The network has lost one of its most controversial and polarizing figures, just as Satoshi Nakamato (the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamato) sparked a thrilling search for the identity of the person(s) behind Bitcoin.
Mircea Popescu, a Romanian national who was a noted Bitcoin maximalist and promised to dump more than one million bitcoins if the block sizes were adjusted, drowned off Costa Rica’s coast on June 23rd. His death has not been confirmed, although outlets initially reported that he had drowned as a Polish national.
Popescu is a mysterious figure in the community. Apart from his blogging on Trilema and support for security-focused open source projects, little else is known about him. He also dedicates himself to maintaining the integrity of the Bitcoin network despite requests for larger block sizes.
He began blogging about cryptocurrency in the early years and then founded Mpex, a bitcoin exchange, in 2012. This exchange was later investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Eric Voorhees listed Satoshi DICE on Mpex, a Romanian-based gambling site that accepted bitcoin only.
After the offering was rejected by regulators, the SEC began to investigate the listing. Voorhees was eventually fined and ordered to purchase back the shares that had been listed. Popescu became famous for his trolling of the SEC and posted his correspondence with enforcement personnel on his Trilema blog. Popescu’s eccentricity was evident as he began to unravel the SEC requests and expose the flaws in their arguments about Mpex client activities.
Popescu’s dedication to open-source software is well-known, despite the fact that little is known about his professional and personal life. Popescu donated $20,000 to the 2014 non-profit foundation that runs Open BSD, an open-source operating system that has been around since 1990s. Mpex used the technology to its platform, despite the OS’s security-centric approach and Popescu’s leanings.
Popescu was mired in controversy for many years. He left behind many sayings and quotes that painted a negative picture of himself. His promise to dump one million bitcoins on the market if Bitcoin block sizes were changed (which reportedly happened in 2016), was the most serious of his antics. This earned him the nickname’Father Of Bitcoin Toxicity. Segwit2x was eventually abandoned. This initiative, which aimed to double the block size from 1MB to 2MB, cemented the network’s use of the 1MB size.
Although it has never been confirmed, it was believed that Popescu did have control over the vast sum of bitcoin. This would make him the most likely bitcoin millionaire (owners of more than one billion coins). This was not confirmed. There were concerns about his death though that 1,000,000 bitcoins might be on the market, which could cause prices to drop.
The situation is still a mystery, despite the fact that there has been no formal confirmation of his death.