The California man identified by Newsweek
as creator of the virtual currency Bitcoin, has hired a law firm to press his denials of the magazine's report, the Los Angeles Times
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, of Temple City, issued a statement where he said he had never even heard of the term "Bitcoin" until his son told him what it was after Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman contacted him in February, according to the Times.
Nakamoto said Sunday, in a statement distributed to media and posted on Twitter by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon
, that he hired the law firm and wrote the public statement to "clear my name."
"This firm has been retained by Dorian S. Nakamoto, the subject of the recent Newsweek cover story on Bitcoin," Los Angeles attorney Ethan Kirschner told the Times in an email. "He has issued the attached prepared statement. No further comment will be made by Mr. Nakamoto or the firm."
Nakamoto, in the statement, said he did not "create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report."
After the story was published earlier this month, the 64-year-old Nakamoto was hounded by the media and by online debates concerning whether he created the alternative currency.
The Newsweek story says Nakamoto has programming skills, but he said in his statement his background is actually in engineering. He said he does know how to program.
He said he has "no knowledge of, nor have I ever worked on cryptology, peer-to-peer systems or alternative currencies," and his last job was as an electrical engineer who worked to troubleshoot air-traffic control equipment for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Newsweek article also said Nakamoto has a gap in his resume over the past 10 years, when Bitcoin was created.
Nakamoto said the gap is because he has not been able to find steady work as either an engineer or programmer for the past decade. He further said he has not had Internet service since 2013, when he canceled it because of financial problems.
"I have worked as a laborer, poll taker, and substitute teacher," Nakamoto said. "I am trying to recover from prostate surgery in October 2012 and a stroke I suffered in October of 2013. My prospects for gainful employment have been harmed because of Newsweek's article."
Nakamoto said he is asking to be left in peace over "Newsweek's false report," which he says is causing confusion and stress for him, his 93-year-old mother, and his siblings and their families.
"I offer my sincerest thanks to those people in the United States and around the world who have offered me their support," Nakamoto said. "I have retained legal counsel. This will be our last public statement on this matter. I ask that you now respect our privacy."
Newsweek, answering a firestorm of controversy over its cover story, issued a statement
defending the article earlier this month, before Nakamoto's statement Sunday.
It admitted the story generated an immense amount of attention, and then denials from Nakamoto, criticism of Goodman's reporting, and "attacks on her character."
The magazine says it published the article because the story is important, and that Goodman's research "was conducted under the same high editorial and ethical standards that have guided Newsweek for more than 80 years."
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