According to pop-culture, Bitcoin’s mythical creator Satoshi Nakamoto kept 1 million BTC coins for himself, plus similar amounts of Bitcoin Cash, and other currency generated by hard-forks in the Bitcoin blockchain. However, those figures are now being questioned by BitMex Research.
In 2013, a blogger named Sergio Lerner who claimed to be a close personal friend of Bitcoin’s inventor and creator Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a blog post that seemed to answer most of the many questions people who were interested in cryptocurrency and its origins wanted answering. A series of simply sketched graphs would seem to indicate the thesis of Bitcoin mining, and how much BTC Satoshi had held back for himself.
At that time, Lerner wrote:
“I can’t assure with 100% certainty that all the black dots [in the diagram below] are owned by Satoshi, but almost all are owned by a single entity, and that entity began mining right from block 1, and with the same performance as the genesis block…Also this entity is the only entity that has shown complete trust in Bitcoin, since it hasn’t spent any coins (as last as the eye can see). I estimate at eyesight that Satoshi fortune is around 1M Bitcoins.”
BitMex Research Questions Lerner’s Take On Satoshi
On Monday (August 20), BitMex Research, the investigative wing of the BitMex company, more famous for its hugely popular exchange platform, published its own take on Satoshi and his missing million.
Far from being dismissive of the original blog, BitMex retain much of Lerner’s original research, but disagree substantially with his opinion on Nakamoto’s haul of Bitcoin, cutting the total by 30%.
The explanation given as to why the majority of blocks from the early days of Bitcoin are often attributed to one individual are outlined in depth in the BitMex blog. In summary, a spokesperson for BitMex Research makes this statement:
“Although there is strong evidence of a dominant miner in 2009, we think the evidence is far less robust than many have assumed. Even if one is convinced, the evidence only supports the claim that the dominant miner may have generated significantly less than a million bitcoin in our view. Perhaps 600,000 to 700,000 bitcoin is a better estimate.”
Satoshi Nakamoto Suddenly $2 Billion Poorer
So, if BitMex Research’s findings are on point (and by their own admission there is a level of conjecture involved there) Satoshi would still own around 700,000 BTC. As there is an assumption that Satoshi won’t be dipping into his Bitcoin haul any time soon, if ever, the fact that it might be $2 billion “light” is neither here nor there. When assessing the number of bitcoins in circulation, those 1 million BTC would be written off on the basis that Satoshi’s coins will never move.
Satoshi: Man Or Myth?
If we follow the narrative that Satoshi Nakamoto, despite never being seen by anyone in almost a decade, is nevertheless alive and well, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that those so-called “lost coins” weren’t actually lost at all? Might that in fact be the source of the funds needed to maintain the ultra-reclusive lifestyle he has maintained since 2009?
As Satoshi Nakamoto himself once put it:
“Why delete a wallet instead of moving it aside and keeping the old copy just in case? You should never delete a wallet.”