Bitcoin’s mainnet, as everybody knows, stores the transactions permanently. However, Bitcoin’s mainnet can also be used to store other kind of data. In fact, when the genesis or the very first block was mined, the Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, left a text message.
The immutable and distributed nature of Bitcoin’s blockchain may land miners into problems in the future due to some nefarious individuals.
A team of German researchers have found illegal content within Bitcoin’s mainnet. In addition to child pornography links, researchers have also found at least one nude image in the Bitcoin’s blockchain. For a miner to run a full Bitcoin node, the entire blockchain has to be downloaded. Only then transactions on the network can be validated. This means, even the objectionable content has to be downloaded for a node to function.
A team of researchers from the RWTH Aachen University in Germany analyzed roughly 1,600 files which exist on the Bitcoin’s mainnet. While most of the content is “harmless,” there is at least one file that contains “nude image of a young woman” and “hudreds of links to child pornography.”
“As a result, it could become illegal (or even already is today) to possess the blockchain, which is required to participate in Bitcoin. Hence, objectionable content can jeopardize the currently popular multi-billion dollar blockchain systems.”
The researchers have also found several other content, such as data that violates copyright, sensitive content, old malware, and private data, which can land a miner in trouble.Since a single block or a group of blocks cannot be removed from Bitcoin’s blockchain, there is no solution to the problem as of now. Keeping this in mind, in 2015, Interpol warned that Bitcoin’s blockchain could be used for storing inappropriate content.