Man named by Newsweek as bitcoin's creator strongly denies it

The Associated Press

Dorian S. Nakamoto listens during an interview with the Associated Press, Thursday, March 6, 2014 in Los Angeles. Nakamoto, the man that Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin, denies he had anything to do with it and says he had never even heard of the digital currency until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman, who spent two months researching the story, told the AP: "I stand completely by my exchange with Mr. Nakamoto. There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation —and his acknowledgment of his involvement in bitcoin."

The magazine pulled together its thesis on the creator's identity by matching Nakamoto's name, educational history, career, anti-government bent and writing style to the alleged creator of bitcoin. It also quoted Nakamoto's estranged wife and other family members who said they weren't sure he is the creator.

Several times during the interview with AP, Nakamoto mistakenly referred to the currency as "bitcom," and as a single company, which it is not. He said he's never heard of Gavin Andresen, a leading bitcoin developer. Andresen had told Newsweek he'd worked closely with the person or entity known as "Satoshi Nakamoto" in developing the system, but said he never met Nakamoto in person or spoke on the phone.

On Friday, as reporters still gathered outside his home, Nakamoto told the AP that he has a personal computer, but it isn't connected to the Internet because he got tired of cleaning viruses from the machine.

When shown the original bitcoin proposal that Newsweek linked to in its story, Nakamoto said he didn't write it, and said the email address in the document wasn't his.

"Peer-to-peer can be anything," he said. "That's just a matter of address. What the hell? It doesn't make sense to me."

Asked if he was technically able to come up with the idea for bitcoin, Nakamoto responded: "Capability? Yes, but any programmer could do that."

The nearest Nakamoto has come to working on a financial system, he said, was a project for Citibank with a company called Quotron, which provided real-time stock prices to brokerage firms. Nakamoto said he worked on the software side for about four years starting in 1987.

"That had nothing to do with skipping financial institutions," he said.

Nakamoto said he believes someone either came up with the name or specifically targeted him to be the fall guy for the currency's creation.

He also said he doesn't discuss his career because in many cases, his work was confidential. When he was employed by Hughes Aircraft starting around 1973, he worked on missile systems for the U.S. Navy and Air Force.

He said he also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration starting around 1999, but was laid off following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Getting hired by a military contractor was the reason he applied for and received American citizenship. He decided around that time to change his name, adding "Dorian Prentice" to Satoshi Nakamoto, partly to sound more Western. He said he picked "Dorian" because he says it meant "a man of simplicity" and referred to the ancient Greek people. "Prentice" alluded to his affinity for learning, he said.

As he pored over the Newsweek story with a reporter, Nakamoto repeatedly said, "Oh jeez," as he read private details about himself, quotes from family members and even specifics from his medical history.

"How long is this media hoopla going to last?" he said.

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