Some things are best left a mystery – at least as far as Coinbase is concerned.
The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange has been preparing to go public since last year. A prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday identified a number of issues that could affect their business. One of these risk factors in particular is the future identification of Satoshi Nakamoto.
For the unconscious, Satoshi is the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. Satoshi, whose true identity has never been confirmed, published a white paper in 2008 entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer E-Cash System” and is said to contain the private keys for around 1.1 million Bitcoin. Various efforts have been made over the years to discover Satoshi’s true identity, but as far as anyone can tell, they have all fallen short.
Coinbase hopes it stays that way.
In the risk section of its prospectus, Coinbase explains that its business is tied to the Bitcoin market itself (the exchange earned much of its net revenue from Bitcoin and Ethereum transaction fees in 2020) and that Satoshi’s hidden identity is tied to the health of that market.
“”[In] In addition to the factors affecting the broader crypto-economy described in this section, our business may be adversely affected if the Bitcoin and Ethereum markets deteriorate or if their prices fall, also due to the following factors, “the prospectus states Factors happening to be “the identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or people who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s bitcoins[.]””
Other risk factors listed appear to be more intuitive and include hacks, hard forks, or future technological developments that destroy Bitcoin’s cryptography.
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Coinbase, which insists in the prospectus that it has no headquarters as a “remote-first company”, is currently valued at around $ 100 billion prior to its direct listing. At the time of this writing, Satoshi’s alleged 1.1 million bitcoins are worth around $ 51.6 billion.