Bitcoin, approaching ten years since its introduction, has been through an interesting period with substantial fluctuations in its value. More recently, there has been a shift in the perception of the role it plays in financial activities in a period that has seen government and established financial institutions utilizing blockchain technology internationally.
Bitcoin was introduced as a creation of an individual or individuals who identified as Satoshi Nakamoto, believed to be a pseudonym. The creator never met in person and only communicated publicly through chat rooms and e-mail.
Nakamoto also generated the very first coins mining them on a computer, shortly before releasing the client for public use. Analytics tracking known IPs and Bitcoin addresses also indicate that approximately BTC 1 million were mined by Nakamoto. Most of these have been idling for years in multiple Bitcoin addresses, with some addresses still receiving anonymous donations to this day.
If assumptions are correct that these belong to Nakamoto exist and will never be released, this means that almost 5% of Bitcoin’s maximum supply will never be in circulation. The potential for this vast sum to destabilize the market should it ever be released has generated a huge amount of interest in discovering the identity and motivations of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Conspiracies and claims
As with any mystery, Bitcoin’s creation has had its fair share of conspiracy theories. Among the most outlandish was a suggestion that aliens introduced blockchain technology. The underlying cryptography has also led some to believe there was CIA involvement, with Bitcoin’s potential for communications utility and funding arrangements for special operations.
Even corporate links have been fingered. Parts of the names of four major corporations – Samsung, Toshiba, Nakamichi, and Motorola – form the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
Other individuals have been considered as prospects. In March 2014, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman gathered evidence that pointed to a system engineer who had worked on defense projects as Nakamoto. He denied any involvement and Goodman’s news story was roundly criticized for her questionable methodology.
At the end of 2015, investigations by Gizmodo and Wired discovered evidence that an Australian, Craig Wright, and an American, Dave Kleiman (who had died in 2013), could have developed Bitcoin. Wright supported this claim in May 2016 but the evidence was not conclusive.
Others with extensive blockchain knowledge have also been linked. Nick Szabo’s ‘bit gold’ which was created in 1998, has been considered to be the original concept for creating Bitcoin. Szabo has not confirmed any of the speculation.
For now, the identity of the creator remains unknown and 1 million Bitcoins sit untouched.
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