Bitcoin founder remains an enigma

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Bitcoin is currently one of the valuable and popular virtual currencies on the market, with numerous exchange houses springing up literally overnight. 

So it's definitely safe to say that the Bitcoin virtual currency economy is booming, weighing in at an impressive $1 billion. However, despite being worth such a huge amount, the identity of its founder remains anonymous.

The Verge notes that the founder's is Satoshi Nakamoto, who initially communicated via e-mail and forums before completely disappearing. Reports indicate that no one has ever actually met the founder of the virtual currency. 

Unsurprisingly, a number of publications have attempted to determine who exactly Nakamoto is, albeit with little success.

"People analyze Satoshi's written words, trying to divine if he speaks native British English, American English, or learned the language as a second language," said Jeff Garzik, a developer who works on the Bitcoin Project and emailed with Nakamoto in the early days. "They analyze his posting dates, trying to guess his local time zone. It's all part of the fun."

However, a new tidbit surfaced a couple weeks ago, which may help shed a little bit more light on the developer of the virtual coin. Perhaps the reason Nakamoto launched the virtual currency in the first place was to mine some of the loot for himself in hopes of a real world cash in. One of the strangest things about this virtual currency is that it's designed to mimic gold - allowing anyone to mine for Bitcoins by running the Bitcoin client.

Nakamoto is believed to be sitting on a massive hoard of the virtual currency worth as much as $100 million at today's prices. This information was gleaned from the public ledger created as bitcoins are generated and exchanged. This information is that the founder of the virtual currency has spent only a tiny amount of his entire fortune. Meaning, an estimated 500 Bitcoins over the years, believed to be only .0005 percent of his fortune.

"[The] latest detective work is technically sound," Gavin Andresen, the Bitcoin developer who took over for Nakamoto, said in an email. "It sure looks like one person (or group of cooperating people) mined about a million bitcoins in 2009, and the most likely suspect is Satoshi."