The elusive, Satoshi Nakamoto, who was thought to be pseudonym for the founder of Bitcoin five years ago or perhaps a group of math whiz kids, has been found by Newsweek investigative reporter Leah Grath Goodman published this morning in the new Newsweek print edition.
Who is the face behind Bitcoin? Is he an evil genius out to control the world or a group of tech geeks formerly from a big computer company? He is simply Satoshi Nakamoto, a simple 64 year-old man living in Temple City, California and not on a mysterious island in the Pacific.
He was quite upset when Goodman was knocking on his door and called the police. She began in February with emails from Goodman. She had traced him via a company that supplied him his model trains. Once she began writing in emails to him about Bitcoin Nakamoto stopped responding to any emails.
She was able to obtain early in the emails that he was a graduate from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona Calif. with a degree in Physics. After that his path is difficult to trace. Before Goodman asked about Bitcoin in an email she had inquired early on about his background of which he evaded her questions.
She reached out to family members. His son, Eric Nakamoto, took a message to him with her request for an interview but it came back with a no response. Goodman’s investigative skills dug in deep and she finally made contact with one of his three brothers, Arthur Nakamoto.
‘You want to know about my amazing physicist brother?’ says Arthur Nakamoto, Satoshi Nakamoto's youngest sibling, who is director of quality assurance at Wavestream Corp., a maker of radio frequency amplifiers in San Dimas, Calif.
‘He's a brilliant man. I'm just a humble engineer. He's very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it.’
The next words however, were of caution to her that he would not speak with her. He explained to her that had done classified work and most of his private life and work was a blank.
Satoshi Nakamoto has been the topic in the digital currency world over the past year. Bitcoin exchanges have hidden money laundering, murder for hire and Internet hacking which the FBI has dogged and closed down the infamous Silk Road website last October and recently Silk Road 2.0 at the beginning of 2014.
‘The FBI is now one of the largest holders of Bitcoin in the world,’ says Gavin Andresen, who is chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation. Gavin, formerly of Silicon Valley, worked with Nakomoto on the Bitcoin program from 2010 to 2011, but he worked only on the computer and communicated only on a Bitcoin forum. He has never heard Nakamoto’s voice. He tread carefully because he knew that Nakomoto would cease all communication if he did not ask his questions carefully. He had to know what he was doing with the program or billions would be lost in bitcoins.
‘Working on Bitcoin's core code is really scary, actually, because if you wreck something, you can break this huge $8 billion project,’ says Andresen. ‘And that's happened. We have broken it in the past.’
The largest Bitcoin Exchange, Mt.Gox filed for bankruptcy at the end of February and $400 million in bitcoin crypto-currency is missing. It is gone to hackers and into the cloud.
For nearly a year, Andresen worked over the email and replied to private messages of the bitcointalk forum, a place for geeks to communicate.
‘Before Bitcoin became the flavor of the month, a nine page strategy document appeared on the Internet in 2008. Bitcoin production is designed to move at a carefully calibrated pace to boost value and scarcity and remain inflation proof, halving its quantity every four years, and is designed to stop proliferating when Bitcoins reach a total of 21 million in 2040, explains Andresen in the Newsweek article.
Andresen’s work for the Bitcoin Foundation is paid through Switzerland in bitcoin. His impression of Nakamoto’s reason for developing Bitcoin program was political because Nakamoto did not like the banking system and few holding the keys.
When Andresen informed Nakamoto that he had accepted a speaking engagement before the Central Intelligence Agency, all correspondence ceased, according to Andresen.
Prior to that last exchange of words, Nakamoto had sent this to Andresen, ‘I wish you wouldn't keep talking about me as a mysterious shadowy figure,’ Nakamoto wrote to Andresen. ‘The press just turns that into a pirate currency angle. Maybe instead make it about the open source project and give more credit to your devoting contributors; it helps motivate them.’
Andresen put on twitter the following, 'I'm disappointed Newsweek decided to dox the Nakamoto family, and regret talking to Leah.'
Where does all of this leave Goodman and her investigation? Prior to arriving at his home in Temple, Calif. she did research and found that his estimate worth is $400 million. He lives modestly in an average middle class home. This is where she was left standing when the police arrived.
To find more about Bitcoin see the list below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article on how Bitcoin is used to purchase a space trip on Virgin Galactic.
Twitter: Victoria Wagner@victoriaross888