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50 BTC Just Moved for First Time Since 2009 – But It Doesn't Look Like Satoshi

50 bitcoin held in an inactive wallet since 2009 were moved Wednesday, but there's little to support the belief that creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined those coins.

May 20, 2020 at 5:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:43 a.m. UTC

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.

Visualization of the "Patoshi pattern"

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.

DISCLOSURE

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