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Bitcoin Privacy The Almighty Buck

Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek 390

Posted by timothy
from the always-the-quiet-ones dept.
DoctorBit writes "According to today's Newsweek article, Satoshi Nakamoto is ... Satoshi Nakamoto — a 64-year-old Japanese-American former defense contractor living with his mother in a modest Temple City, California suburban home. According to the article, 'He is someone with a penchant for collecting model trains and a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military.' and 'Nakamoto's family describe him as extremely intelligent, moody and obsessively private, a man of few words who screens his phone calls, anonymizes his emails and, for most of his life, has been preoccupied with the two things for which Bitcoin has now become known: money and secrecy.' The article quotes him as responding when asked about bitcoin, 'I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it, ... It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.' I imagine that he will now have to move and hire round-the-clock security for his own protection."
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Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Outed By Newsweek

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  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:43AM (#46418699)

    Why would he have to move/hire protection? I guess I can see that he might be paranoid enough to think it's necessary, but why would it be actually necessary?

    He is now a target for anyone who wants a potentially huge stash of BTC... whether it is really him or not, someone will presume it is.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MisterSquid (231834) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:54AM (#46419451)

    This is why if you ever do anything in your life that people might want to know about, never EVER answer a request for an interview with anything that could even be used to find a bit of truth. "Off the record" means "this will get into the headline" and everything you say can and will be used against you to get pageviews. The two best responses to a request for an interview are to file a restraining order and if that doesn't work, spend a couple bitcoins on an assassin.

    Your advice is a good one for subjects of a possible exposé or smear campaign, however, out of hand dismissing journalists as people without integrity is not in the best interests of an informed public and (probably) in many cases unwarranted.

    When I was a university professor, the Chronicle of Higher Education asked for an interview about what it's like to be single and a new faculty (ha!). I agreed to an interview and, on several occasions, said that I wanted to say a few things "off the record" about the behavior of colleagues and the spouses of colleagues (ahem). Some of what I said off the record was juicy and I told my interviewer those things to contextualize my "on the record" remarks.

    The article was published, my female colleague who was written up got a couple of marriage proposals, and everything attributed to me was on the up and up.

    I know not all journalists adhere to a code of ethics, but I believe that many do. Clamming up when a story needs to get out may protect you, but one needn't be suspicious form the get go.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@Nospam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:04PM (#46419557) Homepage Journal

    I assume you're asking how the "mining" works, and that's actually pretty easy to explain.

    Each bitcoin block is generated with a SHA256 hash of the block's header. Presumably, the header information is not guessable, otherwise it would be pointless.

    The SHA256 hash becomes the "target." In order to successfully mine the block, you must produce a hash with a value lower than the target. The lower the target, the harder it is to mine the block. Since SHA256 hashes (as far as I know) do not leak any information about the plaintext, the hashes are attempted essentially at random. Successfully mining a block is essentially like winning the lottery because there is no known way to make educated guesses about what text might produce a hash below the target's value.

    Once an acceptable hash has been generated by a miner, it is submitted to the network with a proof of work that permits the rest of the network to essentially check the solution. At that point, the block is considered completed, the transactions are processed, and the successful miner is awarded the transaction fees plus 20 new BTC.

    I don't think the rainbow table comparison is apt because you're not attempting to produce hash collisions, only find hashes below a set value. Finding a collision is exponentially more difficult, by design.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by schnell (163007) <<me> <at> <schnell.net>> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:34PM (#46419945) Homepage

    "Off the record" means "this will get into the headline"

    No offense, but you have no idea what you're talking about. In journalism, certain words have certain meanings and any journalist working for a reputable publication will adhere to those strictly.

    "Off the record" means "I am telling you, Mr./Ms. Reporter, because I think you should know, but you can't print it or link it to me." The information may still show up in the article because there is no prohibition on "second sourcing," however - it means that if I say "off the record, X got fired for embezzling" and the reporter asks someone else that question and they say yes with it not being off the record, then it's fair game. Experienced interviewees use "off the record" as a tool to either influence the reporter's contextual view of the situation or to lead them to ask questions of other people in that direction. Inexperienced interviewees don't know how to use it, or are not good about making very clear what is on/off the record, and frequently end up getting burned.

    Similarly, "on background" means "You can report this piece of information, but you can't say it was me who told you." Whenever you read a story that says "Senior administration officials said..." it is because the person who told that to the reporter said it "on background." It's usually used when people want to get information out but they would get in trouble if people knew who it was that said it.

    These are the kinds of rules that a reporter from The Washington Post, CNN or other "mainstream media" outlets will follow scrupulously. If you're talking to someone from Huffington Post, Gawker or sensationalist rags like that - not so much. That's why it's very important to know whom you're talking to and judge the information you disclose accordingly.

    Dealing with the media is pretty straightforward if you know the rules, but most "regular" people (i.e. not celebrities, politicians, etc.) don't know or understand the rules and they can be burned by them. The bottom line is that if you are savvy and experienced with the media, you can use tools like "off the record" and "on background" to your benefit. If you are not experienced, the best idea is to avoid them and not say anything that you do not want to see in print, connected to your name.

    The two best responses to a request for an interview are to file a restraining order

    Oh, and by the way, as a former reporter, I can tell you that if I asked you for an interview and you tried to get a restraining order, that would 1.) never be granted by a judge, and 2.) would make me dig into your story far more deeply because I'm pretty sure you have something to hide. If you have nothing to hide but just don't want to do the interview for privacy reasons (or you suspect the agenda of the reporter), simply decline the interview politely or ask to do it by e-mail where you will have the ability to consider your answers and have everything in writing in case your are misquoted. If you do actually have something to hide, either just decline the interview request or - preferably - have your lawyer answer it.

  • Re:Outed? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DoctorBit (891714) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:37PM (#46419967)
    OP here - the submitted headline used the verb "doxed" rather than "outed". On a separate note, r/bitcoin has been raising some interesting doubts about the correctness of the article: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoi... [reddit.com]
  • by hamburger lady (218108) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:12PM (#46420345)

    soros has been a US citizen since 1961. probably longer than you've been alive.

  • by davek (18465) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:53PM (#46420777) Homepage Journal

    Close, but not quite.

    I assume you're asking how the "mining" works, and that's actually pretty easy to explain.

    Each bitcoin block is generated with a SHA256 hash of the block's header. Presumably, the header information is not guessable, otherwise it would be pointless.

    The SHA256 hash becomes the "target." In order to successfully mine the block, you must produce a hash with a value lower than the target. The lower the target, the harder it is to mine the block.

    The "target" is in fact the difficulty. Essentially a difficulty of 1 means an applicable proof-of-work block solution would be less than 2^256 >> 1 (I could be wrong on the max size, I'd have to look it up). A block "solution" is a sha-256 hash of (merkle root (which is generated by doing a merkle tree starting with the transaction IDs of all the transactions since the last block) + some other header stuff + a nonce). The header stuff is completely public and known. The "work" miners to is generate trillions upon trillions of those nonces (which is just a word for a random piece of data), calculate the sha-256, and see if the resulting sha is less than the target.

    Successfully mining a block is essentially like winning the lottery because there is no known way to make educated guesses about what text might produce a hash below the target's value.

    Once an acceptable hash has been generated by a miner, it is submitted to the network with a proof of work that permits the rest of the network to essentially check the solution. At that point, the block is considered completed, the transactions are processed, and the successful miner is awarded the transaction fees plus 20 new BTC.

    It's fees + 25 BTC. But that will change eventually, as we approach the max of 22 million BTC in circulation.

    I don't think the rainbow table comparison is apt because you're not attempting to produce hash collisions, only find hashes below a set value. Finding a collision is exponentially more difficult, by design.

    A "rainbow table" in this case would have to have a number of entries greater than the size of particles in the known universe, I think. We're talking about stupidly large numbers here.

  • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:07PM (#46420955) Homepage Journal

    Dude there are Mclaren MP4s for sale for Bitcoins, people are buying land and mansions with them, you can get takeaways delivered, bars and restaurants accept them, other than gas/water/electric youre basically set. Converting $500M bitcoin to cash is MASSIVELY short sighted.

    You could just take them and probably live off them in an extremely luxurious lifestyle, or at the same time you could sell 1 or 2 a day which wouldnt move the market at all giving you both an awesome life style and cold hard cash.

  • Re:Lost coins (Score:4, Informative)

    by brokenin2 (103006) * on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:41PM (#46422571) Homepage

    about 100,000 individual someones, each of whom mined (on average) 10 or so coins?

    OK, first, you *can not* mine 10 or so bitcoins. There were no mining pools at first, and that is the only way people mine fewer coins.. And that's not really even correct.. Mining pools mine 25 bitcoins these days, and then share them with their members.. What we're talking about is directly mining coins here, which got mine 50 coins at a time for the first four years or so.

    Also, IIRC, most of these coins are held by just a few addresses, not spread among 100,000. The entire population of the bitcoin community was probably less than a few thousand people during the first year.. During the first months it was more like 20 or 30.... maybe less..

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