Chief among the critics was Nakamoto, who said the piece was downright wrong: The 65-year-old from Temple City had lived in a modest home and hadn't held down a job in 10 years. If he had created the virtual currency called Bitcoin, he would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, at least on paper.
The publication defended its piece, but now Nakamoto says he's raising money for a “legal defense fund:”
The website newsweeklied.com was apparently set up to raise money for Nakamoto's legal expenses.
The model train collector who once worked as a hardware engineer was “targeted and victimized by a reckless news organization,” the site says:
He has had no training, education, or work experience with cryptography, peer to peer systems, or alternative currencies. He is not the face of Bitcoin.
The site says Nakamoto's brothers were misquoted in the piece, his estranged wife and children were alienated from him as a result, and his live-in, 93-year-old mother subsequently believed authorities were going to forcibly put her in a retirement home.
The piece contained “16 factual errors and altered or invented quotes,” newsweeklied.com says.
The site says that Nakamoto suffered a stroke about a year ago, long before the piece, and had so much trouble paying bills he canceled his Internet service. If true, it would suggest he's far from an online mastermind.
On the website, Nakamoto thanked the Bitcoin community for donating about $23,000 to him for living expenses in the wake of the Newsweek story.
The story quoted Nakamoto's brother as saying:
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.
The Nakamoto website says the subject himself was also misquoted. Here's what Newsweek attributed to the 65-year-old without a job:
I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.
Nakamoto responded that he was confused:
I called the police. I never consented to speak with the reporter. In an ensuing discussion with a reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology “bitcom.” I was still unfamiliar with the term.
It was soon noted that the way Nakamoto writes doesn't match up with the way the Bitcoin creator communicated on web forums.
The Nakamoto website has a whole page on the story and its author, whom is said to have been accused of defamation in 2011.
The story appeared amid pressure to create a splashy cover story, the newsweeklied.com website claims:
After years of ownership by The Washington Post Company, “tiny digital publisher” IBT Media purchased the near-defunct Newsweek “brand,” but possibly not its prior legal and editorial infrastructure. The article was the cover story of a relaunched Newsweek as a highly-priced physical magazine in March of 2013. According to one journalist, the editor “was interested in creating a splashy magazine article for the print reincarnation of a storied mass-market newsweekly.”
The one thing that the creator of Bitcoin, assumed by many to have been using an alias, and the man from Temple City had in common was their names.
“Newsweek must be held accountable for its reckless reporting,” the Nakamoto site says.