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A Giant Awakens: Who Resurrected an 11-year-old Bitcoin Wallet?

wallet with bitcoins on laptop

Earlier today, 50 BTC were transferred from a Bitcoin wallet that hasn’t seen any action for over 11 years. Naturally, crypto Twitter exploded with rumors that the Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto had emerged from hiding to claim his coins, causing Bitcoin to crash by almost 7 percent across global exchanges.

Not many people were mining Bitcoin back in 2009 during the first month of Bitcoin’s existence, so if it wasn’t Satoshi Nakamoto then the alternative possibilities are few and far between. The Whale tracking Twitter account WhaleAlert (@whale_alert) even related the event to Satoshi, with a tweet stating:

“40 #BTC (391,055 USD) transferred from possible #Satoshi owned wallet (dormant since 2009) to unknown wallet.”

However, a bit of deeper research pointed out by Crypto Fundamental editor Nic Carter (@nic_carter) found that the specific block spent isn’t necessarily one of Satoshis. He goes on to explain that there is, in fact, little certainty over exactly which coins belong to Satoshi.

“You’d think there was a single gigantic wallet ascribed to Satoshi. In practice, there’s significantly more uncertainty over the addresses,” he tweeted.

So who was it?

Nobody knows just yet and like the identity of Satoshi himself, we will likely never find out. Crypto is specifically designed to be anonymous and this is a perfect example of that feature in practice. Somebody just moved almost half a million dollars worth of value from a decade-old account and nobody has any clue who it was or why they did it.

The move also caused a huge spike in Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow model, a function used to predict future price movements using existing stock and expected supply. The stock-to-flow ratio almost doubled on news of the surprising transaction.

According to a study by cryptographer Sergio Lerner, more than 1,8 million BTC were mined starting from the genesis block by another miner whom he calls ‘Patoshi’. While there is no definitive proof it’s not Satoshi, it seems unlikely based on a ton of complicated evidence that you can read through if you have the time.

What does it mean for Bitcoin?

When somebody who has been sitting on their investment for a decade suddenly decides to sell it doesn’t look great for Bitcoin. Why sell now? What do they know that we don’t? Was it a Ponzi scheme all along? Is it all about to collapse? It’s not the first time early wallet coins have been moved and Bitcoin has survived this far. It’s possible that a long-lost key was discovered or that the wallet owner simply needed some cash. Naturally, a bit of fear rippled through the market but Bitcoin has already recovered most of its losses and is currently down less than 1% over 24 hours. Ethereum (ETH) has recovered so well it’s up by 1%.

For now, the general consensus seems to be that it wasn’t Satoshi but if more coins continue to move from decade-old wallets, things could get interesting. We’ll keep you updated.

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