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Yesterday, the Bitcoin world woke up to a special report by Newsweek that claimed to reveal the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin. The report went into extensive details about the man allegedly behind the cryptocurrency, named Dorian Nakamoto, exposing names of his family members and photos of his residence in a deep invasion of privacy.
Many people were astonished at the details shared by journalist Leah McGrath Goodman. Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen penned an open letter to Goodman, saying, “I am disappointed you (or your publishers) chose to publish enough personal information that people can easily find Dorian and his family.”
Dorian took lunch with the Associated Press, denying the claims that he is the father of Bitcoin. He and the AP reporter were chased around southern California by other reporters.
Then, in an incredible turn of events, the REAL Satoshi Nakamoto came out of hiding to clear Dorian’s name. He logged onto a forum he had posted the original Bitcoin whitepaper and said, simply: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” Newsweek has yet to retract their story.
So much for all of these printed editions!
But that’s not the real story here. The real story is what started late in the evening (or early morning in Japan). 200,000 bitcoins started moving around the Blockchain.
Starting at about 9:30PM PT last night, some of the largest ever Bitcoin transactions started appearing on the Blockchain.
The first transaction, consolidated holdings worth 180,000 BTC from 5 addresses into a single address. And another transaction sent 20,000 to the same address, totaling 200,000. Then the bitcoins were sent out from that address and a process of “tumbling” began.
Tumbling is the act of laundering digital currency by splitting up balances and combining with other sources. Eventually, after a few cycles, it’s not really possible to know where the original bitcoins went.
It was a late night for sleuths trying to track these transactions and identify the source. Was it the REAL Satoshi proving his existence? Was it Mark Karpeles, CEO of embattled Bitcoin exchange MtGox? Was it the thieves who reportedly stole 750,000 BTC from MtGox?
One user on Reddit posted his analysis:
Guys, I just followed the transactions of one of the coins. I don’t think it’s Satoshi. It’s Mtgox. Follow the largest transactions in both of these addresses back (these are two out of the 4 inputs for the 180k move). Eventually you will get to the 424242.424242 Mtgox proof of ownership transaction Marky Mark did in 2011.
What if the theories of Mtgox loosing control of it’s stash of Bitcoins by loss of the private keys are right? This means Mark FINALLY just managed to recover a chunk of them that haven’t been moved since 2011 when he moved them to prove ownership. If they had gotten stolen, we wouldn’t be seeing this many bitcoin days destroyed.
These events just go to show that Bitcoin never sleeps! In 24 hours, we went from being told by Newsweek that they had found Satoshi to seeing a message from the REAL Satoshi to witnessing one of the largest movement of bitcoins in history.
What a day!
This morning the Bitcoin world woke up to a report by Newsweek that purportedly revealed the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin. The report went into extensive details about the man, Dorian Nakamoto, his family and residence in a deep invasion of privacy.
In an amazing turn of events, tonight the REAL Satoshi Nakamoto came out of hiding and replied to his original 2008 thread on Bitcoin to say, simply:
I am not Dorian Nakamoto.
Welcome back, Satoshi!
[Update] What will Newsweek do with all of these printed magazines now??
Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin foundation, penned an open letter to Leah McGrath Goodman, the journalist who has purportedly discovered the true identity of Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto and revealed in a Newsweek exclusive. Andresen’s disappointment, widely shared by the Bitcoin community, is that Goodman chose to publish photos of Nakamoto’s house, names of his family members, and other personal details that openly revealed how to track down this man.
Andresen wrote on Twitter:
I’m disappointed Newsweek decided to dox the Nakamoto family, and regret talking to Leah.
— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) March 6, 2014
And then followed up with this open letter on Reddit.
I meant exactly what I tweeted: I am disappointed you (or your publishers) chose to publish enough personal information that people can easily find Dorian and his family.
The pieces might all be public information, but you worked really hard to piece them all together, and the crazy people who might decide it is a good idea to go visit “Satoshi” are likely not as smart or hard-working as you.
And all of your evidence is circumstantial, EXCEPT for the “I’m not involved in that any more” quote, which might simply be an old man saying ANYTHING to get you to go away and leave him alone.
Anyway, I hope some good comes of all this; I hope it stimulates more debate on personal privacy and the role of journalists in our “pan-opticon” world.
The phone, nicknamed the “Snowden Phone,” is a response to the growing frustrations and concerns around privacy infringement, call monitoring and Internet tracking.
And guess what? The company accepts Bitcoin as payment for those desiring more payment privacy than their credit cards.
The company launched the phone to specifically protect Americans’ privacy, thereby providing the peace and assurance knowing your data is not being compromised.
“In light of recent violations in consumer’s privacy across social networks and mobile devices, privacy is becoming increasingly important to many Americans and we all have a right to communicate anonymously,” said Steven Sesar, COO at FreedomPop. “Large carriers don’t have the flexibility, desire or creativity to invest in privacy. We don’t agree with this approach and felt it was up to us to create a truly private mobile phone service at an affordable price.”
FreedomPop provides disruptive mobile services so that no one is left off the “connected grid.” Launched in 2012, FreedomPop is rewriting the rules of the American telecoms industry and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom’s Atomico. The company offers consumers access to free high-speed Internet and mobile phone services nationwide.
The Privacy Phone leverages FreedomPop’s VoIP network, and enables encrypted communication for voice calls and text messages. The phone also uses128-bit encryption – the same proven encryption trusted by banks and government agencies. In addition, all application and Internet data will be sent through a secure encrypted virtual private network (VPN) for anonymous Internet browsing while protecting from viruses, phishing websites and other malware. Users can also request a number change at any time as many times as they want.
FreedomPop allows customers to pay in Bitcoin. Though not purely anonymous, Bitcoin payments can be made without directly revealing one’s identity. Will the Snowden Phone become the device of choice for Bitcoiners?
The Privacy Phone costs $189 and is built on top of the Samsung Galaxy II Android smartphone and comes with unlimited voice and text, plus 500 MBs of data for three months then costs $10 a month after that.
Upon sending the article to her publisher at Newsweek, freelance writer Leah McGrath Goodman was undoubtedly feeling pretty proud of herself.
She had found Satoshi Nakamoto! Yes, the father of Bitcoin, the elusive billionaire.
In a detailed exposé, Goodman describes a 64-year-old Japanese-American man living in California who wants to be left along to work on his model trains.
The journalist tracked Nakamoto – his name is actually Satoshi Nakamoto it turns out – to his home and intruded his privacy to the point that the police were called.
Nakamoto alleged admitted some past involvement in being the father of Bitcoin but did not want to say more.
“I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he says, dismissing all further queries with a swat of his left hand. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Journalistic Integrity, Where Art Thou?
On one hand, this is the scoop of the century. Since Bitcoin started its meteoric rise in 2013, journalists everywhere have been clamoring to find the real identity of the man behind the cryptocurrency.
On the other hand, the published article portrays a litany of arguably unethical behavior by a freelance writer, including:
- Posting a photo of Nakamoto’s California home including the license plate number of his car
- Posting a photo of Nakamoto himself
- Posting names and details about Nakamoto’s family and personal finances
The man identified as the creator of Bitcoin is not living the billionaire lifestyle that his original investment could afford him. On the contrary, he seems to be getting by and has had his own run of personal finance troubles such as foreclosed mortgages.
This mean’s that Nakamoto, if truly the originator of Bitcoin, has access to incredible wealth but has not cashed out and created the appropriate protections for that wealth, both in terms of personal security and financial diversification.
In other words, Leah McGrath Goodman may have just told the world where to find the private keys to hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin.
Immediately, responses to the article began taking the form of:
“This is one of the most moronic and grossly irresponsible pieces of journalism I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“Your speculative article on the person behind bitcoin was blatantly disrespectful, a breach of journalist integrity, and has placed this man and his family in potentially life-threatening danger.”
“What a disgusting, irresponsible exercise in sensationalism and attention-whoring.”
Goodman seems defiant in her approach, suggesting that she didn’t reveal anything non-public.
— Leah McGrath Goodman (@truth_eater) March 6, 2014
For our part, we won’t be reposting details about the man’s identity until he himself comes forward and willingly acknowledges his involvement in Bitcoin.