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    December 7, 2017

    Satoshi Nakamoto: Could Bitcoin’s mystery founder become the richest person in the world?

    Satoshi Nakamoto

    As Bitcoin’s value continues to climb, Satoshi Nakamoto could very well become the world’s richest person – but could they effectively remain anonymous?

    Bitcoin has yet a turbulent – yet profitable – 2017. Between navigating hard forks, regulatory pressure, and parabolic price gains, the digital currency continues to weather the storm – and sitting silently at its epicenter is its elusive and illusory founder, Satoshi Nakamoto.

    Since releasing the original white paper that first detailed Bitcoin and the Blockchain in 2008, the person behind the moniker (or name) Satoshi Nakamoto has sat on a fortune of some 1,04 million bitcoins – at the time of writing, that amounts to an untapped fortune of some $15,042,565,200 USD.

    Read: Up to four million Bitcoins could already be gone forever

    To say Bitcoin has defied all expectation in 2017 is an understatement; fighting off turbulence thanks to the harsh stance of Chinese regulators, the digital currency has continued to push new boundaries in successively shorter lengths of time. And, as Bitcoin’s worth increases, so too does Nakamoto’s.

    Should Bitcoin reach the $100k USD mark in the near future – and Nakamoto refrains from interfering with their stockpile of 1,04 million Bitcoins – the anonymous author could approach a net worth of some $100 billion USD; surpassing the estimated net worth of juggernauts such as Jeff Bezos, nevermind that of Mark Zuckerberg nor Bill Gates.

    That would effectively mean that the richest person in the world is an anonymous author whose identity, image, or personality has never been revealed – and, essentially, the only insurance Nakamoto would effectively have over the disclosure of their identity would be to leave their wealth untouched.

    For Nakamoto – so long as he, she, or they are alive – the game’s objective could be quite simple; wait for as long as need be for Bitcoin to become an accepted means of exchange or unit of account, and then reign as the anonymous holder of the largest bag of money in the proverbial room.

    That is, however, if purchase histories, investments, or other factors do not reveal Nakamoto’s identity before then. And while no-one has been able to conclusively crack the riddle of just who Nakamoto is, new developments in the future may provide that investigation with new impetus.

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    An identity worth more than money

    Nakamoto’s influence isn’t necessarily restricted to his immense wealth in fiat currency. As the holder of the largest Bitcoin portfolio in existence, whoever is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto holds not only the reasons behind Bitcoin’s creation, but further the most (potentially) significant sway over its development.

    Until today, Nakamoto has reigned as somewhat of a silent guardian over Bitcoin; a force that effectively could bring the digital currency to a crashing halt by initiating a coin dump on a scale that cryptocurrency investors have never seen before. And while that move has never been seen as prudent or necessary, growing pains continue to ache as Bitcoin establishes itself in the mind of institutions and market players as the new gold.

    That’s especially noteworthy given some of the trials Bitcoin has experienced this year; December 10th and 18th will mark an important occasion as large institutional players begin to offer Futures contracts, and the digital currency’s ability to scale continues to divide its community.

    Bitcoin Cash (or BCash, depending which side of the spectrum you’re on) continues to haunt the Bitcoin community; as the number of investors and trading increases, so does the need for the Bitcoin network to scale; and debates have erupted on more than one front this year.

    While Bitcoin Cash remains somewhat of a fringe threat in the wake of Bitcoin’s massive surge across the $14k barrier, the premise behind the coin offers a worrying dose of reality as Bitcoin continues to make further strides into mainstream markets. While community consensus paves the way forward (or apart), for how long can Bitcoin remain explicitly aligned with Nakamoto’s vision?

    The only arbiter of that fact may well be Nakamoto themselves, who essentially not only holds the keys to the kingdom, but further the fuse of a time bomb. Though the future remains in motion, this may one day be a new drama the Bitcoin community is forced to navigate through.

    Read: Survey shows US investors will stand by Bitcoin until $196,000

    Have your say!

    What are your thoughts? Could Satoshi Nakamoto become the world’s richest person and remain effectively anonymous? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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