The bitcoin market sold off more than 7% Wednesday, according to Bitstamp market data, after a Twitter bot alleged a recent bitcoin transaction came from a wallet possibly belonging to Satoshi Nakamoto, the protocol’s creator.
But almost nothing supports the rumor the coins indeed belong to Nakamoto.
“Whale Alert,” a popular Twitter bot account that tracks on-chain transactions for multiple blockchains, tweeted that 40 BTC were transferred from a “possible Satoshi owned wallet.” The price dipped as the tweet quickly went viral.
Commenting on the market’s reaction, Hunter Merghart, head of U.S. operations at Bitstamp, said sellers on the exchange “got good fast liquidity and buyers were there to fill it. Everything worked as designed.”
That the coins were old (mined in 2009) and inactive (not moved until Wednesday) is the only link possibly connecting them to Nakamoto.
Commenting on the unconfirmed alert, bitcoin software engineer Jameson Lopp noted the script behind the account is a bit naive and should be improved for accuracy. “Y'all need to up your analysis game,” he tweeted.
More sophisticated analysis casts doubt on Nakamoto’s connection to these coins. Analysis of the habits of a single, early miner has been used to develop the “Patoshi pattern,” which is believed to indicate which blocks Nakamoto most likely mined and those he didn’t.
The “Patoshi” miner is believed to be Nakamoto, according to the hashrate analysis. Disproving that bitcoin’s creator owned these coins, however, is ultimately impossible.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.