Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Who’s behind BTC?
DARKNET BLACKMAIL

Hacker breaks into Bitcoin founder’s email account and promises to “expose” him

Wired magazine reported on Tuesday that the personal e-mail account belonging to the elusive Bitcoin founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, had been hacked. The hacker, who said his name is “Jeffrey,” said he has sensitive information that could reveal Nakamoto’s identity and, for a price, would release documents. He asked for 25 bitcoins (BTC)—worth roughly $12,000—to be sent to a specific BTC address.

So far, the hacker is nowhere near that goal.

To prove that he had indeed taken over the account, reportedly associated with a .GMX email address, the hacker issued a direct warning to Nakamoto on the P2P Foundation’s Bitcoin forum:

“Dear Satoshi. Your dox, passwords and IP addresses are being sold on the darknet. Apparently you didn’t configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you. Thank you for inventing Bitcoin.”

If he has indeed broken into the account, it is unlikely he will actually be able to penetrate Bitcoin’s secure network. Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency, relies on powerful computers and sophisticated cryptography to stay secure, and it’s de-centralized nature makes it difficult to track.

Nakamoto’s true identity has never been revealed since he created Bitcoin in 2009. Newsweek claimed they tracked him down earlier this year but that report was later debunked.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.