Throughout 2021, a great number of mysterious whale movements from miners who mined bitcoins in the early days have occurred. This week, 1,000 bitcoin from 2010 were transferred, and the miner has spent 11,000 bitcoin since last year. Old school whale movements like these have made some people assume that decade-old coinbase spends could stem from Satoshi Nakamoto. However, even though estimates say Nakamoto mined over a million bitcoin, many other network participants mined millions of coins as well.
2010 Saw CPU and GPU Mining, Alongside Extremely Low Hashrate and Difficulty
On June 9, 2021, an early miner sent 1,000 bitcoin (BTC) stemming from 20 block rewards from 2010 to a myriad of different addresses. Bitcoin.com News has caught this whale six times so far in 2021, spending 6,000 decade-old bitcoin. Further, our newsdesk caught the previous five strings before 2021, when 5,000 decade-old coins were spent in 2020. Ever since we published our investigations it has been assumed by some that the whale might be Bitcoin’s inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
This chart from theholyroger.com shows data in real-time for unspent blocks mined between 2009 and 2011. The yellow dots represent spent blocks between 2009 and 2011. This chart shows the June 9th string of 20 blocks from 2010 spent at Bitcoin (BTC
) block height 686,865.
It is unlikely that the mystery whale is Nakamoto, and even though the inventor mined a million bitcoin, many others were mining alongside the creator’s efforts. Nakamoto likely mined bitcoin in 2010 but a great number of other miners also processed block rewards during Bitcoin’s second year. 3.39 million BTC was mined in 2010 and at this point in time, an individual could still leverage a central processing unit (CPU) to mine bitcoin up until mid-2010. This means a basic computer with a decent CPU could find block rewards out of the 67,920 blocks solved in 2010.
Time periods from when the Bitcoin network miners transitioned from CPU to GPU to FPGA and finally to ASIC.
In between that time and the latter months of 2010, graphics processing units (GPUs) were utilized to mine bitcoins up until the first quarter of 2011. Between the CPU and GPU period, a lot more people could mine bitcoin alongside the creator, who left the community in December 2010.
We also know that Bitcoin’s network mining difficulty was very low during the second year of Bitcoin’s life. Analysts can estimate the total hashrate by calculating specific fields found in coinbase rewards. Essentially, this data includes version, prevblockhash, merkleroot, the timestamp, difficulty target, and nonce.
The 3.3 million BTC acquired in 2010 were mined under a network mining difficulty of around 1.18 to 14,484. For comparison, today’s mining difficulty is much larger at 21.05 trillion or a difficulty increase of 145,317,112,385% since 2010.
This data indicates that during the first two years the Bitcoin network operated, the difficulty to mine bitcoin was extremely low. The hashrate was very low too at this time, which means a lot more hashpower is used to mine BTC in 2021 than was needed a decade ago.
Data shows that in March 2010, the hashrate was around 43 million hashes per second or a grand total of 43.5 megahash per second (MH/s). For comparison, today’s top bitcoin mining rig does around 100 terahash per second (TH/s), which is 100 trillion times higher than the entire hashrate in the spring of 2010. If there were a few hundred people or upwards of a few thousand people mining bitcoin in 2010, the hashrate was only 0.0000436 TH/s. By August 30, 2010, the overall network hashrate jumped to 0.01 TH/s. For five months better solutions toward finding bitcoin and more participants dedicating hashrate to the network caused this swell.