Man called Bitcoin’s father denies ties, leads LA car chase

Satoshi Nakamoto is surrounded by reporters as he leaves his home in Temple City, California, March 6, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Satoshi Nakamoto is surrounded by reporters as he leaves his home in Temple City, California, March 6, 2014. Credit: Reuters

A Japanese American man thought to be the reclusive multi-millionaire father of Bitcoin emerged from a modest Southern California home and denied involvement with the digital currency before leading reporters on a freeway car chase to the local headquarters of the Associated Press.

Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, Calif., just east of Los Angeles.

Newsweek included a photograph and a described a short interview, in which Nakamoto said he was no longer associated with Bitcoin and that it had been turned over to other people. The magazine concluded that the man was the same Nakamoto who founded Bitcoin.

Dozens of reporters, including a sprinkling of Japanese media, encircled and camped outside the man’s two-story house on Thursday morning, accosting the mailman and repeatedly ringing the doorbell, to no avail. Police cruisers drove by several times but did not stop.

Several times, someone pulled back the drapes on an upstairs window.

In the afternoon, the silver-haired, bespectacled Nakamoto stepped outside, dressed in gray sport coat and green striped shirt, with a pen tucked in his shirt pocket. He was mobbed by reporters and told them he was looking for someone who understood Japanese to buy him a free lunch.

Newsweek estimates his wealth at $400 million.

“I’m not involved in Bitcoin. Wait a minute, I want my free lunch first. I’m going with this guy,” Nakamoto said, pointing at a reporter from AP.

“I’m not in Bitcoin, I don’t know anything about it,” the man said again while walking down the street with several cameras at his heels.

He and the AP reporter made their way to a nearby sushi restaurant with media in tow, before leaving and heading downtown. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno followed the pair and described the chase in a running stream of tweets. Eventually, the pair dashed into the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles, where reporters are still waiting for Nakamoto to emerge.

WEIRD

Fans see Bitcoin as a digital-world currency beyond the government interference, while critics, whose ranks swelled with the recent close of major bitcoin exchanges Mt. Gox, see a risky investment whose anonymity aids drug dealers and other criminals.

Nakamoto kept a low profile in part to avoid attention of authorities, Newsweek said, and indeed on Thursday the office of Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, was keen on speaking with him, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Bitcoin is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control. Its value soared last year, and the total worth of bitcoins minted is now about $7 billion.

In the Newsweek article, Nakamoto was credited by Bitcoin’s chief scientist, Gavin Andresen, in working out the first codes behind the currency.

A man of few words who refused to discuss anything beyond the currency or even communicate outside of email, Nakamoto was described by his brother in the Newsweek article as “fickle and has very weird hobbies,” including a penchant for model trains.

The Japanese-born Nakamoto displayed an unusual aptitude for math as a child. He immigrated with his mother to California in 1959. He was worked for defense and electronics company Hughes Aircraft, but never discussed work because much of it was classified, according to Newsweek interviews with several friends and relatives.

“He’s very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it,” Newsweek quoted Arthur Nakamoto, his younger brother, as saying.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Cabbie tried to sexually assault passenger with kids…

NYPD is on the lookout for a taxi driver suspected of trying to sexually assault a female passenger while her three kids were in the car.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…