So he narrows the field to people from the UK at Crypto2011."
Not Singapore, NZ, Australia, Hong Kong, India or any number of prior British colonies that use British English and spellings instead of American? (How about China? Not sure what English version they use, but wouldn't be surprised it's Brit).
Unles there was no one from any of those countries at Crypto2011, then it looks like he excluded up to 2/3rds of the solution space.
Also, I wouldn't be surprised at a skilled cryptologist who wanted to stay incognito faking his spellings to throw people off. For example, I'm not a cryptologist, am American, am not trying to be incognito, and enjoy using British slang and spellings occasionally anyway. And this guy Clear sounds like he's enjoying taking the piss out of the reporter.
I'm well acquainted with many native speakers of Chinese who have learned English as a second language (and am married to one). There was a time when the British standard was consciously preferred by educational authorities for English instruction in both China and Taiwan. But that time is past. American English spellings are dominant in China and in a larger part of the "expanding circle" of international use of English.
Not to mention Ireland.
Put another way, you can risk accidentally filtering the right answer out in exchange for good odds of finding the answer, or you can get bogged down in sifting through China.
I did the same undergrad as the guy. I have to say, I'd be really impressed if he put together Bitcoin just as he was finishing college. I would have guessed it was designed by someone, or group, with many years experience developing crypto infrastructure. But who knows.
The bit at the end of the article, about the wallets being encrypted, seems completely spurious to me, and no evidence that the reporter found the right guy (which the reporter seems to intend it to be).
I like this title far more than eg "Reporter discovers likely identity of bitcoin author"
The question headline is more compelling, but that's because it creates a false expectation that the question might be answered. It lends itself just as well to sensationalistic headlines like "Did Obama just give the order to nuke France?"
Given the content of the article, it would be an inaccurate title to say "reporter postulates that Michael Clear is the author of BitCoin" because the NPR article implicitly argues that Davis is probably correct. In this situation, the question is perfectly appropriate to express some level of doubt, but a likelihood of truth.
If the thrust of the piece is that you think Michael Clear is the author of BitCoin, then an accurate headline would be something like, "Joshua Davis just might have unmasked the author of BitCoin." This reflects the thesis much more closely than the original.
I get downvoted a lot.
This is an actual open question, though. I have no problem with that.
(subscription required, unfortunately =/. use your uni account or something)
The tone there is much more neutral, because Michael Clear in fact qualifies his statement.
quote from the new yorker article -----------------------
Clear responded that his work for Allied Irish Banks was brief and of "no importance". He admitted that he was a good programmer, understood cryptography, and appreciated the bitcoin design. But, he said, economics had never been a particular interest of his. "I am not Satoshi," Clear said. "But even if I was I wouldn't tell you."
The point, Cler continued, is that Nakamoto's identity shouldn't matter. The system was built so we don't have to trust an individual, a company, or a government. Anybody can review the code, and the network isn't controlled by any one entity. That's what inspires confidence in the system. Bitcoin, in other words, survives because of what you can see and what you can't. Users are hidden, but transactions are exposed. The code is visible to all, but its origins are mysterious. The currency is both real and elusive -- just like its founder.
"You can't kill it," Clear said, with a touch of bravado. "Bitcoin would survive a nuclear attack."
Edit: Of course there was a manual inspection step involved as well, this matching process was only used to flag suspicious instances.
As much as I would love to believe this conspiracy, and would suddenly make my pub meetings with his research group way more interesting, I don't think it's him. But I will keep this article in mind so I can bring it up at every opportunity.
> "I'm not Satoshi"
reminded me of this: http://pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF045-Wise_Shitashi.jpg
Wonder if Satoshi likes PBF..