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How Much Bitcoin Does Satoshi Nakamoto Own?

Satoshi Nakamoto – Bitcoin’s anonymous founder – may be the single largest Bitcoin whale on the planet.

However, there’s no evidence that Satoshi ever has or will spend his coins. In fact, the crypto community isn’t even certain about how many coins belong to the founder.

Just how rich is the father of Bitcoin? And what implications could his ancient stash have for both the network and the asset?

The Patoshi Pattern

One of the most popular theories to date is that Satoshi Nakamoto personally mined anywhere from 750,000 to 1.1 million Bitcoin. That’s a blogger stack than both Grayscale and MicroStrategy combined – and about 5% of the network’s total supply.

The theory maintains that Satoshi mined his fortune within 13 months of Bitcoin’s inception: from January 2009 to January 2010. Between block 1 and block 36288, cryptocurrency security consultant Sergio Demian Lerner posited that about 22,000 were mined by the same computer. He nicknamed the computer “Patoshi.”

His thesis is based on a distinct pattern left behind by that computer’s method of mining. When comparing the nonce values of his re-mined Patoshi blocks to those of Patoshi, he noticed the latter’s “clear tendency” to choose higher numbers.

“This strongly implies that Patoshi scanned the numbers downwards when looking for the winning lottery ticket,” Lerner told CoinTelegraph last year. “Even if we don’t know if he started with a high or low number, he always did it by decrementing the ticket number until some time had elapsed or he won the Bitcoin block lottery.”

One of the blocks included in the pattern was block 0 – the unspendable genesis block mined before Bitcoin’s first implementation was publicly released. Therefore, Lerner assumes that the sole computer responsible for mining all subsequent blocks was Satoshi himself.

The Patoshi pattern also mimics the nonce pattern of nearly all blocks mined within two weeks after the chain started. Altogether, it has become a widely accepted form of evidence for Satoshi’s secret Bitcoin stash.

Granted, the Patoshi pattern is not absolute proof. It’s entirely possible that all of that early Bitcoin was not mined by the same entity, or that Satoshi never mined at all. Block 1, which was mined 24 hours after Bitcoin’s release, could have been solved by another person.

But what if Satoshi really does own over 1 million Bitcoin? Is this an existential threat? Should Bitcoiners be worried?

Why Satoshi’s Coins are a Non-Issue

It may sound intimidating to know that a pseudonymous ultra-billionaire Bitcoin progenitor could be lurking anywhere on Earth. What if he moves his coins to an exchange and dumps the market? What if a hacker seizes his funds and does the same thing?

In reality, neither of these events is worth worrying about – for two reasons.

1. A Wish to Stay Private

Firstly, one must consider that Satoshi was a cypherpunk – an individual who advocates for the widespread use of privacy-enhancing technologies.

The founder personally used a pseudonym when interacting online. When discussing his identity in old BItcoinTalk forums, his answers did not appear congruent with his behavior. Come 2011, Satoshi left Bitcoin without a trace.

Given these details, it’s safe to assume that he, she, or they, wished to keep his identity under wraps. As such, it’s unlikely that he would ever attempt to move his coins.

For one, every Bitcoin transaction leaves an on-chain footprint. If any coins suspected to be Satoshi’s were to move, the transactions would be subject to unending scrutiny by blockchain analysis firms. Many such firms already use their intel to track down financial crime. This alone could aid the community iin uncovering his identity.

More importantly, if Satoshi ever tried to sell his massive stash, he would need an exchange with adequate liquidity. Large exchanges today are virtually guaranteed to subject users to KYC / AML regulations, thus necessitating that he forfeit his identity.

Satoshi moving his coins would be an act against his own interest in privacy. He’s no doubt noticed the growth of his invention, and the potential threat it poses to legacy institutions worldwide. If he were to reveal himself now, it would put a massive target on his back.

2. Love of Bitcoin

Secondly, Satoshi’s behavior suggested that he was more interested in seeing Bitcoin succeed than in extracting profit from it.

His decision to make the Bitcoin genesis block unspendable is evidence that he wished to create a system with a fair start. In fact, Bitcoin’s proof of work mechanism and clean conception are arguably what makes Bitcoin true commodity money.

Satoshi’s Bitcoin – assuming he mined it – may not have even been mined for profit reasons. It’s possible that he simply mined to enhance Bitcoin’s difficulty algorithm during its most vulnerable days, and earned coins as a byproduct.

If so, it would explain why he has never sold his coins to this day. In 2009, mining Bitcoin in pursuit of financial gain and HODLing it until 2022 would have taken unbelievable foresight.

If Satoshi truly wished to dump the market, he’d have likely taken profits back at $100 in 2013 and fled. In reality, it’s much more likely that he never intended to sell his Bitcoin – or even threw away the private key to access it.

Conclusion

Satoshi’s Bitcoin stack may be immense, but it’s best to view his Bitcoin wallets as burn addresses. Based on probabilities and his own intentions, it’s unlikely that his 1 million coins will ever move again.

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Ultimately this reduced the effective BItcoin supply to under 20 million – making everyone else’s Bitcoin more valuable!

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