Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, who Newsweek claimed was “the” Satoshi Nakamoto credited with the creation of bitcoin, has now issued a statement through his lawyer Ethan Kirschner completely denying his involvement in creating the digital currency.
“I did not create, invent, or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report,” Nakamoto said in the statement.
The Newsweek story, which revealed details about Dorian’s life including what town he lived in, sparked something akin to a modern tech manhunt as reports raced to chase the older man down. To be fair, Dorian denied everything then, too, and then again.
And now we have Dorian’s denial in written form as well. Reuters Blogger Felix Salmon first produced the statement, but, in this ongoing story of slippery bitcoin “facts,” we have also confirmed the text of the note directly with Kirschner.
“We have no comment beyond confirming that we’ve been retained by Mr. Nakamoto and that it is his statement that was released,” he told TechCrunch in an emailed statement.
The drama around Bitcoin’s creator fails to die, very much in line with the roller coaster ride the crypto-currency has been going through over past year.
This latest chapter is a particularly frustrating one, centred as it is not only on an individual who is claiming no involvement, but one who was already in difficult times.
Not only were there apparently no facts unveiled in the Newsweek story, but there has been quite a significant casualty resulting from it, in the form of an individual’s privacy.
Dorian writes in the letter that he had never heard of the word “bitcoin” before February 2014, when he was contacted by a reporter. (He does not name Leah McGrath Goodman in his letter.) It was his son who first mentioned the word bitcoin to him, he writes.
While the Newsweek story sets up Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto as a hidden-in-plain-sight mystery solved, Nakamoto’s letter paints a rather different picture of the person.
Here, we have a smart, but also struggling, individual. Someone who is very much on the other spectrum of the tech boom that is so often the subject of public discourse — and of bitcoin in particular.
Despite having a background in engineering, Nakamoto notes that he couldn’t find a programmer’s job for over a decade.
“I’ve worked as a laborer, polltaker and a substitute teacher,” he added in the statement. He says he has never worked on cryptography, peer-to-peer systems, or alternative currencies.
He also underscores some of the other problems he has had outside of this case of apparently very mistaken identity. They include several health issues and “severe financial distress.”
You can imagine that this letter, coming with legal backing, is a precursor to further legal action and claims for damages, either publicly or behind the scenes.
Despite Newsweek maintaining a solid stance on its story, the tech world has been skeptical of the evidence from the moment it came out. We’ve even seen one person, allegedly the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto (or at least posting on an account linked with the original manifesto), post on a message board to deny the Newsweek article.