Yesterday, social media lit up with the news that bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto had emerged from the shadows to make a transaction.
The mysterious figure is estimated to own somewhere in the region of one million coins, all mined during the currency’s early months. His fortune, now worth $281.6m, has not moved in six and a half years.
Yet speculation bubbled after a user spotted what appeared to be signs that some coins had moved, according to data from Blockchain.info. The site displayed coins in bitcoin’s genesis block, or ‘block one’, moving to an address created this year.
Despite initial excitement – and concern – from some, other users spotted a data discrepancy across alternative block explorers. Sites including Blocktrail, Blockr.io and others did not display the transaction, indicating that perhaps the movement didn’t actually happen.
Observers have stated that the issue was due to Blockchain.info’s API accepting transactions without validating them, eliciting criticism across social media platforms. The company later acknowledged the issue on Twitter, stating that more details would be forthcoming.
Funds attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto have not moved. They are unconfirmed by the Bitcoin network and likely spoofed. More details to follow.
— Blockchain (@blockchain) August 4, 2015
Earlier today a user took to Reddit claiming to have been responsible for the transaction, stating that he is a researcher from Central Europe who wanted to test the response to sending invalid transactions.
When reached for comment, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith characterized the event as a “publicity stunt”, arguing that the network would have never validated the transaction.
However, the company has updated its API with a fix that Smith says will prevent a similar situation from developing in the future.
“I think we can do a better job of filtering and we currently employ a lot of custom filtering rules so people don’t use our API for malicious purposes like spamming, dust transactions, etc.,” he told CoinDesk. “We’ve already implemented some new rules to make this kind of transaction impossible in the future.”
As it stands, it appears Satoshi’s coins remain dormant – for now.
Digital abstract image via Shutterstock