Clarifications on Joshua Davis' Article on Bitcoin in the New Yorker

Based on some comments from the New Yorker article, some people have suggested that I clarify some points. Hopefully this Plain Old HTML page will clear up some things, and not appear merely captious, since I did in fact enjoy the article.

Although I am flattered that Josh had reason to think I could be Satoshi, I am certainly the wrong person. Unfortunately, there are some inaccuracies in the article (e.g: my involvement with AIB was through an undergrad project; I was not an employee), but my main concern is that some quotations require further context and qualification. In particular, my mention of identifying Satoshi was not meant to be construed so seriously (the humor is apparently lost). It is somewhat more accurate to say that I thought I could identify some Satoshi leads (and I even mean that very lightly) In my email to Josh, I referred to this as recreational speculation - just some fun. Obviously, there are far too many possibilities to consider for Satoshi, not to mention the many thorough investigations that have been undertaken. However it seems that even limited searches yield candidates who fit the profile far better than I think I do.

I had reservations about the nuclear-attack quotation on several grounds (the quotation came from a discussion about decentralization). I tried to replace the quotation as I wanted to phrase it differently, but the editors insisted on keeping it in the end.

In regard to the undergrad project with AIB, this was a mandatory group-based (unpaid) project in College as part of coursework, and our group was randomly assigned to work on the project that AIB proposed, which was probably the least interesting project available. The truth is far removed from being "hired" to develop their currency software :).

--- Updated 4/4/13 --- I feel bad adding more because I know it's such a trivial thing but it might lead to fewer emails.

I'm a humble research student with an interest in crypto; I am very far from being any kind of expert in anything. As mentioned earlier, I never worked in a bank, and I'm certainly not an economist (I've received emails to this effect :)). My interest in bitcoin stemmed from its design and its cryptographic properties etc. Josh originally contacted me at Crypto 2011 about a paper I was involved with related to p2p, and I met up with him out of curiosity as to why he would be interested. For about 20 minutes we talked about that. When bitcoin came up, I remember we had a brief casual chat; I was naturally startled when he thought I could be Satoshi, and there was some humor and regrettable mistakes on my part. However, various misinterpretations and losses of context along with some misleading summaries in further reports unfortunately helped trigger the whole thing... There are minor things in the article that also give off a different impression e.g: brand of glasses (frames) (Incidentally, as much as its seems silly to admit it, I wasn't even aware of their brand until the article :) - they were a present etc.) Anyway, I could go on about other aspects, but it's such a trivial thing to focus on. Sorry to have bored you but hopefully this page helps to clear some things up.

A few Words on Politics

I want to re-emphasize that any knowledge/interest I have/had in Bitcoin is confined to its use of crypto and its p2p nature as opposed to its economics. Suffice to say I don't like free-market capitalism. While I believe in expanding civil liberties (I support ideals held by the Pirate Party and EFF), I have left-wing views economically. It is for these reasons that some of the (right-) libertarian philosophizing about cryptocurrencies make me feel uncomfortable. However, I have come across a few socialists who see some positives in Bitcoin; this is somewhat encouraging. Others appreciate its statement against the corruption of the banks, which is also good. And others see it as a non-political tool which simplifies transactions. As a leftist, I still have many concerns about it, but from the beginning I have had an appreciation for aspects of its design from a technical perspective. - Updated 14/04/13