A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team – Featured Bitcoin News

When Bitcoin first launched, the community was extremely small and it slowly grew during the first two years until the project’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, left the community for good. During the early years encompassing the world of cryptocurrencies, a number of anonymous individuals like Sunny King, Artforz, Rat4, and Cobra followed Satoshi’s method of keeping themselves unknown to the general public. Nicolas van Saberhagen is the person who created the Privacy-centric Cryptonote protocol. This pseudonym was used by the creator of untraceable transaction tech that led to the features found in blockchain networks Bytecoin and Monero.

Crypto’s Anonymous Personalities and the Mysterious Nicolas van Saberhagen

A number of people in the cryptocurrency community have been anonymous over the last 13-years. Anonymity is still used to create crypto projects. People creating decentralized financial (defi), and non-fungible tokens (NFT), collections continue doing so anonymously.

In the early days, after Satoshi Nakamoto left, crypto project anonymity and “ninja launches” were commonplace within the nascent digital currency environment. Artforz was an anonymous person that launched the first GPU-based mining farm.

Artforz launched Tenebrix, a cryptocurrency asset. The Tenebrix digital currency was dubbed a “CPU-friendly, GPU-hostile cryptocurrency” and Tenebrix gave birth to Scrypt as a proof-of-work (PoW) function and the crypto networks Fairbrix and Litecoin (LTC).

Sunny King (Peercoin) was also an anonymous member of the crypto community. He is the founder of PoS (proof-of-stake), and the inventor of Peercoin. Peercoin differs from other PoS networks in that PPC is a mix of PoW/PoS. King went missing for a time and an unknown creator returned to start a new project, Vee.tech. However, this never happened.

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team

Then there’s the mysterious Nicolas van Saberhagen, the anonymous creator of the Cryptonote whitepaper. Original publication was December 12, 2012. A second edition was published October 17, 2013.

Saberhagen’s Cryptonote technology was leveraged by the blockchain network Bytecoin (BCN), a crypto asset that was created from scratch, instead of being a fork of Bitcoin. The network also has a strange background, as bitcoinwiki.org says the BCN project is “not a fork of Bitcoin in any way. Its history is completely covered in the mist: countless puzzles, unknown developers’ names, and secret messages.”

Bytecoin, Satoshi’s So-Called ‘Second Project’ and the 7-Member Cryptonote Team

Like Bytecoin, the blockchain network Monero (XMR) is also fashioned from Saberhagen’s Cryptonote technology. Not much is known about the character Saberhagen, but some have theorized that the inventor may have crafted Bytecoin (BCN) and that BCN could possibly have been “Satoshi’s second project.”

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team
Users claim Bytecoin was Satoshi Nakamoto’s second project.

One theory is that Saberhagen was the one who created Bitcoin. Saberhagen and Saberhagen were both unknown individuals, but they both developed groundbreaking cryptographic schemes. Saberhagen, who is now part of the Stanford Blockchain Club, may also have been implicated in the Cryptonote project.

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team

A member of Stanford Bitcoin Group, however, denied any involvement with Cryptonote cryptocurrency, white papers, or tech. The Stanford Bitcoin Group was also denied any involvement in Cryptonote technology. Furthermore, besides Saberhagen, the Cryptonote technology itself was also reportedly built by a team of individuals known as Johannes Meier, Maurice Planck, Max Jameson, Brandon Hawking, Catherine Erwin, Albert Werner, and Marec Plíškov.

The article on bitcoinbarbie.com featured interviews with all seven members of the team, who use famous scientist names. The seven-member Cryptonote team doesn’t mention Saberhagen’s role at all, and they further stressed that they had no intentions of creating a cryptocurrency. The Cryptonote team remarked that before Bytecoin, there was another project called “Betanote.”

Additionally, Cryptonote technology was used by the other blockchain networks Bytecoin and Monero (XMR), Ducknote and Fantomcoin respectively. XMR, currently the biggest privacy coin, is long forgotten. Besides publishing the Cryptonote white paper, Saberhagen wasn’t heard from again until an alleged talk at the P2P Financial Systems event in 2015.

Saberhagen Allegedly Speaks in 2015, Bitcointalk.org Forum Member ‘Bytecoin’ Introduces BCN in 2010

Saberhagen had been scheduled to deliver a speech, but instead he called through Skype via a voice changer. According to some, Saberhagen was not understood by anyone and no copy of his talk is known. A bounty was also offered to Saberhagen for the talk four years back.

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team
A photograph of the 2015 P2P Financial Systems conference. Nicolas van Saberhagen spoke to the crowd via Skype using a voice changer. The discussion cannot be found online.

On April 1, 2020, monerooutreach.org published an April Fool’s Day article that claims “new evidence suggests Bitcoin founder Satoshi also created Monero.” While there’s no proof that Saberhagen and Nakamoto are the same, both creators’ inventions have created a myriad of forks. At least two dozen BCN-clones have been created since the release of Bytecoin, an open-source cryptocurrency chain that was built entirely from scratch.

While people have tried to tie Saberhagen’s persona to Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity, some have said that Saberhagen was also the original creator of Bytecoin (BCN). It has been said that Saberhagen actually called himself “Bytecoin” on bitcointalk.org as early as July 17, 2010.

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team
Since the inception of Bytecoin (BCN) and Cryptonote tech, there’s been roughly two dozen BCN forks and Monero (XMR) is the largest privacy crypto asset in terms of market cap. Bytecoin, and its clones, are not forks from Bitcoin (BTC).

Additionally, the name registered on bitcointalk.org is tied to the email “bytecoin@gmx.com,” and gmx.com was the email domain used by Satoshi when the inventor utilized the “satoshin@gmx.com” email. Even though BCN launched on America’s Independence Day (July 4) 2012, the bitcointalk.org forum member Bytecoin had been publishing posts about the subject since 2010. For instance, two years before the BCN launch, bitcointalk.org forum member Bytecoin wrote about “balance sheets” that can be forgotten.

In August 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto discussed how people can obtain blockchain privacy via “key blinding” and “group signatures.” The discussion stemmed from a conversation where users complained that Bitcoin’s “entire history of transactions is completely public.” Five days after Satoshi’s discussion, Bytecoin wrote another post about “hiding the recipient and amount until the money is spent.”

Later, the anonymous user called Bytecoin wrote about how a “wallet handling code should be a separate process.” The following year in 2011, the bitcointalk.org forum member said “untraceable transactions which can contain a secure message are inevitable.” Months later, Bytecoin wrote about “protecting privacy without generating and distributing new addresses” and all of Bytecoin’s writings and ideas proposed pre-dated the original Bytecoin (BCN) network launch in 2012.

Bytecoin’s Alleged 82% Premine and Saberhagen’s Pre-Dated Digital Signatures

Since the allegations that Bytecoin developers premined large quantities of BCN, Bytecoin is a controversial cryptocurrency. Questions arose about Saberhagen’s digital signatures in the two Cryptonote white papers and whether or not they were altered at a later date. According to Cryptonote whitepapers, version 1 was created in October 2014.

A Look at One of Crypto’s Greatest Mysteries — Bytecoin’s Alleged Premine and the Puzzling Nicolas Van Saberhagen, and Cryptonote Team
Some people believe Saberhagen’s digital signatures were back-dated and that the Cryptonote white paper was really created on October 4, 2014.

Bitcointalk.org forum member “rethink-your-strategy” claimed Bytecoin was an 82% premine, which would make it one of the largest premined coins in history, if the accusations are true. The forum member “rethink-your-strategy” added that while the creators “developed amazing technology [that] had a pretty decent implementation,” the creators were “greedy,” “scam artists,” and “Botnet creators.”

There’s a whole lot of mystery tied to Nicolas van Saberhagen, the Cryptonote team, and the creators of Bytecoin (BCN). It is not known why the Cryptonote team decided to publish Cryptonote technology and become anons. This led to the creation of many different cryptocurrency assets. Some think anonymity allows law enforcement personnel to target criminals using the technology.

Saberhagen, along with the Cryptonote Team were part of a long line of crypto community members who decided to be anons and make a secret release. In these cases, there’s never an identity to place blame on when something goes wrong within the community or network. There’s also no one to congratulate either, as secrecy and complete anonymity are top priority and essentially the name of the game.

This story contains tags
Albert Werner, Anonymous creators, Anonymous People, artforz, bcn, bitcoinbarbie.com, Bitcointalk.org, Boolberry (BBR), Brandon Hawking, Bytecoin, Bytecoin (BCN), Catherine Erwin, Cryptonote Team, Cryptonote whitepaper, Ducknote (duck), Fantomcoin (FCN), Featured Story, Johannes Meier, largest privacy coin, Marec Plíškov, Maurice Planck, Max Jameson, Monero, Monero (XMR), Monero Origins, monerooutreach.org, Nicolas van Saberhagen, peercoin, Quazarcoin (QCN), Saberhagen, Satoshi, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satoshi’s second project, Sunny King, tenebrix, XMR Origins

What do you think about the mystery behind the Bytecoin project’s premine, the Cryptonote white paper author Nicolas van Saberhagen, or the Cryptonote team? Please comment below to let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman, a Florida-based financial journalist and news lead at Bitcoin.com News is Jamie Redman. Redman is an active participant in the cryptocurrency community from 2011. Redman is passionate about Bitcoin and open-source codes. Redman has contributed more than 6000 articles to Bitcoin.com News since September 2015. These articles are about disruptive protocols that are emerging.

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