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  • Writer's pictureT Skevington and M Bacina

Transfer of early Bitcoin forments fevered speculation

Updated: May 2

Recently, 50 Bitcoin which have laid dormant in a wallet after being mined in February 2009, about a month after Satoshi Nakamoto launched the Bitcoin network, was suddenly moved. The transfer was detected by Twitter-based blockchain monitor @whale_alert, and has led to frantic speculation as to the owner of the early Bitcoin, including speculation that Satoshi is behind the move.

The Bitcoin in question was mined in block 3,654, when there were very few people actively mining on the Bitcoin network, including Satoshi. Building on earlier research done by RSK Labs chief scientist Sergio Demián Lerner, the broad consensus is that it is unlikely that these Bitcoin belong to Satoshi. Commenting on the transfer, Coin Metric’s executive, Nic Carter, said:

Early non-Satoshi mined coins are periodically awakened, just not frequently... Keep in mind it’s basically impossible to prove that Satoshi ‘didn’t’ mine these coins, but the best research we have suggests that Satoshi mined a specific set of blocks, of which this is not one.

From a legal perspective, an interesting implication of the transfer relates to the ongoing litigation in Kleiman v Wright.

The wallet address which the transferred Bitcoin has been sitting in since February 2009 was included in a list of addresses provided to the court by Wright's legal team, as belonging to a Tulip Trust alleged to be under his control.

However, Wright has already been sanctioned and fined several times by the court for lying and providing forged documents.

Further, both Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who is overseeing pre-trial discovery, and presiding Judge Beth Bloom of the federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, have questioned Wright's credibility.


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