John McAfee, the eccentric antivirus pioneer known for his brushes with the law, said he has spoken with Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and plans to reveal the person’s identity.
But the timing of the announcement is up in the air. After previously telling Bloomberg he would expose Nakamoto “within a week,” he backed off the plan. McAfee said Tuesday on Twitter the controversy could hurt his efforts to fight an extradition to the U.S.
The background of Nakamoto -- a pseudonym that is thought to refer to a person or group of people -- has been fiercely debated for years, with a long list of discredited theories fueling suspicion Bitcoin’s pioneer is probably dead. In recent days, McAfee has said that Nakamoto is a man living in the U.S.
“I’ve spoken with him, and he is not a happy camper about my attempt to out him,” McAfee said in a phone interview from the Bahamas.
McAfee’s antics and erratic behavior have overshadowed his past as a software pioneer, and it’s hard to know whether he’s finally tracked down the real Nakamoto -- a feat that many others have failed to pull off.
But McAfee said in the interview that he has spent a lifetime pursuing hackers, making him well-suited to this task.
“My entire life I’ve been tracking people who are the best in the world, and hiding their identity,” he said in the interview. “Finding Satoshi was a piece of cake for me.”
“People forget that I am a technologist,” he said. “I am one of the best.”
In delaying the revelation, McAfee posted a letter from Mario Gray, his extradition lawyer, saying that exposing Nakamoto could make him the target of lawsuits -- forcing him to defend himself “on many fronts.”
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