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Journalists Chase Man Who Denies Being Bitcoin Founder

Journalists chased 64-year-old Satoshi Nakamoto around Los Angeles Thursday, even though he denies being involved with the cryptocurrency.
Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 06, 2014

An epic chase played out in Temple City, Calif. Thursday as journalists practically stalked the so-called creator of the digital currency Bitcoin. 

CNBC Producer: "Are you the founder of Bitcoin?" 

Satoshi Nakamoto: "I'm sorry, not interested." 

The man heard behind the door is 64-year-old Satoshi Nakamoto giving a producer for CNBC the cold shoulder — and she wouldn't be the last. 

Several journalists gathered outside Nakamoto's home following the release of a Newsweek article which dubbed him the founder of Bitcoin, included a picture of what he looked like and where he lived. 

He finally emerged before saying: "I'm not involved in Bitcoin. Okay? Wait a minute! I want free lunch, I'm going to go with this guy." (Via Instagram / hunterschwarz)

The Los Angeles Times reports that's when Nakamoto hitched a ride — and presumably got a free lunch — from an Associated Press reporter. Other journalists reportedly gave chase all around LA.

The chase ended temporarily after Nakamoto and the AP reporter took refuge inside AP's LA bureau office. 

Things even got really meta, as one Los Angeles Times reporter tweeted that other cameramen and reporters were trying to interview the media staking out Nakamoto. 

What's even even more interesting is that the Associated Press published an article after their two-hour long interview with Nakamoto in which the so-called "face of Bitcoin" claimed he hadn't even heard of the cryptocurrency until just a few weeks ago. 

But while the absurdity of Thursday's cat-and-mouse game is pretty funny, The New York Times reports a lot of Internet users lashed out against Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman for using a questionable tactic to ID the man claiming he's not the founder of Bitcoin. 

Goodman said she found Nakamoto by searching a database containing the registration cards of naturalized citizens and matching other personal information with who she thought was the elusive founder. 

According to Poynter, the Reddit community calls that "doxxing" — or releasing personal information about a person — and Reddit users say it is not cool. 

Goodman defended her tactics on Twitter, telling one user "Pictures and info people are asking about (including residence and car) already public. His name too." She told another, "We felt showing he lives humbly, despite his achievement, was both telling and inspiring." (Via Twitter / @truth_eater)

But a Gigaom writer questioned the ethics of Goodman's decision to out Nakamoto. "Bitcoin is a story with a ton of public interest attached to it. But is the exact identity and physical location of its alleged creator necessarily part of that?" He says the Newsweek story reinforces "just how blurry the line is between revealing information 'in the public interest' ... and forcing someone to become public in a way they never anticipated." 

So, is Nakamoto the founder of Bitcoin? Who knows?

But his time in the spotlight probably isn't over yet. According to one Twitter user, this is what awaited him at his home Thursday night. (Via Twitter /@JoeBelBruno)