LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies described in Newsweek’s story about “the face behind Bitcoin” say the quotes attributed to Dorian Nakamoto and a deputy in the story are accurate.
Since the digital currency’s inception, bitcoin’s creator has been known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto,” which many observers have believed to be a pseudonym for one or more people. Newsweek published a cover story this week claiming that Dorian Nakamoto, a 64-year-old former defence contractor employee, is the author of the computer code underpinnings of bitcoin. The story includes an exchange between Nakamoto, who was born in Japan but grew up in the U.S. and now resides in Temple City, Calif., and the Newsweek reporter in the presence of police deputies who had been called to Nakamoto’s home. It quoted Nakamoto as telling the reporter, “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it.”
Nakamoto has not disputed that quote, but said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that the Newsweek reporter misunderstood him.
“I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it,” he said of the exchange. “And even if I was, when we get hired, you have to sign this document, contract saying you will not reveal anything we divulge during and after employment. So that’s what I implied. It sounded like I was involved before with bitcoin and looked like I’m not involved now. That’s not what I meant. I want to clarify that,” he said Thursday.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mike Parker said Friday that he talked with both deputies who responded to the Feb. 20, 2014, suspicious person call at Nakamoto’s home in Temple City. Parker says the deputies spoke with Nakamoto and a woman who identified herself as Newsweek reporter Leah Goodman, and Nakamoto expressed reluctance to talk to her. The deputies were present for their brief conversation and then Nakamoto re-entered his home and Goodman left.
“They had a dialogue, the deputies stood there and they were there while the two people were working things out,” said Parker. “The gentleman didn’t want to participate. He said enough for those quotes to be made and that was pretty much a wrap.”
Parker added that the deputy quoted in the story didn’t know about the mystery behind bitcoin’s creator prior to the call. After the reporter explained more about who she believed Nakamoto to be, that’s when the deputy made the quote, “This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he’s living a pretty humble life.”
Nakamoto has acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek’s report are correct, including that he once worked for a defence contractor. He was employed by Hughes Aircraft starting around 1973, working on missile systems for the U.S. Navy and Air Force, and also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration starting around 1999, but was laid off following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He admits that his given name at birth was Satoshi, but he maintains that he is not bitcoin’s creator.
Since Newsweek published its story Thursday, media have been a presence outside Nakamoto’s home. Parker said deputies have continued to check on Nakamoto every few hours since the story broke to ensure his security.
Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams