Mysterious $1.2M Bitcoin Transaction to Satoshi Nakamoto Sparks Speculations

The wallet receiving the hefty payout is the address that mined the Bitcoin network's first-ever block reward some 15 years ago, commencing the start of the blockchain.

AccessTimeIconJan 8, 2024 at 6:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. UTC
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  • A crypto user sent Friday $1.2 million in BTC to Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto's genesis wallet days after the 15-year anniversary of the network.
  • The transaction bewildered crypto enthusiasts, with some speculating about a spot bitcoin ETF marketing stunt or pressure to reveal Nakamoto's identity due to tax rules.

An unusually large bitcoin (BTC) payout on Friday to pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto's blockchain address has left crypto enthusiasts bewildered, speculating about the intention of the transaction.

An unidentified crypto wallet on Jan. 5 sent some 27 bitcoin – worth $1.17 million at the time – to the first-ever Bitcoin address attributed to Nakamoto, shortly after withdrawing roughly the same amount from crypto exchange Binance, blockchain data by Arkham Intelligence shows.

The address receiving the recent hefty payout is Nakamoto's wallet that mined the Bitcoin network's inaugural "genesis" block on Jan. 3, 2009, still containing the first 50 BTC reward, according to data. After last week's payout, the address held nearly 100 BTC worth $4.5 million.

Notably, the transaction happened only two days after the 15 year anniversary of the Bitcoin network's start. Users from time to time send pittances to the long-dormant genesis wallet commemorating the start of the Bitcoin network.

However, the large value of the Friday transaction triggered speculation about what could have been behind the payment.

"Either Satoshi woke up, bought 27 bitcoin from Binance, and deposited into their wallet, or someone just burned a million dollars," Coinbase director Conor Grogan said in an X post.

He further speculated that it could perhaps be a marketing stunt related to one of the U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuers as anticipation for an approval is reaching fever pitch.

Jeremy Hogan, partner at law firm Hogan & Hogan, theorized that the transaction might be an attempt to reveal the identity of Bitcoin's creator leveraging new U.S. tax rules. Taxpayers in the U.S need to report every crypto transaction over $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) starting this year.

"The only thing that makes any sense is that the sender is flushing Satoshi out," Hogan said in an X post. "Satoshi has to dox himself, or break the law."

The sending address had no history before the transaction to Satoshi's wallet, data on Arkham shows, but later, it interacted with an address labeled as the brokerage platform Robinhood's hot wallet.

Bitcoin transaction history of the wallet sending $1.2M to Satoshi Nakamoto (Arkham Intelligence)
Bitcoin transaction history of the wallet sending $1.2M to Satoshi Nakamoto (Arkham Intelligence)

Market observers estimate Nakamoto's bitcoin total holdings at 1.1 million BTC worth almost $50 billion spread over a plethora of addresses. BTC recently traded at around $45,000.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.

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