Only 20% of Bitcoin’s left to be mined

Part of the appeal of Bitcoin is its finite nature and the fact that there will only ever be 21 million of them. This notion has undoubtedly fueled its meteoric price rise of over 1700% in 2017 from around $800 this time last year to over $14,000 at the end of the year. Traders and speculators wanted a slice of the action in what has been the hottest market since the dot com boom in the nineties.

When the first Bitcoin was mined in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto there was a long path ahead but it is unlikely that whoever he is envisioned the explosive growth and almost rampant demand there would be for the digital asset in the latter half of 2017. As of January 13 80% of the crypto currency has now been created leaving only a fifth of the entire supply to be mined.

When the circulating supply ticker hit 16,800,000 less than 20% of all the Bitcoin’s ever created remained. The supply cap is hardcoded into the software and cannot be changed, only 4.2 million Bitcoins are left to come which could have a large influence on the demand and price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

Some speculate that the code can be broken but many believe that Nakamoto cracked one of the hardest computational equations known to computer science; the Byzantine General’s Problem. By using a proof-of-work protocol attacking the network becomes costly and time consuming and mining the block increases in complexity with every new one that is added.

At the moment 12.5 Bitcoin’s are awarded to miners for every block added, and as written in the protocol the reward is halved every four years so in two years’ time they will only get 6.25 BTC. It continues to half until it reaches zero in the year 2140 when all of the Bitcoin’s will have been mined. Mining hardware and technology will need to improve to continue the operation in a profitable way.

One concern is that a few whales are hoarding the majority of Bitcoins making market manipulation a very real possibility. According to reports as much as 40% of the total current supply of Bitcoin is owned by just a thousand people. By collaborating they could easily time sales and manipulate price volatility. Supply and demand are the key factors in markets and this one is more exposed to them than most.

Bitcoin is currently trading at $13,250 down over 30% from its record high of just under $20,000 this time last month. Its total market capacity is $230 billion at the time of writing.


Subscribe to our newsletter

With all eyes on Bitcoin as it broke through another price barrier during Asian trading this morning many forget about some of the altcoins that are also reaching new heights. The Bitcoin digital locomotive may be pulling many of these altcoins up with it as it trades above $12,000 and strives to go even further. The main reason being that the majority of altcoins can only be purchased with Bitcoin, and this serves as part of their limitations.

One such coin that this does not apply to has seen a similar surge in investment over the past week or so, Japanese crypto asset Monacoin. It is only fitting that Japan, being a world leader in technology, has its own cryptocurrency marketed in its own language. Enter Monacoin (MONA) which isn’t a new asset as such but was launched in January 2014 – a long time ago in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Emerging from a Litecoin fork two years ago Monacoin was invented by a ‘Mr. Watanabe’, another Japanese pseudonym just like Satoshi Nakamoto. It is well established and unlike a number of other altcoins with altruistic ambitions, it has remained just a cryptocurrency. The difference is that a token has some degree of utility within the service it is designed to fund, a cryptocurrency does not and there are a number of tax implications with the latter which is why most ICOs today are the former. Additionally, Bitcoin has not seen the uptake in Japan as it has in other countries so the need for their own version has been filled.

The recent interest in Monacoin has been fueled by Japan’s stance on cryptos in general. The government of Japan opened up new possibilities for cryptocurrencies when it accepted them as legally viable payment methods. Asian neighbors such as China and Vietnam have taken the opposite stance and attempted to block and stifle them. With over 125 million citizens and an emerging digital payment marketplace, Japan is seen as a new battleground for cryptocurrencies as businesses and institutions strive to accelerate adoption.

Monacoin has been a direct beneficiary of this and has seen an uptake in both investment and actual usage as a digital currency. Price has jumped three-fold in the last week alone from $5.5 on November 30 to around $15 today. Up until early October, Monacoin was valued at less than a dollar so it is clear this altcoin still has a lot of fuel left in its tanks. If mass adoption within Japan occurs and it becomes a government approved digital asset, the sky is the limit.

Remember that dude from 2013 who accidentally threw away his hard drive full of Bitcoin? Well, he’s back hitting headlines again as the recent surge in BTC price has encouraged him to restart his treasure hunt. He’s prepared to get his hands pretty dirty too… by digging up a landfill site.

James Howells from Newport, Wales was an early cryptocurrency miner. He started back in 2009 and had amassed some 7,500BTC by solving the complex equations used to secure the Bitcoin network. During a big cleanup of his home in 2013, the hard drive upon which he’d stored his private keys got mistakenly thrown out. The value of the cryptocurrency stored on it at the time was then several hundred thousand dollars. That was when Bitcoin was trading at around $130 a coin.

Today, with the price of Bitcoin being almost hundred times the 2013 figure, the hard drive is worth $85 million. It’s therefore hardly surprising that the Newport-based IT worker is keen to be reunited with his stash. He’s now considering having the landfill excavated. This, of course, is no small job. Howells explained to The Independent:

A modern landfill is a complex engineering project and digging one up brings up all sorts of environmental issues such as dangerous gasses and potential landfill fires… It’s a big, expensive and risky project.

Howells had stopped mining long before Bitcoin started to grab headlines in quite the way it did during late 2013. He’d sold most of the components of the computer he’d used on eBay but was savvy enough to make sure he kept the hard drive containing his private keys. Unfortunately, during a clear-out, he believes that this ended up being put in a general waste bin at a local landfill site. This will then have been emptied onto the tip and will since have been buried by many tons of junk. Howells blames “family life and moving house” for the mishap.

Whilst it’s certainly the largest case of lost Bitcoins known about today, Howells’ tale isn’t the only example of such a colossal mistake. A similar story comes from the editor of Gizmodo Australia, Campbell Simpson, who threw around 1,400 BTC away back in 2012. When he’d originally bought the Bitcoin, they’d only cost him $25 AUD. Today, buying such a quantity of the cryptocurrency would set you back almost $16 million.

However, the largest cache of lost Bitcoin might be those of their original creator themselves. Recent research from the blockchain data-crunchers at Chainalysis hints that the one million Bitcoin reserved for Satoshi Nakamoto will most likely never enter the wider market. It’s believed that these are spread out over many thousands of wallets and their owner has either lost the private keys, or has since been killed. If the person or people behind Bitcoin are still alive, they’re either the dictionary definition of the perfect “hodler”, or kicking themselves much harder than either Campbell Simpson or James Howells.

 

Image: PixaBay

The crypto-sphere has been awash recently with stories claiming that the creator of Bitcoin is none other than SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Nobody really knows the true identity of Bitcoin’s father other than the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto and its elusive connotations. Interest has surged in the cryptocurrency which is currently teetering on breaking the ten thousand dollar price level so people are wondering who founded it and how much of it do they hold.

No person or group has stepped forward with a genuine claim to be Nakamoto, though some have falsely tried. Founder of Nchain, Craig Wright, is one such fraudster that claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin at a Future of Bitcoin Conference. Core developers and BTC community members immediately rejected this claim.

Enter Sahil Gupta, a software engineering intern at SpaceX. In a recent Medium post he put forward some arguments for Elon Musk as being the founder, and some are quite convincing. Firstly the capability must be established, the 2008 Bitcoin Whitepaper was written by someone with an extensive understanding of cryptography and economics. Musk has a background in economics and has written production-level internet software for several platforms including Paypal.

The source code for Bitcoin was written by an expert in the C++ language. Again, Elon Musk is a high-level coder and insists that this language is used at his companies. Being a self-taught polymath Musk has been on the leading edge of innovation for at least a decade and has worked on the forefront of projects such as reusable rockets and Hyperloop.

As for motivation, there would have been no better seed for one than during the great recession of 2008. Developing a solution to the banking problem and the deep mistrust people had with them as millions lost investments to unscrupulous bankers would have been high on any philanthropically minded entrepreneur’s list.

Gupta went on to draw similarities with the original paper and the hallmarks of Musk’s reasoning and order of magnitude calculations. He then asked the question of anonymity, “Would Elon have stayed anonymous for 10 years? Probably, on principle.” Bitcoin was created as a peer-to-peer currency that did not need centralization or control by a financial institution or government.

Musk has publically stated that he does not own any Bitcoin but it was widely reported that Satoshi possessed a million of them. This could mean that the Satoshi stash has now gone or that we are still none the wiser about who created it. There were some comparisons to Benjamin Franklin with Musk identifying with the urgent problems that humanity faces such as renewable energy, interplanetary exploration, and artificial intelligence.

But his final argument was the best, would Elon choose a pseudonym that is an anagram for “So a man took a shit?” Of course.

According to the erstwhile American adventurer, William Henry Furness III, people of the Pacific Island of Yap had a highly evolved system of money and banking. Something which put to shame the scholastic theories of economic aficionados – Adam Smith, John Locke, etc.

Henry’s travelogue mentions that the Yapese already had a “decentralized peer-to-peer” credit clearing mechanism in place, which is actually what money is all about. Debts would generally be offset against each other, and any outstanding balance would be paid off in “fei”, the island’s native “currency”, which merely was a token, meant to acknowledge the transaction. Nothing more, nothing less.

Even its “physical” possession was not a necessity. It could be “limited in supply” and as well stay buried deep beneath the ocean, with its market value being used as a yardstick for ongoing trade and finance. And most importantly, there would be no involvement of a middleman institution in the entire financial ecosystem.

This ancient practice refutes all modern financial theories and associated applications, which primarily consists of centralized third-party intermediaries doing bookkeeping for the populace.  From what it looks, Satoshi Nakamoto had the exact thought in mind, when he propounded the idea for blockchain and the token, bitcoin. Although, he did polish the Yapese monetary ideology a bit, to eliminate trust and double spending.

According to his published whitepaper, Transactions must be publicly announced, and we need a system for participants to agree on a single history of the order in which they were received. The payee needs proof that at the time of each transaction, the majority of nodes agreed it was the first received.”

It’s incredible how bitcoin and blockchain got introduced to the world when it was needed the most. In the face, of the 2008 mortgage crisis which shook our faith in banks and title companies, Satoshi’s ingenious idea promised to redefine international finance by bringing back the age-old Yapese economic custom into mainstream praxis, with intelligent technological tweaks, of course.

In contrast to our idea of money and currency the primitive Yapese, well not so primitive after all, had a better understanding. To them, it was a system of credit and debit accounts and their subsequent clearing. A ‘social technology’ advanced in ideology, with currency just being a ‘token’ of acknowledgment of clearance.

This was taken into account by Mr. Nakamoto, when he extended the above, to devise the proof-of-work concept as a transparent method for miners to get rewarded with bitcoin upon clearance and “verification” of transactions through solving complex cryptographic puzzles on the blockchain.

It would enable people to go about transacting on the Bitcoin network in peace, with miners doing their diligence. And this is how the traditional banking and financial system could finally be eliminated out of the global economic equation.

To what extent will this egalitarian innovation of Satoshi will move the needle for trade and finance in the world is still to be seen. At least, it can be said that the bygone Yapese would be truly proud of the disruptor’s seminal contribution to the world.

The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of NewsBTC.

Craig Wright has almost become a cult figure in the world of Bitcoin. That is not necessarily for the right reasons, though. He continues to claim he is the one and only creator of Bitcoin known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Vitalik Buterin recently asked Wright to “stop being a fraud”. An interesting discussion that will certainly cause some debate among cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

No one knows for sure who the real Satoshi Nakamoto is these days. That is only normal, as this person or group purposefully hid their identity from the public. Over the years, there have been multiple allegations as to who may be behind this pseudonym. One of the more vocal individuals is Craig Wright. Despite his absurd claims, he never succeeded in confirming being Satoshi Nakamoto or not. In fact, he bailed out on providing evidence during a critical time.

Vitalik Buterin Is’t a fan of Craig Wright

All of this has certainly tarnished Wright’s reputation. Moreover, his company keeps filing Bitcoin-related patents, which causes additional friction. To top it all off, Craig Wright continues to claim he is the only Bitcoin creator. This is getting on a lot of people’s nerves, for obvious reasons. Even Vitalik Buterin is seemingly getting tired of these shenanigans. He even went as far as calling Wright a “fraud”, which is some rather harsh language.

While it is true Wright has no evidence to prove he is Satoshi, calling him a fraud may not be entirely correct either. It is true Craig has become a very controversial figure in the cryptocurrency world. Very few people believe anything he says these days, although there is still a loyal following. Riding the coattails of Bitcoin’s success is not something people would have expected from such a renowned individual. Then again, that is exactly what he has done for over two years now.

It is good to see Vitalik Buterin weigh in on this debacle. While a lot of people won’t necessarily agree with him, the words have some truth to them. Buterin states how Wright is a “net harm to the wider cryptocurrency community”. While that remains to be seen, there are certainly others who feel the same. Discussions like these are always interesting to keep an eye on.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

It looks like we have another interesting plot twist in the world of Bitcoin. A fake Twitter account claiming to be Craig Wright has been officially suspended by the social media company. Many people are confused about this, even though it isn’t his real account. It is unclear why the @realcraigwright handle is suspended from the platform, thought. The impersonation of a verified individual may have something to do with it.

Big was people’s surprise when the @realcragiwright Twitter account was suspended all of a sudden. To this day, many people believe the account belongs to Craig Wright. This man still claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, yet has failed to provide any evidence thus far. The Twitter account in question always tweets about Bitcoin as well, but it is not his real account. Instead, that account can be found here.

Curtain Call for Fake Craig Wright Twitter Account

It doesn’t happen often such fake accounts are suspended from Twitter it is unclear what lead to this decision in the first place. Given the vast amount of followers this fake account has, it is likely someone reported it. Impersonating  a known individual is never  a good idea. Even though some tweets are posted as a jest, uneducated individuals would certainly consider it to be the real Craig Wright.

Although many people remain unconvinced Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, creating a fake social media account is something else entirely. While no harmful comments were made by this account, Twitter needs to take strong action against such operations. It is unclear if the account will ever come back or not, though. Suspensions of such accounts can last days, if not weeks or months. In most cases, the problem can be solved by proving the user is who they claim to be, but that will be pretty difficult in this case.

All things considered, this suspension will not affect Bitcoin in any way. People who want to follow Craig Wright need to keep an eye on his official Twitter profile. It is possible the fake account will return in the future, though. Never take anything coming from that person seriously by any means. Rest assured this incident will cause a fair bit of confusion for the foreseeable future.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Most Bitcoin users know all too well who Craig Wright is. He still claims to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto, which is still untrue at this point. A company which used Wright’s research is now sold to a private equity firm. That is rather intriguing, although it is evident this company continues to ride Bitcoin’s coattails. Craig Wright is trying to get his share of the spotlight once again.

This particular business deal puts an interesting light on Craig Wright. Although he firmly believes he created Bitcoin, the rest of the world is not impressed by his evidence so far. It is evident Wright wants to remain a key part of Bitcoin moving forward. Whether or not he will succeed in that mission, remains to be seen. According to Wright, Bitcoin needs to be built into a global system with no king. Not the most shocking statement by any means.

Craig Wright Remains Persona Non-Grata

Craig Wright feels he can make Bitcoin scale to what it is supposed to be. That statement is rather significant, considering scaling has been a lingering issue for some time now. Now that nChain Holdings has been sold to a private equity firm, it is possible Wright may focus more on Bitcoin again. Interestingly enough, nChain Holdings is Wright’s company used to file hundreds of Bitcoin patents. Selling that off to a private equity firm seems a very dubious decision, to say the least.

This new business deal won’t do the reputation of Craig Wright any favors, though. Filing Bitcoin patents has made him a somewhat despised figure in the community. Additionally, failing to prove he is Satoshi Nakamoto tarnished his credibility. It is evident he has some good intentions regarding Bitcoin, but he struggles to make a mark. If he was the real Satoshi, he could easily use that name to address these issues. However, he wants to do so under his actual name. Something isn’t adding up in this regard, that much is evident.

The Bitcoin community is not too pleased with Craig Wright, for obvious reasons. Now that he tries to get the spotlight again, that situation won’t change anytime soon. For the time being, Craig Wright is still not Satoshi Nakamoto. It is highly doubtful he can ever prove otherwise. Even if he did, it won’t matter all that much to the overall Bitcoin community, though. The development of Bitcoin has been “outsourced” many years ago. If Wright wants to make a comeback, he should do so under Satoshi’s name. However, it is doubtful he can, since they are not the same person.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

The Australian computer scientist, Craig Wright who made it to the news last year after claiming to be the creator of Bitcoin, is on a patent filing spree. The self-proclaimed “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who failed to convince a segment of the cryptocurrency community has reportedly joined hands with Calvin Ayre, a Canadian entrepreneur to file for more than 70 patents in various segments including the cryptocurrency and blockchain segment.

A leading news platform, in a report, mentions that the combination of Wright’s brains and Ayre’s bank balance can turn into a formidable force in shaping the cryptocurrency industry. The report further connects the roots of Bitcoin to the gambling industry/applications. It states that the original Bitcoin code might have been developed keeping gambling applications in mind.

The article even informs about an independent review of an earlier version of Bitcoin code, which seems to have found few unimplemented functions that are applicable to poker. The findings don’t dispute the possibility of Craig Wright being the Satoshi Nakamoto or one of the developers involved in the early phase of development.

Reuters has quoted Craig Wright from an unpublished paper from 2015 where he has said,

“The bitcoin blockchain can be scaled up to replace all existing payment system networks to become the world’s single global economic infrastructure.”

Craig Wright is filing the blockchain patents, which might hold the key to the currency’s scalability issues. These patents are allegedly being filed through EITC Holdings, based out of Antigua. Incidentally, Antigua is the place where Calvin Ayre is currently residing and the company, EITC Holdings is said to be headed by some of Ayre’s close associates.

With Ayre’s interest in the gambling industry, the blockchain patents are expected to be utilized to create casino and gambling products in the near future. It is speculated that Craig Wright and his associates will be applying for at least 150 patents which can ultimately go up to 400.

However, none of the patents seem to be approved so far, and there are doubts about whether they will even be enforceable if granted. But it will still create a hindrance when it comes to innovation, provided the developers of any new project have to seek permissions and maybe even offer royalties to continue developing innovative applications of blockchain technology.

Ref: Reuters | Image: NewsBTC

Many different features make the Bitcoin ecosystem attractive to people all over the world. One of those “tools” is the alert system, which shows warnings and informational messages to all users. Unfortunately, this feature will be retired soon, allegedly over security concerns. One of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original developments will cease to exist, which is a shame.

The Bitcoin Alert system has been around for as long as the cryptocurrency exists. Showing alerts to all cryptocurrency users was quite a useful function. More importantly, this feature is available on mobile and desktop wallet solutions, making it a universal warning system. Most Bitcoin users will recall seeing messages of how their client is out of date. Additionally, users were also informed regarding phishing campaigns throughout the years.

The End of The Bitcoin Alert System Era

As is usually the case with initially developed features, the Alert system is not without flaws. Network-wide messages have to be signed with an Alert key, of which only one is in existence. It is equally impossible to change or revoke said key once it is issued to a particular user or developer. Throughout the years, many developers have held onto this key, rendering the concept a bit useless.

In fact, the security concerns mentioned earlier are the driving factor in ending the Alert system. Right now, the key is at risk of falling into the wrong hands. If that were to happen, malicious individuals could disrupt the entire Bitcoin network. Preventing the potential abuse of the number one priority, which results in retiring the alert system altogether.

But that doesn’t mean the Bitcoin network can’t be notified of important announcements. Most private wallet solutions have a built-in system that can be used for these purposes. Additionally, cryptocurrency news outlets, including NewsBTC, keep users up-to-date regarding all things Bitcoin. No significant news will go by unnoticed in the Bitcoin world; that much is certain.

For now, there is no exact data as to when the Bitcoin alert system will retire. Developers indicated they plan to do so in the coming weeks. Major private Bitcoin wallet developers have already removed Satoshi Nakamoto’s alert feature from their codebase to accommodate these changes.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock