And his name really is Satoshi Nakamoto.
And instead of being a pseudonym or a whiz kid in Japan, he’s a 64-year-old Japanese-American living near Los Angeles.
A person or entity named Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2009 and mysteriously disappeared afterward and would have nothing more to do with the digital currency.
In the new issue of the revitalized Newsweek, Leah McGrath Goodman tracks him down on his doorstep, he calls police officers, and tells her, “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
A few facts about his background:
- He’s done classified work both for corporations such as Hughes Aircraft and for the United States military.
- He collects model trains, and his frustration with the high bank fees and poor exchange rates when sending international wire transfers to England to buy model train toy parts may have been the inspiration behind Bitcoin.
- He’s described by those who know him as “intelligent, moody, obsessively private, a man of few words who screens his phone calls, anonymizes his emails.”
- He’s a libertarian who would urge his daughter to start her own business so she wouldn’t be under the government’s thumb.
- He used to build his own computers.
- He was born in Japan in 1949 and immigrated to the U.S. 10 years later.
- For the past 40 years, he has gone by the name Dorian S. Nakamoto, after legally changing his name to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto.
The various compelling pieces of evidence that strongly indicate Goodman found the right person are some idiosyncracies of his code and references he made that would indicate he was older than others. Goodman reports:
“He didn’t seem like a young person and he seemed to be influenced by a lot of people in Silicon Valley,” says Nakamoto’s Finnish protégé, Martti Malmi. Andresen concurs: “Satoshi’s style of writing code was old-school. He used things like reverse Polish notation.”
Also, recent health issues in his life coincide with his three-year silence on bitcoin, his wife says:
“It has been hard, because he suffered a stroke several months ago and before that he was dealing with prostate cancer,” says his wife, who works as a critical-care nurse in New Jersey. “He hasn’t seen his kids for the past few years.”
While the world may continue to pound on his doorstep, his close friends and family wouldn’t bet on it. The piece concludes with a story of a game he used to play with his daughter:
“He is very wary of government interference in general,” she says. “When I was little, there was a game we used to play. He would say, ‘Pretend the government agencies are coming after you.’ And I would hide in the closet.”