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Mystery over Bitcoin creator identity

Nakamoto: In denial mode

London, March 9: He is either a multimillionaire genius, forced to play dumb after being rumbled, or the victim of an epic case of mistaken identity. Either way, the mystery continues to surround the identity of the creator of Bitcoin, the digital currency worth billions, after the man “outed” as its inventor denied any role in the virtual currency.

On Thursday, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, 64, a Japanese-American physicist, was identified by Newsweek as the man behind Bitcoin, saying that his real name was Satoshi Nakamoto, the moniker of the person who wrote the original document describing Bitcoin.

It had been thought that Satoshi Nakamoto was a pseudonym or title of a group of computer hackers, but the magazine suggests that in 1973 he changed his name to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto and now signs it as Dorian S. Nakamoto.

The revelations led to him being bombarded with calls from journalists and a media pack outside his two-storey home in Temple City, a small town in southern California. He emerged shortly after noon, saying that he would speak with one reporter and asked for a “free lunch”.

There followed a car chase through Los Angeles — other reporters following behind — and a sushi lunch at the city’s Associated Press bureau, where Nakamoto denied any connection with Bitcoin. While acknowledging that some of the biographical details in the report were accurate, he said the first time he had heard of the digital currency was when his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago.

The publication stood by its scoop, saying that his career involved classified work as a systems engineer for the US government and that initially he tacitly acknowledged his role in creating the crypto-currency.

Nakamoto, who is not a native English-speaker, said a key element of the Newsweek story — in which he is quoted as telling the reporter “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it” — had arisen from a misunderstanding.

He explained yesterday, “It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and looked like I’m not involved now. That’s not what I meant. I want to clarify that. I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it. And even if I was, when we get hired, you have to sign this document, contract, saying you will not reveal anything we divulge during and after employment. So that’s what I implied.” He also mistakenly referred to the currency as “bitcom” and as a single company, which it is not.

 
 
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