Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2.5Mb of Wikileaks Cables Embedded in the Bitcoin Blockchain

John Robb, a writer at Resilient Communities, just tweeted that a large amount of Wikileaks cable data has been embedded in the blockchain.

There are indeed methods for embedded text in the blockchain, the most famous being Satoshi Nakamoto's entry in the first block, "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks." 

Some worry that child pornography could be stored in the blockchain, thus implicating anyone who downloads it, though the illegality of that is rather questionable.

14 comments:

  1. This didn't "just happen"... this has been in the blockchain for a while now, and it's been known about for a while now.

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  2. I didn't know about it, and I think it's a fantastic use of the technology. Thanks for sharing the information!

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  3. In 2011, Dan Kaminsky embedded a memorial for Len Sassaman in the Bitcoin blockchain. The video of it is on Youtube somewhere ("kaminsky black hat bitcoin" is a good set of search terms to start with).

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  4. isn't that kind of what "namecoin" is for? at least, one of its uses...

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  5. because it can be done doesn't necessary mean it's a good idea... personally I find this silly and counter productive...

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  6. I think this is a horrendous idea. Let them use something like namecoin rather than stuffing more information into the blockchain.

    In my opinion, the size of the blockchain is the single biggest obstacle from the widespread adoption of bitcoin. As of right now, according to my computer, the blockchain is roughly 8.2 GB. I read an article in one of my business magazines that the bitcoin economy right now is a $1 billion dollar annual economy. Out of curiosity, I looked up the size of the United States economy for comparison. According to tradingeconomies.com, it's $15,094 billion dollar economy.

    The odds of bitcoin ever being the size of the US economy are pretty slim, but if it did, the blockchain would then be 123,770.8 GB, extrapolating from the current size. That is roughly 121 terabytes, which would make it extremely difficult for anyone to use bitcoin on anything other than a hosted wallet such as Coinbase.

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    1. How did you do your math for extrapolating?

      I suspect it would be bigger. The block chain can only grow. I think the overall size would really depend on how long it took us to get to that point, and would really be best measured in block chain growth per year rather than overall size.

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    2. Zell, it was simple math - I made a few assumptions that simplified the math greatly. That assumption is that I can just extrapolate the blockchain based on the size of the current Bitcoin economy, and that it's only being used for storing bitcoin transactions. Obviously, based on this entry, the second assumption is false, so the extrapolated number isn't really 100% accurate, there's really no way to know in advance though, so it's the best I can do.

      So based on those assumptions, I multiplied the current blockchain size (8.2) by the US Economy size ($15094 billion) to come up with the extrapolated blockchain size. Since the bitcoin economy is about $1 billion now, I just treated the blockchain as the entire bitcoin economy and multiplied one by the other to come up with the number I posted earlier.

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    3. The blockchain size is proportional to the total number of completed transactions, which has very little to do with the size of the bitcoin economy which is determined mostly by the value of a BTC.

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    4. By the time Bitcoin would ever overtake the US economy, I imagine 121 TB won't be too much. Anyway, one feature of Bitcoin is to compress the blockchain at some point. It would also be much larger. Bitcoin has no concept of how much it is worth.

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  7. please take a look --> http://www.dubli.com/T0EUAUUU

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  8. So how do you embed text in the blockchain ? Quite fancy leaving a message in there myself :D

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  9. The blockchain can be shortened and pruned. It is in the satoshi whitepaper. Read it.

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  10. I want to embed my novel, Intervene, in the block chain, but I am a novelist, not a nerd, so desperately hoping some one out there hears my call. More here: http://www.guylane.com

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