Newsweek doxxed Dorian Nakamoto as Satoshi and made him millions

On March 6, 2014, Newsweek published a piece postulating that Dorian Nakamoto was Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. This week, 10 years on from the publication of that article, reporters have returned to check in on Dorian’s life.

Although Dorian has categorically denied being Satoshi, he’s still received considerable support from the Bitcoin community. A funny photograph of Dorian’s ‘not me’ facial expression has proliferated as a meme and there’s a Rare Pepe card of Dorian’s face — one of the first NFTs on bitcoin, minted on Counterparty in 2016 — which has resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Of course, there are a few people who still believe he’s Satoshi.

Why people believed Dorian Nakamoto was Satoshi

There were many peculiarities about Dorian that prompted Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman to name him Bitcoin’s “mystery man behind the cryptocurrency.” 

Not least of all the fact that Dorian’s middle name is Satoshi and his last name is Nakamoto.

Dorian also lived within two miles of Hal Finney when Finney was emailing Satoshi. (Finney was the second node operator on the Bitcoin network and received Satoshi’s first bitcoin remittance.)

He also had a secretive career. He studied physics at California State Polytechnic University and completed classified work for the government. His opaque, technical background matched one of Bitcoin’s rumored origins: that Satoshi is a government agent.

Moreover, Dorian’s mannerisms and media avoidance matched what one would expect from a retired founder. When approached by reporters, he exhibited strong reluctance to even discuss Bitcoin, which would make sense if he had, as Satoshi explained, “moved on to other projects” and no longer wanted to discuss it.

Nakamoto’s friends described him as intensely private and paranoid, revealing that he often used anonymizing email services. He even retained legal counsel to protect his privacy and once seriously considered suing Newsweek for disrupting his peace.

Dorian’s bitcoin hodl made him a multi-millionaire

After Newsweek’s 2014 article, Dorian denied being Satoshi. “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it,” he told reporters. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”

Read more: A brief introduction to Bitcoin lore and Easter eggs

Nevertheless, the Bitcoin community found him endearing. To help Dorian with legal costs to protect his privacy, Bitcoiners donated about $34,500 worth of bitcoin in 2014. 

One of the most impressive (and Satoshi-like?) parts of a 10-year Newsweek retrospective on Dorian Nakamoto is his impressive ability to not sell his bitcoin. Indeed, Dorian kept hold of all the 2014 bitcoin he received from donors and as a result of his decade-long hodl, owns about $4 million worth of bitcoin today.

Dorian Nakamoto’s iconic ‘not me’ facial expression

Newsweek inadvertently gave Dorian Nakamoto millions

Since claims to the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto are a dime a dozen, most longtime Bitcoiners don’t believe that Dorian created Bitcoin.

Dorian’s unwelcome doxxing was a long time ago and in subsequent years, he’s kept a low profile. However, despite this, the event lives on, immortalized as a Rare Pepe and internet meme. Amusingly, his face still dominates Google image search results for ‘Satoshi Nakamoto.’

During the past decade, Dorian appears to have moved on – just as the real Satoshi Nakamoto moved on. 

Both are still hodling bitcoin, though.

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