I love that Satoshi Nakamoto used his real name, and it still took 3 years to find him. #HidingInPlainSight pic.twitter.com/sjgjUtV74p
— Erick Schonfeld (@erickschonfeld) March 6, 2014
Newsweek has reported that they found Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, living a rather humble life in California. Here’s what we know so far about this developing story…
1. ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ Is Actually His Real Name
Newsweek claims to have found the creator of Bitcoin, and his real name is… wait for it… Satoshi Nakamoto: http://t.co/K7xfECZKr9
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) March 6, 2014
The Telegraph writes that “Satoshi Nakamoto” was long thought to be a fake name, used to protect the Bitcoin creator’s identity. The fact that Nakamoto used his real name when creating Bitcoin is a huge surprise for many in the Bitcoin community. It’s also impressive that Nakamoto used his real name, but stayed under the radar for this long.
Satoshi Nakamoto is his birth name. Nakamoto changed his name to “Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto” at the age of 23. He also appears to go by Dorian S. Nakamoto when he is online.
Newsweek reports Nakamoto is living in Temple City, California. Temple City is located just outside LA.
Nakamoto is famously reclusive, so finding the man behind Bitcoin is a big deal, especially given the financial and legal problems the currency has faced of late.
Fun fact: according to Newsweek, Bitcoins can be divided by up to eight decimal places, with the smallest Bitcoin units bearing the designation “satoshis.”
UPDATE: Forbes has a great round-up of reactions to the “unmasking” of Satoshi from people in the Bitcoin community. Many people are angry with Newsweek for outing Nakamoto, while others feel like Bitcoin has lost some of its mystique as a result.
2. Satoshi Nakamoto Lives a Humble Lifestyle for a Bitcoin Mogul
@paulrobichaux Yes, there were. We felt showing he lives humbly, despite his achievement, was both telling and inspiring. #Bitcoin
— Leah McGrath Goodman (@truth_eater) March 6, 2014
Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman was baffled to find Nakamoto living a relatively humble lifestyle.
“I’d come here to try to find out more about Nakamoto and his humble life. It seemed ludicrous that the man credited with inventing Bitcoin – the world’s most wildly successful digital currency, with transactions of nearly $500 million a day at its peak – would retreat to Los Angeles’s San Bernardino foothills, hole up in the family home and leave his estimated $400 million of Bitcoin riches untouched.”
She also noted that Nakamoto wore “a rumpled T-shirt, old blue jeans and white gym socks, without shoes, like he has left the house in a hurry.”
The Newsweek report adds that Nakamoto drives a Toyota Corolla and collects model trains. He also lives with his elderly mother, who is 93. Nakamoto has two younger brothers, and has fathered six children.
3. Satoshi Nakamoto Uses Amazon, Leaves Reviews
Bloomberg’s Matt Miller talks about Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, in the video above.
According to Business Insider, Nakamoto likes to leave reviews on Amazon.
Apparently, Nakamoto likes the “buttery taste” of Royal Danish cookies. He also appears to shop at K-Mart, given some of the comments he’s made in Amazon reviews comparing Amazon purchases to K-Mart items, such as razor blades and bike mirrors.
4. Friends & Family Dislike Satoshi Nakamoto
The video above discusses the Bitcoin “revolution” and the need for Bitcoin regulation.
In the Newsweek piece, a colleague of Nakamoto’s had this to say about the reclusive Bitcoin founder:
“He was the kind of person who, if you made an honest mistake, he might call you an idiot and never speak to you again…Back then, it was not clear that creating Bitcoin might be a legal thing to do. He went to great lengths to protect his anonymity.”
The same Newsweek piece also quotes Nakamoto’s youngest brother, Arthur Nakamoto, who calls Satoshi “an asshole” who would deny ever creating Bitcoin.
Apparently, Satoshi’s brother isn’t the only relative who has issues with Nakamoto. Newsweek adds that Nakamoto used to play a “paranoia-inducing” game with his daughter.
Nakamoto’s daughter, Ilene Mitchell, told reporters:
“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.”
Sounds like Nakamoto’s reclusive nature might be rooted in good old-fashioned paranoia.
Nakamoto’s wife told a Newsweek reporter that Satoshi “hasn’t seen his kids for the past few years.”
5. Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Cache Might Be Worth $1 Billion
That Newsweek piece on Satoshi Nakamoto reads like an aggressively nonconsensual exposé. Was including a picture of the HOUSE necessary?
— Christina Xu (@xuhulk) March 6, 2014
The Telegraph reports that Nakamoto may be worth up to $1 billion, thanks to his Bitcoin cache.
However, not all sources agree about Nakamoto’s net worth. Business Insider pegs Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin fortune at around $400 million.
VICE reports that Satoshi is likely in possession of a total number of Bitcoins somewhere around 1,624,250.
Bitcoin value can fluctuate wildly based on news and trading conditions, so it is hard to say how much Bitcoins are worth in a given day.
According to one Bitcoin history timeline, one of the earliest known Bitcoin exchange rates in 2009 was $1 = 1,309.03 Bitcoins.
As of this writing, Bitstamp reports that 1 Bitcoin is worth $661. In November of 2013, CNNMoney wrote that a single Bitcoin was valued at $1,242. At that time, that meant that Bitcoin was trading at a price that was almost on par with gold prices.