A libertarian, Nakamoto encouraged his daughter to be independent, start her own business and "not be under the government's thumb," she says. "He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge."
The mysterious man behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency has apparently been unmasked. An investigation by Newsweek tracked Satoshi Nakamoto to Temple City in California, revealing him to be a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose creation of Bitcoin was a secret even to much of his family.
"For the past 40 years, Satoshi Nakamoto has not used his birth name in his daily life," Newsweekreporter Leah McGrath Goodman wrote. "At the age of 23, after graduating from California State Polytechnic University, he changed his name to 'Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto,' according to records filed with the US District Court of Los Angeles in 1973. Since then, he has not used the name Satoshi but instead signs his name 'Dorian S. Nakamoto.'"
The Newsweek reporter "obtained Nakamoto's e-mail through a company he buys model trains from," after "scouring a database that contained the registration cards of naturalized US citizens." That database showed one "Satoshi Nakamoto... whose profile and background offered a potential match." She exchanged e-mails with Nakamoto and met him in person at his home, but only briefly. "At one point he did peer out, cracking open the door screen and making eye contact briefly. Then he shut it. That was the only time I saw him without police officers in attendance," Goodman wrote.
Goodman also met Nakamoto "with police officers as witnesses."
"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he said. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection."
Nakamoto lives with his 93-year-old mother.
Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2008. His identity had not been revealed, and some assumed his name was a pseudonym. Gavin Andresen, described as Bitcoin's chief scientist, tried to explain why Nakamoto wanted to remain anonymous. "If you come out as the leader of Bitcoin, now you have to make appearances and presentations and comments to the press, and that didn't really fit with Satoshi's personality," Andresen said. "He didn't really want to lead it anymore. He was pretty intolerant to incompetence. And he also realized the project would go on without him."
Even when Andresen worked with Nakamoto, they only talked about code. Nakamoto "ignored all of Andresen's questions about where he was from, his professional background, what other projects he'd worked on and whether his name was real or a pseudonym," Newsweek wrote.
Andresen speculated that Nakamoto created Bitcoin for political reasons. "He doesn't like the system we have today and wanted a different one that would be more equal," Andresen said. "He did not like the notion of banks and bankers getting wealthy just because they hold the keys."
Nakamoto has an estimated $400 million worth of bitcoins but lives modestly, having not cashed them in for dollars.
Nakamoto's first job after college was working on "defense and electronics communications for Hughes Aircraft in southern California."
"He is the only person I have ever known to show up for a job interview and tell the interviewer he's an idiot—and then prove it," said Arthur Nakamoto, his younger brother.
Nakamoto later worked as an engineer for RCA, financial information service Quotron Systems Inc., and other technology companies. He was laid off twice in the 1990s and fell behind on mortgage payments and taxes, leading to a foreclosure on his family's home. "That experience, says Nakamoto's oldest daughter, Ilene Mitchell, 26, may have informed her father's attitude toward banks and the government," Newsweek wrote.
Arthur Nakamoto called his brother "brilliant" and an "amazing physicist" but also said, "My brother is an asshole. 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."
Ilene Mitchell called it "flabbergasting" that her father could have created Bitcoin. As Goodman wrote, "Ilene Mitchell says she isn't surprised her father would choose to stay under cover if he was the man behind this venture, especially as he is currently concerned about his health. 'He is very wary of government interference in general,' she 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.'"
The Newsweek article on Nakamoto is extensive and worth reading in full.