Alleged ‘Bitcoin Creator’ Wants to Sue Newsweek Over Exposé

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Dorian Nakmoto plans to sue Newsweek over its March 2014 story in which it claimed the California man invented Bitcoin. (© Ted Soqui/Corbis photo)
Dorian Nakmoto plans to sue Newsweek over its March 2014 story in which it claimed the California man invented Bitcoin. (© Ted Soqui/Corbis photo)

Dorian Nakamoto, a California man who was reported to be the shadowy inventor of an anonymous online currency, has announced his intention to sue the magazine Newsweek over its March cover story that landed him in the international spotlight.

Seven months ago, the weekly publication filed a story that claimed Nakamoto was the creator of Bitcoin, a popular digital currency that allows people to send and receive funds anonymously through the Internet. The currency was first described in a white paper by someone named “Satoshi Nakamoto,” whom many believe was the inventor of the currency.

In its cover story, Newsweek claimed Dorian Nakamoto (whose middle name is Satoshi) was the principal creator of the online currency. When the story was published on the Internet, it caused a media frenzy in Nakamoto’s neighborhood — local, national and international reporters staked out the single-family dwelling for days hoping to get reaction from Nakamoto for their own stories — some reporters even chased Nakamoto through the streets of Southern California after the man agreed to an interview with an Associated Press reporter in exchange for lunch.

During an interview with the AP reporter, Nakamoto denied he was the inventor of Bitcoin, mispronouncing the currency as “Bitcom” and saying he did not “communicate” through them. The AP story raised several questions about the accuracy of the Newsweek piece, though Newsweek’s top editor said the magazine stood by the story.

On a newly launched website, Nakamoto charged Newsweek with publishing an outlandish, sensational story that it may have known wasn’t accurate.

“The article’s conclusion is false: Dorian Nakamoto is not the inventor of Bitcoin,” the website says. “Newsweek and Leah McGrath Goodman, the article’s author, should have — and may have — known this conclusion was false, or at least highly unlikely. Newsweek’s article terrorized both Dorian and his family, all of them private citizens.”

The site includes links to commentary that challenges the accuracy of the Newsweek article, as well as a list of perceived wrongdoings committed by the author of the story — among them, that Goodman obtained Nakamoto’s private information through “deception” and published photographs of his home, thereby revealing his address.

Nakamoto also noted that Goodman had been sued for defamation in 2011 for allegedly misquoting the subject of an interview for a book about the energy industry. Court documents reviewed by TheBlot Magazine reveal the plaintiff in the case rescinded his lawsuit against Goodman, though this information is notably absent from Nakamoto’s website.

Nakamoto’s website doubles as a legal defense fund portal in which the man hopes to raise enough money for a lawsuit against the magazine.

“A lawsuit against Newsweek will be very expensive,” the site notes. “Dorian does not have the resources to pay the costs of such a suit, let alone attorneys’ fees.”

Any excess money will be given directly to Nakamoto to handle living expenses. And while Nakamoto rejects any notion that he is the creator of the crypto-currency, he’s not shy about accepting digital cash for his legal defense: His lawyers have posted a public key where contributions can be made anonymously through Bitcoin (for everyone else, they also take credit cards and money orders).

Matthew Keys is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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