The Evidence: He's British, good at computer science, and knows a thing or two about banking, as Davis explains.
In 2008 he was named the top computer science undergrad at Trinity. The next year he was hired by Allied Irish Banks to improve its currency-trading software and he co-authored an academic paper on pee-to-peer technology. The paper employed British spelling. Clear was well versed in economic, cryptography and peer-to-peer networks.
But he had been programming computers since he was ten and he could code in a variety of languages, including C++ the language of bitcoin.
And when directly asked he didn't say he wasn't Bitcoin's founder. "He laughed, but didn’t respond. There was an awkard silence," writes Davis.
The Contradictions: He flat out denies that he is Nakamoto. "I'm not Satoshi" he told Davis. "But even if I was I wouldn't tell you." He reaffirms his position in a posting on his web account at Trinity College Dublin, a direct response to the Davis outing.
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.
Of course, Clear could be keeping up his charade, but he points to another possible suspect.
The Evidence: Michael Clear says so. After taking a look at the coding, Clear pointed Davis to Lehdonvirta. "I also think I can identify Satoshi. It is apparent that the person(s) behind the Satoshi name accumulated a not insignificant knowledge of applied cryptography," Clear wrote to Davis.
Lehdonvirta, a Finnish researcher a Helsinik Institute for Information Technology, had "researched Bitcoin and worried about it," writes Davis. He used to be a video game programmer and has studied virtual currencies. He also is actively involved in Elecrtonic Frontier Finland, an organization that advocates for online privacy.
The Contradictions: He denies it, laughing in Davis's face. And he doesn't exactly have the right background: no cryptography experience and no C++ skills.
The Evidence: King has various patent applications for things that sound related to Bitcoin that Penenberg dug up.
Neal King (he also goes by Neal J. King from Munich, Germany) is listed on a number of patent applications, notably "UPDATING AND DISTRIBUTING ENCRYPTION KEYS" (#20100042841) and "CONTENTION ACCESS TO A COMMUNICATION MEDIUM IN A COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK" (#20090196306), both of which seem Bitcoin-y to me.
He also writes kind of like Nakamoto, notes Penenberg.
I read through his reviews, and his writing is excellent. Very clean. No typos. His sentences are elegant yet there are no extra words. The writing style reminds me of Satoshi Nakamoto's posts in the Bitcoin Forum minus British spellings, which, as I noted above, I believe is a canard.
The Contradictions: As per usual, he both denies and criticizes the endeavor. "He claims he 'had never heard of Bitcoin until this question came up,' and had to look up Bitcoin on Wikipedia, concluding that, 'It’s not a very good idea: Nakamoto’s algorithm is a solution in search of a problem,'" writes Penenberg.