When most of us who are involved in the Bitcoin community think of its original developer we think about Satoshi Nakamoto. But we also know that “Satoshi Nakamoto” was very probably a pseudonym for at least one person and perhaps even a team of very talented developers.
There are also thousands of reporters worldwide that would love to break the story of who this person is and what he’s up to now. According to one Newsweek reporter, Satoshi Nakamoto is busy in the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles making model trains and the subject of that story is now bringing the news magazine to court, claiming that while many of the details in the story are correct, he is not the inventor of Bitcoin.
The reporter who covered the story for Newsweek, Leah McGrath Goodman, was recently interviewed on CNN about Nakamoto’s claims and stands by her claim that Dorian Nakamoto did tell her at one meeting that he did indeed invent Bitcoin but that he was no longer involved in the project.
The research that Goodman did on the story was extensive. She talked to most of his family and thoroughly researched his past before publishing and while nothing pointed conclusively at this particular “Nakamoto,” there was also nothing to disprove that he is not the originator.
Satoshi Nakamoto is Dorian Nakamoto’s birth name, but he rarely uses it anymore. He is a physicist and trained computer engineer with a job history at some of the largest tech companies in the world, including Wavestream Corp, Hughes Aircraft and RCA. His family calls him a brilliant but very private man and this could very well be the reason for his lawsuit against Newsweek.
He said in one statement that Newsweek "must be held accountable for its reckless reporting" and, in that spirit is asking for donations in the form of credit card, personal checks, money orders and, of course, Bitcoin.
According to Dorian Nakamoto’s complaint, the report has caused both him and his family endless harassment from both reporters and the public. Bitcoin has gone from what was just a few years ago considered an underground pirate currency to a huge global business worth billions.
Dorian Nakamoto’s attorneys released a statement about the Newsweek claims:
“Dorian Nakamoto is a 65-year-old unemployed engineer living in Temple City, California. A hardware engineer for various companies over the last three decades, Dorian's area of expertise was troubleshooting air traffic control systems. He has had no training, education, or work experience with cryptography, peer to peer systems, or alternative currencies. He is not the face of Bitcoin.”
Nakamoto’s attorneys also cited an AP video interview with Dorian in which he mispronounced “Bitcoin” as “Bitcom” and denied communicating with anyone about Bitcoin. They also claim that members of the family are now saying that they were “misquoted” on many occasions and on some their statements were completely fabricated.
The lawsuit will of course be extremely taxing financially on Nakamoto but donations in Bitcoin alone have reached US$23,000 according to figures released by the Dorian Nakamoto Legal Defense Fund.
Nakamoto’s lawsuit however could be an uphill battle simply because of the First Amendment Free Speech protections that are extended to members of the media, requiring the plaintiff to prove “malicious intent.” Gene Policinsky, senior vice president of the the First Amendment Center explains:
"The First Amendment and Supreme Court decisions protect the news media in their reporting on matters of public interest, so you really have to show actual malice and disregard for the truth that would be very blatant and very provable."
Whether or not Dorian Nakamoto is the famous developer of Bitcoin will probably never be revealed unless he chooses to disclose the information himself. There is one fact that is abundantly clear however: Dorian and his family deserve to have their privacy remain intact if they wish too and not be turned into a media spectacle.