Nick Chong · 1 week ago · 2 min read · Insights via Grayscale Investments
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BitMEX Research, the think-tank of the world’s largest BTC/USD exchange, re-tackled old evidence suggesting the original cryptocurrency’s enigmatic creator may hold up to a million Bitcoin.
In a post published Aug. 20, the exchange’s research division resurfaced the 2013 argument of blockchain researcher Sergio Demian Lerner — who at the time reported Nakamoto having a minimum of one million BTC (now $6.7 billion based on value at time of press).
Lerner, a self-declared “Cryptofan, Independent Security Researcher, and Bitcoin specialist since 2011”, used the network’s hashrate and public blockchain records to assert that a solo miner — namely Satoshi — reaped and held, more than a million BTC from the rewards of the first 36,288 blocks (mined in 2009).
Coupled with a lengthy explanation on his blog, Lerner’s assertion appeared to stir up equal measures of debate and accolade in the then-fledgling crypto community, and, according to the researcher, may have instilled faith in the young Bitcoin. He wrote:
I became “popular”, on that tiny Bitcoin community of the time. The news spread fast, and Bitcoin price increased 10% during that time. I cannot attest that the price surge was due to this new information coming to light, but I guess it was.
To BitMEX Research, however, Lerner’s argument was by no means bulletproof. As their post reports, a number of individuals recollect mining during 2009; which aside from the argument’s technical accuracy may debunk the notion that Nakamoto alone mined such a quantity.
Rinse and Repeat
Five years on, BitMEX Research would appear eager to either vindicate or vaporize the argument that Nakamoto holds 1,000,000 BTC. Such a figure would put the anonymous creator’s holdings at 5.8 percent of the entire circulating supply, yet the exchange’s think-tank claim this is believed by many “to this day”.
To do this, the research outfit identified exactly how many blocks were allocated to the legendarily dominant miner in 2009, a task they supposed was not completed since the inception of Bitcoin.
Based on the analysis of BitMEX Research, the quantity mined was in fact “significantly less than a million bitcoin” — somewhere in the realm of 600,000 to 700,000. When it comes to questioning Nakamoto’s worth, their findings may have further deflated the million-bitcoin hypothesis. In true academic style, BitMEX Research appeared unconvinced that the rogue miner was in fact Satoshi:
None of the above says much about whether the dominant miner was Satoshi, although we know Satoshi mined block 9, which we have allocated to the dominant miner in our analysis.
BitMEX Research did not, however, comment on the proof of the “dominant” miner’s current holdings — and judging by the impassionate responses of the report’s twitter thread, may have resurrected one of Satoshi’s most vexing legacies.