Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman has had quite a day as a journalist.
One of the biggest scoops of modern times is hers, if she indeed found the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, 64, an intensely private Californian, who lives in an unassuming home but has the computer engineering and Libertarian background to be the Real McCoy.
In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Nakamoto said he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by the Newsweek reporter three weeks ago, the AP reported. A reporter with AP was one of many journalists that staked out Nakamoto’s home after the Newsweek story broke Thursday morning.
The bitcoin community on Reddit has been brutal toward Goodman, primarily for invading the privacy of Nakamoto and his family, potentially putting him in danger. That’s because the person behind bitcoin supposedly holds $400 million in the cryptocurrency.
But Goodman is sticking to her story, so far.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind, but I am open to new information, for example, if he had helpers that other people might find. I just don’t think you can ever say the information is complete,” Goodman told BusinessInsider.
Likely the most startling revelation from the Newsweek story is that the reported bitcoin founder is actually named Satoshi Nakamoto, a name that most bitcoin enthusiasts assumed was more likely a pseudonym. Since 1973, Newsweek’s Nakamoto, a Japanese-American, has not used the name Satoshi but instead signs his name “Dorian S. Nakamoto.” He changed it legally at the age of 23.
The Pseudonym Angle was a Dead End
“I couldn’t find why it seemed like everyone had accepted it was a pseudonym, that was an issue to me,” Goodman said. “When I first talked to people who’d worked with him, I asked whether he would use a nom de plume…That seemed to be something very few people had looked into. I looked into what had led where, and this lead really kept going. It just kept going, a lot of others were dead ends.”
Goodman said that forensics were used in her two-month research leading to Nakamoto, who lives in Temple City, California, a community that makes up the San Gabriel Valley northeast of Los Angeles.
In his correspondences and writings, Goodman writes in her article that it has widely been noted that Satoshi Nakamoto alternates between British and American spellings – “and, depending on his audience, veers between highly abbreviated verbiage and a more formal, polished style.” Grace Mitchell, the wife of Newsweek’s Nakamoto, says her husband does the same.
His English Influenced by England
Nakamoto’s use of English, the wife says, “was likely influenced by his lifelong interest in collecting model trains, many of which he imported from England as a teenager while he was still learning English.”
How many other potential candidates did Goodman look at? “I looked at a lot, but there weren’t a lot who seemed compelling for very long,” she told BusinessInsider.
“This was a team effort, with other researchers working with me frequently who were good at forensic analysis in ways that an investigative journalist doesn’t know about,” Goodman said.
The most compelling facts behind Newsweek’s assertion are probably are found in Nakamoto’s background.
Goodman’s article: “The eldest of three brothers who all work in engineering and technical fields, Nakamoto graduated from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., with a degree in physics. But unlike his brothers, his circuitous career path is very hard to trace.”
There is also an anti-government sentiment that seems to run in Nakamoto’s character profile.
“Nakamoto, who was laid off twice in the 1990s, according to Mitchell, fell behind on mortgage payments and taxes and their home was foreclosed. That experience, says Nakamoto’s oldest daughter, Ilene Mitchell, 26, may have informed her father’s attitude toward banks and the government.
“A libertarian, Nakamoto encouraged his daughter to be independent, start her own business and “not be under the government’s thumb,” she says. “He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge.”
Read BusinessInsider’s QA with Goodman.