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back to article I NEVER DONE BITCOIN, says bloke fingered by new Newsweek

A father of six living in Los Angeles County has denied he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto following a Newsweek cover story that claimed otherwise. After a bizarre series of events that included a car chase and a pack of reporters staking out the chap's house, Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, 64, exclusively told the …

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed, the magazine's article included a quote from Dorian Nakamoto's brother warning: "He'll deny everything. He'll never admit to starting Bitcoin."

Ten bucks says that the full quote from Mr. Nakamoto's brother was, "He'll never admit to starting Bitcoin - because he didn't start it", and that the Newsweek people edited the last bit out, for, uh, brevity...

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Heads I win, tails you lose

Hack walks over to bloke and asks "are you <insert random claim here, e.g. 'the creator of bitcoin'>?"

If bloke says "yes", that's the story right there.

If he says "no", the story is "Mr. so-and-so denies he's <random claim>".

Journalism: because the truth is out there, but Hell if I can be bothered to go and take a look.

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Re: Heads I win, tails you lose

Just another variation of a hack* asking someone: "Do you still beat your wife?" If the guy didn't invent bitcoin and doesn't have $400M tucked away or even if he did invent it and have the stash, by the time the US press gets done with him his life will be in ruins. They will dig up every bit of dirt on him from the day he was born. They will probably (given past history) mix his life up with others with the same name.

I hope he is the "inventor" has the stash so he can get out of Dodge and go live in some semblance of peace. Otherwise, he and his family will be having a rough go of it.

*Let's just call them "hacks" because 99% of them aren't journalists, I believe a true journalist has some integrity and wouldn't go camp out in someone's front yard to scream questions at them.

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Anonymous Coward

My skepticism stems from personal experience. I once had a local newspaper profile me and my company.

Their article ended up implying that my aunt was also my mother.

My other encounters with the media have been only marginally more successful; they've screwed up my quotes to make it sound like I described weaknesses in my competitors' products as applying to my own, imprinted my URL so it looked like I was out of business, and on and on. I've had very few instances where articles have been written about me or my product without significant factual errors; suffice it to say that I now regard the print press with a more jaundiced eye than I did previously.

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My one encounter with our local journalists involved a massive misquote. It was nothing to write home about as it was just a quote on my opinion of a local event, but what I said and what showed up in the paper weren't even similar. I always just assumed that it was just the local journalists being incompetent.

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Re: wouldn't go camp out in someone's front yard to scream questions at them.

I had a journalism class here in the US. One journalism class. Because that's exactly what they teach you to do in your very first journalism class.

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Re: just the local journalists being incompetent.

Could be the editor.

In college I was an elected leader in our Astro Club. Student reporter came to us for an interview. We gave it to her and explained all the stuff we did and when we'd have an open house for the public to come look through the big scopes (Halley's comet year). We closed the interview by saying the club had been founded in the 60s by some flowerkids and we'd never gotten around to correcting the errors in the charter because we figured we'd just wind up with even more problems from student government, but we were the Astronomy club which was science based and not the Astrology club which was hocus pocus. Sure enough when the article came out it said we made astrological equipment available to the public. I called her and she said her editor changed it. The editor said since it was in a public document they could use it even if we specifically told them not to.

I'd like to say that it isn't possible for my opinion of journalists to sink any lower than it already is, but I've learned not to temp fate like that.

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At least 2 people deny it

Both Dorian Nakamoto and now Satoshi Nakamoto are both claiming Dorian didn't invent bitcoin.

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Re: At least 2 people deny it

"since it was in a public document they could use it even if we specifically told them not to."

That is true, but it doesn't mean that to do so wouldn't be actionable. Nor does it mean that in doing so regularly they wouldn't quickly gain a reputation for printing worthless nonsense.

Publish and be damned indeed.

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Really?

Is there only one Satoshi Nakamoto on the planet and would the inventor have used his real name anyway?

It's possibly this guy, but not likely.

Leave him alone and chase Mark Karpeles.

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Re: Really?

Is there only one Satoshi Nakamoto on the planet (...)?

Not to mention that this Satoshi Nakamoto is conveniently an American citizen living in the US... Because, you know, Japanese citizens, what do they know about computers anyway?

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/sigh

Disgusting paparazzi style behaviour by the press. Seriously, the men went out for lunch and they couldn't leave him in peace to eat his meal? Even if he did invent bitcoin, that's a bit beyond the pale. He's not a criminal, nor does he hold public office, they should back the hell off.

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I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

If he admits to having all those bitcoins.

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Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

Not if he spends on coke off the Silkroad.....

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Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

How can you get taxed on bitcoin?

It's not a currency.

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FAIL

Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

Not so sure of that - if bitcoin mining generates income, regardless of the way that income is paid I wouldnt bet against it being taxable. There are plenty of famous cases of people being paid "in kind" (e.g. sheep, apples) and being taxed.

Bitcoins are no less real than many financial products. I cant think of a government that would limit itself by producing a list of assets that are taxable. Better to make a broad statement, and define a small exclusion list if needed.

In addition I bet you can get taxed everytime you crystalise a gain by converting it back into a recognised currency.

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Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

If he's got $400M in the first place why does he not have the lifestyle to go with it?

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Anonymous Coward

@Destroy all monsters.

Obviously you have never dealt with the IRS.

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Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

"If he's got $400M in the first place why does he not have the lifestyle to go with it?"

Because it's not real money. Regardless of bitcoin's "worth", good luck getting that sort of value out of the system to reflect in the real world without the value of it plummeting.

Besides, he amassed $400M by creating the first few bitcoins when it was relatively computationally easy to generate them. They were worth naff-all when *he created them.

*Assuming it's him. Story I read said he didn't deny or confirm, just didn't want to talk about it. Presumably because many many people have already asked in the past "ohh, you have the same name as this guy, is it you?"

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Re: I think he's just afraid of the tax claim he'll get

Your house isn't currency but it gets taxed. Your car gets taxed. Your tv gets taxed. Your gas and electricity get taxed. Your clothes get taxed. Your food gets taxed. Etc Etc Etc. WTF country do you live in where only currency gets taxed!?

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Forget the IRS

From what I can gather from wht the FBI can gather, its the FBI you have to look out for. If they get hold of your cash, even if they can't prove criminal ah... wait...

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This is interesting

" ... the creator of Bitcoin – whoever he or she is – has by public record amassed a $400m stash in the virtual currency ..."

Is this because the visible structure of the data shows an origin point and an associated amount before a new 'mining' operation started? Additionaly, does it also show that the first amount of Bitcoins were never transfered to a different wallet? Does this have implications for anonymity if enough computing power is applied to analysis of the Bitcoin 'ecosystem'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is interesting

That is exactly correct. The entire ledger of every transaction in bitcoin is a matter of public record. That is the basis of how it works.

Anyone can explore the ledger and see who the address of the first transactions were to. Logically the first address will be the creator.

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Re: This is interesting

That being the case how have so many Bitcoins been stolen? If there is such an audit trail then surely a stolen bitcoin is totally worthless?

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Re: This is interesting

The Bitcoin protocol does not have any notion of "stolen", and nor does it have any central authority that could label coins as such. (Such an authority would have enormous power, and power corrupts; Bitcoin was invented as a distributed mechanism precisely to avoid such centralised power). Hence coins which one person claims are stolen, can still be freely traded under the Bitcoin protocol.

In theory you might try to reclaim stolen coins using conventional legal means. That would require identifying who currently possesses the coins so they can be reclaimed. That can be tricky because the coins are stored in (effectively) a numbered account and there is no registry that maps account numbers to real-world names and addresses. So for example, if the thief uses stolen coins to order a pizza, you might be able to discover the address the pizza was delivered to. That would require the cooperation of the pizza vendor; and if the thief holds onto the coins for 10 years without spending them there is little you can do for that long. Alternatively, you might be able to discover the IP address the coins were acquired through. Generally, there are things you can try, but there are also things the thief can do to defeat you. Identifying a Bitcoin thief requires technical know-how and resources (or a stupid thief).

In addition to technical challenges, you would have to prove the coins were stolen in some court that has jurisdiction. Lots of legal issues there. Arguably if the thief did not have good legal title to the coins, they couldn't pass good title to the pizza vendor, and you could reclaim the coins from him (much as you could reclaim a stolen car even if the current possessor had bought it in good faith; it would still be your car and your bitcoins). However, it's not clear Bitcoin works like that; cash doesn't, and Bitcoin was intended to work as cash, with transactions being irreversible.

Some of the sums involved in recent thefts are large enough that I would expect all legal and technical avenues to be pursued in recovering them. So maybe MtGox will get its coins back. It won't be quick, though.

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Great Journalism

With a brilliant example like this, here's hoping that was the LAST issue of Newsweek V2.

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Re: Great Journalism

Steve Jackson got it right in 1993 when he developed the board game Hacker: Newsleak.

And IIRC they had a difficulty level right on par with Squishysoft.

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WTF?

because, like paris, people with $400 million are well known for living in suburbia with easy access to the press, kidnappers, nutters etc.

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Anonymous Coward

What arse clowns

The media is dumber than a rock. I expect a lawsuit for fraud and invasion of privacy.

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ObPython

"Only the true inventor of Bitcoin would deny his divinity!"

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I am Nakamoto!

No, I am Nakamoto!

[continues ad nauseam]

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Re: I am Nakamoto!

No! I am Nakamoto, and so is my wife!

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Should of charged Em

Walk outside to reporters, "Exclusive Interview for $ 5million"

Reporter : Did you invent Bitcoin

Nakamoto: My money first please

Reporter : Did you invent Bitcoin

Nakamoto: Thank you and No. Have a lovely day.

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Anonymous Coward

"Public interest"

The journalist's get-out-of-jail-free card.

Pro tip: it's not because the public is interested that it's in the public's interest.

I sure hope the vultures here at El Reg leave him alone.

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Re: "Public interest"

And of course if the public interest card doesn't cut it the journalist can always follow it up with the classic "acting in good faith" card that usually involves the "information received" subclause.

Apparently "acting in good faith" excuses almost anything (up to and including invading sovereign territory) just so long as you were "acting on information received". Notice the use of the word "received" rather than "solicited", "assumed" or "invented".

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Re: "Public interest"

Never forget the journalists ultimate get of jail free card (especially in the US): I didn't claim it, I quoted someone.

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Conflicting reports

According to AP, Nakamoto said that he only heard of the digital cash three weeks ago when his son said he had been contacted by Newsweek.

Yet, according to Newsweek, when questioned on involvement with Bitcoin -

"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."

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Re: Conflicting reports

You haven't actually read either story have you? If you'd read the AP story you would know that he has explained the exchange with Newsweek. He says that what he was trying to tell Newsweek was that he wasn't involved in engineering anymore and could not discuss it due to contractual obligations. Papering over any cracks with the explanation that his grasp of the english language is not perfect.

Of course you could question that his english is not perfect after 55 years living in the USA, but I know people who were born in the UK but speak English only as a second language and quite badly at that.

You could ask why he answered a specific question about Bitcoin with a general answer regarding his career in engineering, but can we be sure that he said this in answer to a specific question about Bitcoin.

How about:

"Mr Nakano did you develop Bitcoin?"

"Never heard of it until a few weeks ago."

"But you did work on secret engineering projects for several years."

"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,"

How hard is that for some hack to edit into:

"Mr Nakano did you develop Bitcoin?"

"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,"

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Re: Conflicting reports

You haven't actually read either story have you? If you'd read the AP story you would know that he has explained the exchange with Newsweek.

I read the El Reg and Newsweek articles, but not the AP article. A conflict in the reports is however evident.

DPSN says the Newsweek article is wrong, but Goodman is standing by it saying there was no confusion about the context. It may be Goodman is right but DPSN did not mean what it appears he was saying. Or DPSN could have gathered his wits and is now trying to rescue himself from what he did say. I have no idea which it is and doubt anyone else does at this time.

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Re: Conflicting reports

If you've been involved in secret government contracts I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it is the blanket reply to any questions asked about any of your work. Even if the bit you worked on isn't actually classified. Because if you start answering questions about stuff that isn't classified, when you revert to the blanket excuse you interrogator now knows there's something classified about that line of questioning.

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Re: Conflicting reports

Not only that, but it's can be very difficult to know what is and isn't classified. Could you remember decades after the fact which jobs and which bits of jobs you worked on were classified, so best bet would be to assume all of it was classified to avoid mistakes.

Anyhow the nature of NDAs is such that on every job you sign an NDA which says you will disclose nothing of what you learn or do on the job.

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The Press Corps has no standard of decency

> an informal "car chase"

You'd have thought that for a story involving $400m they'd at least dress properly and arrange a proper formal chase. Jeez...

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Coming Soon From Newsweek...

..."We find the man guilty of inventing John Smith's Bitter..."

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Re: Tax on cryptocurrency

If you read the HMRC briefing released earlier this week, you will see that UK citizens will not be taxed:

1.Income received from Bitcoin mining activities will generally be outside the scope of VAT on the basis that the activity does not constitute an economic activity for VAT purposes

2.Income received by miners for other activities, such as for the provision of services in connection with the verification of specific transactions for which specific charges are made, will be exempt from VAT

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Re: Tax on cryptocurrency

VAT and income tax are two different things.

I could - if the circumstances were right - earn a million pounds and not pay a penny of that to the VATman, but his colleague in the next office might well relieve me of 400 thousand pounds.

the relevant section is further down the release

"The profits and losses of a non-incorporated business on Bitcoin transactions must be reflected in their accounts and will be taxable on normal income tax rules"

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Re: Tax on cryptocurrency

There are a lot more taxes than just VAT.

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Anonymous Coward

OK I admit it

I invented it.

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Re: OK I admit it

I always knew it was you!

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Total speculation

What is known is that someone going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a paper on bitcoin. That person may or may not have been involved with its creation after writing the paper. The creator may have a bunch of bitcoins which he could easily have passed around way back when because they weren't worth anything or may have lost the codes to access those coins. There are literally billions in unclaimed property in the US alone and there is no reason to believe that bitcoins are any different.

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Re: Total speculation

There are literally billions in unclaimed property in the US

QUICK! PASS A LAW! THIS NEEDS TO BE SEIZED FORTHWITH!

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