Nakamoto bitcoins just moved
Bitcoin,  People

50 of Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoins just moved. Maybe.

The transfer of $489,000 in BTC from a digital wallet created in February 2009 re-energized speculation about the identity of Bitcoin’s creator, and Craig Wright’s claim to that mantle

Someone just transferred 50 bitcoins thought to belong to the father of the first cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Nakamoto bitcoins just moved
Craig Wright (Photo: Craig Wright)

Aside from reigniting speculation about the identity of the Bitcoin whitepaper’s author, the transaction added more questions about nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright’s claim to be Nakamoto.

The issues blossomed again on May 20, when 50 bitcoins mined in February 2009 were moved from one wallet to another—sparking speculation that Satoshi himself made the transfer. Those bitcoins were worth about $489,000 that day, according to Messari.

Wright is being sued by Ira Kleiman, the adopted brother of Wright’s late partner, Dave Kleiman, for half of a 1.1 million bitcoin fortune. Those bitcoins are thought to have been mined by Satoshi Nakamoto at the beginning of the first blockchain. Ira Kleiman also wants half of the intellectual property of the Bitcoin protocol.

Wright has long said that he does not have access to “his” bitcoins because they are held in various encrypted Tulip trusts. 

Not Necessarily Nakamoto

Most of the cryptocurrency community believes he does not have access to the coins because he is not Satoshi Nakamoto. This includes Blockstream CEO Adam Back, who has had to deny speculation that he is actually Nakamoto over the years (and again yesterday). 

“[P]eople need to chill,” Back tweeted on May 20. “[I]f Satoshi was selling coins, surely he would sell his most recently mined, and so most anonymous first.” 

Nakamoto bitcoins just moved
…or (C), none of the above (Photo: Twitter)

Wright’s nChain partner Calvin Ayre denied the bitcoins were moved by Wright/Satoshi. 

In a May 20 reply to Back, Ayre said, “It was NOT Satoshi, I just spoke with him and Craig confirmed not him.” 

Instead, Arye said the move was probably made by someone in “Ira Kleiman’s camp from their Satoshi blocks.” Wright has long claimed he told Dave Kleiman’s family to preserve his hard drives after he died in 2013, telling them there would be bitcoins in them.

The Nakamoto lies

If Ayre is right, that would mean Ira Kleiman’s “side has not being exactly accurate in court,” he noted.

Which is ironic, as Wright has been accused of repeatedly perjuring himself and introducing forged documents in court by both Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who is overseeing discovery, and Judge Beth Bloom, who is presiding over the case in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

However, as Cointelegraph noted, the wallet address of the moved bitcoins is one of the 16,000 that Wright told the court he had mined as Satoshi Nakamoto. That means he either has the encryption keys to those bitcoins—which he has not turned over to the court—or the list of Bitcoin wallet addresses he gave the court was inaccurate. Of course, Kleiman’s attorneys have already accused Wright of turning over a phony address list.

Neither of which is a good option for a plaintiff about whom the trial judge wrote, “Oh! What a web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” 

Back’s response to Ayre’s tweet was, “failing at cut-and-choose. maybe you can prove a negative after all.”

Updated at 12:34 p.m. on May 21 to adjust headline.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.