The bitcoin world is abuzz with speculation that some of Satoshi Nakamoto's online accounts have been compromised, concerned a hacker could potentially access information concerning the bitcoin creator's true identity or use the accounts to defraud key members of the bitcoin community.
Administrator 'theymos' of the Bitcoin Talk forum (aka Michael Marquardt) a key figure in bitcoin's online community, posted just after 9pm (BST) on 8th September, alerting the community of the development, writing:
"Everyone knows that Bitcoin runs on drama, so this should do wonders for the recent price slump!" theymos added later.
Shortly after, another mysterious message appeared on the P2Pfoundation's 'ning' message board, as a reply to Nakamoto's original introduction to bitcoin. The post was sent from the Satoshi Nakamoto account, but appeared to warn him of what was happening:
Hacked or expired?
Many suggested the gmx.com address Nakamoto used had simply expired after a period of time and had been claimed by someone else.
However, bitcoin core developer Peter Todd wrote on Twitter roughly four hours after theymos' original post that whoever controlled the email address also appeared to have access to Nakamoto's email history, putting paid to the 'expired' theory.
Interesting, got another forwarded email from "satoshi", from 2011 - indicates this was a hijacked account, not expired and re-registered.
– Peter Todd (@petertoddbtc) 9 Sept 2014
Nakamoto, however, 'retired' from active participation in bitcoin in April 2011, and the hacker has not presented any evidence they have access to emails from before then.
Satoshi's identity and fortune
Some analysts say Satoshi Nakamoto's bitcoin fortune could be as much as 1 million BTC, spread over a series of wallet address and the result of mining from bitcoin's earliest days. Bitcoin enthusiasts have monitored these addresses closely in the hope of uncovering clues – but so far none of the funds have been touched, adding to the mystery.
They remain untouched as of press time. Any movement of those original coins on the open market would likely have an impact on bitcoin's price.
CoinDesk will continue to monitor this developing story and add details as they come to hand.
image via Shutterstock
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