Today in Tabs: Doxxing Satoshi

Satoshi Nakamoto
The man Newsweek reported was Bitcoin currency founder Satoshi Nakamoto is surrounded by reporters. David McNew/Reuters

Shortly after Tabs went out yesterday, the internet's favorite new drama "Doxxing Satoshi" took an unexpected turn. The man Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman identified as not just a Satoshi Nakamoto, who could be one of the many Satoshi Nakamotos we all have for neighbors, mail carriers, baristas, and who are often found sleeping peacefully underneath our divans and fainting couches, but the Satoshi Nakamoto who invented Bitcoin (in all likelihood while underneath a divan), emerged from his house, chose an AP reporter seemingly at random, and asked for a free lunch in exchange for his story, also saying "I am not involved in Bitcoin." This alone was proof enough for Matt Haughey, but others remained skeptical. What followed was an entirely sensible and low-speed car chase where the assembled media followed the AP reporter's Prius (lol) to the AP's LA bureau. All traffic rules were scrupulously obeyed in a flagrant display of safety and good judgement that tech reporter Mat Honan characterized as "completely and totally fucking insane." Buzzfeed's Hunter Schwarz had some of the most complete and gleefully self-aware coverage of this absurd delight.

Perhaps the oddest thing about all this was how excited everyone was to have some peripheral relationship to it? On Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal did a short segment to say "hey, he's right here! That's our building!" Businessweek's Karen Klein was all "Oh my god that's my neighborhood!" Even the very elevator that Nakamoto apparently proclaimed his innocence to posted a selfie on Twitter. The fact that any news at all happened in Southern California seems to have hit this sleepy, long-overlooked enormous region of over 22 million residents pretty hard.

In due time, the AP's story came out, with this Nakamoto claiming to be in fact just another of the literally dozens of Satoshi Nakamotos we are always tripping over on the way to work and shoveling off our front steps each morning, and not the man behind "bit corn or butt crime or whatever it is you are saying I made." He explained in great detail that he was "doing something else.... for the government... or someone," and that "I was at home then. Whenever that was." He then made a very expressive face and the universe's motto appeared in green spinning letters before him and everyone was pretty solidly convinced.

In a final blow to any possibility that Newsweek's careful reporting could be correct, someone logged into a Ning message board and said "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." I mean ok, maybe Ning was wide open to hackers for over a year, and sure that is what Dorian would have posted if he had gone home and logged into his old P2Pfoundation Ning account, but you have to admit, it's certainly a post on a message board!

So how did it all shake out? Well, those fools at Newsweek stood by the story despite all the... whatever it was that made us doubt it. Matt Yglesias felt that he had found an incontrovertible hole in the story. Paul Carr said he wouldn't have published it but I think we all know he'd have had Mark Ames rewrite it to be more like a Victorian stage melodrama and then gotten into endless Twitter fights about it for the next two weeks. Dave Winer skipped straight over any kind of evaluation of the facts and asked whether this will destroy the Newsweek brand, or double-secret destroy the Newsweek brand. And Tina Brown is certainly glad she's not in charge of Newsweek, or any magazine, or has anything to do with the media anymore. She then put on a paper bag that said "I'm Not Famous Anymore" and started crying.

In the non-idiot wing of the media, Kevin Roose went back to the Bitcoin white paper and asked how the so-called Bitcoin community has made such a SHA256 hash of Nakamoto's simple idea. Felix Salmon said he doesn't know what's true and neither does anyone else. Salmon also provides an overview of the text-analysis arguments against this Nakamoto being the Nakamoto, which are about all that exists as far as credible counter-arguments, to whatever extent you find textual analysis credible. Re/Code sort of weirdly syndicated a Forrester Research post concluding that Bitcoin is never going to make sense as an end-user currency, but has a future in international money exchange, which is entirely reasonable. And in the land of real money, Washington Monthly looks at the idea that free money for everyone is the cure for our economic problems.

Meanwhile, Newsweek editor Jim Impoco has reportedly been seen striding aggressively around lower Manahattan, gesticulating wildly and ranting about how he will "never stop doxxing!"

As is always proper in the case of controversy, I will give the last word to Choire.

Today In The Rest of Things: It's International Women's Day, so here's your official Worst International Women's Day Tab. Upskirts are legal in MA, further cementing Boston's claim to "worst city ever." The Army's top sexual assault prosecutor is under investigation. Come on Rusty, keep typing. It seems he. You have to do it man. You have to. He's accused of sexually assaulting a lawyer who worked for him, ok? Finish. It. Oh god, it was at a sexual assault conference, it was AT A SEXUAL ASSAULT CONFERENCE. I don't want to be a man anymore. Fortunately men won't be needed much longer.

Vladimir Putin was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, trolled the Nobel Committee. "How to Save the U.S." starts off sort of tabby but ends up making a lot of sense, if we could just do something about the military's endemic sexual assault problem (see tab supra). NYMag has your #normcore follow-up tabs. Watch Bill Murray on Charlie Rose because, I mean, Bill Murray. Do you understand True Detective? Do they? Does anyone? (Spoiler: no.)

Today in Follow-Ups: The monocle also returned in 1970 apparently. Salon says no. Caity Weaver says lol no. As Wonkette points out in response to yesterday's Nick Denton exposé, black people actually are tricky to light on film, so let me clarify that my point was not "Nick Denton is racist," but instead that "Nick Denton has a hilariously blunt and easily-misinterpreted way of expressing his odd but probably not racist opinions." Penguin sweaters are also not new, points out Jess Zimmerman.

Some Good Things To Read: TNR on GChat in the open-plan office. TNY on The Sadness of T-Pain, and Casey Kolderup on the upcoming Tinyletter Summit.

That's it, have a weekend!

~I took the tab I was given, then I bumped again, and then I bumped again.~

Today in Tabs is pretty much done in by this week. We share that feeling with our sponsors at Newsweek who hope you will check out their print edition, which has other stories in it that aren't about Bitcoin and is really nicely bound. I also hope you will subscribe to Tabs by email and tell all your friends and enemies and frienemies to do the same, because I embed mind-control commands in every email and soon we will arise, my army of zombie slaves, we will arise and make this world suffer for the Tabs it has put us through. Forget. Forget. Good.

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