Every time someone interacts with one of the first Bitcoin transactions there is speculation that Satoshi Nakamoto may have returned to public life.
However, all attempts to prove that the Bitcoin creator moved funds or signed some past transaction with an old private key have failed.
A new attempt to make the community believe that Nakamoto returned involves the private key of the first Bitcoin transaction, where Hal Finney received 10 BTC from Nakamoto himself.
In the first Bitcoin transaction, a cryptographic signature was used to add a message. There it is stated that Paul Le Roux is Satoshi Nakamoto. Martin Shkreli’s blog made this fact known and started a debate about it, because only owners of private keys can sign transactions related to the ownership of that secret key.
For context, it is worth noting that Paul Le Roux is a programmer and prisoner who confessed his involvement in arms trafficking to Iran, the sale of pills to North Korea and the murder of several people. He is currently an informant for the DEA, thus avoiding several murder charges.
Le Roux has been linked to Satoshi Nakamoto in the past. His arrest in 2012 temporarily coincides with a message attributed to Nakamoto in the original Bitcoin repository. However, that alleged message was not necessarily written by the Bitcoin creator. In fact, the last message attributed to Nakamoto dates back to 2010.
Beyond this evidence, the Bitcoin developer and Bitcoin community began to question the claim that Le Roux is Satoshi Nakamoto, based on the signature of that first Bitcoin transaction.
Who signed the first Bitcoin transaction after Hal Finney’s death?
The first thing to say is that Satoshi Nakamoto could not have used Hal Finney’s private key (if we accept that they are not the same person, another hypothesis that is handled).
The private key is a secret key that allows to receive bitcoin (BTC) and spend it. In this case, it is a secret information that the recipient of that first transaction had. Not the one who sent it.
Then we have the argument of Gregory Maxwell, developer of Bitcoin: “That kind of signature did not exist until after Hal was out of service, so presumably it was created by someone who obtained Hal’s private keys after his death.”
In 2017, the private key that received the first Bitcoin transaction at that address was last used. Hal Finney, the first person to run a Bitcoin node after Satoshi Nakamoto, passed away in 2014.
Matt Corallo, another Bitcoin developer, agrees, “Bitcoin signature messages didn’t exist at the time. Whether sold or not, the message was clearly signed by someone after Hal’s passing (or at a point where he could no longer use a computer directly).”
It is impossible to determine who could have signed the transaction with a private key that once belonged to Hal Finney. However, we can see that whoever did it was not even able to spell Paul Le Roux’s name right.
In any case, it is difficult to prove whether Hal Finney’s family, which according to the programmer was perfectly instructed on how to use Bitcoin, sold or was the victim of a theft of those private keys.