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Congratulations to a “huge Ponzi scheme” from Bitcoin’s random co-creator

It is exactly 14 years since the launch of Bitcoin has passed and a great mystery remains unanswered: Why is the front page headline of a UK newspaper from Saturday 3rd January 2009 burned into the code of the first block of Bitcoin ever mined?

January 3rd has become Independence Day for those fearing centralization as Genesis blocks their digital Liberty Bell. Hiding a bank bailout reference in Bitcoin’s cornerstone was more than a timestamp or lorem ipsum, they argue; it was Satoshi Nakamoto’s way of telling the world that crypto means freedom. No more ruthless government intervention in monetary policy, no more debasement of fiat to save private companies etc.

Francis Elliott, former Times political editor who wrote the story, disagrees. Crypto is “nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme” and “an absolute scam,” he told FT Alphaville.

“I heard about my connection for the first time [to bitcoin] maybe six, seven, maybe eight years ago* when people started tagging me on twitter. They all thought it was super cute that I just found out,” he said, emphasizing the back half of the sentence by adopting a Californian accent.

Elliott said he has never bought crypto before. He also hasn’t considered turning his chance fame into a career as a crypto influencer. When prompted to do so, he also denied being Satoshi.

Despite this, Coinbros often found him online and offered him “bitcoins” which he deposited in a wallet specially created for the purpose. Those unsolicited donations totaled £1500 at the market’s peak, which is about the case when he cashed in after gifting his sons “about £10 each” in tokens.

Elliott offers no explanation as to why his slightly speculative story about UK bad bank proposals was embedded in crypto’s alpha block.

“It’s one of those stories that I was relieved to be right about,” he said. “It was an OK source, but . . . Well, it was a Christmas New Year’s story. I do not know why [Nakamoto] used this piece or who he is. Maybe he knew something we didn’t.”

Because of their place in crypto history, copies of The Times as of January 3, 2009 have held their value better than most cryptocurrencies. Previous edition websites and online auction houses do not show availability. The market for “Genesis Block Newspaper” quotes asking prices of up to $1.3 million and claims that “only eight verified copies exist”, which may sound wrong to anyone who has ever visited a UK library.

Did Elliott keep a commemorative copy?

“I got the front page framed, but I lost it,” he said.

* Pin a Twitter search to the exact date of discovery December 18, 2013.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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