Ever since Newsweek published a story supposedly “outing” Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as the creator of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Nakamoto has flatly denied the allegations. Now, he’s taking his denial a step further, hiring a law firm and issuing a statement that has reiterated his insistence that he has nothing to do with the virtual brand.
“I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin,” Nakamoto said in a statement. “I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.”
Is He or Isn’t He?
That controversial Newsweek article – written by Leah McGrath Goodman to launch the publication’s return to print – relied on a series of pieces of circumstantial evidence to come to the conclusion that Dorian Nakamoto was the “Satoshi Nakamoto” the online world knew as Bitcoin’s founder. His birth name, which had been changed decades ago, was a major piece of the puzzle. Combining that with his expertise in computers, the fact that Dorian (like Satoshi) used two spaces after periods in his typed work, and the fact that he had a long gap in his work history around the time of Bitcon’s invention, Goodman came to the conclusion that Dorian Nakamoto was, in fact, behind the digital currency.
That information was then seemingly confirmed by statements from Nakamoto in a rushed conversation, though he would later say that he was misunderstood.
Nakamoto responded to some of the supposed evidence in his prepared statement.
“My background is in engineering. I also have the ability to program,” he said. “My most recent job was as an electrical engineer troubleshooting air traffic control equipment for the FAA. I have no knowledge of nor have I ever worked on cryptography, peer to peer systems [sic], or alternative currencies.”
The statement was released by Los Angeles lawyer Ethan D. Kirschner, who says his firm is now representing the embattled Nakamoto.
“This firm has been retained by Dorian S. Nakamoto,” Kirschner said, referring all questions to Nakamoto’s statement. “No further comment will be made by Mr. Nakamoto or the firm.”
Perfect Media Storm
Published earlier this month, the article set off a media firestorm around Nakamoto, who was hounded by questions about his potential involvement with Bitcoin. That led to a bizarre series of events, including a media car chase following Nakamoto around Los Angeles before he finally talked to an Associated Press reporter.
Interest in the story was also heightened by other Bitcoin stories in the news at the same time, including the collapse of the MtGox Bitcoin exchange in Tokyo; that company subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan.
According to Nakamoto, the entire incident has caused him a great deal of stress.
“I have not been able to find steady work as an engineer or programmer for ten years,” Nakamoto said in his statement. “I am trying to recover from prostate surgery in October 2012 and a stroke I suffered in October of 2013. My prospects for gainful employment has [sic] been harmed because of Newsweek’s article.”
Newsweek responded to the statement with a short statement of their own.
“Newsweek has not received any statement or letter from either Mr. Nakamoto or his legal counsel,” the statement said. “If and when we do, we will respond as necessary.”
There has been some speculation that Nakamoto’s mention of harm from the Newsweek story could be setting the stage for a lawsuit against the publication in the future. However, no legal action has yet been taken.