(Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Bitcoin's creator revealed! 10 interesting facts about the mysterious mastermind

Newsweek supposedly found Satoshi Nakmoto through his love of collecting and programming model trains

Sarah Gray
March 7, 2014 12:25AM (UTC)

In an article posted this morning, Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman claims to have uncovered the mysterious founder of Bitcoin. Though the actual manhunt for Satoshi Nakamoto was no nail-biter, the details released about this illusive man are quite intriguing. Here are the most interesting granules plucked from the story:

  1. He lives in Temple City, California, part of Los Angeles County, with his aging 93 year old mother.
  2. According to documents from the U.S. district Cours in Los Angeles Nakamoto changed his name from Satoshi to "Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto" in 1973.  He's since dropped the Satoshi and signs his name as Dorian S. Nakamoto.
  3. He's a libertarian who distrusts the government, despite having worked for government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration.  His daughter Ilene Mitchell says, When I was little, there was a game we used to play. He would say, 'Pretend the government agencies are coming after you.' And I would hide in the closet."
  4. The trail of his employment is odd and at times secretive. He started at Hughes Aircraft in California, followed by Radio Corporation of America in New Jersey. He also did independent work for the military, and computer engineering for companies like Quotron Systems Inc., according to Newsweek.  Later Nakamoto worked for the FAA, and after that his employment trail goes cold.
  5. Nakamoto and his older brother Arthur do not get along. “My brother is an asshole,” Arthur Nakamoto, told Newsweek. “What you don’t know about him is that he’s worked on classified stuff. His life was a complete blank for a while. You’re not going to be able to get to him. He’ll deny everything. He’ll never admit to starting Bitcoin.”
  6. According to Bitcoin chief scientist Gavin Andresen his age seems to match up with the "entity" Andresen electronically communicated with for around a year. "Satoshi said he'd been working on Bitcoin for years before he launched it," Andresen explained to Goodman. "I could see the original code taking at least two years to write. He had a revelation that he had solved something no one had solved before."
  7. According to his protégé, Martti Malmi, "He didn't seem like a young person and he seemed to be influenced by a lot of people in Silicon Valley " Satoshi's style of writing code was old-school, and according to Andresen, "He used things like reverse Polish notation."
  8. The code wasn't always pretty: "We have rewritten roughly 70 percent of the code since inception," said Andresen. "It wasn't written with nice interfaces. It was like one big hairball. It was incredibly tight and well-written at the lower level but where functions came together it could be pretty messy."
  9. He still hasn't touched his reported hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoins. If he does, his identity will be revealed.
  10. Nakamoto is very into model trains. Nesweek reporter Goodman was able to contact him using the email address he used to purchase model trains from England and Japan. "I do machining myself, manual lathe, mill, surface grinders," Nakamoto emailed to Goodman.

While there is a real Dorian S. Nakamoto whose name, background, personal life and email writing style do seem to match up with that of the intensely private creator of Bitcoin, it is unlikely that we'll get confirmation. His brother Toku Nakamoto said, "I cannot get through to him. I don't think he will answer any of these questions to his family truthfully."

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Bitcoin Innovation Newsweek Satoshi Nakamoto Technology

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