THE pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin is now one of the world's richest people.
Based on their estimated holdings of the cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to be worth over $60billion (£44billion) today.
That would make them the 19th-wealthiest person alive, according to Forbes’ recently updated list of the world’s richest billionaires.
Bitcoin was the first decentralised currency – a digital currency created or "mined" using complex calculations carried out by computers.
It was created in 2009 by an unidentified coder known only as Satoshi Nakamoto.
They're believed to own about one million Bitcoin, which is roughly five per cent of the total supply that will ever be created.
As the currency's value has skyrocketed in recent months – hitting $63,950 (£46,452) at the time of writing – so too has Nakamoto's estimated wealth.
Their $62billion valuation would put them above billionaire businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg on Forbes' list.
Either side of Nakamoto's 19th-place spot would sit Walmart heirs Jim and Rob Walton.
No one knows who Nakamoto is, and there are rumours that the crypto king is in fact a team of people.
It's also unclear whether whoever used the pseudonym is still alive. For that reason, Nakamoto does not appear on Forbes' annual billionaire lists.
All that's known for sure about the elusive tech guru lies in the early Bitcoin wallets that are believed to belong to them.
They still hold 980,000 Bitcoins, untouched for over a decade.
Some see this as evidence that Nakamoto has passed away, while others believe they're simply waiting for the right time to cash in.
Assuming they're still alive, Nakamoto still has some way to go before beating Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person.
Bitcoin's value would need to jump to more than $180,000 (£130,000) in order for its creator to leapfrog Bezos' $177billion (£129billion) fortune.
That's not as farfetched as it might sound. The cryptocurrency's value has jumped 900 per cent in the past 12 months.
Recent surges came after after large firms like Tesla, Mastercard and BNY Mellon began to show support for the cryptocurrency.
The identity of Bitcoin's creator remains unconfirmed and the search to unmask them has a colourful history.
The now iconic 2009 white paper that unleashed the cryptocurrency upon the globe said the elusive Nakamoto lived in Japan and was born in 1975.
The world's media thought they had found their Satoshi Nakamoto in 2014.
Apparently, he was Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, a computer engineer living in Temple City in Los Angeles County.
The Japanese-American man firmly denied that he was the shadowy force behind the infamous cryptocurrency, and the plot thickened.
It soon emerged that computer scientist Hal Finney, who was the recipient of the first Bitcoin transaction, lived a "few blocks" from the seemingly-oblivious Nakamoto.
Forbes journalist Andy Greenberg attempted to interview Finney at his home – despite Finney battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
What is Bitcoin?
BITCOIN got you baffled? Here’s what you need to know:
- Bitcoin is a virtual currency
- It's traded between people without the help of a bank
- Every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, or "blockchain"
- Bitcoin is created by mining
- Mining involves solving difficult maths problems using computer processors
- Bitcoin can be traded anonymously, which can make it a popular way of funding illegal activities
- The value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly
- Bitcoin is one of many different cryptocurrencies, but by far the most popular
The terminal disease rendered the crypto-community enthusiast "locked" in his body and unable to speak or move his muscles.
Greenberg believes Finney, who appeared amused when the journalist asked if he knew Nakamoto, was either the ghostwriter for the Bitcoin creator or simply used his neighbour's name as a moniker.
But that's not all. Finney also knew “decentralised currency enthusiast” and scientist Nick Szabo who penned a paper on "bit gold" way back in 1998 and was said to be a fan of pseudonyms.
Szabo also confirmed in 2011 that only he, Finney or Wei Dai – creator of Bitcoin precursor B-Money – could have been responsible for the digital currency.
In 2013, financial author Dominic Frisby suggested that Szabo penned the 2008 white paper and even appeared on television discussing his claims.
But Szabo emailed Frisby, writing: “Thanks for letting me know. I'm afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I'm used to it.”
A number of people have since stepped forward to claim they're the real Nakamoto, including Australian computer scientist and businessman Craig Wright.
In other news, Bill Gates recently issued a stark warning to anyone thinking of dipping their toes into the murky world of Bitcoin.
Fears have been raised that Bitcoin "whales" could trigger a currency crash after it was revealed just 2,500 people control nearly half of the market.
And, a hacker has reportedly demanded a huge ransom after trapping the penises of people using internet-controlled chastity cages.
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