The real-life Satoshi Nakamoto denies being involved in Bitcoin

The plot thickens: Hours after Newsweek published a massive exposé claiming to reveal the identity of Bitcoin's mysterious creator, the man reportedly responsible is denying all ties to the virtual currency.

After reporters camped outside of 64-year-old Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto's home in Temple City, Calif., Nakamoto emerged from his house to say he was only alerted to Bitcoin's existence when his son told him he'd been contacted by Newsweek's' Leah McGrath Goodman weeks ago.

"I'm not involved in Bitcoin," Nakamoto said. "Wait a minute — I want my free lunch, first." Nakamoto then took off with an Associated Press reporter for a sushi lunch, pursued by a horde of other journalists.

Nakamoto later repeatedly told the AP that "I got nothing to do with it."

The Japanese-born immigrant's account conflicts with Newsweek's story, which quoted Nakamoto as saying, "I'm no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it." Goodman interpreted "that" to mean Bitcoin. Nakamoto later said he meant his career in engineering.

The writer is standing by her story, telling the AP, "There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation — and his acknowledgment of his involvement in Bitcoin."

Goodman's story uncovered extensive details about Nakamoto's life, including that he changed his first name to Dorian from Satoshi decades ago. The Nakamoto from Temple City is a model train enthusiast, a stellar mathematician and did classified work for the public sector as recently as the early 2000s.

Meanwhile, the same pseudonymous online account that kicked it all off in 2009 with a conceptual description of Bitcoin spoke up again Thursday night — this time, to cryptically deny any link with today's events. It's impossible to know whether this was a clever attempt at misdirection by Dorian Nakamoto himself, or if there really is somebody else behind the scenes. (It's also interesting that Nakamoto's denials are all couched in the present tense, not the past.)

"I am not Dorian Nakamoto," wrote Satoshi Nakamoto. Whoever that is.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

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