Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto has established a crowdsourced legal fund that could be used to sue Newsweek for reporting he was the mysterious creator of digital currency Bitcoin.
The 65-year-old jobless California engineer, whom Newsweek named as the mastermind behind Bitcoin in a March cover story, is the focus of a website called Newsweek Lied. It’s seeking funds to pay for a lawsuit against Newsweek, saying it “must be held accountable for its reckless reporting.”
The site says it has Nakamoto’s endorsement for its Legal Defense Fund, adding his family was confused and alienated by the article.
Newsweek has not retracted the story despite Nakamoto’s denials that he was involved with Bitcoin. The magazine noted the denial in an online appended statement by Nakamoto.
The lawsuit website says the article’s author, Leah McGrath Goodman, was previously sued for defamation in relation to her book “The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World’s Oil Market.” Goodman has defended her story about Nakamoto online.
In an email, a staffer for Los Angeles lawyer Ethan Kirschner confirmed he is representing Nakamoto in the effort.
“If a private citizen like Mr. Nakamoto can be targeted and victimized by a reckless news organization, it could happen to others,” Kirschner said in a release that also confirmed that Nakomoto had set up the fund.
“Mr. Nakamoto’s claim against Newsweek will also remind the journalism community of their continuing legal and ethical responsibilities to the broader public.”
In a YouTube video posted in April, Nakamoto thanked supporters who donated bitcoins to him that were worth over US$23,000 at the time.
Legal experts have said Nakamoto could face an uphill battle in a suit against Newsweek, but that claiming he was cast in a “false light” by the article, damaging his reputation, would be one possible strategy.
Media reports for years have speculated about the identity of the creator of Bitcoin, a person or group of people known as Satoshi Nakamoto.