Bitcoin Community Doubts Satoshi Nakamoto Identity

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Satoshi_Nakamoto_Bitcoin_Creator_question

Newsweek uncovers either Satoshi, or a man willing to deny being him.

(CCN’s original live-updated coverage here)

As Newsweek’s article regarding the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto surges through the community, many are stunned with disbelief.

The man who signed every message with a PGP key, never gave away personal details despite communicating for years, and eluded numerous attempts to find him; could he have been using his real name the whole time?

To be fair, his name is Dorian S. Nakamoto, that first name can really throw off searches.   Nonetheless, the evidence presented by Newsweek is circumstantial at best.

Reporter Leah McGrath Goodman relies heavily on timeline coincidences, connecting the development of the original code to a lapse in employment for Dorian Nakamoto, and health issues involving prostate cancer that coincide with Satoshi’s disappearance from Bitcoin forums.

Goodman also includes a quote from Dorian Nakamoto as a “tacit acknowledgement” of his role in creating 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.”

This single denial combined with timetable coincidences is less damning than most Scooby-Doo episodes, regardless, Goodman feels it necessary to play the role of conqueror;

He stands not with defiance, but with the slackness of a person who has waged battle for a long time and now faces a grave loss.

Goodman’s tone, her inclusion of a picture of D. S. Nakamoto’s house, and lack of definitive evidence has many in the Bitcoin community angry.  Why proclaim victory on such flimsy evidence?  Whether or not he is the real Satoshi, doesn’t including a picture of his house put him in danger?

Many are conducting their own investigations, turning up various pieces of the Dorian Nakamoto puzzle.

Internet Footprints

Like many of us, Dorian Nakamoto has lived a life on the internet, leaving behind little pieces of text and signatures on various websites he has frequented.

For example, in early 2011 when Bitcoin was known by virtually no-one, Dorian Nakamoto was hard at work reviewing cookies on Amazon:

it has lots of buttery taste.

the shipment went well. i’ve had a nice comment from
my kids. it’s a perfect xmas and i would say, for
other occasions.

There are two other reviews to that profile, each with worse grammar than the one before.

The senile/broken grammar persona is also exhibited in a letter Nakamoto wrote regarding a train art project, and also a (hilarious) correspondence between Nakamoto and an email group he wished to unsubscribe from, but apparently did not know the correct way to do it.  The admin responds, “If you can’t figure out how to handle list commands like unsubscribing [...], please contact me directly rather than dump a message into 230 mailboxes of people who can do nothing about it.”

Part of me hopes he is the real Nakamoto, and that was just his way of sticking it to spammers.

Model Trains

Despite the barely intelligible messages mentioned in the previous section, Nakamoto’s contributions to various model train forums and magazines represent him as more intelligent.

In a magazine dedicated to O-scale trains, Nakamoto responds to a concerned manufacturer not given proper credit on an image,

You are correct.  We did not use the Atlas O as the manufacturer of the cylindrical hopper used in that article.  We are often not given manufacturer information for items that appear in photos submitted for articles unless it’s self-evident.  However, we will strive to identify items in future articles.

While the magazine is certainly edited, ensuring better grammar, a submission to a train forum by Dorian Nakamoto also stands out:

Hi Nilayam,

1. Which wheels have spokes and how many spokes for each wheel? My UK built Pearse’s 2-6-4 in 15mm/ft (1/20.3 scale) has all the wheels as solid disc (no spokes)
and I’m wondering if this is true on the real prototype’s Kitson locomotives of the same class, such as the 4-8-4 shown in your photos.

2. What were the thickness of the tyres? I think the thickness should be 4.5″ or 4.75″ for a 2ft 6inch gauge track with 5″ diam. axles?

If you can get close up photos of the wheels, that’ll be great. The L&M’s truck wheels were 1 ft 11 inches and the drivers were 2 ft 6 inches I believe.

Who cares?

Regardless of grammar, timeline, names, and all coincidences included, the Satoshi that created Bitcoin clearly desires to be left alone.  At this point, the man has as much control over the protocol as any of us (although, he may have more control over the exchange rate considering his potential holdings).  While it is seductive to imagine that the secretive genius is a humble old man playing with trains, the consequences of Goodman being wrong outweigh any potential insight gained by the revelation if it is true.

While it wouldn’t be the first life the media has ruined with accusations, the standard response of “they deserve it for seeking such fame” will not apply to this case.

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