Bitcoin launched in 2009 after the global financial meltdown, which stemmed from the crisis in the property market. A tiny group of merchants started accepting bitcoin for payment in 2010. At the time, bitcoin started attracting big-money investments. In 2012, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, also known as the Winklevoss twins, spent $10 million to purchase bitcoins.
Breaking down Satoshi Nakamoto’s net worth
Satoshi Nakamoto owns about 1 million bitcoins. At bitcoin’s current price of about $24,000, that holding puts Nakamoto’s net worth at $24 billion. The fortune puts him among the top 100 richest people in the world. Nakamoto obtained bitcoins through mining the cryptocurrency in its early days. Bitcoin has been a good investment for Nakamoto and anyone else who got in early.
Identity of real bitcoin founder isn't known
The identity of the real bitcoin founder isn't known. Many people have claimed or thought that Nakamoto is the founder. In 2016, Australian computer scientist Craig Wright claimed to be the real bitcoin founder. Many people doubted the claim, which resulted in Wright suing and being sued over it.
The other people who have been thought to be the real bitcoin founder include Nick Szabo, Hal Finney, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, and Shinichi Mochizuki. The other people linked to bitcoin's invention are Adam Back, Gavin Andresen, Jed McCaleb, and drug dealer Paul Le Roux.
The desire to unmask the real bitcoin inventor has led some people to speculate that Tesla CEO Elon Musk might be the enigmatic Nakamoto. Musk denied having a role in developing bitcoin. Although Musk owns some bitcoin and he has asked about converting Tesla's balance sheet into bitcoin, most of his net worth is tied to his stake in Tesla stock.
When did Satoshi Nakamoto disappear?
In addition to questions about Nakamoto’s net worth and real identity, his disappearance is another matter of interest. The mysterious bitcoin inventor disappeared in 2011.
Nakamoto said he was moving on to other projects. He believed that the future of bitcoin was in good hands after it launched successfully. Before going quiet, he handed over key tools related to the project, like the source code, to various members of the bitcoin community.
For example, Nakamoto turned over the network alert key to Gavin Andresen, who is a prominent member of the community. Interestingly, some people think that Andresen might be the enigmatic Nakamoto.
It isn't clear why Nakamoto went underground after launching bitcoin. Some people think that his disappearance may have to do with avoiding trouble with the authorities. Some people who attempted to develop alternative currencies before bitcoin faced government actions that they didn’t like.
Bitcoin has a fixed supply
Currently, there are about 18.5 million bitcoins in the world. Bitcoin is created through mining, which is a complex process that involves solving mathematical problems to validate bitcoin transactions.
Unlike fiat currencies like the dollar, Nakamoto designed bitcoin to have a fixed supply. Therefore, a maximum of 21 million bitcoins will ever exist. The fixed supply makes bitcoin inflation-proof. Also, the fixed supply is one reason why the cryptocurrency is drawing an increasing number of large institutional investors. Why Nakamoto decided to specifically cap bitcoin's supply at 21 million units remains a subject of speculation.