Is He or Isn't He? Alleged Bitcoin Founder Denies He Founded Bitcoin.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 6 2014 8:05 PM

Is He or Isn't He? Alleged Bitcoin Founder Denies He Founded Bitcoin.

475250009-man-holds-a-bitcoin-medal-as-members-of-bitcoin-trading
A man holds a bitcoin medal as members of bitcoin trading club hold a meeting in Tokyo on February 27, 2014.

Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

AP’s anxiously-awaited Nakamoto exclusive is out. The newswire reports the man who Newsweek claimed is the founder of bitcoin in a much-talked about cover story today, denies he had anything to do with the cryptocurrency. Here’s the AP:

In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press Dorian S. Nakamoto, 64, said he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago.
Reached at his home in Temple City, Calif., Nakamoto acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek's report are correct, including that he once worked for a defense contractor. But he strongly disputes the magazine's assertion that he is "the face behind Bitcoin."
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Earlier today, Nakamoto's home was staked out by a pack of media and he was chased across Los Angeles as he traveled to lunch and then the offices of an AP reporter for the interview. LA Times Deputy Business Editor Joe Bel Bruno live-tweeted the shenanigans and continues to provide updates. Stay tuned, if today is any clue, this story is far from settled.

Update, 9:30pm ET: Leah McGrath Goodman, the author of Newsweek's investigative piece, is standing by her report, specifically that Nakamoto indicated his involvement with bitcoin. Nakamoto told the AP his comments to Goodman were misunderstood and that he thought she was questioning him about his work as an engineer, not bitcoin. Here's the key passage in question:

Tacitly acknowledging his role in the Bitcoin project, he looks down, staring at the pavement and categorically refuses to answer questions.
"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."

The AP suggests the possibility of a language barrier. While Nakamoto, who was born in Japan, speaks both English and Japanese, his English is not perfect. Or it could be just a simple case of he-said, she-said.

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