electronic means,” it said.

Newsweek however laid out a strong story, in a scoop meant to relaunch its first print issue after publishing online for two years.

It said Nakamoto was born in Japan in 1949 and immigrated to the United States 10 years later.

He studied physics at California State Polytechnic University and worked for a number of companies, but has apparently not held a steady job since 2002.

A couple checks a Bitcoin dispensing machine at a shopping mall in Singapore.

A couple checks a Bitcoin dispensing machine at a shopping mall in Singapore.
Roslan Rahman, AFP

He spends much of his time on his model train hobby and has apparently not tapped the millions of dollars of Bitcoin wealth Newsweek says comes from authoring the computer code behind it.

– A libertarian streak –

His family, including two younger brothers who are also scientists, did not know of his link to Bitcoin.

“He’s a brilliant man,” his brother Arthur Nakamoto told Newsweek. “He’s very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it.”

But they described a man with a deep libertarian streak, intensely private and distrustful of the government and banks.

Ilene Mitchell, one of Nakamoto’s six children from two marriages, said he taught her while growing up to “not be under the government’s thumb.”

Nakamoto’s 2008 Bitcoin manifesto stressed the need for an online, electronic cash system that did not go through a financial institution, which requires both trust in the institution and payment for its role as an intermediary.

Analysts have called his structure brilliant in the way it issues Bitcoin without a central bank authority, and keeps a cryptographic record of transactions via distributed computing that also protects users’ anonymity .

Gavin Andresen, chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he had corresponded online with a man called Satoshi Nakamoto over one year as they refined the Bitcoin code.

But they never spoke on the telephone and Andresen did not learn anything about his personal life.

“He went to great lengths to protect his anonymity,” Andresen told the magazine. “All we talked about was code.”

The currency’s success has made many wealthy.

After trading for cents per Bitcoin for the first two years of its existence, in 2011 it began a frenzied climb that took it to $40 a coin in late 2012 and $1,100 last year, before falling off to the current $650 level.

With the writers of the original code all having been paid in Bitcoin, Newsweek said Nakamoto is now likely worth $400 million.

Newsweek published a picture of Nakamoto and his home and car, a Toyota Corolla, in Temple City, California, east of downtown Los Angeles.

Readers fiercely blasted the author, Leah McGrath Goodman, for revealing the identity and whereabouts of someone who wanted to remain private.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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