L.A. man denies he's the creator of Bitcoin, goes into hiding

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LOS ANGELES -- A 64-year-old physicist, identified by Newsweek magazine as Bitcoin's creator, denied involvement in the digital currency before leading reporters on a car chase Thursday through Los Angeles and entering an Associated Press bureau.

The pursuit came as the Bitcoin world debated whether Dorian S. Nakamoto is the mysterious computer coder who wrote the seminal paper on the digital currency and created the software that serves as its backbone.

Hours after Newsweek named the former defense industry and U.S. government employee, Mr. Nakamoto emerged from his house in suburban Temple City and told reporters, "I'm not involved in Bitcoin."

He and an Associated Press reporter then drove off, first toward a restaurant and then toward downtown Los Angeles, 18 miles away, where entered an AP office, according to Twitter postings by Joe Bel Bruno, a Los Angeles Times editor.

The initial Bitcoin paper carried the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. The author or authors chose to remain anonymous, but it had been widely assumed the name was a pseudonym. Mr. Nakamoto of Temple City used to be named Satoshi, Newsweek said.

Bitcoin uses a public ledger and a network of voluntary computers, known as "miners," to validate transactions that are signed with encrypted signatures. It has grown into a global phenomenon. Merchants accept it for everything from kitchen appliances to luxury goods. It also trades for traditional currencies, and was priced at $658.31 at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.

In news unrelated to Bitcoin, Autumn Radtke, 28, the American CEO of virtual currency exchange First Meta Pte Ltd., was found dead on Feb. 26 in Singapore. Police said they were investigating her "unnatural" death, and "preliminary investigations showed no foul play is suspected." Friends and colleagues said she was wrestling with professional and personal pressures.


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