Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, the 64-year-old Temple City, Calif., resident Newsweek claimed is the likely creator of Bitcoin in a prominent cover story published Thursday, denied ever having been involved with the cryptocurrency in an interview with the Associated Press later that same day.
In a startling turn to what has already been a remarkably strange series of events, Nakamoto is flatly refuting Newsweek's claims, though admitted that many of the story's revelations about his personal life were indeed true.
More notably, Nakamoto added that he had never heard of Bitcoin until three weeks ago when his son told him that he was contacted by a reporter that believed his father to be the Bitcoin creator. It is unclear what impact this will have on Newsweek's story, which graces the first print cover of the magazine since it was bought by IBT Media last year and revived in print.
Reporters -- having staked out Nakamoto's house after Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman, the writer of the story, included a photo of his home -- followed him through Los Angeles this afternoon, first to a sushi restaurant and then to the offices of the AP. Nakamoto had selected, seemingly at random, a reporter from the wire service to take him out for a free lunch, but not before a brief exchange with Los Angeles Times reporter Andrea Chang in which Nakamoto denied his connection to Bitcoin.
Nakamoto, when I asked him in elevator why he told Newsweek he used to be involved with #bitcoin: "No no no I was never involved."— Andrea Chang (@byandreachang) March 6, 2014
What followed Nakamoto's desire for lunch devolved into a comical chase, with the barrage of reporters following the AP reporter's Toyota Pruis by car and updating in real time using the Twitter hashtag #bitcoinchase.
"I am no longer involved in [Bitcoin] and I cannot discuss it," Nakamoto reportedly told Goodman. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection." That terse but revealing admission, given to Goodman in the presence of police officers that Nakamoto called after cutting off communication with the reporter, formed the basis of Newsweek's bombshell report.
The veracity of that sentence is now up for debate that Nakamoto has denied Newsweek's claims. The Temple City Sheriff's Department would no comment on the matter, nor name either of the two officers present in that situation.
So while the Bitcoin creator still goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, but his real identity it seems will remain in dispute for now.
Update at 5:24 p.m. PT: Revised story to reflect the AP's interview with Nakamoto.