Newsweek has just put out something of a scoop: journalist Leah McGrath Goodman has tracked down and spoken to Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto’s claim to fame is that he is the founder of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency which first appeared in 2009, hit the mainstream last year when the value of coins – which are ‘mined’ by computers – increased exponentially making a lot of people very rich. It’s now facing notoriety as two major exchanges have gone offline thanks to thefts of the digital currency on a grand scale.

Nakamoto proposed Bitcoin and developed the software that underpins it in an academic paper, but shortly after publishing it, he disappeared. Many have speculated whether or not he existed, suspecting the name to be a pseudonym.

Goodman, however, put in some extraordinary hours of sleuthing to track him down via family members and discovered a 64-year-old Japanese-American who more or less confessed his identity.

But not before calling the cops.

Nakamoto, it seems, had every intention of never being found. Described as “an amazing physicist” with a shadowy past in secret agencies, Nakamoto refused to speak to the journalist who was ushered off of his modest plot by uniformed officers.

Through talking to Netscape founder, Marc Andresen, Goodman also discovers that Nakamoto’s vision for Bitcoin was very different to the way things have turned out.

It’s a fascinating story, well worth reading, but it does raise the important question: should Nakamoto’s privacy been respected (as commenters under the article seem to believe) or is the fact that fortunes have been made and lost through Bitcoin a strong enough argument to publish in the public interest?

Thoughts welcome below.

 

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.