'I Did Not Create Bitcoin': 4 Major Takeaways From Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto's Letter of Denial
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto wants reporters off his back, out of his business and away from his family. And, no, once and for all, contrary to what Newsweek reported, he did not “create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin,” according to an official statement released last night denying his alleged role in inventing the controversial cryptocurrency.
The somber letter of denial, which Reuters financial journalist Felix Salmon posted on Twitter last night, was reportedly issued through Nakamoto’s lawyer Ethan Kirschner.
Nakamoto’s Echo Park, Calif.-based business and entertainment industry attorney also took to Twitter last night to retweet Salmon’s tweet about his client’s written denial. He also retweeted an alleged police report filed by Nakamoto claiming reporters and photographers stalked him outside his Temple City home.
Ever since Leah McGrath Goodman’s Newsweek “The Face Behind Bitcoin” story broke, Nakamoto has been at the center of what TechCrunch writer Pankaj Mishra aptly compared to a “a modern tech manhunt,” with media staking out his home and later chasing the 64-year-old on foot and by car around Los Angeles.
Here are four claims from Nakamoto’s official letter of denial:
1. He is not who Newsweek said he was. The publication’s widely criticized “unmasking” story catapulted its reentry into print journalism -- and Nakamoto -- into the global spotlight. “I am the subject of the Newsweek story on Bitcoin,” Nakamoto’s statement reads. “I am writing this statement to clear my name. I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.” Nakamoto has repeatedly denied any alleged ties to Bitcoin, though this letter serves as his first written denial.
2. He’d never heard of Bitcoin until about a month ago. He says in the statement that the first time he heard “the term ‘Bitcoin’” was from his son in mid-February 2014. “After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard. Shortly thereafter, the reporter confronted me at my home. I called the police. I never consented to speak with the reporter. In an ensuing discussion with a reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology ‘bitcom’. I was still unfamiliar with the term.”
3. He has fallen on hard times. The letter seemed to serve two purposes for Nakamoto -- to divorce himself from any alleged ties to Bitcoin and to bring attention to his financial woes. “I have not been able to find steady work as an engineer or programmer for 10 years,” he said. “I have worked as a labourer, polltaker, and substitute teacher. I discontinued my internet service in 2013 due to severe financial distress. 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.”
Meanwhile, Blockchain chief security officer Andreas M. Antonopoulos kicked off a fundraiser on Reddit to help raise money to help Nakamoto cover his legal and medical expenses. "If this person is not Satoshi, then these funds will serve as a 'sorry for what happened to you,' help with medical bills his family is facing, any legal bills they may incur, or anything else,” Antonopoulos wrote in a post on Reddit. “Most of all, it serves to soften the damage caused by irresponsible journalism and to demonstrate the generosity and empathy of the community, which I know is huge."
Related: 3 Big Misconceptions About Bitcoin4. He is pleading for privacy. He said in the statement that “Newsweek’s false report has been the source of a great deal of confusion and stress for myself, my 93-year-old mother, my siblings, and their families.” It appears that Nakamoto hopes his written denial will close what seems to be a very painful chapter in his and his family’s history. He wants further media inquires to stop, asking “that you now respect our privacy.” He also said this will be his last public statement on the matter.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.