From Dorian Nakamoto to Elon Musk: The Incomplete List of ...

My open letter to Leah McGrath Goodman and Kira Bindrim

This is a one-use-only account created specifically for this purpose. I ask my fellow Redditors to tweet it to @truth_eater and to @kirabind if it expresses your sentiments as well.
Today, as the print copy of Newsweek hits the shelves, you are going to be facing a lot of scrutiny, and even greater backlash, in light of yesterday's events. Because, by your own words, Ms. Goodman, you did not expect your article to be met with "an act of war," I would like to sum up my disapproval of your actions and the actions of your editorial staff.
First of all, a disclaimer: I do not worship the real Satoshi Nakamoto, whomever he (or she, or they) may be. I will readily acknowledge that there is, in Bitcoin circles, an awe of this mystery man and his creation that borders on religious fervor. In my view, however, as revolutionary as Bitcoin is, its creator is a mortal, even if an extraordinary one because of his achievement. In other words, I would put Satoshi in the same category as Gutenberg, not the in the same one as Jesus Christ.
The reason that many of us in the Bitcoin community are exasperated by your piece is threefold. First of all, it represents the trend in contemporary journalism to place sensationalism and "getting the scoop" over careful, thoughtful research and fact-checking. I am certain your knee-jerk reaction is to deny you having done so in this case, but allow me to point out the reasons why I never seriously took Dorian Nakamoto to be the founder of Bitcoin:
Satoshi, who worked with his cryptographic peers for years before leaving the scene, was absolutely meticulous about hiding his real identity, even from his colleagues. He revealed absolutely nothing about his personal life, and only wanted to discuss his ideas. As Gavin Andreson has noted, he was concerned about the possible illegality of what he was working on, as well as repercussions from vested interests in the centralized banking industry. He completely cut off contact from the other developers of Bitcoin the very moment Andreson mentioned a CIA investigation, and as far as anyone can tell, has never utilized the bitcoins he himself mined back in the earliest days. In short, Satoshi clearly wanted everyone to divorce his identity from his work, and went to extraordinary lengths to do so. Far from being some "James Bond," super-spy type, Satoshi is likely a very paranoid individual who does not personally interact with others with ease.
That is why is is nonsensical to think that he used his real name while creating and implementing Bitcoin; shared this knowledge with an estranged brother; or that a reporter like yourself knocking on his door would get such an easy admission from him; or that he would address reporters, get into the car with one, and spend two hours comfortably talking to the press, even to dissuade the assertions made in your piece. That simply does not jibe with everything that we actually do know about Satoshi Nakamoto.
So, part of the backlash against you and against Newsweek is that it reflects the lack of precision and accuracy that characterizes the mainstream media today. I firmly believe that, in your zeal, you either misquoted Dorian Nakamoto or took his comment completely out of its context. I believe this for the reasons stated above, and because I rarely have had my own statements quoted accurately when dealing with the media, even when it was done in a way that did not damage my overall message. Let's face it: you wanted Dorian to be our Satoshi, and you took the liberty to play fast and loose with the facts to make them fit your conclusion.
In addition, your record as an investigative journalist apparently has made you forget that the subjects of your study are human beings. Even had Dorian been Satoshi, how is it ethical for you to uncover the truth, no matter the cost to this man? Whoever Satoshi actually is, he wants to be left alone. He wants to be out of the public eye. It is one thing to investigate criminal activity, getting to the bottom of government officials who may be covering up sexual paraphilia among the rich and famous. It is quite another to try an uncover the identity of a man who, as far as anyone can tell, has committed no crime and has no desire to be "outed."
Do you have the right to track down and expose Satoshi Nakamoto? I would answer in the affirmative. However, legal rights often do not correspond with professional and ethical responsibilities. In other words, "I can do it" is not the same as "I ought to do it."
Lastly, you seem utterly surprised that people were worried about the safety of Dorian Nakamoto upon the release of your article into the wild. Whether or not he turned out to be the Satoshi you were seeking, you did place him in a precarious position by revealing not only his identity, but also his location, details about his family (upon which you elaborated in subsequent television interviews), and your magazine even went so far as to include a picture of his car with the license plate.
This reflects the highest level of irresponsibility on the part of your magazine. Your colleagues came to your defense, citing that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch all have very public addresses without any foul play. That short-sighted view fails to take into account that in all of those cases, these individuals have extensive security measures in place to prevent their kidnapping or the kidnapping of their loved ones. Furthermore, their wealth is not contained in a password-protected file that can be accessed immediately and transferred instantaneously to another individual with a high level of untraceability. Outing Dorian Nakamoto, who even had he been our Satoshi would have been completely unprepared for the results, only left him vulnerable to unscrupulous criminals. The fact that this apparently never even occurred to you is another indicator of how your journalistic zeal for the scoop prevented you from thinking through the implications of your words.
I encourage you, rather than to continue on the path of you and your managing editor calling Dorian Nakamoto a liar (unless your have something much more substantive than his one "admission" to prove him wrong), that you and Kira Bindrim own up to your error, and that you use this as a learning example for you and other journalists to follow.
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Bitcoin founder revealed?

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