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Bitcoin creator 'exposed' by Newsweek

Even though Bitcoin debuted in 2009, no one has known with certainty who created the virtual currency. However, on March 6, Newsweek published a report that says their reporter has figured it out.

The creator of Bitcoin is said to have been discovered by a Newsweek reporter
Getty Images/ Lam Yik Fei

Leah McGrath Goodman found the man she thinks to be the man who invented Bitcoin, a 64-year-old man named Satoshi Nakamoto but who now goes by Dorian S Nakamoto and lives in California.

The name Satoshi Nakamoto was on the original paperwork for Bicoin, but many assumed the creator was using a pseudonym, as many coders did when working on the bitcoin project. BusinessWeek reports that in other attempts to find the creator, a researcher thought he had found his man in Nick Szabo, former economics professor at George Washington.

Goodman’s encounter with Nakamoto ends with police being called to the address and the reporter walking away with very few answers. He did say, “I am no longer involved in that and cannot discuss it.” However, his admitting he has a connection with the company doesn’t necessarily mean he is the creator.

In continuing to pursue answers, Goodman reached out to his estranged wife, ex-wife, siblings and kids. All say they have no idea what his role is with Bitcoin, but several believe he would be capable of it. However, the biggest question that lingers for the family, is that if he is the creator, why wouldn’t he have collected the money he is owed? His family notes that the entire family, including Nakamoto, who is facing health issues, could use the money.

After interviewing other coders who were involved with Bitcoin at early stages and analyzing Nakamoto’s work history and tendencies, the report is ends where it began. At best, it’s a possibility that this man is the creator of Bitcoin.

But along the way, Newsweek may have done more harm than good, which directly goes against a journalist’s mantra of “do no harm.”

The report details a man who is meticulous with details, very private and mistrusting of institutions and government. Though this information does help build a case as to why he would have helped build a currency that circumvents banks and the government, it also details just why this report is damaging to him.

The reporter obtained his email through a business where he buys trains. She enters into a conversation with him about said trains and then turns the conversation to Bitcoin. She shows up at his private address in California. She then contacts his family members and interviews them.

Though the obtaining of the email might have grounds for a lawsuit, if not covered in the terms of service, the rest is sketchy, but perhaps not harmful. What is harmful is that in the report is a photo of the man’s house.

BusinessWeek reports that his house is already surrounded by reporters. Commenters on the Newsweek article speculate that this man could now be fearing for his life. The report asserts that he is likely the creator of Bitcoin and would have access to the large sum of money he is owed. It’s not unlikely that people would try to find a way to take advantage of that.

At this point it’s not clear what will come out of this. Assuming Nakamoto is as private and as mistrusting of the government as the report states, he may not involve lawsuits if he can simply shut out the situation long enough.

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