Man Called Bitcoin's Father Denies Ties, Leads LA Car Chase

Image: Man Called Bitcoin's Father Denies Ties, Leads LA Car Chase Satoshi Nakamoto

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 07:16 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A Japanese American man thought to be the reclusive multi-millionaire father of Bitcoin emerged from a modest Southern California home and denied involvement with the digital currency before leading reporters on a freeway car chase to the local headquarters of the Associated Press.

Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners, and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, California, just east of Los Angeles.

Newsweek included a photograph and described a short interview, in which Nakamoto said he was no longer associated with Bitcoin and that it had been turned over to other people. The magazine concluded that the man was the same Nakamoto who founded Bitcoin.

Editor’s Note: 18.79% Annual Returns . . . for Life?

Dozens of reporters, including a sprinkling of Japanese media, encircled and camped outside the man's two-story house on Thursday morning, accosting the mailman and repeatedly ringing the doorbell, to no avail. Police cruisers drove by several times but did not stop.

Several times, someone pulled back the drapes on an upstairs window.

In the afternoon, the silver-haired, bespectacled Nakamoto stepped outside, dressed in a gray sport coat and green striped shirt, with a pen tucked in his shirt pocket. He was mobbed by reporters and told them he was looking for someone who understood Japanese to buy him a free lunch.

Newsweek estimates his wealth at $400 million.

"I'm not involved in Bitcoin. Wait a minute, I want my free lunch first. I'm going with this guy," Nakamoto said, pointing at a reporter from AP. "I'm not in Bitcoin, I don't know anything about it," he said again while walking down the street with several cameras at his heels.

He and the AP reporter made their way to a nearby sushi restaurant with media in tow, before leaving and heading downtown. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno followed the pair and described the chase in a running stream of tweets. Eventually, the pair dashed into the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles.

MISUNDERSTOOD

In a later AP interview, Nakamoto said he was misunderstood in a key portion of the Newsweek story, where he tells the reporter on his doorstep, "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it."

Asked by the AP if he had said that, Nakamoto said, "No."

"I'm saying I'm no longer in engineering. That's it," he told the AP. "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."

"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," the AP reported him as saying.

The Bitcoin Foundation, an advocacy group promoting the adoption of the digital currency, said "... We have seen zero conclusive evidence that the identified person is the designer of Bitcoin."

"Those closest to the Bitcoin project, the informal team of core developers, have always been unaware of Nakamoto's true identity, as Nakamoto communicated purely through electronic means," it said in a post on its website.

Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman told the AP that she stood by her story. "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."

"FOCUSED AND ECLECTIC"

Fans see Bitcoin as a digital-world currency beyond government interference, while critics, whose ranks swelled with the recent bankruptcy filing by major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, see a risky investment whose anonymity aids drug dealers and other criminals.

Nakamoto kept a low profile in part to avoid the attention of authorities, Newsweek said. On Thursday, the office of Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, was keen on speaking with him, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Bitcoin is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control. Its value soared last year, and the total worth of bitcoins minted is now about $7 billion.

In the Newsweek article, Nakamoto was credited by Bitcoin's chief scientist, Gavin Andresen, in working out the first codes behind the currency.

A man of few words who refused to discuss anything beyond the currency or even communicate outside of email, Nakamoto was described by his brother in the Newsweek article as "fickle and has very weird hobbies," including a penchant for model trains.

Japanese-born Nakamoto displayed an unusual aptitude for math as a child. He immigrated with his mother to California in 1959. He worked for defense and electronics company Hughes Aircraft, but never discussed work because much of it was classified, according to Newsweek interviews with several friends and relatives.

"He's very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it," Newsweek quoted Arthur Nakamoto, his younger brother, as saying.

Editor’s Note: 18.79% Annual Returns . . . for Life?

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

World Bank Chief: Ebola Outbreak Shows 'Deadly Cost' of Inequality

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 11:48 AM

Fighting the Ebola epidemic means confronting the issue of inequality, as people in poor countries have less access to k . . .

News Corp. Drops Bid to Recoup Phone-Hacking Trial Costs

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 11:42 AM

News Corp.'s U.K. unit dropped a bid to recoup legal costs from the eight-month phone hacking trial where it paid the bi . . .

Kudlow: RFK Jr.'s Absurd Attack on the Kochs

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 11:28 AM

A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a s . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved