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New Research Claims Satoshi Mined Far Fewer Bitcoins Than Previously Thought

This method and its findings were enough to convince most of Lerner’s naysayers; as a result, many assumed that Satoshi netted roughly 1,000,000 bitcoin as a reward for his solitary mining in the early days of his creation.BitMEX Rethinks Lerner’s MethodThis week, BitMEX Research revisited Lerner’s research, although it arrived at a different conclusion.BitMEX Research does agree with Lerner’s findings to a point, and they have no problems with his method. But they also argue that his findings only support his argument up to August 2009.“After August 2009, the pattern breaks down to some extent. The gradient of the slopes varies considerably (from 1.1 nonces per block to 10 nonces per block),” BitMEX Research explains. “At the same time, the height of the slopes is inconsistent and there are many large gaps between them. Therefore, although the image still looks compelling, the evidence that the miner is one entity is somewhat weak, in our view.”The research finally concludes that “the number of blocks allocated to the dominant miner is grossly overestimated.” The authors continue to write that “[even] if the slopes are similar, this could be because different entities had a similar setup. Each miner is not independent, in the sense that they are likely to be running the same software or could be using the same popular hardware, which could produce the same pattern.”A more likely figure for how many bitcoins Satoshi mined, the report reads, is likely between 600,000 and 700,000.It’s important to note that the biggest assumption in this case is that Satoshi is the dominant miner in the network’s early days. There’s no hard evidence to confirm this hypothesis, something BitMEX acknowledges in its report.The Implications of This EvidenceIn the Bitcointalk Forum detailing Lerner’s original evidence, some community members argue that the mining rewards reaped by the first miner (be that person Satoshi or otherwise) is unethical. In effect, these critics say, these rewards act like a pre-mine of sorts. With no one else on the network, Satoshi would have been able to mine without competition and, as a result, he accumulated a treasure trove of bitcoin.Whether this critique is valid or not, the new evidence BitMEX presents may partly mitigate these concerns. Though these same critics may find little solace in the notion that Satoshi or the first miner may only own 30-40 percent fewer coins than originally evidenced, it appears as though, at least from August 2009 on, Satoshi wasn’t the only miner on the network. BitMEX calls into question just how many blocks Satoshi mined, meaning that the first year’s block rewards may not have been so centrally allocated as originally assumed. Under this argument, the network was more active in its nascency thanks to a handful of early adopters, so Satoshi couldn’t have monopolized it as some critics claim.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.