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Police officers in Newsweek Bitcoin story confirm Nakamoto quote

The officers who witnessed a key verbal exchange between a Newsweek writer and the alleged Bitcoin founder have confirmed the accuracy of the account.


Here's the latest in a bizarre, winding saga sparked Thursday by a Newsweek cover story that alleged it had found the man who created Bitcoin: The police officers present for an important verbal exchange said the account as written by Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman is accurate.

In her story, Goodman described a scene outside the home of Dorian S. Nakamoto, the man purported to be the founder of Bitcoin, the crypto-currency. Nakamoto had called the police after Goodman came to his door, and the officers were there when he supposedly uttered this key quote: "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he said in the Newsweek story. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection."

According to the Sheriff's Department that dispatched the officers, the quote is accurate. "Both sheriff's deputies agreed that the quotes published in the March 6, 2014, Newsweek magazine Bitcoin article that were attributed to the resident and to one of the deputies were accurate," L.A. County Sheriff's Department Captain Mike Parker wrote in a statement.

There had been some doubt, after Nakamoto denied his involvement in a subsequent interview with The Associated Press. When asked by the AP if he ever made that statement to Goodman, Nakamoto said, "No."

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

When the Sheriff's Department was contacted by CNET on Thursday, the watch commander declined to comment. "Not a chance," he said. By Friday, the department had changed its tune. Parker also wrote in his statement that the police officers were dispatched to the scene because Nakamoto had grown afraid to open his door, after Goodman had been sitting on his porch for the past hour.