Satoshi Nakamoto is the most influential name in cryptocurrency. However, unlike other crypto figures such as Vitalik Buterin and Charles Hoskinson, who are high-profile, public figures, Satoshi’s identity, whereabouts, and current situation are unknown.
Satoshi’s final post on the Bitcoin forum Bitcointalk.org came on December 12, 2010. His last recorded communication came on March 7, 2014. Here, he posted “I am not Dorian Nakamoto” on P2PFoundations, debunking rumours of his alleged identity.
So, what if he came back?
The fallout from a Satoshi reactivation depends on a variety of factors, such as if he still has access to his crypto addresses, and what he intends to do with these funds.
According to research, Satoshi may hold between 1,000,000 to 1,100,000, earned in the early days of crypto mining. At a price of around $56,000, this would make Satoshi one of the world’s richest people with a net worth of over $56bn.
If Satoshi decided to withdraw or transfer these digital assets, around 5% of the total Bitcoin supply, it could have serious repercussions for the crypto industry.
In its SEC filing, Coinbase noted a decline in Bitcoin or Ethereum's price could adversely affect its business. Factors it listed as potential catalysts for this included:
The identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or persons who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins.
Of course, there is no guarantee Satoshi would do this. Indeed, Satoshi’s return could spark a new era for cryptocurrency. This is especially true if the Bitcoin founder gives his thoughts on a range of new crypto inventions not available in 2010, such as DeFi, NFTs and memecoins.
However, there is one slight problem.
Would People Believe It?
In the years since Satoshi went offline, several individuals have claimed they are Satoshi Nakamoto.
The most notable of these is Craig Wright. Wired first reported that Dr Wright released a blog post in 2008 referencing his intentions to release a cryptocurrency paper. This was three months before the Bitcoin whitepaper was released.
However, Dr Wright’s links to the origins of Bitcoin have since been criticised. Wired updated their story to note that Dr Wright’s posts may have been backdated.
Dr Wright’s claims caused a rift in the Bitcoin community, with the Australian supporting a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, known as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) instead.
As such, Satoshi’s return through his forum accounts would likely be met with scepticism. After 11 years, somebody may have finally cracked into Satoshi’s account and could potentially impersonate the Bitcoin creator.