Hidden messages in the blockchain – how does it work?

It is known that the blockchain is the core of Bitcoin and that all transactions are broken down there as a public ledger. That these also contain hidden messages is also known. But how do you track down such articles? How can you write such messages yourself?

That the Blockchain can do more than money is well known to crypto trader

As reported more than a year ago there is already a hidden message in the Genesis Block. Let’s try to decipher this crypto trader message with the help of this review by onlinebetrug. To do this we proceed as follows: First we go back to the beginning of everything on the Blockchain. A bit further down, under “Coinbase”, you will find a longer string in hex format. It starts with 04ff… .

In the end, we can already see here what this code means. But for those who prefer to find out for themselves, the work is almost done. The only thing left now is to convert this hex code into ASCII format. This can be done with different tools on the internet (e.g. the one here), Mac/Unix users can also use the bash:
echo 04FFFF001D0104455468652054696D65732030332F4A616E2F32303039204368616E63656C6C6F72206F6E206272696E6B206F66207365636F6E64206261696722062616E6B73 | xxd -r -pd -r -pp
And so we receive the legendary hidden message from Satoshi Nakamoto.
In the blockchain you can find different hidden messages in this and similar ways. If you don’t want to search yourself, you can find these messages on different pages. There are prayers, tributes to David Bowie, quotes from the Cthulu myth…

Writing Messages

That’s all very well, but how do we get messages on the blockchain? A relatively simple way is through a transaction. You can do it through web services or, what we are doing here now, you can do it yourself:

You think up a string with 20 characters.
We convert this string into hex format. With the help of bash we can do this quickly:
echo A 20-character text.| xxd -p
If you – like me – use bash, you have to ignore the last byte (0x0a) – in German you can ignore the last two characters.
Finally, we have to convert this hex string into an address. An easy way is the blockchain website:
https://blockchain.info/q/hashtoaddress/hex-string
Now we have a potential Bitcoin address that contains a short encrypted message. If we now transfer some money to it, this (not yet existing) address becomes part of the blockchain.
As proof of principle I did this once. The result is under the transaction 3cbc1bf3b917a1003860512ca7de864a5c0e2ae65de96ae9ba9e2286e644ce57
to find. The inclined reader can now decode the message. The inclined reader can now decode the message.
There is still one thing to say: Since it has been – fortunately! – there is still no possibility to generate a Private Key from Public Keys the money is now lost. So you should only send a little money.

I have shown the simplest examples in this article. Much more complex data has been stored in the blockchain (Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper, pictures, source code…). If you are interested in such things, I refer you to a classic blog post on this topic. I hope, however, that I could arouse a basic interest in these exotic applications of the blockchain. So if you want to proclaim eternal love to your loved ones, you don’t have to resort to the expensive and actually only metastable form of charcoal anymore, but can deposit your promise decentrally!

The 10 greatest myths about crypto currencies

In the series “The 10 biggest myths about crypto currencies” we would like to take a closer look at the 10 most common claims concerning crypto currencies and their chances and risks. We will knöpfen ourselves daily a new myth and examine this for correctness.

With Bitcoin secret predominantly criminal business is operated

Our first myth is the widespread belief that Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are primarily used to perform and disguise crooked transactions. There are two types of criminal activity that can be distinguished when using Bitcoin secret:

Firstly, it is said that the Bitcoin is used to conduct shady business with it. Pornography, terrorism or the international drug trade, the list of illegal activities is long. In this context, crypto currencies are supposed to be a popular means of payment for buying and selling prohibited goods, especially because of their anonymity.

On the other hand, crypto currencies are to be misused as a means of illegal financial transactions. Especially for money laundering activities, tax fraud and the blurring of financial market profits, the storage of money values in crypto should serve.

But how bad is it really about crypto abuse?

It cannot be denied that in the past Bitcoin and other crypto currencies were used to trade illegal goods. Crypto currencies have also been used for money laundering activities or the like. However, the mere fact that these cases have been known and solved reveals that it cannot be so easy to use digital currencies for criminal purposes.

A Bitcoin transaction may seem protected and anonymous at first glance, but a transaction stored in the blockchain can be tracked and traced forever. Therefore, it is wrong to speak of anonymity at Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a pseudonym and authorities as well as other players have often proved that they are able to locate the person behind the Bitcoin transaction. Transaction patterns, interfaces to stock exchanges and traces left behind on other platforms make Bitcoin appear only supposedly anonymous. The situation is different with “largely” anonymous crypto currencies such as Monero or ZCash, which make identification much more difficult, but not impossible.

Consequently, crypto currencies are only conditionally better suited for criminal business than fiat currencies are.

Moreover, there are no reliable statistics that crypto currencies do indeed have a higher frequency of illegal transactions than, for example, the euro or the US dollar. Accordingly, this myth can tend to be put into perspective: There are cases of abuse for criminal transactions, but these are neither an exclusive phenomenon of crypto currencies, nor are they the dominant use of digital currencies.

Bitcoin is no longer just the currency of the darknet. The increasing mainstream adaptation is further reducing the connotation of illegal transactions. The best example of this change of heart are the big newspapers. While a year ago practically every article on Bitcoin traded about the use of Bitcoin in Darknet, there are currently fewer and fewer articles of this kind. Rather, the focus is now “all of a sudden” on price potential.

US government: Blockchain as trump card for the future

The U.S. government underscores its firm commitment to the government’s use of blockchain and cryptography technology to set the sails for the future, as high-ranking White House government officials confirmed at Data Transparency 2017 last Tuesday. The conference has set itself the goal of researching and communicating forms of open government and promoting them vis-à-vis the US government. The officials underlined the essential importance of technology for the future of US politics, public administration and the population.

Last Tuesday’s Open Data Summit was attended by none other than Margie Graves, senior official in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the American Cabinet Office for Administration and the Budget, and Trump consultant Chris Liddell, who came directly from the White House to the Renaissance Hotel in Washington Downtown.

The presence and presentations of the officials will be crucial. For the OMB, which is headed by Mick Mulvaney, co-founder of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, the blockchain working group in the US Congress, is directly jointly responsible for shaping presidential executive policy – Trump’s vision for the future of the USA.

Don’t let it depend on you

So it came as little surprise that Margie Graves represented the American government at the conference as a strong advocate of blockchain technology.

“With the Blockchain, the White House is exploring a wide range of forward-looking opportunities that the government can take advantage of,” Graves said. In her presentation, she emphasized the need to continue researching technologies in order not to be left behind by the state of the art.

She was open to including blockchain and cryptography solutions in the update of the Open Government National Plan, which is expected by the end of the year. In this context, she already emphasized concrete fields of application of the technology: “In the future, blockchain solutions could play decisive roles not only in the context of cyber security, but also in combating fraud or food waste. Together with Blockchain luminary Don Tapscott, Graves wants to identify further possibilities for public application next week.

Chris Liddell, government consultant and White House strategy director, on the other hand, was less specific in his presentation: he advocated standardized data solutions. This is the only way to ensure that technology solutions such as block chains or artificial intelligence can be successfully adapted in the future. Liddell appealed that the government should not obstruct tomorrow’s future with today’s reforms. Together with Trump’s chief economist Gary Cohn, the New Zealander belongs to the Office of American Innovation, the department in the White House dedicated to the public potential of forward-looking technologies.

With a determined stance

The fact that the US government is so well known reflects the great enthusiasm of the Trump administration for blockchain and distributed ledger solutions and speaks no less for the technology itself. Not only the intercession of the Chief Economist of Vice President Mike Pence, Mark Calabria, but also several official Blockchain pilot projects of the US government testify to this. Government institutions such as the American Disease Prevention Center and the General Service Administration are already experimenting with blockchain solutions.

In addition, these projects are supported by extroverted financing. Only this week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave the Blockchain start-up Digital Bazaar a substantial financial injection of around three-quarters of a million dollars. Digital Bazaar and other smaller blockchain companies have already received grants from the US Business Innovation Program (SBIR) several times in the past. The funds will now be used to help companies develop suitable blockchains for various government applications.