Someone has taken over the email account belonging to the inventor of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the fabled Satoshi Nakamoto. The email account is the very same one used to publish Bitcoin's original whitepaper, the document that became both its mission statement and its technical foundation.
Most recently, Newsweek seemed sure that they'd found Nakamoto, a quiet man hiding in plain sight just outside Los Angeles. But their story didn't stick. The man they pointed the finger at, Dorian Nakamoto, says it's not him.
"I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin," Dorian said through an attorney. "I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report."
So, the internet went about trying to find Nakamoto the old fashioned way; by hacking into his personal email account and stealing his private information.
Wired reports that someone calling themselves "Jeffrey" has performed the hack. Inside the email account he has found information that could lead to revealing Nakamoto's true identity. To spice things up, Jeffrey says that he will release the information for 25 Bitcoins, about $12,000 at the going rate.
Wired wasn't able to determine how Jeffrey broke into Nakamoto's account, nor were they able to get much information out of him. But the email address in question had been largely dormant since 2010, when Nakamoto went underground. Monday that address was used to post a message on a cryptocurrency forum.
"Dear Satoshi," reads the post. "Your dox, passwords and IP addresses are being sold on the darknet. Apparently you didn't configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you. Thank you for inventing Bitcoin."
The only first-hand verification of the hack comes from Michael Marquardt, a member of the Bitcointalk.org forum. He sent Nakamoto some emails in March of 2014. Marquardt says that Jeffrey shared with him excerpts of those emails, and the only way he could have gotten them is from inside the encrypted account.
"I'm pretty sure," Marquardt said, "that this is just some troll in it for the laughs."