An interesting timeline… Mike Hearn ?
In this article I make some analysis about the plausibility of Mike Hearn being Unwriter by comparing if the timelines match. There is also another kind of analysis at the end that I had kept for myself in my previous article. I am sure you will find it very interesting.
What if I don’t care about who unwriter is ?
That’s fine ! This article will be a good opportunity to learn more about bitcoin's early history and especially about Mike Hearn, one of the most prolific early bitcoin developers that had close interactions with Satoshi.
The unwriter theory is just for the fun I get from trying to decipher something. You see, I came to bitcoin quite late (2017), more than a year after Mike Hearn had left, so writing this article was a good way for me to learn more about him, and you will probably learn something too.
If you don’t know who Mike Hearn is, this is a good starting point (short version below):
- former software engineer at Google
- came to bitcoin in 2009
- had direct email exchanges with Satoshi
- was a Bitcoin developer for 5 years
- original author of Bitcoinj - a Bitcoin client library in Java
- created Lighthouse, a bitcoin-powered crowdfunding application that never launched
Let's start from the assumption that Mike Hearn is Unwriter and merge what we have about their timelines. Will we get some conflicts ?
In 2016 Mike Hearn left bitcoin with this article:
Jan 14 2016 - Mike Hearn "the resolution of the bitcoin experiment"
From the wikipedia article we also learn :
Amid his exit, Hearn announced to the Bitcoin community that he had sold all of his Bitcoins. He noted that experiments or projects like Bitcoin could fail and told his followers that it isn’t an intelligent decision to invest in “what you can’t afford to lose.” “I have sold all my coins”
Fun fact : Mike Hearn selling all his coins caused a 20% drop in the price of BTC ! but it quickly recovered after that.
April 5 2018 - Mike Hearn AMA on reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/btc/comments/89z483/ama_ask_mike_anything/
"You can see a trend here - I was always interested in developing peer to peer decentralised applications that used Bitcoin."
I don't plan on returning to Bitcoin but if you'd like to know what sort of things I'd have been researching or doing, ask about these things.
April 21 2018 - creation of unwriter's github account
May 01 2018 - creation of _unwriter's twitter account
His first tweet is very cryptic:
This is probably an hexadecimal hash of some message he may reveal in the future? what do you think ?
July 11 2018 - unwriter website planaria.network registered in Panama
Nov 27 2018 - unwriter "the resolution of the bitcoincash experiment", A must-read
Let me remind you that Mike Hearn had left BTC with an article titled “the resolution of the bitcoin experiment". If unwriter is not Mike Hearn, it seems like he wanted to leave us with this false hint. Or was just deeply inspired by Mike Hearn...
If you look at the timeline, what I find interesting here is that you see Mike Hearn saying that he does not want to come back to bitcoin in April 2018, and Unwriter appears in the Bitcoin society a few weeks later. I have not been able to find any post from Mike Hearn after April 2018 where he says he does not work on bitcoin or plan on returning. It looks like Mike Hearn has been silent about Bitcoin since Unwriter appeared more than a year ago?
Another type of analysis
There is one bit of information I had not shared in my previous “unwriter theory” article (which ended up being wrong, so don’t put too much value on my theories, but there is still a lot to learn about bitcoin's early history!).
That bit of information is an analysis I had done on _unwriter posting patterns on twitter. Here it is:
Mike Hearn‘s Linkedin indicates he lives in Switzerland.
Switzerland is UTC+2, the above chart is UTC+0.
After some digging I found the chart of switzerland’s total aggregated internet traffic for an average day:
These two charts don’t start at the same time. I am not exactly sure if the second chart is in UTC+0 or UTC+2, but the difference being only 2 hours should not be too problematic.
If we edit the first chart to have the same X axis as the second one, and put the two one above each other we get this:
I would call that a match wouldn’t you ? ;)
And now ?
I want to leave you with this talk by Mike Hearn. As you listen to him keep in mind this was back in 2012: "The future of Bitcoin: new applications and rebuilding the banking system" at the London Bitcoin Conference.
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