Did We Need to Know Who Invented Bitcoin?

Newsweek is receiving heat over luring and then outing the founder of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto hasn't held a "real" job in years, he got into financial problems years ago which may have inspired his idea for Bitcoin, he's unsurprisingly a Libertarian, and he's an avid collector of model trains, which is how the reporter hooked him into a discussion by email.

But did we have to know all of that? Bitcoin's allure is that it's an unrestricted currency, a symbol of resistance to "the system." Yes, its growing popularity raises some concerns, as Daniel Altman has explained here on Big Think. But it seems strange to associate a fiercely independent global movement to a single individual who reportedly tried--unsuccessfully--to remain private. Though he may be worth an estimated $400 million, Nakamoto was "caught" living a modest lifestyle in California. Maybe we should have left him alone.

Do you think Newsweek went too far?

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