Hidden Messages in Bitcoin Blockchain
What does Bitcoin tell us? Since the Genesis block was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, people left messages from financial crisis warnings to marriage proposals and graffiti. BTCMEX explored on-chain communication.
The first-ever, or Genesis Bitcoin block, mined by Satoshi Nakamoto on January 3, 2009, contained a message that referred to his intention of creating an alternative form of money midst of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, while the British government was poised to bailout the banks. Nakamoto’s embedded message – the headline published on the Times front-page the same day say:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.Satoshi Nakamoto
Messages like these can be included in the coinbase (not to be confused with the exchange) of a mined Bitcoin block. The coinbase is a technical input that allows miners to claim block rewards. But it also contains space for arbitrary data – like embedded messages. Bitcoin script is visible for anyone and allows us to send messages that can’t be deleted.
Cryptography – the art of writing and solving codes – frequently serves the purpose of transmitting secret information or sending anonymous messages. Cryptographically minded people have left all kinds of information using the new chain since 2009, including memes, marriage proposals and digital graffiti. Bitcoin miners have also used the communication ability to signal support for protocol changes such as the acceptance of Segwit.
Some of the notable messages sent on Bitcoin blockchain include marriage proposals, memes and famous “CableGate” confidential United States documents leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010. WikiLeaks – well known blockchain supporters – once tried to communicate with the public over Bitcoin addresses. Answering the far-right website 8chan’s fake news post, WikiLeaks took advantage of their Bitcoin wallet to transmit a message:
We’re fine. 8chan post fake.WikiLeaks
The cypherpunks’ war against security agencies that violate privacy evolved in the group of hackers – The Shadow Brokers – pranking NSA with the rickroll meme. BTC hackers spelled the lyrics of Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley, success billboards of the 80s that became a popular meme and viral Internet joke. At the same time, Shadow Brokers gained access to some of the powerful tools and NSA protocols, showing that they were a step beyond security agencies and governments.
1downAsBbRQcBfUj8rgQomqhRsNFf1jMoThe Shadow Brokers
Messages that are encoded in the blockchain don’t stand out by default – the human eye isn’t programmed to decode hexadecimal – but a number of tools helps to discover them on the ledger.
A Florida-based design agency has created an interactive art installation – Messages from the Mines – for decoding blockchain messages and bringing them to life. Messages from the Mines focus on “cryptic poems, art, a creative misuse of the Bitcoin transaction protocol, a form of digital graffiti – cultural artifacts forever embedded in one of the most contemporary digital technologies.”
The recent famous message appeared on Bitcoin block 629,999 – the last one before the third halving. The block was mined by @f2pool_official and delivered a message:
NYTimes 09/Apr/2020 With $2.3T Injection, Fed’s Plan Far Exceeds 2008 Rescue.@f2pool_official
The message refers to the US Federal Reserve’s decision to print trillions of dollars in response to the coronavirus driven financial crisis. From now on, Bitcoin miners will receive 6.25 BTC as a block reward which was cut 50% on May 11, 2020. Bitcoin protocol guarantees the inflationary rate of the digital currency and ensures that it can’t be printed out of thin air.