The ongoing bitstorm over Newsweek's claimed outing of mysterious Bitcoin godfather Satoshi Nakamoto, which was later rebuked by the subject of that report, is beginning to resemble a mashup of a futuristic manga thriller and an Andy Kaufman prank. The latest chapter in the crypto-currency commedia dell'arte seems to have the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto behind Bitcoin breaking a years-long silence to also dispute the Newsweek report.
Newsweek editor Leah McGrath Goodman tracked down a man named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto living near San Bernardino, Calif., who she believed fit the profile of the person who published this paper as well as this forum post describing Bitcoin back in 2009 under the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
In a bizarre confrontation outside Dorian S. Nakamoto's home with local police in attendance, Goodman quoted the man thusly:
"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."
Hours later, Dorian S. Nakamoto took a ride with an Associated Press reporter (while being chased across Los Angeles by a gaggle of other reporters), who videotaped Dorian's debunking and disbelief of the Newsweek report. He says he was not referring to involvement in Bitcoin in the above quotes. You can watch a clip of the AP's interview at the end of this post.
Then, just to top off the weirdness, a new comment from Satoshi Nakamoto appeared late Thursday on the original 2009 forum post introducing Bitcoin. It read simply "I am not Dorian Nakamoto."
But is this the same Satoshi Nakamoto? Is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, even a real person? All that seems to be confirmed is that the account on the forum was registered with the email address listed on the original paper on Bitcoin, according to the forum's creator, Josef Davies Coates.
The suggestion has gone out on Twitter and elsewhere that Satoshi could sign a message with his known PGP key to verify his identity, but so far that's not happening.
Interestingly, if you look at the history of the PGP key for the email address associated with Bitcoin's creator, you'll see that it was apparently signed by one Dorian S. Nakamoto on April Fool's Day of 2013.
Aha! So Dorian Nakamoto is trolling us! Actually, no, not likely. It seems that those PGP time stamps can be pretty easily spoofed, and that the entry for Dorian doesn't show up in other recent results for the same query, or in the Google cache, for that matter. So it appears that someone is going to great, geeky lengths to keep trolling poor Dorian Nakamoto. Or Dorian just wants us to think that, because he is the real Satoshi trolling us all with some brilliant, hidden, reverse psychological PGP key manipulation.
Or maybe, just maybe, we've all missed the truth completely. Clearly, the real Satoshi Nakamoto who created Bitcoin was none other than the proto-troll himself, Mr. Andy Kaufman.
Mystery solved. You're welcome. Meanwhile, this guy is having a rough week: