If we were Newsweek magazine, we'd be nervous right about now.
Satoshi “Dorian” Nakamoto, the 64-year-old from Temple City who was named by the publication as the man who essentially invented the online currency Bitcoin as listed on www.exchange24x7.com, has retained the service of an Echo Park attorney, Ethan Kirschner.
Kirschner recently sent a statement by Nakamoto to the Weekly (embedded below) and other outlets. The former engineer claims that the article has caused him stress and that his prospects for finding work have been harmed by the piece:
That, to us, sounds like a prelude to a defamation lawsuit.
However, keep in mind a few things. If he were to sue, he'd have to prove the story was both false and damaging:
–Newsweek is standing by its story. (Yesterday it stated that it had not received the Nakamoto statement and thus could not yet comment on that particular aspect of the controversy).
Much of its proof, however, has centered around the idea that some coincidences might point to Nakamoto, that its story hasn't been disproved, and that Nakamoto allegedly confirmed the Bitcoin connection himself when he told a reporter:
I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it.
While the statement claims that Nakamoto has been damaged by the story, that remains to be seen. It didn't call him a bad guy. In fact, it painted him as a possible genius.
While alleging that the article has hurt his ability to make a living, Nakamoto himself admits in the document that he hasn't been able to find work in 10 years:
I have not been able to find steady work as an engineer or programmer for ten years. I have worked as a laborer, polltaker, and substitute teacher. I discontinued my internet service in 2013 due to severe financial distress. I am trying to recover from prostate surgery in October 2012 and a stroke I suffered in October of 2013. My prospects for gainful employment has been harmed because of Newsweek's article.
Nakamoto also indicates that he was confused during his exchange with Newsweek's writer:
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.
A man claiming to be Nakamoto's brother posted a response, along with photos with the man called Dorian, on the website Reddit last week.
Arthur Nakamoto says his brother was “mis-quoted” and that the article belittled …
Whomever invented Bitcoin is said to be worth $400 million. We asked attorney Kirschner if he could confirm whether or not the Arthur Nakamoto who posted that statement is indeed Dorian's brother, but he declined to comment.
… the comforts of an old man in poor health who has barely enough money to feed himself and takes gentle care of our 93 year old mother in a modest house.
We also got a no comment when we asked if a lawsuit against Newsweek was imminent.