This week Satoshi Nakamoto celebrated their birthday. At least according to cryptic information they left behind.
An online profile on the P2P Foundation Forums for the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin includes an auspicious birthday of 5 April 1975.
Auspicious because 88 years ago, to the day, on 5 April 1933, the United States Federal government issued Executive Order 6102, making the private ownership of gold illegal. While Satoshi’s chosen year of birth, 1975, saw the cancellation of Executive Order 6102, allowing US citizens to again own gold after a 42 year ban.
This makes it improbable that this date really was their birthday. Satoshi would certainly have been aware of gold’s history, including executive order 6102, as they referenced gold and modeled Bitcoin around the properties that allowed gold to survive for 5,000 years as the only currency to withstand the rise and fall of empires.
Bitcoin was built on many prior innovations but the magnitude of what Satoshi accomplished with the creation of Bitcoin is difficult to describe. And in particular the specific way in which they went about doing it.
The fact that Satoshi presumably still owns at least 900,000 Bitcoin, without ever having moved or sold a single one, beautifully illustrates the point.
Satoshi mined the Genesis Block on the 3rd of January 2009, earned the first block subsidy that created the world’s first 50 BTC, and published his now infamous “Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks” message. For some time after its launch in 2009 Satoshi remained the only miner on the Bitcoin network and by the time they disappeared at the end of 2010, only a handful of other miners had joined in.
However, in that time Satoshi mined somewhere between 900k and 1,1 million BTC as a necessity, to support the young emerging network. Those addresses are well researched and they’re perhaps the most watched addresses on the entire blockchain, for obvious reasons.
Today, if they’re still alive, and if they still own the private keys that control those coins, it’s estimated that Satoshi’s Bitcoin fortune is worth between $50 – 60 Billion USD, at current prices.
A fortune which they’ve never touched.
Juts imagine that.
After inventing a potentially paradigm shifting technology, you surrender control of your creation and leave it entirely in the hands of others to continue developing, long before its success is even remotely likely.
Then you sit and watch for over two years as it slowly grows. Finally, as the price of Bitcoin climbs above $1,000 for the first time ever, in 2013, your personal fortune briefly touches $1 Billion at the very peak of the cycle. From zero to billionaire in 5 years. Who wouldn’t cash out ?!
Yet you do nothing.
You keep watching, waiting, even as Bitcoin goes through a stomach churning correction, dropping 84% over the course of 2014 and 2015. Until, in late 2016, it slowly begins to climb again. Then the retail euphoria of 2017 hits and, again, your personal Bitcoin wealth is catapulted into the stratosphere. You’re now solidly into multi-billionaire territory.
And yet you wait. As if nothing is happening.
Again you stomach a gut wrenching 80% plus correction in the Bitcoin price (and your multi-billion fortune) throughout 2018 and 2019. And again you do nothing.
Not only that, but by now your open source protocol has been copied and forked multiple times and there are thousands of imitators and competitors, all vying for that top spot held by your original creation.
Still, you do not reveal anything. And you do not move a single coin.
Then along comes 2020. Despite the drastic 2018 / 2019 market correction your Bitcoin fortune still puts you solidly into Billionaire territory, at a minimum of around $5 – 10 Billion USD. Until the pandemic hits and Bitcoin (somewhat unexpectedly) plunges alongside traditional markets, experiencing its biggest single-day loss since 2013.
Still you’re quiet. Do you even really exist?
Now, in 2021, following multiple new all-time-highs, you’ve (unofficially) broken into the list of the world’s top 20 richest people and, with another bull market well underway, you’re within easy striking distance of the top 5, should predictions from some of the world’s leading financial analysts materialize.
And yet you seek no recognition. Despite ludicrous impersonators claiming to be you.
What have you been doing this past decade while your invention has been changing the course of history? Do you even care? If Bitcoin out-competes its analog predecessor and replaces gold as the world’s ultimate store of wealth, as many industry experts believe it will, your personal fortune will be worth over half a trillion US dollars, making you three times wealthier than the world’s wealthiest person.
And if Bitcoin goes beyond simply replacing gold, as it’s certainly designed to do, your wealth will likely reach beyond the territory of some of the largest sovereign nation states on the planet.
Yet, while that possible reality becomes more likely with every passing day, your continued silence begs the question:
Who does that?
What kind of a person has the mental, moral and emotional fortitude to watch from the sidelines, in silence, without taking a shred of credit or fame along the way, instead choosing to forego untold riches in exchange for the possible realization of what was, at least to begin with, little more than a fragile promise of freedom?
“Who does that?” you ask.
Satoshi did that.