Crypto mining is a major part of the crypto industry, and for a lot of cryptos — it is a key function without which they would be unable to perform transactions. This is the case for every crypto that uses PoW consensus algorithm, with Bitcoin itself being the first among them.
In Bitcoin’s case, as its’ popularity grew, so did the number of miners, as well as the cost of mining, and the quality of the equipment. Once, anyone was able to mine coins with their PC. Today, only a few have that opportunity, which impacted the mining decentralization.
A single entity dominating Bitcoin mining
The issue of centralization has always been a big one in the crypto world, and new reports constantly revisit this problem. One such report came out only yesterday, published by RSK Labs’ Chief Scientist, Sergio Demian Lerner. Lerner explains the discovery that a single entity has, allegedly, mined over 22,000 blocks within the Bitcoin network. In total, that would mean that a single entity is now a proud owner of over 1 million BTC.
Lerner had another similar report that was published back in 2013, on April 17th. That was exactly six years before yesterday’s report. In the report from 2013, he focuses on the same issue, concluding that the coins were mined by a single miner — whether a person or a company — hat managed to mine over 1.8 million BTC. Lerner also found that around 1.1 million of those coins (63%) were never spent.
Fast forward six years into the future and Lerner’s new report confirms his claims from back in the day, and he even manages to provide additional evidence. His new study — The Return of the Deniers and the Revenge of Patoshi — starts by looking back and mentions the original report. Then, he focuses on the unknown miner (which he named ‘Patoshi’), as well as on various patterns that Lerner had discovered regarding this mysterious entity.
Patoshi’s mining pattern: blue
Other mining patterns: green
He also mentions difficulties he has had when it comes to convincing people about Patoshi’s existence and activities. While some did acknowledge it, they still seem unconvinced, arguing that it might all be a coincidence, synchronized mining, or maybe even the existence of an actual mining pool ever since the first coins were mined back in 2009.
Lerner continues by debunking these arguments and pointing out several problems that prevent them from being a possibility. For example, he claims that 99% of all Patoshi blocks are still unspent. Then, he claims that each of these blocks ‘links’ to the previous block in the pattern set, but not to any other block.
Next, he claims that the patterns are clear, although from time to time, they get interrupted with no warning. As for the mining pools, he argues that they were invented several years after these patterns were made and blocks mined. Besides, their sole purpose was to reduce the reward variance because of the low individual probability of solving a block. This only became an issue several years after 2009.
Lerner remains convinced that Patoshi is a real entity, and he even set up a website where people can go and analyze the block patterns themselves. Doing so will require a thorough understanding of the mining process, however. But, this raises another big question, and that is — is Patoshi actually Satoshi Nakamoto? The answer is unknown, but it certainly adds yet another mystery to the crypto space, which is already brimming with unanswered questions.