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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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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chalnoth (1334923) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:38AM (#46418643)
    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?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by johnsie (1158363) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:42AM (#46418685)
      People do crazy things when money and power is involved. He's right to want to protect himself.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:42AM (#46418695)

      Because it's now public that he's sitting on nearly half a billion dollars somewhere.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wrong, but it does match the public misconception. It's commonly believed that he's sitting on nearly half a billion dollars, and facts to the contrary won't even slow down those who will try to collect.

        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

        • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:50AM (#46419411) Homepage Journal

          ""Off the record" means "this will get into the headline""
          and you base that on...what, exactly?

          • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:57PM (#46420209)

            I don't know about GP's experience, but any time I have explained anything to a reporter, it has come out printed as something completely twisted from it's original meaning. Case in point: told reporter "our technology has flown on Space Shuttle missions", printed in story: "Company Vice President says "their technology is going to the Moon!"" with the implication that the company stock is going to "rocket up" in value.

        • 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.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by schnell (163007) <me&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:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:12PM (#46420335) Journal

          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

          This comment states one of the best response to a request for an interview is to murder the requester and it is now at +5 interesting? What the actual fuck, people? The person who posted this comment is apparently a paranoid psychopath and you are effectively praising him.

      • by Pope (17780)

        Because it's now public that he's sitting on nearly half a billion dollars somewhere.

        He's not sitting on anything but 800,000 internet fun bucks until he cashes them into real money.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by brokenin2 (103006) *

          He's not sitting on anything but 800,000 internet fun bucks until he cashes them into real money.

          I think you mean until he caches them into United States fun bucks..

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • by Thud457 (234763)
        that would suck so bad to be KTK'd for something even more imaginary and worthless than the usual little green pieces of paper.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:48AM (#46418741)
      Because once Newsweek finds you, they'll pester you to death to subscribe, for interviews, to talk about them, to let people know that they didn't die completely when they went online only, and can you spare some change for a sandwich.
    • all the silk road gang who never got their stash or their BiteCon back are going to think he's hiding their BiteCon under the pile of unicorn crap in the living room.

      dude.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:52AM (#46418781) Journal

      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?

      Given the sorts of weirdos who end up stalking ordinary celebrities, I'd flee this gravity well at relativistic speed if I were The Celebrity among some of the more... peculiar... elements of bitcoin fandom.

    • 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?

      Why? Because the poor man is about to get seriously Salingered.

    • by Idou (572394) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:03AM (#46418899) Journal
      Other billionaires require some kind of impossibly complicated strategy to steal their billions. . .

      Hope he takes the necessary precautions, though. . . Crypto-currencies are awesome. He deserves to spend the rest of his days in peace (For a crypto-genius, he could have picked a better pseudonym, though . . .).
    • Because he may be in possession of millions of bitcoins? I'm sure some unscrupulous people would like to unlawfully acquire them.
    • Probably to protect him from more reporters who like to find obsessively private people, poke them with a stick and post everything online.
    • by Deadstick (535032)

      Because with the events of the last week or so, certain people have lost a LOT of money. Sure, it may not be his fault, but issues like this are sometimes settled...ummm...out of court.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:18AM (#46419065) Homepage Journal
      Oblig xkcd [xkcd.com]. He is the weakest link in the unbreakable encryption of his bitcoin wallet.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:18PM (#46421041) Homepage Journal

      Even better: Why was his privacy violated by Newsweek in the first place?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:38AM (#46418647)

    Seriously, they put this guys life in danger. Shame on them.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:09AM (#46418961) Journal

      Seriously, they put this guys life in danger. Shame on them.

      These are 'journalists', in the dreadful contemporary sense. If they thought that 'quiet, eccentric, mathematician brutally murdered in suspected cyber-revenge' would have an ROI greater than the legal exposure, they'd probably kill him themselves just to be first to the body...

    • by sirwired (27582) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:38PM (#46419979)

      I was not aware it was inherently considered unethical journalism to uncover those who wish to remain anonymous. Peeling back anonymity can help shed light on the reasons somebody does what they did. Background, motiviations, current involvement, etc. are certainly newsworthy things to examine.

      And why is his life in danger?

      • If the answer is "Well his life is in danger because he has lots of money in Bitcoins that can be stolen!" well, then there's another flaw in Bitcoins, or at least in keeping Bitcoins on your own hardware, which is what BTCheads have been advocating since the Mt. Gox 'asploded.

        This isn't an issue for a normal rich people, because they don't keep their money in something like paper currency that can be easily stolen. It is in banks. So you break in to their house and kill them... well you don't get any of th

  • by splutty (43475) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:40AM (#46418659)

    Kudos to him for not ever trying to get into the limelight about this.

    Not sure what repercussions this will have for him and his family as persons, but it's kind of nice to see this sort of stuff can still happen :)

    Guess he got taught well by the diverse companies insisting on secrecy!

  • Protection? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "I imagine that he will now have to move and hire round-the-clock security for his own protection."

    Really?

    Does Bitcoin work like River City Ransom? If I punch him enough times, will a flood of shiny coins spew from his unconscious body?

  • by johnsie (1158363) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:41AM (#46418671)
    a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military
    • a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military

      "Taking The System Down From The Inside?" or "The Man's Ultimate Long Con?"

      We ask vague, hyperbolic, questions; you fight it out in the comments section!

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        "Taking The System Down From The Inside?" or "The Man's Ultimate Long Con?"

        We ask vague, hyperbolic, questions; you fight it out in the comments section!

        T H I S I S S L A S H D O T !

        *flying kick*

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Not necessarily a conspiracy but his statements only create more questions. A career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military ending with Bitcoin in which he is no longer involved and cannot discuss it because it's been turned over to other people.

      a) Who was his employer when he developed Bitcoin
      b) Why did a Japanese citizen work on classified US military projects
      c) Why, if it were a personal pet project, is he no longer involved
      d) What contractual oblig

  • by unimacs (597299) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:45AM (#46418721)
    So somebody is in charge of Bitcoin? What do they do?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What do they do?

      They do what the Bitcoin Protocol was always intended to do: create and maintain the world's largest SHA256 Rainbow Table.

      You didn't think this was all about about creating a decentralized crypto-currency did you?

    • So somebody is in charge of Bitcoin? What do they do?

      Write and maintain bitcoin-protocol compatible clients, care for and feed mining hardware, provide the bandwidth for continued distribution of the block chain, and (maybe) actually use bitcoins for something so that they aren't just a pile of uninteresting solutions to difficult-but-totally-banal math problems?

      There is no specific Bitcoin Commissar; but (not unlike most OSS projects, wholly aside from your view of the... exciting financial infrastructure that exists between bitcoin and the broader world)

    • by psionski (1272720)
      Write code, fix bugs, create promotional material and documentation. It's a software project, what else would they be doing?
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:19PM (#46419745) Homepage

      He means developers. He doesn't contribute to development of code in any way any more. Implementation flaws in the cryptography are someone else's problem.

  • He fears for his life, eh? And you know this how, because of your telepathy or your in-depth personal interview with him? Personally, I imagine that it's because of your own paranoia leaking into all aspects of life. See how easy it is to fabricate a crap opinion from nothing.
  • Setec Astronomy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiredog (43288) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:55AM (#46418827) Journal

    It was only while scouring a database that contained the registration cards of naturalized U.S. citizens that a Satoshi Nakamoto turned up whose profile and background offered a potential match. But it was not until after ordering his records from the National Archives

    Guess the Privacy Act doesn't apply to individuals.

  • I wonder if the loss of secrecy will affect the price?

  • Poor Guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Metabolife (961249) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:08AM (#46418957)
    He just wanted to be left alone, leave him alone.
  • by FilmedInNoir (1392323) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:09AM (#46418963)
    This is Satoshi Nakamoto:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-9rqm... [blogspot.com]

    and his friend. They create crypto-currencies and attend raves.
  • Pretend? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:21AM (#46419099)
    I'm not sure if this is actually the guy, but conspiracy theories will fly about it forever so I don't care if he is or isn't. However playing 'Pretend the government agencies are coming after you.' with a child is enough for me to dismiss the guy as crazy.
  • Similar personality types?

  • I don't beleive he is Satoshi. Dorian Nakamoto has three amazon reviews. His english is not good. http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/p... [amazon.com]
  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:42AM (#46419311) Homepage

    There's no actual concrete evidence of any of the author's claims, just tons of speculation. Yet it's being treated like it's undeniably true.

  • by Capt.Albatross (1301561) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:54AM (#46419453)

    I thought the evidence previously presented, that Nicholas Szabo was Satoshi, was plausible, albeit circumstantial. I suspect that this Satoshi Nakamato's involvement with Bitcoin was not as the primary innovator or leader, while the the person(s) who did play those roles prefer for Newsweek (and the rest of the world) to think otherwise.
         

  • Obvious Hoax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Martin S. (98249) <Martin DOT Spamer AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:57AM (#46419493) Homepage Journal

    Newsweek : This man is Satoshi Nakamoto.

    Sheriff : "What?" The police officer balks.
    Sheriff : "This is the guy who created Bitcoin?

    Are we really supposed to believe that a Police Officer would know such geek trivia?

    Seems to be a little overly dramatic.

    • Re:Obvious Hoax (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:09PM (#46419609)

      Are we really supposed to believe that a Police Officer would know such geek trivia?

      I have a friend who takes no interest in geek stuff, but he raised the topic with me last time I saw him. The Mt Gox incident made the national news. So yes, it's perfectly feasible a police officer had heard of them.

    • by barlevg (2111272)
      THIS! I work in an office filled with programmers, research scientists and software devs--when I told them Satoshi Nakamoto's true identity was revealed, they all said, "who?"
  • by Patent Lover (779809) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:24PM (#46419817)
    The real inventor was Keyser Soze.
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:30PM (#46419901)
    . . . that it was actually the K**h brothers who contracted with the Russian Mafia to invent Bitcoin, and they set Nakomoto up as the fall guy. I'm sure it is totally bogus, in spite of the salaciousness and viral rumor-mongering appeal. Has anyone got any completely unsubstantiated confirmation of this?
  • by Martin S. (98249) <Martin DOT Spamer AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:28PM (#46421117) Homepage Journal

    There are posts on Bitcoin Talk demanding Mr Nakamoto carry out signed Bitcoin transactions to prove that he was the currency's originator.

    That is irrational demand because he doesn't claim to be.

    https://bitcointalk.org/index.... [bitcointalk.org]

  • by ttybeast (175353) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:41PM (#46421943)

    "I obtained Nakamoto's email through a company he buys model trains from."
    For some reason this quotation from the newsweek article stood out to me.
    I know it's standard practice for lots of businesses to sell their email lists
    but this came off to me as strange. A reporter calls up looking for a single
    customers email address and you just give it to them?

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:09PM (#46422239)
    Something doesn't add up. If he used anonymizers even for email, why did he attach his *real name* to the Bitcoin project? Vanity? Or what?

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