Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik says he worked on the original cryptocurrency in those early days with creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
In a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg, the 44-year-old adds that he has handed out BTC worth over $100 million to see the project succeed, something that he does not regret.
Bitcoin trailblazer gave out $100 million in bounties
Jeff Garzik’s journey with Bitcoin began in July 2010 when he read a blog post about the first ever cryptocurrency. He became a prolific contributor of software code for the cryptocurrency, at the time Bitcoins third in the rank behind Nakamoto and Gavin Andresen.
Garzik has said that his work within Bitcoin fills him with joy and he’s proud of it. However, he believed that the top crypto has not turned into what he and other pioneers hoped it would, ten years after its launch.
The pioneer was so committed to seeing Bitcoin progress that he apparently gave out a total of 15,678 Bitcoins as bounty to help encourage developer activity on the blockchain. In today’s rates, that giveaway amounts to about $100 million.
Bitcoin (BTC) prices have tumbled for much of 2018 since hitting its all-time high peak at $20k last year. At $6,500 against the dollar, those who jumped onto the wagon in 2018 will be amazed at previous celebrations for price upticks.
Garzik recalled one time in 2011 when the bitcoin community in his locality celebrated in honor of the crypto’s price hitting $1. At the time, what bothered the pioneers was whether Bitcoin as a new concept “would survive at all,” although he says that “there’s no question of that today.”
The optimism in the early days, which was also Nakamoto’s desire for the coin, was that Bitcoin would evolve into the world’s money. That appears not to be anywhere near happening, with Bitcoin’s use in commerce and as a payment currency dwindling.
However, Garzik believes that it won’t hurt the coin’s prospects when looked at as a store of value. He envisions it as an “organism,” and “something that evolves.”
He added that:
“It hasn’t evolved in the direction of high-volume payments, which is something we thought about in the very early days: getting merchants to accept Bitcoins. But on the store-of-value side, it’s unquestionably a success.”
Garzik stopped coding for Bitcoin in 2016 and co-founded Bloq, where pioneer Gavin Andresen serves as a member of the advisory board.
The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto solved?
Garzik worked with Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, albeit via online correspondence in the form of email and on the BitcoinTalk forum only. However, having taken note of a few things, Garzik says that he can guess who Satoshi is.
Nakamoto vanished from the Bitcoin scene in 2011 and is said to control nearly 1 million Bitcoin. Many have theorized who that could be, but Garzik says he believes it must be the late Dave Kleiman.
According to him, Kleiman should be the enigmatic Nakamoto because the latter’s writing “matches his coding style.”
He added that Floridian Kleiman was “self-taught,” and concludes his theory by saying that:
“The Bitcoin coder was someone who was very, very smart, but not a classically trained software engineer.”
Kleiman died in 2013 after suffering an infection following a motorcycle accident. In 2016, Australian Craig Wright allegedly claimed that he was indeed the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright, who maintains that he is the bitcoin inventor, is facing a lawsuit filed by Kleiman’s estate. According to the suit, Craig Wright has seized intellectual property and at least 550,000 Bitcoins worth billions from the late Kleiman and now his estate.