The international media was sent into a hunting frenzy yesterday by the Newsweek revelations that the founder of Bitcoin is a 64 year-old Japanese-American called Dorian Nakamoto who lives with his mum in Temple City, California. Reporters pursued Nakamoto down the freeway after he'd left his home with an Associated Press reporter. In a brief exchange with reporters outside his house, Nakamoto denied having anything to do with Bitcoin but did demand a free lunch at a sushi restaurant. He was later squirreled away into the Associated Press offices, where he again denied his involvement in Bitcoin – this time on camera:
So, has Newsweek got it totally wrong? Nakamoto claims that his original comment that he was "no longer involved in that and cannot discuss it" was misunderstood – he was actually referring to classified engineering work that he'd done in the past. Memers of the Bitcoin community were furious over the alleged outing of the man, likening it to a dox – a frowned-upon online practice of dumping someone's personal data in order to coerce or humiliate them.
Meanwhile, at 1 AM GMT today, a message appeared on the P2P Foundation forums from the name of an account that hasn't been used since 2009 – the same account that announced the creation of Bitcoin five years ago. Under the username "Satoshi Nakamoto", it simply read: "I am not Dorian Nakamoto".
One Redditor said that "it was like Jesus turning up on a Catholicism message board". P2P Foundation are currently in the process of verifying the message and are set to make an announcement in the next few hours.
Maybe this is exactly what Dorian Nakamoto would say if he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto. Regardless, confusion continues to surround the true identity of the Bitcoin founder – and for now, Newsweek appear to be standing by their story.
But if Satoshi Nakamoto is indeed still out there, it's just one more mystery to add to the controversy and conspiracy theories that surround the cryptocurrency. And as one Bitcoin user on Twitter put it: "The greatest trick Satoshi Nakamoto ever pulled was convincing the world to harass an elderly Japanese man in Southern California."
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot