- A new research by Whale Alert is estimating that the fortune of Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, is about 1,125,150 Bitcoin (BTC).
- Bitcoin’s early mining operation by Nakamoto consisted of 48 computers and was intended to prevent attacks.
Whale Alert has published a new study on the fortune of the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. The research estimates that Nakamoto owns 1,125,150 BTC, currently about $10 billion. The inventor of Bitcoin earned this reward in the early days of the network by mining 54,316 blocks.
Whale Alert was able to conduct his research by studying the so-called “Patoshi Pattern”. Patoshi was developed by software designer Sergio Demain Lerner and refers to the specific nonce pattern in blocks that was mined in the early days of the Bitcoin network. The pattern is attributed to an error in the early Bitcoin code and can therefore be distinguished from other blocks that have been validated by other miners as Wahle Alert is pointing out:
We know for certain that Patoshi was operated by Satoshi, because his pattern emerges at the very birth of the network and he extracted the block that created the bitcoins sent to Hal Finney. Lerner found additional evidence for his claims in the noces (…) of the blocks extracted by the miner Patoshi: the last byte of the noce was always within the ranges of 0 to 9 or 19 to 58, while all other miners used the full range of 0 to 255. This discovery facilitated the attribution of the blocks to Patoshi (…)
The monitoring of the Patoshi pattern became more complicated later, with the arrival of new miners to the Bitcoin network. As shown in the image below, the vertical lines are attributed to miners who used the Bitcoin code released to the public. In contrast, Patoshi used the version of the code with the bug and its lines form a kind of saw in the following graph.
This is how Satoshi operated in the early days of Bitcoin
The most important conclusion of Whale Alert’s research relates to Satoshi Nakamoto‘s operations in the early days of Bitcoin. The research found that Nakamoto gradually reduced his participation on the Bitcoin network. The research found that Satoshi’s mining capacity was spread over several computers. Each of these computers used a different nonce that changed over time, as shown in the table below, as Whale Alert stated:
(…) we checked whether there was any variation within the range itself (of the nonces) as a result of the addition or removal of extraction capacity and found that it indeed change over time. For example, the range [0-9][19-58] was only used for the first 18,015 blocks and then reduced to [0-9][19-48] up to block 21308, with the same happening for later block periods (…)
However, the activity of mining capacity was done deliberately and varied to maintain network security. Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Whale Alert, adjusted his mining activity between blocks to maintain the validation time of 10 minutes between blocks. Whale Alert says that the creator of Bitcoin wanted to maintain this average to prevent 51% attacks, but leave enough blocks for others to mine. As more “honest” miners joined in, Satoshi was able to gradually reduce his participation.
Additionally, Satoshi Nakamoto maintained the average block validation time at 10 minutes because he considered it the ideal block time. Therefore, he controlled enough processing power to artificially keep it at this average when activity on the Bitcoin network was reduced or increased. In addition, Whale Alert was able to determine the size of Satoshi’s mining operations:
We suspect that Patoshi was comprised of at least 48 computers, with one machine for coordination and more on standby in case of an attack (…).
Finally, Whale Alert determined that the following blocks were mined and afterwards spent by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto: 9, 286, 688, 877, 1760, 2459, 2485, 3479, 5326, 9443, 9925, 10645, 14450, 15625, 15817, 19093, 23014, 28593 and 29097.