Pinning the Tail on Satoshi Nakamoto — How Journalists Erroneously Used Circumstantial Evidence Over the Years to Identify Bitcoin’s Creator – Bitcoin News

The search for Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s mysterious inventor, has been an ongoing hunt for the last 13 years. Since 2014, dozens of so-called candidates have appeared, but none of them have convinced the greater community that they are Bitcoin’s creator. Furthermore, journalists from publications like Newsweek have pointed to a few specific individuals, and nearly every one of them has denied playing a role in the creation of the world’s leading crypto asset. In October 2011, a journalist thought he discovered Nakamoto’s identity, or felt like he offered enough compelling evidence about his discovery to suggest the person he found may have created the first digital currency.

You are putting the wrong face on the person behind Bitcoin

Over eight years ago, Newsweek journalist Leah McGrath Goodman published a story called “The Face Behind Bitcoin,” and in the article, she claims Satoshi Nakamoto was a retired physicist named Dorian Nakamoto. Despite Dorian’s denial from the beginning, the Newsweek reporter published an exposé about Dorian’s life. She claimed that there were several similarities between Dorian and Bitcoin’s anonymous inventor.

Pinning the Tail on Satoshi Nakamoto — How Journalists Erroneously Used Circumstantial Evidence Over the Years to Identify Bitcoin’s Creator
Dorian Nakamoto holds the Newsweek article. Dorian Nakamoto has claimed that Satoshi is not his true identity and stated that he misunderstood Leah McGrath Goodman as Newsweek’s correspondent.

Dorian wasn’t happy with the exposé and he told the public he felt victimized and highlighted that he misunderstood Goodman’s questions. Bitcoiners were not too pleased with Goodman’s Newsweek story, and the community backed Dorian’s victim commentary by noting the Newsweek journalist doxxed Dorian by showing a photograph of his home in California. Goodman received a great deal of backlash for her story, but she wasn’t the only journalist who tried to pin Nakamoto’s identity on a specific individual.

‘I’m Not Satoshi — But Even if I Was I Wouldn’t Tell You’

Roughly two and a half years before Goodman’s exposé on Dorian Nakamoto, a journalist from the New Yorker tried to do the same thing. On October 3, 2011, when bitcoin (BTC) was trading for $5.03 per unit, the New Yorker’s Joshua Davis claimed to have discovered the mysterious inventor, and his name was Michael Clear.

Pinning the Tail on Satoshi Nakamoto — How Journalists Erroneously Used Circumstantial Evidence Over the Years to Identify Bitcoin’s Creator
Michael Clear, the Irish computer science student, denied he was Satoshi but the New Yorker’s reporter decided to publish the story anyway. Clear posted a blog entry in 2013, asking for people to cease emailing him to inquire about bitcoin or possible ties with Satoshi Nakamoto. “I was naturally startled when he thought I could be Satoshi, and there was some humor and regrettable mistakes on my part,” Clear said at the time. However, various misinterpretations and losses of context along with some misleading summaries in further reports, unfortunately, helped trigger the whole thing.”

Clear was the first thing Davis learned about when he attended Crypto 2011. He then started to identify attendees who lived either in the U.K. and Ireland. He highlighted six cryptographers who all went to the University of Bristol. However, one of them said that they were involved with Bitcoin when Davis asked:

It’s not at all interesting to us.

Davis mentioned that Clear was a Trinity College graduate student in Dublin who studied cryptography. Clear won the best undergraduate award in computer science at the college. Clear was awarded the top computer-science undergraduate award at the college in 2008.

In 2011, Clear met with Davis during the reporter’s investigation, and he told the journalist he liked to keep a low profile. Davis claimed that Clear, a 23-year-old, told Davis that he has been programming since he was 10, and that the cryptographer is proficient in C++. In his editorial, Davis said Clear responded calmly to questions about bitcoin.

“My area of focus right now is fully homomorphic encryption,” Clear told Davis. “I haven’t been following bitcoin lately.” Clear also told Davis that he would review the Bitcoin codebase and in a later email, Clear insisted that he could “identify Satoshi.” Clear also said he believed it would be unfair to doxx Nakamoto after all the steps the inventor took to remain anonymous.

“But you may wish to talk to a certain individual who matches the profile of the author on many levels,” Clear said. Clear mentioned Vili Lehdonvirta as the person he was speaking to. He immediately denied that he had been involved in creating Bitcoin. Davis then got back in touch with Clear and told him “Lehdonvirta had made a convincing denial.”

The New Yorker’s author then asked Clear again whether he was Satoshi Nakamoto. “I’m not Satoshi,” Clear responded. “But even if I was I wouldn’t tell you.” Clear also added that taking bitcoin down would be extremely hard. “You can’t kill it,” Clear insisted. “Bitcoin would survive a nuclear attack.”

72 hours before was registered, three men and the encryption keys patent were invented

Davis and The New Yorker published the article about Michael Clear despite Clear’s denial. It was also picked up by many media outlets in that same year. Clear insisted once more that he wasn’t Nakamoto when he talked to journalists from

“My sense of humor when I said ‘even if I was I wouldn’t tell you’ is missing, this was said jokingly,” Clear explained. “[I]It was funny to me that The New Yorker reported I thought I was Satoshi. But I have never (well, except for the conversational jokes above) denied this. I could never allow myself to be even remotely given credit for someone else’s creativity and hard work.”

Pinning the Tail on Satoshi Nakamoto — How Journalists Erroneously Used Circumstantial Evidence Over the Years to Identify Bitcoin’s Creator
United States Patent #20100042841A1 was authored by Neal King and Vladimir Oksman.

The New Yorker’s article was one of the first times a journalist had tried to pin someone’s identity to the creation of Bitcoin, but it would not be the last. One week later Fast Company’s reporter Adam L. Penenberg published a second Nakamoto story, this time from a different angle.

Penenberg believed his evidence was more compelling, and he identified a patent that was created three days before was registered called “Updating and Distributing Encryption Keys.” This was enough evidence for Penenberg to question the creators of the patent: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry.

Similar to the New Yorker exposé, all three of the suspected individuals denied they had any involvement with creating Bitcoin. Penenberg concluded that the point of his editorial was not to claim Fast Company found Nakamoto, but to “show how circumstantial evidence, which is what the New Yorker based its conclusions on, isn’t synonymous with truth.”

Despite the fact that both of these editorials led to dead ends and rabbit holes leading nowhere, journalists hunting for Nakamoto have tried with great effort to expose Bitcoin’s inventor and tell the world who this remarkable individual really was. So far, none of the Satoshi Nakamoto exposés have revealed anything that even offers a closer look at Bitcoin’s inventor — just speculation and coincidences that have very little meaning.

In this story, tags
Adam L. Penenberg, Bitcoin, Bitcoin’s Creator, Bitcoin’s Inventor, BTC, Charles Bry, Dorian, dorian nakamoto, Fast Company, Joshua Davis, Journalists, Leah McGrath Goodman, media reports, Michael Clear, Nakamoto, Neal King, New Yorker, New Yorker’s Joshua Davis, Newsweek, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satoshi Nakamoto exposés, Vili Lehdonvirta, Vladimir Oksman

What do you think about the first Satoshi Nakamoto exposé published by the New Yorker in October 2011? Please comment below to let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman, a Florida-based financial journalist and news lead at News is Jamie Redman. Redman joined the cryptocurrency community in 2011 and has been an active participant ever since. Since 2011, Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community. Redman is a prolific writer for News, with over 5,700 articles on the most disruptive protocols currently in development.

Image creditShutterstock. Pixabay. Wiki commons. United States patent #20100042841A1, Reddit.

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