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US$ 2.2 billion in Bitcoin ‚thrown away‘: The lessons of Martti Malmi, one of history’s greatest BTC developers

Martti Malmi would have been a billionaire if he had kept his 55,000 BTC, but perhaps his journey – and Bitcoin’s – would also have been different if he had chosen to follow in the crypto community.

The Finnish Martti Malmi is one of the most important Bitcoin (BTC) developers in the world. He made the headlines at the end of last year by telling how he practically „threw away“ about 55,000 Bitcoins and could be one of the biggest billionaire whales in the world today.

12 years ago, Hal Finney announced the first Bitcoin knot

On December 18, Malmi wrote:

I would be a *billionaire* now if I hadn’t sold too soon the 55,000 Bitcoins that I mined from my laptop in 2009-2010 (mainly before 2012). This is regrettable, but again, with the first bitcoiners, we set in motion something greater than personal gain.
– Martti Malmi (@marttimalmi) December 18, 2020

At the time, Malmi disposed of 55,000 BTC for an average of $5. Today, the currencies would be worth no less than $2.2 billion
E-mail for Satoshi and Bitcoin development

In April 2009, Martti Malmi learned about a small Internet project dedicated to developing the first blockchain and the first cryptomeda: it was Bitcoin. He sent an e-mail to Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of the project:

I would like to help with Bitcoin if there is something I can do.

As one of the developers of the project, Malmi helped Satoshi Nakamoto to introduce version 0.2 of Bitcoin, with the most important changes since the beginning of its development.

He also helped to improve the first better versions of Bitcoin software, making him one of the first Bitcoin miners to be publicly recognized. It was during this period, between 2009 and 2011, that he extracted more than 50 thousand Bitcoins using his laptop.

In his first transaction, on October 12, 2009, he sold 5,050 BTC for a total of US$ 5.02. It was the first transaction in history between Bitcoin and a fiduciary currency, opening doors for the development of thousands of Bitcoin exchanges, the first of them with Malmi’s contribution, being bitcoinexchange.com.

Obviously, the time distance is almost irrelevant in this case, since Bitcoin would not become what it is today if it were not for Malmi, but in current values this transaction would be worth: US$ 183,890,065.

12 years ago Satoshi Nakamoto gave life to Bitcoin when mining the Genesis Block

In 2011, when Bitcoin reached $30, Malmi sold 10,000 BTC and managed to buy a studio apartment near Helsinki, Poland:

In 2011, when the exchange rate peaked at $15-$30, I sold over 10,000 BTC to buy a reasonably comfortable apartment near Helsinki. Great achievement for a 22-year-old who never had much money. Probably the most expensive studio in the world now, but at least I bought more than 2 pizzas. pic.twitter.com/AQupV94ev0
– Martti Malmi (@marttimalmi) December 18, 2020

Despite the excitement of the early years, Malmi distanced himself from the community – as did Satoshi – until he left Bitcoin for good in 2012. He explains:

„I thought the atmosphere was getting less inspiring and exciting than in the early days, when the potential of Bitcoin had not yet been developed. On the other hand, by that time, Bitcoin already had many trained programmers who would keep it running“.

Malmi was getting rid of his coins, but he did not abandon the principles that led him to the Bitcoin project. In 2013, he launched a project called Identifi, a decentralized system for digital identities. Later, he contributed to the creation of Iris, a decentralized communication system, with end-to-end cryptography and multi-platform capacity, among other works involving cryptography, disruptive technologies and – especially – decentralization.

One of the first Bitcoin developers lost US$1.3 billion for selling too early

Lessons from an ex-Bitcoiner

Although he left the crypto community, he never lost sight of Bitcoin, considering cryptomoeda „the most convenient way to pay online“.

In 2012, Malmi needed money and had to settle all his Bitcoins at only $5 per coin. In one of the tweets, he says he „was happy with the small winnings he made“ and shared some lessons from his journey, highlighted by Entrepeneur’s Handbook portal.

The first is that values are always changing. Dollars and Bitcoins are currencies that represent a certain value. Malmi’s „bad luck“ may be revealing to us that the values of the digital world (BTC) are beginning to surpass the values of the material world (USD).

The second is that money is always important, that more is always less, and that having money gives you political power – less dependence on others, more influence on others.