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Not your daddy: Nakamoto denies bitcoin paternity

Where is Maury Povich when you need him?

In a lengthy new article, Newsweek outed a Southern California resident with evidence asserting he is the father of Bitcoin—but the Japanese native is steadfastly denying paternity.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Satoshi Nakamoto insisted he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago. According to AP, Nakamoto acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek 's report are correct, but he strongly disputed the magazine's assertion that he is "the face behind Bitcoin."

The claim of mistaken identity triggered a media furor late Thursday, leading to a car chase as a clutch of reporters camped out in front of Nakamoto's house pursued him as he departed.

On Thursday, Newsweek reported that Nakamoto, the developer credited with inventing the open-source software that eventually became bitcoin, is alive, well and living a reclusive life in California.

Contrary to media reports that Nakamoto was a pseudonym for a 20-something wunderkind, the real deal is actually a 64-year old son of a Buddhist priest who has not used his birth name in more than four decades, Newsweek said.

(Read more: Japan to regulate and tax Bitcoin trades: Nikkei)

Nakamoto is described as moody and secretive by family and associates, and has a career steeped in work for corporations and the military.

Arthur Nakamoto, the bitcoin creator's brother, told Newsweek that the developer was a brilliant man who had worked "on classified stuff," yet used a vulgar term to describe his personality. Ironically, the brother told the magazine that Nakamoto would likely "deny everything. He'll never admit to starting bitcoin."

(Read more: How can you make money with bitcoin?)

House in Temple City, California, identified by Newsweek magazine as the residence of bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
Source: CNBC
House in Temple City, California, identified by Newsweek magazine as the residence of bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.

Despite this, the magazine pieced together a trail of clues and documents that led to Nakamoto, who currently lives a "humble life" in Temple City, in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. He is rumored to own around 4 percent of the cryptocurrency, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars on paper.

In a Friday interview with "CBS This Morning", Leah McGrath—the Newsweek reporter who tracked down Nakamoto and had a brief conversation with him—called Nakamoto's denial "mystifying," adding that it was "natural" for people to want to know who invented the increasingly popular digital currency.


The virtual currency has become wildly popular among enthusiasts skeptical of paper money. Still, bitcoin has become more controversial in the wake of the high-profile bankruptcy of Mt.Gox, and widening concerns that it is vulnerable to theft, fraud or illicit use.

(Read more: Another bitcoin site bites the dust)

For more from Newsweek on this story, please click here.

—By CNBC's Javier E. David. Follow him on Twitter @TeflonGeek.

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