2014 is quickly shaping up to be a paramount year for Bitcoin, with this month in particular kicking-off with some non-stop action. At the start of the month, we learned that popular Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox had declared bankruptcy, causing many to suddenly see their coins turn to nothingness. At that time, that was one of the biggest stories Bitcoin had ever seen, but this week, attention has turned to the currency's potential creator.
In an upcoming issue of Newsweek, reporter Leah Goodman claims to have found the creator of Bitcoin, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, and despite his repeated claims since then that he's not the creator, Goodman stands firm on her findings. Nonetheless, this article caused more of a stir than anything else I've seen on the Bitcoin front before, and even as an outsider, I couldn't resist the urge to get sucked in, and keep an eye on any and all updates.
Is the person that Goodman found in fact Bitcoin's creator? It's a hard sell, and there are facts and assumptions on either side of the fence that make coming up with a definitive conclusion an extremely difficult one. Due to the fact that Newsweek had (rather unbelievably) published a picture of the house belonging to the supposed Bitcoin founder, it took no time at all for Dorian Nakamoto to look out his window to find gaggles of media. Ultimately, he drove off with an AP reporter to claim a free lunch; but why? Wouldn't the fact that he went at all imply that maybe he was Bitcoin's creator? After all, if he truly wasn't, wouldn't he have just called the police? This is a perfect example of where it's hard to conclude on something seemingly simple. It could have been that he chose just one person to speak to in a calm, quiet manner, to get away from the swarm of people closing in on him.
As this was playing-out, the Internet was ablaze with Bitcoin enthusiasts and others alike who either wanted to condemn Newsweek for it's fairly shoddy reporting tactics, or get together to help figure out if there is a chance that Dorian could in fact be Bitcoin's Satoshi Nakamoto.
After handing over the reigns in 2010, Bitcoin's real Satoshi Nakamoto seemingly disappeared, making no contact whatsoever with anyone through his (or "their", if it's a group) normal channels. That is until just last night, when the exact same account used to announce Bitcoin back in 2009 posted a new message, simply stating, "I am not Dorian Nakamoto".
And thus we have yet another piece of this puzzle that's hard to settle on a conclusion for. Given how Dorian has been swarmed by the media, wouldn't his first action back at home be to do something to get them off his back? Bear in mind, Dorian is not the first person to be accused of being Bitcoin's founder - yet the real Satoshi Nakamoto never felt compelled to speak up in their defense.
There's of course the chance that Satoshi Nakamoto's account on this particular website was compromised, and that's something that the website's admins are in the process of investigating. Even so, if the latest message does seem to be valid, that doesn't rule Dorian out - all it proves is that Bitcoin's creator hasn't turned a blind eye to what his baby has become.
There are a couple of facts to help complicate things, though. It's been said that the real Satoshi Nakamoto was a major privacy nut, going as far as to pay for the initial Bitcoin hosting in cash (through the mail). The real Satoshi also posted his messages with impeccable English, whereas Dorian seems to trip over some of the basics of the language. Further, if Bitcoin's creator was super-secretive, why on earth would he sign off using his real name? This is truly an incredible saga to see play through.
In unrelated Bitcoin news, all the while this Nakamoto madness is going on, hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins are being moved from Mt. Gox, the exchange that I mentioned above that filed for bankruptcy recently. Where are they going? That might not become clear right away, but it's something Bitcoin enthusiasts have been keeping a close eye on (especially those who've lost money at the exchange).