In a story published this morning, Newsweek has finally exposed the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Or at least, Newsweek believes that it has.
The story is an odd account of a perhaps over-zealous journalist ambushing a man at his house in California, and proceeding to ask him questions about Bitcoin that he mostly refuses to answer. At no point does this man actually confirm that he is the creator of Bitcoin, and the story’s author doesn’t provide any actual proof to her claim. Only the shared name (most in the Bitcoin community have always assumed that “Satoshi Nakamoto” is a pseudonym) and the fact that this man has apparently done some classified technical work during his career are submitted as evidence that Bitcoin’s creator has been found.
Newsweek went so far as to publish photos of the man and his house in the article—which seems more than a bit irresponsible given that Satoshi allegedly has access to about half a billion dollars worth of bitcoin. That kind of wealth will likely bring him all sorts of attention for the rest of his life, as well as make him a potential target for criminals looking to get their hands on his private keys.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Newsweek finds itself on the receiving end of a good deal of backlash over the story. It’s big on speculation, light on actual facts, and recklessly cavalier toward Nakamoto’s personal privacy.
Edit 6PM: Nakamoto has reportedly officially denied being the creator of Bitcoin. Some folks over in the /r/Bitcoin subreddit have found some of Nakamoto’s Amazon product reviews and compared them to posts written by the real Satoshi—the difference in writing style is quite obvious. It’s looking more and more like Newsweek royally screwed up and turned some random poor guy’s life upside down for nothing.
Edit 7:30PM: The AP posted the details of Nakamoto’s denial. Apparently he’d never even heard of Bitcoin before Newsweek contacted him.
Edit 3/17: Nakamoto has officially denied being the creator of Bitcoin via a written statement from his lawyer. Lawsuit incoming!