Dorian S. Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese-American thrust into the spotlight by a Newsweek cover story, is vehemently denying the accuracy of the story identifying him as the brains behind the bits.
"Newsweek's false report has been the source of a great deal of confusion and stress for myself, my 93-year-old mother, my siblings, and their families," wrote Nakamoto in a statement released Monday by Reuters over Twitter. "I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report."
Widely circulated stories have said in the past that a genius kid in Tokyo came up with the concept of the currency, a digital form of money that has no physical form and lacks any ties to a country. Bitcoin's adoption has been a runaway success, as far as currencies go, with everyone from football teams to food shops announcing plans to accept the digital currency, although the value of the currency has seen dramatic ups and downs.
'The first time I heard the term 'bitcoin' was from my son in mid-February 2014.'
- Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto
Newsweek outed Nakamoto last week, in a cover story by Leah McGrath Goodman.
“Far from leading to a Tokyo-based whiz kid using the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ as a cipher or pseudonym (a story repeated by everyone from Bitcoin's rabid fans to The New Yorker), the trail followed by Newsweek led to a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto. He is someone with a penchant for collecting model trains and a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military,” Goodman wrote.
Nakamoto on Monday released a statement through his lawyer, Ethan Kirschner, which was released by Reuters.
"The first time I heard the term 'bitcoin' was from my son in mid-February 2014. After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard. Shortly thereafter, the reporter confronted me at my home. I called the police."
"I offer my sincerest thanks to those people in the United States and around the world who have offered me their support. I have retained legal counsel. This will be our last public statement on this matter. I ask that you now respect our privacy," he added.
That statement echoes Nakamoto's comments last week to the Associated Press, when he strongly repudiated the story.
Nakamoto graduated from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., with a degree in physics, but Newsweek found him through his interest in model trains -- which he upgrades and modifies through computer-aided design (CAD). He lives in a “modest, single-family home in Southern California” and drives a silver Toyota Corolla CE, Goodman wrote.
The bitcoin may not prove as secure as its supporters believe. Mt. Gox, a Japanese company that is the world’s largest exchange of bitcoins, filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of February, announcing a massive theft of several hundred million dollars worth of the digital currency.
The currency had been tumultuous before that, with massive fluctuations in price driving exchange rates up and down by tens or even hundreds of dollars per day. The stress of the industry may be one reason 28-year-old Autumn Ratke, CEO of U.S.-based bitcoin exchange First Meta, committed suicide recently.
The explosion in popularity of the coin made early investors instantly wealthy. Goodman interviewed Bitcoin's chief scientist, the 47-year-old Gavin Andresen. Another early investor, he has done well by bitcoins.
"I made a small investment in bitcoin and it is actually enough that I could now retire if I wanted to," Andresen told Newsweek. "Overall, I've made about $800 per penny I've invested. It's insane."