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Bitcoin wallet stuck catching up meaning
Bitcoin's blockchain can be loaded with sensitive, unlawful or malicious data, raising potential legal problems in most of the world, according to boffins based in Germany. The researchers suggest Bitcoin's blockchain can also be loaded with malware, something Interpol warned about three years ago but has not yet been documented in the wild.
The Bitcoin blockchain is a distributed ledger or database that contains linked records of all Bitcoin transactions. These records or blocks hold batches of hashed transactions and are linked to preceding blocks by a cryptographic signature. The blocks also allow for additional data, and therein lies the issue. In an email to The Register , Roman Matzutt, a researcher with RWTH Aachen University and one of the co-authors of the paper, said the problem exists with other blockchains that allow content to be inserted, such as Litecoin and Ethereum.
The paper identifies several mechanisms for adding arbitrary data to the Bitcoin blockchain. Augmenting transactions in this way allows for additional arguably useful Bitcoin-related services, such as digital notarization and digital rights management.
But it also adds the possibility of abuse. At present, few Bitcoin blockchain transactions contain extra data — only 1. Nonetheless, the presence of even a small amount illegal or objectionable content could pose problems for participants.
The researchers acknowledge that there haven't yet been definitive court rulings on this specific issue but insist "However, considering legal texts we anticipate a high potential for illegal blockchain content to jeopardize blockchain-based system such as Bitcoin in the future," they state.
CryptoGraffiti anticipates the risk posed by objectionable content in policy statement for those who attempting to post data to the Bitcoin blockchain: In case of abuse we may report your IP address to the police. That's not necessarily much of a deterrent. While adding something like "Remember Tiananmen Square" or a picture of the Dalai Lama to the blockchain wouldn't be an issue in the US, it could cause Chinese authorities to take steps to prevent that content from being redistributed through Bitcoin nodes in China.
Adrian Colyer, a partner with VC firm Accel in London who wrote a blog post about the paper, suggests the ability to add arbitrary data to Bitcoin's blockchain could be used as a pretense for governments to harass political foes operating Bitcoin nodes. Matzutt confirmed that an individual could "poison" the blockchain by inserting a politically contentious image. Matzutt echoed Harding's sentiments. He pointed to an upcoming paper , to be presented in April, that deals with the issue.
Matzutt argues that until countermeasures such as fees are formalized, the Bitcoin community could deploy a quick fix such as rejecting "suspicious" transactions. The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing.
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