bitcoin_denial

Weeks after having his world turned upside down by a Newsweek cover story proclaiming him the alleged inventor of Bitcoin, 64-year-old California resident Dorian S. Nakamoto has lawyered up.

Nakamoto first denied the accuracy of the story while being chased by a swarm of Los Angeles reporters through an elevator in the Associated Press’ LA bureau building, and then more formally in a two-hour sit down interview with the AP. His attorney’s first action yesterday was to reiterate that denial in stronger terms.

An official statement issued by attorney Ethan D. Kirschner on Nakamoto’s behalf and first published by Reuters’ Felix Salmon, reads:

My name is Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. I am the subject of the Newsweek story on Bitcoin. I am writing this statement to clear my name.

I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.

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.

…My background is in engineering. I also have the ability to program. My most recent job was as an electrical engineer troubleshooting air traffic control equipment for the FAA. I have no knowledge of nor have I ever worked on cryptography, peer to peer systems, or alternative currencies.

(The statement already has its own NewsGenius page.)

Almost immediately after the original expose was published, the accuracy and ethics of Newsweek’s report were called into question here on Pando and elsewhere in the media.

Author Leah McGrath Goodman and her editor Jim Impoco relied on flimsy and largely circumstantial evidence such as Dorian’s birth name (changed over 40 years ago), his proclivity for using two spaces after periods, his familiarity with computers, his work on classified government projects (that turned out to be aviation-related, not cryptography), and a long lapse in work history during the period bitcoin was allegedly invented.

Tying together these otherwise unconvincing bits was an apparent confession, delivered while flanked by two sheriff’s deputies, that sounds more like a confused and harried comment meant to end an unpleasant conversation than the smoking gun Newsweek proclaimed it to be.

More damning is that Goodman and Impoco claim to have to have narrowed all possible subjects down to a single individual – in all the world.

Nakamoto’s latest statement could not be more clear. Either he’s lying, or Newsweek botched this.

The newly-resurrected magazine published the briefest of articles (26 words) in response to Nakamoto’s latest statement. It reads, in total:

Newsweek has not received any statement or letter from either Mr. Nakamoto or his legal counsel. If and when we do, we will respond as necessary.

Goodman’s only public statement on the matter was to retweet Newsweek’s micro-article. Impoco hasn’t even done that much. This after the publication, the author, and her editor have staunchly defended not only the methods used in reporting their Nakamoto story, but its conclusions.

Nakamoto’s categorical denial could conceivably set the stage for a civil lawsuit:

My prospects for gainful employment has been harmed because of Newsweek’s article. 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.

Because Nakamoto is claiming harm, this portion of the statement, more so than any other, is likely to get the attention of Newsweek’s lawyers. Dorian Nakamoto is a private citizen, not a public figure, and has been thrust – seemingly erroneously – into the public sphere as the creator of a controversial new technology. He and his attorneys seem to be laying the groundwork to sue for damages. Possible charges include defamation and invasion of privacy.

If Nakamoto does sue, that’s about the most powerful denial you could imagine, as if he really is bitcoin’s creator, any pre-trial discovery is sure to be extremely intrusive.

Nakamoto ends his message by saying, “This will be our last public statement on this matter.” More likely, this is just the beginning of what is sure to be a lengthy saga.

[Read Dorian S. Nakamoto’s full statement below:]

My name is Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. I am the subject of the Newsweek story on Bitcoin. I am writing this statement to clear my name.

I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.

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 never consented to speak with the reporter. In an ensuing discussion with a reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology “bitcom.” I was still unfamiliar with the term.

My background is in engineering. I also have the ability to program. My most recent job was as an electrical engineer troubleshooting air traffic control equipment for the FAA. I have no knowledge of nor have I ever worked on cryptography, peer to peer systems, or alternative currencies.

I have not been able to find steady work as an engineer or programmer for ten years. I have worked as a laborer, polltaker, and substitute teacher. I discontinued my internet service in 2013 due to severe financial distress. I am trying to recover from prostate surgery in October 2012 and a stroke I suffered in October of 2013. My prospects for gainful employment has been harmed because of Newsweek’s article.

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. 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.

Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto

Temple City, California

March 17, 2014