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Satoshi Nakamoto may Have Generated Less Bitcoin, a Bitmex Research Says

A dominant miner, presumably Satoshi Nakamoto, may have generated significantly less than a million bitcoin as it is generally assumed, a five-year-old research by crypto-coin trading platform, Bitmex, has shown. This view counters the argument by blockchain researcher, Sergio Demian Lerner, in April 2013 in which he suggested that Satoshi had mined a million bitcoin in 2009.

Rather, it puts the estimate of the mined bitcoin by the dominant miner at between 600,000 and 700,000. The study says that it is inconclusive to say the dominant miner was Satoshi based on analysis and added that it is possible the keys to the wallet have been lost or discarded by now.

The analysis
They repeated Sergio’s analysis by counting the blocks mined by the apparent single entity and allocating all the blocks – a first-of-its-kind attempt – using a variety of methods, including statistical analysis, random number generators and even manual review.

Extranonce ...(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

Extranonce …(Source: BitMEX Research, Bitcoin blockchain)

Sergio had based the assertion on the low hashrate level throughout 2009 – around 7 mln hashes per second – in consistence with one dominant miner and the hashrate being the same to that which was present in Bitcoin’s first 14 days. Bitmex, now, in addition to some of the scepticism shared at the time which include the unreliability of the 7 MH/second estimate based on block timestamps, the small sample size and lack of proof to believe Satoshi mined alone in the first 14 days, shares the view that the evidence Sergio initially presented was somewhat weak.

Sergio had discovered that the increase in the ExtraNonce value in the block can potentially be used to link different blocks to the same miner – the ExtraNonce supposedly increases over time and in a series of slopes. However, Bitmex’s evidence from the ExtraNonce analysis shows that while many of the blocks were mined by a single entity, it didn’t do well at estimating the number of coins mined by the dominant miner. In another word, the evidence can’t strongly prove that the miner is one entity.

Outcome
If not for any other thing, Bitmex’s finding is drawing attention to the need to revisit Sergio’s submission which has been able to convince many in the crypto community – up to this day – and beyond to believe that the mysterious mind behind Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is likely to have mined around one million bitcoin.

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