Controversy over 'discovery' of Bitcoin creator
- 7 March 2014
- From the section Technology
Controversy is surrounding claims by Newsweek to have found the creator of the Bitcoin virtual currency.
It was assumed that the name behind Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a pseudonym for the group of coders who developed the system.
Now Newsweek claims Dorian S Nakamoto, a 64-year-old model train enthusiast who lives on the outskirts of Los Angeles, is the creator.
However, he denied his involvement in an interview with the Associated Press.
Mr Nakamoto said he hadn't heard of the cryptocurrency until his son told him about it after being contacted by a reporter.
In the article, Newsweek reporter Leah Goodman said she tracked Mr Nakamoto down by seeking public records for US citizens bearing that name. She then investigated people whose background, education and employment history showed they might be capable of creating the crypto-currency.
Ms Goodman's enquiries focussed on one candidate in particular who seemed to have the right profile and whose involvement was hinted at by other Bitcoin developers.
Further evidence, she said, arose when talking to his family members revealed his obsession with privacy, his political leanings and his facility with maths.
The evidence led Ms Goodman to confront Mr Nakamoto at his home where she asked if he was the creator of Bitcoin.
Many Bitcoin commentators on social networks have expressed scepticism about the find saying the evidence Ms Goodman gathered was not convincing. The story was called "fake" by some commentators on the Bitcoin Talk forum who demanded Mr Nakamoto carry out signed Bitcoin transactions to prove that he was the currency's originator.
Others criticised Newsweek for publishing a picture of Mr Nakamoto and revealing so much about his life.
On Twitter, Ms Goodman said the magazine had only printed information that was publicly available.