The Bitcoin community, convinced that Newsweek falsely outed 64-year-old Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto as the currency’s creator, is giving him a nice consolation prize.
How does a fortune of the currency you may or may not have invented sound?
If their skepticism is warranted, Dorian’s had an awful, and awfully weird, 24 hours. He says he never heard of the digital cryptocurrency before Newsweek came knocking, he told the Associated Press. But after he was outed, reporters jammed up the front his door of his modest house outside of Los Angeles, and followed him on an O.J. Simpson-style car chase when he left.
Bitcoiners have been skeptical, both that it was OK to out Dorian—his birth name, just Satoshi Nakamoto, is the same one signed to Bitcoin’s mysterious founding paper—and that it’s even him to begin with.
So prominent Bitcoin evangelist Andreas M. Antonopoulos has created a de-facto charity fund for Dorian. “I have no idea if this person is Satoshi, though it seems increasingly unlikely,” he wrote on Reddit‘s bitcoin forum. As Dorian has expressed absolutely no familiarity with Bitcoin, Antonopoulos said he would convert the proceeds to U.S. dollars before donating them, and will give them to charity if he refuses the money.
To the surprise of no one who’s seen what happens when you combine crowdfunding with something the Internet is passionate about, the donations are pouring in. In fact, you can watch them in real time. Update: as of Sunday morning, 1,552 people have donated a total of 37.5 BTC (about $23,336).
“If this person is not Satoshi, then these funds will serve as a ‘sorry for what happened to you,'” Antonopoulos wrote.
On the other hand, if Dorian is the real Satoshi, this is a drop in the bucket. As Newsweek noted, the real Satoshi, whoever he is, is worth around $400 million in his own currency.
Illustration by Jason Reed