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OFF BEAT: Man denies inventing bitcoin; seeks bitcoins, cash to fund lawsuit

Posted On: Oct. 14, 2014 12:00 AM CST

A California man who claims he was falsely identified by Newsweek magazine as the inventor of bitcoin is seeking donations, in the form of credit card payments, checks and bitcoins, to fund a lawsuit against the news outlet.

A March 2014 article by Newsweek named Dorian S. Nakamoto of Temple City, California as “The Face Behind Bitcoin.” A website published by Mr. Nakamoto, called “Newsweek Lied,” says that he is a “65-year-old unemployed engineer” who only heard of bitcoin just prior to Newsweek's article.

Newsweek's article describes Mr. Nakamoto as a mysterious, reclusive man whose “frustration with bank fees and high exchange rates” drove him to develop the bitcoin crypto-currency around 2009. Mr. Nakamoto's brother was quoted as telling Newsweek that “he'll never admit to starting bitcoin,” and a statement to Newsweek from Mr. Nakamoto says he “did not create, invent or otherwise work on bitcoin.”

Mr. Nakamoto claims on his website that the article “contains misstatements of fact and invented and altered quotes from Dorian and his family members.”

“If (Newsweek's) conclusion were true, which it is not, it would have meant that Dorian lived a double life, making a practice of lying, for a decade or longer, about his activities, employment, and financial condition to his family, including his estranged wife and children,” the website reads.

The “bitcoin community” has donated about $23,000 worth of bitcoins to Mr. Nakamoto since the Newsweek article was published, his website says. He said he plans to use donations to fund a lawsuit against Newsweek, as well as his own expenses.