Last night at 2:18am Alexia Tsotsis, Co-Editor at TechCrunch tweeted at me asking me to email or DM her. Intrigued, I did so.
Turns out, in response to the Newsweek article (see here if you can’t get to that) claiming to have the real identity of Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, the ‘real’ Satoshi posted on the P2p Foundation Ning stating:
I started the P2P Foundation Ning back in 2008, where Satoshi posted information about their work on Bitcoin in Feb 2009, and so Alexia got in touch with me after seeing the Reddit post about Satoshi’s latest post on the forum.
She asked me a few questions, which I did my best to answer.
What’s the likelihood that it’s the same guy who posted the 2009 update commenting now?
Could easily be the same person. But who is to say the original creator of the account is by the “real” person. I can confirm, however, that the registered email address on the account on our ning network is firstname.lastname@example.org which is the same one mentioned in the original paper. So perhaps whoever created that account is indeed the “real” person, whoever that is. I’d guess they likely are.
What’s the likelihood that that 2009 guy is the real guy?
No idea to be honest (but they do appear to have the same email address as used on the original paper). But now I understand why random people have suddenly started asking me if I know who Satoshi is!
Is there any way to tell or prove it?
Not that I’m aware of. But perhaps if some hard core geeks got access to both Ning and gmx log files they might be able to work something out. Unlikely though, I’d guess (the sort of people who can come up with stuff like bitcoin tend also to be the sort of people who know how to cover their digital tracks should they so choose, which it would appear they do).
Thoughts on the Newsweek article in general?
What article? 😛 (I just googled newsweek satoshi and see they’ve got an article about “the real face behind bitcoin” but for some peculiar reason it claims I’ve reached my 5 free articles per week, which can’t be true because I’ve not been there in the last week at all)
Can I use all this in a TechCrunch post?
So long as you mention and link to United Diversity, sure! 😛 (and, of course, to the P2P Foundation wiki and blog – I assume you’ll link to the Ning site anyway). May as well link my name to @jdaviescoates too – I’m more active on facebook but could do with more twitter followers! 😛
You’re the owner of the P2PFoundation site right?
Well, I created the P2P Foundation Ning site, yes. Details here: http://uniteddiversity.coop/2008/03/07/p2p-foundation-ning/
What is your involvement in the foundation?
I’m mostly just a supportive friend. I very occasionally post on the P2PF blog and wiki, and fairly regularly participate on internal P2PF community mailing lists about how to build and develop the P2PF community. I also help to manage the P2PF Facebook page.
and your role within the Bitcoin community?
I have no role within the Bitcoin community, although I’ve been aware of the project since Satoshi posted it about it on our Ning forum (i.e. longer than most), and have also been involved with another open source digital cash project called OpenCoin (http://opencoin.org – link to that too would be nice – not .com, which is something completely separate from and unrelated to http://opencoin.org). I’ve also been involved with community currency project for many years (my mother co-founded one of the first LETS in London, UK, and I worked with Time Banks UK during my time at the new economics foundation), which is perhaps why I have very little interest in Bitcoin. I (like most others who’ve been thinking about alternative/ complementary currencies for a while) am far more interested in mutual credit networks and others systems that actually empower people and communities (rather than just mimicking the social and power dynamics of our existing failed financial systems, or those of a bygone era – Bitcoin tries to be like digital gold, but basing exchanges systems upon which we all depend on gold or others things like it, of which there is a limited supply and which can be hoarded – is really rather silly. See e.g. recent FT article). I do not own any Bitcoin. The blockchain is a great example of a distributed ledger and a real innovation. But what I overall think about Bitcoin is probably best summarised here: http://brokenlibrarian.org/bitcoin/ And in the writing/ talks of e.g. http://jembendell.wordpress.com/tag/bitcoin/ and Leander Bindewald (e.g. recent appearance on RT http://communitycurrenciesinaction.eu/ccias-on-russia-today/ ) and my friend tav http://tav.espians.com/why-bitcoin-will-fail-as-a-currency.html
I also posted the following tweets, which have now all be retweeted umpteen times:
Shortly after, TechCrunch had a piece about it. I also forwarded on my responses to Raphael Satter, a journalist for The Associated Press who also got in touch via twitter. The story is now all over the place. Overnight the story made it on to Forbes and The Guardian, and this morning Paul Vigna from The Wall Street Journal got in touch has just put this WSJ Money Beat blog post up. A quick google news search also brought up articles in The Evening Standard, The International Business Times, PCWorld, Here is the City, The Domains, Finextra, The Drum and more (LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph, The Express Tribune, NBC News, CNBC, UPI, The Week Magazine, Mashable, Engadget, Slate, Sydney Morning Herald, LA Weekly, Zee News, Forex News, Heavy, Tech Week Europe, Info World, The Verge, Guardian Liberty Voice, Franchise Herald, Gawker, CSO, and the list keeps growing)
Numerous other threads about this have surfaced on Reddit too, including fun wild speculation that I am myself Satoshi (I’m not!), and, in response to this post by P2P Foundation’s Nicolas Mendoza, asking various questions about whether or not there has been any suspicious activity etc on our Ning site. At present, all we know has been included in this post, but we’re awaiting a response from Ning re the following supported ticket we filed with them:
As you may be aware, this post:
By this member:
Has caused quite a stir e.g. http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1zrshb/real_satoshi_nakamoto_denies_being_dorian_nakamoto/
People are asking us if there is anyway we can check things like:
1) has the password been recently changed on this account
2) has there been any suspicious activity related to this account
3) do yo have any IP logs related to this account etc.
Are you able to help us answer any of these questions?
Thanks in advance,
We await their response to see if we can get any more info about all this…