Satoshi Nakamoto — the pseudonym used by the founder of Bitcoin — is a little bit richer this week.
On Friday, January 5, Nakamoto’s first cryptocurrency wallet received a deposit of 26.9 bitcoin (BTC). The transaction was valued at about $1.2 million USD at the time.
The deposit is interesting for a few reasons. First, Satoshi Nakamoto is essentially “missing;” he (or she, or they) haven’t accessed any of their known wallets since 2010. The Bitcoin developer may have died, or they may realize that accessing their wallet could lead to the disclosure of their identity — but regardless, they haven’t spent anything from their approximate $43 billion in assets.
And while Satoshi’s first wallet occasionally receives tribute deposits from cryptocurrency fanatics, Friday’s transaction was enormous.
The payment may be an attempt to force Satoshi Nakamoto to disclose their identity.
As of 2024, U.S. citizens must report crypto transactions of $10,001 or more within 15 days. Individuals who fail to report large transactions could face felony charges for noncompliance.
It’s possible that the sender is trying to force Nakamoto to comply with the tax reporting rules, which could lead to a reveal of their actual identity.
While this theory has picked up steam among crypto enthusiasts, it has issues. The size of the transaction is 10 times larger than the legal reporting threshold, and it assumes that Nakamoto is based in the United States and has retained full access to their wallet. It would be an enormous gamble with not much of a payoff.
The deposit could also be marketing for a new crypto product or service.
The FTC is widely expected to issue a decision on cryptocurrency ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) this week, with analysts expecting approval for the first Bitcoin ETFs as soon as Wednesday.
A huge deposit to the Bitcoin founder’s Genesis wallet — while wasteful — could be a powerful marketing tool for a new Bitcoin ETF. Alternatively, the transaction could be a savvy marketing maneuver for another service (for example, a new exchange or a new cryptocurrency).
The 26.9 BTC transaction went through a series of wallets, effectively hiding the identity of the sender.
Tom’s Hardware detailed the transactions that led to the deposit, describing them as “rather complex:”
“Three wallets moved funds to 12 wallets, and then the funds were brought together in one wallet which appeared to belong to Binance […] That last wallet in the donor chain was emptied into ‘Satoshi 1’, the Genesis wallet.”
That’s a lot of effort on the part of the sender — and a clear attempt to obfuscate the source of the funds.
It’s possible that the sender (or senders) will make themselves known at some point in the next few weeks. It’s equally plausible that the transaction was intentionally pointless; someone may be “burning” their bitcoin for no reason (we’ve seen dumber things happen with cryptocurrency).
In any case, if you’ve lost access to cryptocurrency — and you didn’t send your funds to Satoshi Nakamoto by mistake — we’re here to help. Datarecovery.com provides data recovery, wallet password recovery, and related services for bitcoin, ether, and hundreds of other cryptocurrencies and tokens.
To learn more, call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with an expert or submit a case online.