A Japanese American man thought to be the reclusive multi-millionaire father of Bitcoin emerged from a modest Southern California home and denied involvement with the digital currency before leading reporters on a freeway car chase to the local headquarters of the Associated Press.
Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, California, just east of Los Angeles.
Newsweek included a photograph and a described a short interview, in which Nakamoto said he was no longer associated with Bitcoin and that it had been turned over to other people. The magazine concluded that the man was the same Nakamoto who founded Bitcoin.
Dozens of reporters, including a sprinkling of Japanese media, encircled and camped outside the man's two-story house on Thursday morning, accosting the mailman and repeatedly ringing the doorbell, to no avail. Police cruisers drove by several times but did not stop.
Several times, someone pulled back the drapes on an upstairs window.
In the afternoon, the silver-haired, bespectacled Nakamoto stepped outside, dressed in gray sport coat and green striped shirt, with a pen tucked in his shirt pocket. He was mobbed by reporters and told them he was looking for someone who understood Japanese to buy him a free lunch.
Newsweek estimates his wealth at $400 million.
“I'm not involved in Bitcoin. Wait a minute, I want my free lunch first. I'm going with this guy,” Nakamoto said, pointing at a reporter from AP.
“I'm not in Bitcoin, I don't know anything about it,” the man said again while walking down the street with several cameras at his heels.
He and the AP reporter made their way to a nearby sushi restaurant with media in tow, before leaving and heading downtown. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno followed the pair and described the chase in a running stream of tweets. Eventually, the pair dashed into the Associated Press offices in downtown Los Angeles, where reporters are still waiting for Nakamoto to emerge.
Fans see Bitcoin as a digital-world currency beyond the government interference, while critics, whose ranks swelled with the recent close of major bitcoin exchanges Mt. Gox, see a risky investment whose anonymity aids drug dealers and other criminals.
Nakamoto kept a low profile in part to avoid attention of authorities, Newsweek said, and indeed on Thursday the office of Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, was keen on speaking with him, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Bitcoin is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control. Its value soared last year, and the total worth of bitcoins minted is now about $7 billion.
In the Newsweek article, Nakamoto was credited by Bitcoin's chief scientist, Gavin Andresen, in working out the first codes behind the currency.
A man of few words who refused to discuss anything beyond the currency or even communicate outside of email, Nakamoto was described by his brother in the Newsweek article as “fickle and has very weird hobbies,” including a penchant for model trains.
The Japanese-born Nakamoto displayed an unusual aptitude for math as a child. He immigrated with his mother to California in 1959. He was worked for defense and electronics company Hughes Aircraft, but never discussed work because much of it was classified, according to Newsweek interviews with several friends and relatives.
“He's very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it,” Newsweek quoted Arthur Nakamoto, his younger brother, as saying.
The post Newsweek's Alleged Bitcoin Creator Denies Story, Flees In LA Car Chase appeared first on TheWrap.
‘Kon-Tiki’ Scribe To Develop Norwegian TV Drama ‘The Institution’
In the hot Nordic TV space, Norwegian writer Petter Skavlan is set to develop The Institution, an original series, for Nordisk Film. The drama is set inside a fictional royal family and will examine the inner workings of a modern European monarchy as well as discussing the ancient institution’s place in today’s society. Skavlan wrote and exec produced 2012 Oscar nominee Kon-Tiki. Also teaming on The Institution are Borgen producer Camilla Hammerich, Nordisk’s head of production Henrik Zein and executive producer Lone Korslund. Skavlan is represented by ICM Partners.
UK’s Feature Film Company Relaunched
Former UK indie distribution shingle Feature Film Company has been resurrected. Relaunched as an independent production, finance and consultancy company, it has announced the spring start of preproduction on Running With The Firm, James Bannon’s memoir about his time as an undercover cop in the 1980s, which saw him infiltrate some of English football’s most brutal hooligan gangs. Led by Mick Southworth and Martin McCabe, Feature Film Company is partnering with the UK’s Omeira, which is providing a minimum £10M of investment in the first year. Feature Film is looking to initially produce up to four low- to medium-budget, commercially oriented genre movies a year for theatrical release in the UK and international sales worldwide. FFC is in postproduction on two documentaries that will be launched at Cannes: The Cuban Way and an untitled Nelson Mandela project. It’s also readying filming on urban drama Money And Grime, supernatural thriller Of The Dead and historical drama Rebellion.
Lion TV’s Joins British Film Institute
The British Film Institute has appointed Richard Shaw as Director of Marketing, Communications and Audiences. He’ll join the org in late April and assume overall responsibility for developing and leading a customer and communications strategy across the BFI’s full range of activities, including venues like BFI Southbank and BFI Imax, the DVD label, theatrical distribution, and festivals. Shaw previously was Executive Producer and Head of Development at Lion Television, where his credits include The Big Read: Battle Of The Books and Britain From Above for the BBC; Five’s Disappearing Britain; Channel 4’s Secrets Of A Suffragette and feature-length documentary How To Start A Revolution.
Jeff Lewis isn't one to hold his tongue, especially when it comes to talking about fellow Bravolebrities from the “Real Housewives” franchise.
The “Flipping Out” star appeared on Thursday's episode of “The Wendy Williams Show” and swiftly weighed in on the casting of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes on the upcoming season of ABC's “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I'm actually very happy that she has this gig, because I feel like this last season we're watching right now, I feel like she has kind of regressed, taken a step backwards. I feel like she's getting a little dirty,” Lewis, who was promoting the seventh season return of “Flipping Out” to Bravo earlier this week, told Williams.
Leakes, whose NBC comedy “Next to Normal” was canceled after one season, had recently been in the middle of a massive brawl on the Bravo show, which led to some serious injuries to Kenya Moore's friend.
“I felt dirty,” Lewis continued. “I felt like this has gone too far. I don't mind flipping tables, I don't mind screaming at each other, but when they start breaking ribs, that's where I'm like, ooh, this is a line.”
Williams agreed, saying she had “backed out” of the show after that incident.
Watch the video above.
The post ‘Flipping Out's’ Jeff Lewis: NeNe Leakes Was ‘Regressing,’ Getting ‘Dirty’ on ‘RHOA’ (Video) appeared first on TheWrap.Related stories from TheWrap:
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