Newsweek Returns to Print, Sets Off Internet Manhunt

Newsweek Returns to Print, Sets Off Internet Manhunt

posted Sunday Mar 9, 2014 by Scott Ertz

Newsweek Returns to Print, Sets Off Internet Manhunt

This is one of the weirder stories we have ever covered here that isn't in the middle of April or based in New Jersey. Newsweek, after taking a 15 month hiatus from its print edition, returned to printing this week with a bang. In addition to the obvious coverage that accompanied the first major digital reversal, Newsweek decided to print a massive 4,600 word article about Bitcoin. Specifically, they printed that they had identified, found and confirmed the identity of the illusive Bitcoin founder.

Known to the Internet simply as Satoshi Nakamoto, the possibly fake name of the Internet poster who had originally unveiled the Bitcoin concept, Newsweek tracked the name back to 64-year-old southern California resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. Thursday morning, they printed the article, which included a quote from Dorian, "I'm no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it." That confession was all that was needed to go to print.

A few hours later, news reporters from all over the area had found Dorian's address and were camped out outside, hoping to catch a photo of the man or, even better, get a quote from him. Obviously, everyone was hoping for the type of success Newsweek had found with their article, finding some sort of exclusive piece of information, despite no reporter having any privacy from the others.

At lunchtime is when things started to heat up in the race for a scoop. Dorian, probably getting tired of people in his yard and growing hungry, decided to take advantage of the media circus and comes outside. Of course, he is immediately barraged by reporters and, on video, denies having been involved in the creation of Bitcoin. He doesn't answer any questions from anyone, but does seem to quickly make a decision, probably with no information, about which reporter he will speak to, tells the crowd he would like his free lunch and takes the reporter away.

The reporter, the Associated Press's Joe Bel Bruno takes Dorian to lunch at a sushi restaurant, with a parade of reporters following behind in what LA has become famous for: car chases. After arriving at the restaurant, and the other reporters joining them, the two leave and head off to the Associated Press offices to talk in private.

As morning turns to afternoon, the two spoke privately for two full hours, with everyone else from the #Bitcoinchase waiting outside. While they speak, it is assumed that Dorian continued to deny his involvement in Bitcoin, as shortly after the AP published a story about his denial. Obviously someone created the digital currency, but it seems it is not Dorian.

That evening, in a Jawed Karim-style return to the Internet, the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto broke their 5 years of complete silence to post thier own denial saying simply, "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." With this possibly correct new information, what is the Internet supposed to do?

Friday morning Newsweek responds to the mountain of evidence that their story may have not been entirely, or at all, factual. They claim that "the same high editorial and ethical standards that have guided Newsweek for more than 80 years" were in play during the fact gathering process for this story and that "The facts as reported point toward Mr. Nakamoto's role in the founding of Bitcoin."

Friday afternoon, two important things happened. First, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office claimed that the quote in the original article was correct, and was reported by the Los Angeles Times. This leads us all to believe that, either the question was not understood by Dorian, or the response was misunderstood.

Around the same time, TechCrunch was able to confirm that the email address used to post the denial from the "real" Satoshi Nakamoto is the same one used to post the original Bitcoin spec. This certainly suggests that it is the same person/people that are letting us know that Dorian is unrelated to the process. That sounds like double confirmation to me.

There is no telling how this story will eventually end, but one thing is for certain: the Bitcoin creator is real and Dorian does not fit the bill. Someone will find the person/people responsible one day.

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