Receiving Wide Coverage ...
The Father of Bitcoin? Newsweek kicked a media-filled hornet's nest yesterday when reporter Leah McGrath Goodman purported to have found the creator of Bitcoin. The person in question? A 64-year-old Japanese engineer living in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, or, legally, Satoshi Nakamoto, the name that first appeared on a white paper introducing the cryptocurrency in 2008. Goodman's article, containing numerous details on Nakamoto's life and several interviews with family and friends, leans heavily on this quote from the man himself as evidence: "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection." Bitcoiners were immediately skeptical. (Satoshi Nakamoto was always thought to be a pseudonym, more likely for a team of people than an individual.) And, after a media frenzy, a free sushi lunch and an O.J. Simpson-style car chase around Los Angeles, starring a Prius, the Bitcoiners' doubts were, well, at least justified. Dorian Nakamoto denied any involvement with Bitcoin, telling the AP repeatedly "I got nothing to do with it." The public is now left to decide whether the Bitcoin creator has, indeed, been unmasked. ("The greatest trick Satoshi Nakamoto ever pulled was convincing the world it was a pseudonym," tweeted The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien.) But, in the end, does it really matter? As The Week's John Aziz tweeted: The "#Bitcoin community doesn't care who Satoshi is, and to everyone else Bitcoin is peripheral." Plus, anyone listening to American Banker's Marc Hochstein should know, it's not the creator or the currency or even just its potential as new payments rails that's important here. At the very least, let's hope the media circus around Dorian Nakamoto dies down now that's he's talked to the AP. If he did create Bitcoin, it stands to reason that he probably wants some privacy. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post
Big Citi Depatures: Citigroup just can't keep out of the papers this week. Just when things quieted down (for now, at least) about the fraud it found in its Mexican unit, the bank announced two big departures that will shake up its upper management. Gene McQuade, head of Citibank N.A., will retire next month. He will be replaced by Barbara Desoer, Citibank N.A.'s chief operating officer. Additionally, Cece Stewart, head of Citi's consumer and commercial banking operations, plans to retire at the end of the month. She will be replaced by Jane Fraser, the head of Citi's mortgage unit. The Wall Street Journal reported in early 2013 that Stewart was facing increased pressure to deliver better results, but she told American Banker's Maria Aspan the decision to retire "was 100% my decision."
Suspended: Two banks have suspended employees in relation to the global investigation into foreign exchange market manipulation. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has suspended Joseph Landes, the head of spot foreign exchange trading in Europe, and BNP Paribas has suspended Bob de Groot, its head of spot currency trading. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times
@GSElevator Going Down: John Lefevre, the man behind the @GSElevator Twitter handle who, as Dealbook uncovered in February, is not an elevator and had never worked at Goldman Sachs has lost his book deal. Official statement from Touchstone, the imprint of Simon & Schuster that had planned on publishing the book: "In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre's 'Straight to Hell,' Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work." Following the news, Goldman Sachs, brutally and/or brilliantly, tweeted: "Guess elevators go up and down." Noted Mashable's Seth Fiegerman, also on Twitter: "And for a brief moment, we all applauded Goldman Sachs." New York Times, Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
A study, released by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, found "the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority 'routinely' strips out some possible red flags on brokers from its database in the information it makes available to investors." Scan readers will recall just Thursday the Journal reported more than 1,600 stockbrokers violated regulations by failing to disclose bankruptcy filings, criminal charges or other red flags on their records, without regulators noticing.
Tracy Alloway explores the notion that banks are a proxy for credit bubbles: "Without precise tools directly to address overheating in the wider system, regulators are in effective forced to rely on a more surreptitious route by going through the banks over which they exert far greater control. The problem is that focusing on bank regulation may well end up being a blunt instrument that is not ... best suited to the job at hand."
New York Times
Japan has decided not to introduce banking laws on Bitcoin, deciding that it is a commodity and therefore should be subject to taxes not a currency. "The status makes it off-limits for Japanese banks, seemingly leaving the handling of them up to unregulated operators like Mt. Gox."
Correction: An earlier version of Scan said The Wall Street Journal article citing pressures on CeCe Stewart came out earlier this year. The article came out in early 2013.