A brief primer if you’re not already up to date on things:
This morning, Newsweek published a report claiming they found the Satoshi Nakamoto — the mysterious figure who created the bitcoin digital currency — in Temple City, California.
In that piece, he was quoted as saying:
“I am no longer involved in [bitcoin] and I cannot discuss it.”
“It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Hours later, we began hearing first reports of denial. As it were, the man’s name is Satoshi Nakamoto (Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, in fact), but he insists he’s not the Nakamoto who created bitcoin.
“I got nothing to do with it,” he told the Associated Press this afternoon, in a series of events that included free lunch and a chase on the I-10 freeway.
Nakamoto does acknowledge that some facts in the Newsweek piece are accurate, such as previously working as a defense contractor. But as far as bitcoin goes, he says he first heard of it when Leah McGrath Goodman contacted his brother for the piece several weeks ago.
As we reported last week, computational search engine WolframAlpha has finally changed their data source to include accurate bitcoin rates. Since first integrating bitcoin and recognized it as a currency, the engine had quoted rates from Mt. Gox — which, as you’re likely aware, has been facing a series of issues with their insolvency.
As such, users researching bitcoin on the site were presented with the last price before trading was halted completely, a rate of about $130/BTC. Meanwhile, at other exchanges, the going price per bitcoin was above $600.
As of this writing, WolframAlpha is quoting $657.58, and while the quotes aren’t streamed realtime, it’s certainly an improvement of the rates being shown before.
The man who has been pegged by Newsweek at the real Satoshi Nakamoto is presently being hounded by journalists in Southern California, and he’s denying any involvement.
The man was seen leaving his home this afternoon in an Instagram video posted by Hunter Schwarz of Buzzfeed.
“No questions right now,” he demanded. “I want my free lunch.”
The 65-year-old left with an Associated Press journalist for lunch, presumably to speak about the Newsweek exposé that went live on the web Thursday morning.
He denied allegations that he was the creator of bitcoin made by the paper’s Leah McGrath Goodman: “I’m not involved in bitcoin.”
“OK, apparently #Nakamoto picked one reporter outside his house to take to sushi. Surreal,” tweeted Joe Bel Bruno of LA Times. The two left in a Prius, where a chase on the I-10 freeway eventually took place with scores of reporters following Nakamoto and the AP journo. With too much media attention, the journalist and ‘Nakamoto’ reportedly left the sushi joint and ended up at the AP bureau in downtown Los Angeles.
“Nakamoto now in DTLA. Told me in elevator that he’s not involved with #Bitcoin, engaged in weird car chase ‘all for a free lunch’,” tweeted Andrea Chang, also of the LA Times.
The gentleman has been seen with a smile on his face, thankfully, so the crazy media attention is seemingly not getting to him — yet. Very soon, however, we should be getting the complete picture and finding out whether the Newsweek piece was nothing more than sensationalism.
Bitcoin exchange Vault of Satoshi (VOS) today announced (via Facebook) the cessation of operations in the United States due to what is described as an “increasingly hostile” regulatory environment in the bitcoin realm.
“We’ve made repeated attempts to comply with FinCEN regulations, but their online form submission process will not allow us to post reports from our headquarters in Ontario, Canada,” the exchange wrote. “They refuse to accept printed paper reports, and their drop-downs don’t include Canadian options, making it impossible to the file the required documentation properly in order to comply. Despite repeated inquiries into how to properly file reports from Canada, we have yet to receive a satisfactory response.”
“They’ve literally made it impossible for us to run our business in compliance with their regulations.”
The exchange says the decision wasn’t made lightly, and they will be looking into recommencing operations in the States just as soon as regulatory positions in the states become clear:
“We’d like to get back into the US digital currency exchange market as soon as possible, but cannot do so until the regulatory situation is clarified and settles down.”
For current US-based users on the exchange, VOS says accounts will be demoted to coin-to-coin trading only. Any dollars being held in an account will be sent to the user via check.
“To all of the amazing American users who have helped us build Vault of Satoshi into what it is today: we value you tremendously and we hope that we have not lost your trust and support. We deeply regret that we can no longer service your cryptocurrency exchange needs, and we’ll do everything we can to re-gain your business and re-launch in your country in the near future, stronger than ever before,” the company wrote.
There’s no doubt about the fact that the bitcoin community has voiced their opinions on a Newsweek exposé of the alleged Satoshi Nakamoto (long story short: outrage and disappointment) by Leah McGrath Goodman, but now the Bitcoin Foundation is chiming in.
“Today we have seen heightened media speculation on the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto,” the advocacy group writes in their response, entitled We Are All Bitcoin. “As of this writing, we have seen zero conclusive evidence that the identified person is the designer of Bitcoin. Those closest to the Bitcoin project, the informal team of core developers, have always been unaware of Nakamoto’s true identity, as Nakamoto communicated purely through electronic means.”
The foundation took the opportunity to remind the community that “There was no need to know and trust Satoshi Nakamoto. The design stood by itself, open to inspection by all. Satoshi Nakamoto ultimately created a ‘language’ of sorts with the bitcoin protocol.”
The post, by Jeff Garzik, continues:
Satoshi’s identity may or may not be revealed in time. Based on current research from Sergio Lerner, Satoshi does not appear to have moved or spent any Bitcoins. Satoshi is unlikely to be sitting on a beach in Tahiti, next to a multi-million dollar mansion. Satoshi is unlikely to be prepared for determined, potentially violent thieves and curiosity seekers. Curiosity in Satoshi’s identity is understandable, but please consider responsible disclosure, and the danger such a revelation may generate.
It just about sums up the community’s reaction, less the anger. But regardless of who Nakamoto is or isn’t, we’re reminded that Goodman’s piece, while interesting, is irrelevant.
“The Bitcoin protocol would not exist without Satoshi, who is without question a brilliant designer. However, Bitcoin will endure well past Satoshi, as Bitcoin is everyone who uses it, not just one person.”
In response to a letter written by a Russian national to the the country’s central bank regarding a “ban” of the digital currency in February, the Bank of Russia has reportedly said that the outcome of February’s meetings between officials in the country did not conclude with a ban, but “to develop a unified approach to the determination of the legal status of cryptocurrencies, also it was discussed future directions for the legal regulation of the sphere of cryptocurrencies’ using and development of measures to prevent the violation of property rights of citizens and organizations in this field.”
The information comes from a translated letter from the central bank, posted here.
Contrary to original reports, the central bank suggests that bitcoin and other digital currencies are not banned:
Thus the position of the meeting was not to prohibit all operations related to cryptocurrencies, the main goal was the preparation and realization of a complex of measures to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal operations, including those related to the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, as well as improving the regulatory framework to protect the rights of citizens and organizations using cryptocurrencies.
So, there’s some level of miscommunication between the General Prosecutor’s Office (which issued the “ban”), and the Central Bank (who suggests there is no ban).
For now, though, it does seem as if the country may be loosening their belts when it comes to bitcoin usage. [via: CoinDesk]
It’s no doubt that Newsweek’s story which potentially uncovered the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto (creator of bitcoin) has infuriated many in the community. From concerns about the man’s privacy, to even his security and well-being, the community is abuzz with harsh criticisms of Leah McGrath Goodman, author of the piece, entitled ‘The Face Behind Bitcoin‘.
Goodman appeared on CNBC today to discuss her investigative reporting, and it’s worth a watch if you have a couple of minutes to spare. In the interview, she discusses how she got bits of information here and there, and put them together to complete a puzzle.
Tell us what you make of the whole situation.
The Bitstamp bitcoin exchange has reported today that third-party auditors have verified the exchange’s bitcoin balance and confirmed that the exchange held 100 percent of validated bitcoin and USD funds.
“No material issues were raised as a consequence of the 3rd party’s investigations,” the company wrote.
The audit required the creation of of the largest transaction in the history of the digital currency, putting about $147 million (or over 194,000 BTC) in a single wallet.
The audit comes in the wake of the downfall of exchange Mt. Gox, which lost over 700,000 BTC of user bitcoins and more than 100,000 of their own. Gox has, of course, filed for bankruptcy protection as a result.
As for Bitstamp, the exchange says they’ll be conducting quarterly audits, with results posted on their homepage. [source: CoinDesk]
Leah McGrath Goodman of Newsweek has published a piece on bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, or more like her quest to find out the man’s real identity.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of bitcoin, for those unaware.
Goodman actually approached (the alleged) Nakamoto to ask some questions regarding bitcoin, but was met with evasive answers:
“I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he said to her, according to the piece. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
This man — who almost none of us knew the identity of — graduated from California State Polytechnic University, and is not surprisingly great at math.
An interesting statement from Nakamoto’s brother, Arthur:
“My brother is an asshole. What you don’t know about him is that he’s worked on classified stuff. His life was a complete blank for a while. You’re not going to be able to get to him. He’ll deny everything. He’ll never admit to starting Bitcoin.”
We won’t write any more simply because the story should be reviewed right from the source (albeit we think it is a complete violation of Nakamoto’s privacy). If you wish, take the time and read it at Newsweek. You’ll also see an alleged picture of the man.
Some who have commented on the article are disappointed with the piece:
“Its sort of a shame that this article went out of their way to prove the identity of a man who clearly didn’t want to be revealed. Article writer comes off as a Ruthless type,” one user wrote.
Incredibly irresponsible journalism.
Not only did you out someone who just wanted to be left alone, you published photos of him and his house, as well as the location of it.
Shameful and despicable, I guess all you were really thinking about adding ‘Found Satoshi Nakamoto’ to your resume right?
Did Goodman do the wrong thing by revealing his identity?
Noted: Title edited to included “allegedly” as none of this is actually proven.
Here’s a move that could be a sigh of relief to traders on Bitstamp. A user by the handle “IamAlso_u_grahvity” posted a screenshot on the Bitcoin page at Reddit.com showing a withdrawal screen at Bitstamp, which now has a field for a two-factor authentication code, effectively adding a much-needed layer of security to the platform. The company also tweeted about the feature on Wednesday afternoon:
The use of the feature will greatly reduce the risk of a user’s funds being withdrawn fraudulently, assuming the user has the option enabled.
Despite the good news, some in the community think this should have come long ago:
“That’s already overdue for a long time. They should’ve implemented it last year… But still, good step forward,” wrote one user in response to the screenshot.
“About time,” another said.
Exchanges are taking the security of user funds extremely seriously, especially since the downfall of Mt. Gox — in which millions of dollars worth of user funds were lost due to what is assumed to be poor coding and security behind the platform’s software.