Bitcoin's biggest mystery has finally been solved: The crypto-currency's creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, has finally been unmasked. Well, maybe.
Over the course of Bitcoin's troubled and short history (hello Mt. Gox), people have wondered if Nakamoto was an alias for a single-minded genius, or perhaps a pseudonym for a group of libertarian hackers fearing reprisals from the government for their actions, or maybe even a nickname for a shadowy group of regulation-hating Wall Street programmers.
To hear Newsweek tell it Nakamoto is none of those things. He's actually a 64-year-old Japanese-American living in Temple City, California in a nondescript house and his name is—wait for it—Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto.
Yes, the most mysterious figure in the history of Bitcoin never had a secret identity at all and was using his real name this whole time, by Newsweek's reckoning.
But whether Newsweek's Nakamoto is really Bitcoin's Nakamoto is up for debate. The biggest problem is that Dorian Nakamoto refuses to acknowledge his role in creating Bitcoin.
The closest Newsweek's article comes is when Dorian Nakamoto tells the news magazine he's "no longer involved" with the project—an implication that is pretty convincing, but far from an outright admission.
The article then brings up circumstantial evidence, such as weird uses of English and writing formatting quirks that the two Nakamotos seem to share.
A good chunk of the article also dives into Dorian Nakamoto's past, which is certainly suggestive of someone capable of creating Bitcoin. Newsweek's Nakamoto is described as a brilliant mind who has a degree in physics and spent most of his career as a computer engineer working on top-secret projects for large companies and the U.S. military.
Newsweek's article has also inspired a furor of debate online about whether it was right to reveal Nakamoto's identity. If you take a trip over to the Twitter feed of Leah McGrath Goodman, who authored the report, you'll find all kinds of bile directed at the Newsweek reporter.
I'm disappointed Newsweek decided to dox the Nakamoto family, and regret talking to Leah.— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) March 6, 2014
In the article, Newsweek published a photo (since removed) of Nakamoto's home that includes a blurry—but not impossibly so—look at a car license plate. Several folks in the Twitterverse believe this information could lead to unwanted attention for Nakamoto. Or, in the worst case scenario, a visit from criminals intent on obtaining Nakamoto's Bitcoin wallet, whih is estimated to be worth about $400 million.
"Did you even consider that you might have just gotten an innocent man murdered?" asked one particularly irate Twitter user.
Over on Reddit, some folks are debating whether Newsweek's Nakamoto is the man behind Bitcoin, parsing what is supposedly Dorian Nakamoto's use of English on other sites for clues.
Newsweek's article has certainly inspired a torrent of criticism and debate. Whether you believe Newsweek's report or not, the article is a fascinating read and well worth taking a look at for anyone who has even a passing interest in Bitcoin.