Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Coinbase public filing tips hat to unknown bitcoin creator who is risk to $100B company

Coinbase noted that 'the identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or persons who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins' were risk factors


                            Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Coinbase public filing tips hat to unknown bitcoin creator who is risk to $100B company
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong appears on stage at the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt Europe/London, at The Old Billingsgate on October 21, 2014, in London, England (Getty Images)
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Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase has symbolically sent a copy of its public filing to the mysterious creator of bitcoin. In addition to its lawyers and other parties involved in helping with the listing, the digital trading platform listed the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" as one of the recipients of the public filing -- a respectful hat tip to bitcoin's creator. 

While Coinbase does trade in other digital currencies, like ethereum, litecoin, and tezos, bitcoin has been the single most important contributor to the company's success as it dominates the cryptocurrency world. Ahead of its direct listing, Coinbase was valued above $100 billion. Other companies, including electric carmaker Tesla, have also invested in bitcoin.

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Who is Satoshi Nakamoto

For those not familiar with bitcoin lore, the Nakamoto pseudonym was used by a yet-to-be-identified individual or group of people who developed bitcoin. The name gained attention in 2009 after the name appeared on a white paper, outlining the principles of a cryptographically secured and decentralized peer-to-peer digital payment system.

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. (Getty Images)

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Soon after Coinbase made the documents public, the 'tribute' was widely noticed. Jeremy "Spike" Cohen, a libertarian political activist, wrote: "[email protected] just filed to go public on @Nasdaq. On their SEC filing form, they listed themselves as a remote company with no physical address, and listed Satoshi Nakamoto as an official recipient. Absolutely incredible what's happening right now. #Bitcoin", while another tweet said: "The cover of the S-1 registration statement for Coinbase Global, Inc., filed this morning with the SEC, contains the following in the place usually reserved for counsel for the underwriter: Satoshi Nakamoto 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa". Another user commented: "NICE hat tip to Satoshi, @coinbase" 

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Bitcoin's success rests on Nakamoto's anonymity

However, the entity known as Satoshi Nakamoto has implications for the future of the company as well after it goes public. Namely, his ability to keeping his identity private because if he is identified the entire crypto market could be destabilized, since other factors would come into play, for instance, geopolitics depending on the nationality of the bitcoin creator that is now a neutral cryptocurrency, which is not beholden to any country, institutions or individuals. If Nakamoto was unmasked, it would also place bitcoin under a single entity, which could discourage traders that bought into the currency for its decentralization.

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The company's public filing also referenced Nakamoto's personal stash of bitcoins, which totals over 1 million. As of February, one bitcoin was worth about $50,000. Nakamoto could negatively affect Coinbase, the company said, and destabilize the entire crypto market if the creator decided to sell his bitcoins, which are valued at over $30 billion.

A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin alongside US Dollars on December 07, 2017 in London, England. The crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstream adoption. (Getty Images)

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Bitcoin's creator was the first entity to ever mine for bitcoins. Therefore, Nakamoto's stake in the digital currency accounts for nearly 5% of the entire bitcoin market, as there are only 21 million bitcoins that can be mined. 

Twitter users following the news commented on this "risk" factor mentioned in the company's prospectus. "Coinbase saying that the identification of Satoshi is a risk factor for their stock is definitely a first!" said one tweet, while another said: "Per its prospectus, Coinbase noted that 'the identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or persons who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins' as a risk factor."

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Speculation has raged over the years about Nakamoto's identity. 'Suspects' have been varied and wide-ranging. Names like the Bitcoin developer Nick Szabo, the entrepreneur Craig Wright, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have been put forward as potential creators of the currency.

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