The CEO of the peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful has suggested burning the 980,000 BTC originally mined by the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Ray Youssef’s idea was immediately met with hostility from many big names in the cryptocurrency space.
Youssef proposed the Satoshi Bitcoin burn via a (seemingly deleted) tweet. The rationale behind it appears to be that the threat of losing all the coins may force the real Bitcoin visionary to out themselves.
Paxful CEO’s Bold Claim
Youssef’s proposal is a response to the recent “MyReveal” fiasco in which a new Nakamoto claimant emerged. The supposed self-outing of the Bitcoin creator has been met with heavy skepticism with almost all agreeing that Bilal Khalid is not the brains behind Bitcoin. Since the “MyReveal” posts concluded with a proposal for a new cryptocurrency, the whole thing has been largely dismissed as an elaborate PR stunt.
In the “MyReveal” post, Khalid writes that he lost a hard drive containing the private keys to the wallet storing the almost million BTC. The accident supposedly caused immense anguish to him and he says his mental health suffered greatly.
This is not about fame, power, or riches. #MyReveal is about my original vision for blockchain and the freedom and liberations of the common man.
— Satoshi Nakamoto (@SatoshiNRH) August 18, 2019
Youssef clearly doesn’t believe Khalid’s story and has proposed a radical method to get real Nakamoto to come forward. If it didn’t succeed, the burning of Satoshi’s coins would at least provide some “closure.”
The idea was immediately shot down by the many prominent names in the cryptocurrency industry. Some argued that such a suggestion would entirely invalidate Bitcoin’s core value proposition – immutability. One respondent wrote that it would set a “horrible precedent” and another argued that being forced to declare publicly that you still want to keep your wealth is not what Bitcoin is about:
The beauty of Bitcoin is you can be in a coma for 20 years and your coins would still be safe. Having to publicly advocate that your wealth no be destroyed within a certain window of time is a really bad take.
— 𝕄𝕚𝕜𝕖 ₿𝕦𝕝𝕝 ₿𝕦𝕝𝕝 ₿𝕦𝕝𝕝 (@mikeinspace) August 20, 2019
Meanwhile, others questioned the ethics of Youssef’s proposal. Another respondent called it “a totalitarian and egoistic idea.”
How Would A Bitcoin Coin Burn Even Work?
Providing technical insights into the logistics of such a coin burn was Bitcoin Core developer @LukeDashjr. He stated it would require more support than opposition across the network to activate such a fork. He then went on to question the moral implications of the idea. After stating that ethically speaking Satoshi himself would need to consent to the burn, he wrote:
“Is absence of objection consent? Well, that’s an assumption we’ve had for literally every other protocol change…”
Although such a coin burn would certainly make Bitcoin even more scarce than it already is, it is encouraging to see big names from the industry taking a stand against potential short-term profits in favor of preserving Bitcoin’s hard monetary policy. Such a coin burn would cast Bitcoin in a very bad light, particularly if at some future date a legitimate Satoshi Nakamoto claimant comes forward.
An effort to coerce Nakamoto to out themselves also seriously disrespects the person or people behind the initial idea that has the potential to do such good for the world. If the entity behind Bitcoin wants to remain hidden, we should continue to respect their wishes.
What do you think about Youssef’s suggestion to burn Satoshi’s coins? We’d love to read your opinions in the comments below.
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