Friday, March 7, 2014

Salon on the Bitcoin Fanboy Outrage Over the Newsweek Journalist Who Possibly Uncovered the Creator of Bitcoin

By Andrew Leonard
So much rage. So much anger. So much disappointment. Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman stunned the Internet on Thursday with a report that, for the first time, identified the man who created Bitcoin, the world’s most successful, and infamous, crypto-currency. In a twist worthy of Thomas Pynchon, the pseudonymous mastermind “Satoshi Nakamoto” turned out to be a 64-year-old Japanese American named — incredibly — Satoshi Nakamoto.
This bombshell caused enthusiasts to explode in fury.
Goodman was attacked as a bad journalist: All her evidence — declared scores of angry tweetsand posts on Reddit – was circumstantial. (And it is true, Goodman’s case, while persuasive and fascinating, is not definitive. After the Newsweek story, in which he seemed to tacitly acknowledge involvement with Bitcoin, Nakamoto would go on to deny to an AP reporter that he was actually its creator.) Goodman was also flagellated for invading Nakamoto’s privacy, for“doxxing” him by publishing photos of his house and license plate that betrayed his anonymity. She was put on notice that she would be responsible if anything untoward happened to Nakamoto, who is believed to own a fortune in Bitcoin, and could now be the target of violent thieves.
To people who live in the real world, the sound and fury seems mostly absurd (although the horde of  media chasing Nakamoto through L.A. on Thursday afternoon definitely wasn’tjournalism’s finest hour).  If you invent a multibillion-dollar digital currency explicitly designed to remake the global financial system that gains serious traction, people will want to know who you are. If you mastermind an anarcho-libertarian project to break the hold of governments over money, history will demand answers — and good reporters will find them. Exposing Nakamoto’s identity is the very definition of “news.” If Goodman hadn’t figured it out, someone else would have, but credit goes to the reporter who nails the scoop.
So why all the rage? Could it be because Newsweek managed to stir up something much deeper than just the ethics of “doxxing”?
To understand what’s fueling this storm of vituperation, we need to journey all the way back to last week, when the all-consuming Bitcoin drama was focused on the collapse of Mt. Gox, the onetime preeminent Bitcoin exchange that somehow managed to lose around half a billion dollars worth of the currency — whether to thieves or incompetence, no one seems sure.


  1. Funny how popular collectivism becomes when someone does not get their way. Newsweek is trying to make a profit. The libertarian kids want Newsweek to avoid a profit to protect the "Bitcoin community." Being a serf to the Bitcoin community is not so bad. You get to sing songs, etc.

    1. "Being a serf to the Bitcoin community is not so bad. You get to sing songs, etc."

      lol...that's actually pretty funny're conflating the difference between voluntary and involuntary, but it's a funny statement none the less.

  2. JW, still suckin' in air; and blowin' out gas.

  3. All theatrics.

    Goodman, Newsweek, the critics, and the rest. The BTC fans are the punch-line but the pranksters are higher up.

    "Dorian" - someone is having a lot of fun at the expense of the chumps.