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The latest Bitcoin news for the week of March 2-7: The discovery by a Newsweek reporter of the identity of the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, was easily the biggest Bitcoin news this week.
A mystery since the first Bitcoin proposal paper appeared in 2009 bearing that name, most assumed Satoshi Nakamoto was a brash young Tokyo developer, or a group of programmers using a common pseudonym.
Instead, reporter Leah McGrath Goodman's two-month hunt led to a humble 64-year-old Japanese-American engineer living in a Los Angeles suburb.
And that's when things really got crazy.
After the story posted to the Newsweek website on Thursday morning, Nakamoto's home got swamped with phone calls, and more than a dozen reporters were camped out on his lawn.
When Nakamoto emerged from his home, he said he would speak with only one reporter, his only condition "a free lunch."
The winner was Associated Press reporter Ryan Nakashima. As they pulled away, the other reporters gave chase but were foiled when Nakashima took Nakamoto to the AP's Los Angeles bureau.
Nakashima then spoke at length with Nakamoto…who denied everything.
"I got nothing to do with it," Nakamoto repeated over and over, apparently puzzled by the whole episode.
Meanwhile, Newsweek's Goodman stood by her story.
"There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation -and his acknowledgment of his involvement in Bitcoin," Goodman told the Associated Press.
At this point most people have no idea what to make of this latest Bitcoin news. Did Goodman, despite her exhaustive research, make a mistake? Or is Nakamoto just playing dumb in a desperate attempt to maintain his anonymous life?
Note: The world's reserve currency isn't going anywhere, but it's about to be worth a whole lot less. Here's why the end of the dollar isn't the end of the world…
The Latest Bitcoin News – Top Stories of the Week
In other Bitcoin news:
- Japan Backtracks on Regulations: In the wake of last week's bankruptcy of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange, Japanese regulators said they would look into regulating the digital currency both to protect consumers and for purposes of taxation. But on Friday, Japanese regulators seemed to give up before they'd even started. An official statement from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet said that Japan does not consider Bitcoin a currency, and will not regulate it for now. Underlying the statement was the embarrassing realization that no one in the Japanese government can figure out which agency should be responsible for regulating Bitcoin. However, the statement did say that all types of Bitcoin transactions are taxable.
- Winklevoss Twins Pay Space Fare in Bitcoin: Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who are major backers of Bitcoin and are planning to launch a Bitcoin ETF by year's end, ponied up $500,000 worth of the digital currency to reserve two spots on a future sub-orbital space flight with Virgin Galactic. The "Winklevii" said Wednesday they consider their space fare "as seed capital supporting a new technology that may forever change the way we travel, purchased with a new technology that may forever change the way we transact."
- Big Bitcoin Spenders at Overstock: Online retailer Overstock.com said Tuesday it's sold $1 million worth of goods via Bitcoin in the two months that it's accepted the digital currency. More than 4,000 Overstock.com customers used Bitcoin to make purchases, and more than half of those were new customers. What's more, those paying with Bitcoin on average spent $230, significantly more than the $150 average Overstock.com customers spend. CEO Patrick Byrne said he expects Bitcoin sales to reach $10 million to $15 million for the full year.
- Let's Ban the Dollar Instead: One week after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, sent a letter to the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department requesting a ban of Bitcoin, Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO, wrote his own letter to the same agencies calling for a ban on physical U.S. dollars. "The exchange of dollar bills, including high denomination bills, is currently unregulated and has allowed users to participate in illicit activity," Polis wrote, mimicking the Manchin letter. Polis wrote the letter to point out that many of the arguments used to attack Bitcoin also apply to cash.
Over the past two weeks, there was also a lot of bad Bitcoin news, led by the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox. And yet after a brief fall, Bitcoin prices started rising. Here's why Bitcoin has proven so resilient…