Newsweek found Nakamoto, the alleged Bitcoin creator, living in Temple City, California, but he refused to discuss his involvement with the digital currency.
Nakamoto is his real name, not a pseudonym, according to the report. Nakamoto told Newsweek he is no longer involved in Bitcoin. “It’s been turned over to other people,” he told Newsweek. “They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Nakamoto was evasive in answering questions about his background, the magazine reported. He holds a degree in physics from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Newsweek said.
Later Thursday, in a surprise development that raised doubts about the discovery, the man referred to as Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto told the Associated Press he had nothing to do with Bitcoin. He told the news agency he had not heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago.
Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen told Newsweek he had communicated with Nakamoto only by email. Nakamoto stopped making changes to the Bitcoin code and dropped off the map in early 2011, he said.
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system that uses open-source cryptographic algorithms to enable transactions and create units of digital currency called bitcoins. Bitcoins are created or “mined” as computers in the peer-to-peer network solve algorithms used to verify transactions.
Bitcoin has sparked headlines lately as exchanges involved in the system run into problems. Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy late last month after losing about US$470 million worth of bitcoins.
In addition, security weaknesses allowed hackers to overdraw accounts with Flexcoin and Poloniex, two websites that facilitate bitcoin transactions. The attacks put Flexcoin out of business and made Poloniex’s users lose more than 12 percent of their bitcoins.