The bombshell that Newsweek dropped to re-launch their print edition blew-up and then fizzled. In The Face Behind Bitcoin, reporter Leah Goodman reveals who her and a few forensic researchers believe is the crypto-currency's creator. The research shows the inventor of Bitcoin hiding in plain sight—and on Thursday, they released the hounds. The push-back, scathing, instantaneous. Members of the Bitcoin community and online forums like Reddit were furious.
How could Goodman and Newsweek sanction the release of Dorian Nakamoto's sensitive personal information based on dubious evidence? Especially after postulating his hidden worth at half-a-billion dollars?!
But the problems for Goodman's Newsweek story didn’t end with charges of unethical journalistic standards.
1st Major Flaw. After being accosted at his home by the media frenzy, Dorian Nakamoto hopped a ride with an AP reporter, and, in a thorough interview, emphatically denied any involvement. He said he was “misunderstood” by the quote provided in the original Newsweek copy: “[Bitcoin]’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Dorian explained he thought Goodman was pursuing information about his past work as an engineer—not his involvement with Bitcoin. “I got nothing to do with it,” he said. He even claimed he hadn’t heard of Bitcoin until three weeks ago when he was contacted by his brother informing him of the Newsweek investigation.
Then on Friday a 2nd Major Flaw emerged when an inactive profile of the real Bitcoin inventor suddenly sprang to life: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto,” the forum-post proclaimed. Followers of Bitcoin thought this in-of-itself was an amazing development. At last—after years of silence—the creator of Bitcoin had finally chimed-in once again. As a kind of techno-deity, Satoshi was watching over Bitcoin's progress after all. The internets were abuzz.
The 3rd Major Flaw in the story is self-evident. Writing styles. Bitcoin's mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto left an online trail of postings, emails, and his original white paper. The writing is cogent, succinct, and demonstrates a fluent command of the English language. When comparing this voice with the smattering of English-as-second-language remarks left by Dorian Nakamoto, the distinction is unmistakable. The difference so stark, it's hard to imagine these two styles coming from the same hand. Until we see some content generated by Dorian that unequivocally echoes the Bitcoin creator's sublime clarity of expression, this inexplicable incongruity will not go away.
Yesterday, Arthur Nakamoto, the purported brother of Dorian, excoriated Newsweek’s absence of any ethical propriety in a lengthy diatribe on Reddit.
“Mis-quoting and blatant lies are unfortunately the journalistic world that exists today,” he said.
But Arthur never explicitly dismisses the claim his brother invented Bitcoin—an assertion, by the way, that Newsweek has doubled-down on. Arthur purposefully ignoring the elephant-in-the-room leads me to believe that even Dorian's family is unsure if he's the "Satoshi Nakamoto," creator of Bitcoin. So, the mystery deepens.
There is one aspect of Dorian’s AP interview that has been drilling a worm's hole in the wood pulp of my noggin. It concerns him denying any knowledge of Bitcoin.
Is it really plausible that a computer programmer/mathematician/engineer would never have heard of Bitcoin? Especially when the inventor has the exact same name?
Are we just to accept that someone tech-savvy had never searched for, or even noticed their name (Satoshi Nakamoto) in connection with Bitcoin?
Seems like a stretch. Methinks Dorian might be protesting too much.
The theory offered by Newsweek and Goodman has the inventor of Bitcoin hiding in plain sight, having signed his crypto-currency manifesto with his birth name. As Goodman explains, forty years ago, in order to create a simpler profile for work within the U.S. defense industry, Satoshi Nakamoto augmented his header with more Western sounding allure: "Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto" is what he wound up with. The author of the original Bitcoin white paper is just "Satoshi Nakamoto"—Dorian's name at birth. Coincidence or not, this fact, combined with Dorian's reputation of harboring libertarian tendencies and his being an engineer, was enough for Goodman and Newsweek to build a prima facie case.
But if we are to take reports from Nakamoto’s family at face value—that he is exceedingly private, wary of governmental intrusion, even slightly paranoid—Dorian's assertion of never hearing about “Satoshi Nakamoto/Bitcoin” until three weeks ago, for me, is hard to get behind. Still, there is a lot of evidence that Dorian isn't the creator of Bitcoin, but quite a few questions remain.
One of which, is...
Will the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up?