'Bitcoin Founder' Denies Role Amid Tax Threat
A man tracked down to a modest suburban home in California has denied being the founder of Bitcoin, following a media report naming him.
Newsweek claimed a 64-year-old Japanese-American physicist was the mysterious 'Satoshi Nakamoto' behind the virtual currency.
But the man, who was mobbed outside his house after the report appeared, said he was misunderstood when approached by the publication.
"It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and looked like I'm not involved now. That's not what I meant. I want to clarify that," the man who identified himself as Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, told the Associated Press.
But the magazine stood by its story and said his career included classified work for the US government as a systems engineer.
It also insisted he initially hinted of his role in the crypto-currency, which has unsettled the banking sector and frustrated governments.
His denial came just hours before the Japanese government said that although Bitcoin was not a currency, it should be "subject to taxation".
It said banks would not be allowed to deal in Bitcoin transactions or allow accounts in the virtual wealth transfer vehicle.
Bitcoin was launched five years ago and is generated by complex chains of connected computers around the world.
Japan said it was not defined in law but added that if transactions were used for money laundering "that would constitute a crime".
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: "As a matter of common sense, if there are transactions and subsequent gains, it is natural ... for the finance ministry to consider how it can impose taxes."
The move comes just days after police confirmed they were investigating the "unnatural death" of a Bitcoin exchange chief executive.
Autumn Radtke, 28, an American, was found dead at the base of a Singapore apartment block on February 26.
Officers said it is unclear how the boss of First Meta died, but ruled out foul play amid unconfirmed reports linking her with depression.
Last month, one of the world's largest Bitcoin exchanges filed for bankruptcy protection as it admitted hackers may have stolen all of its digital currency.
Mt Gox revealed 850,000 Bitcoins worth about £286m were unaccounted for following cyber attacks, and said it has 127,000 creditors.
Chief executive Mark Karpeles blamed a weakness in the exchange's computer system for the massive loss, which included 750,000 users' coins and 100,000 of its own.
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