Researchers in Germany made a startling discovery when they analyzed 1,600 files in the technology required to access bitcoin and found 99 percent of the files are texts and images. Some of those images include child pornography and other illegal material.
Blockchain is the technology that lies beneath the surface of bitcoin and makes cryptocurrencies possible. The technology exists as a sort of public ledger encrypted with all the transactions ever made in cryptocurrency as well as a record of who owns which coins and how much.
It prevents things such as coins being copied and acts like a central computer system at a bank that stores all the information about your account balances and transactions. Blockchain is designed to be secure and locked so it can't be altered. This latest discovery out of Germany shows how users can leave "non-financial data" embedded in the technology.
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Researchers at RWTH Aachen University and Goethe University said, "For example, the depiction of nudity of a young woman or hundreds of links to child pornography" could be stored in Blockchain. Since blockchain is the underlying technology behind bitcoin, any bitcoin users must keep a copy on their device locally.
Also, since the blockchain cannot be altered, users cannot remove the "non-financial data." The implication is that everyone who uses Blockchain is in possession of child pornography and other illicit materials. The researchers also said, "As a result, it could become illegal [or even already is today] to possess the blockchain, which is required to participate in bitcoin."
"Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as child pornography can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users."
To be exact, the researchers found blockchain contains at least eight files with sexual content, five with "mildly pornographic content" and three with content "objectionable for almost all jurisdictions."
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"Two of them are backups of link lists to child pornography, containing 274 links to websites, 142 of which refer to Tor hidden services," the researchers said. The German researchers also predict the sexually explicit content found in Blockchain could affect users in "at least 112 countries in which possessing content such as child pornography is illegal."
The researcher's findings went on to say, "This especially endangers the multi-billion-dollar markets powering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin." The study's conclusion stated there is "a wide range of objectionable content that can cause direct harm if possessed by users."
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/be0990b4d7d64c8ba150e3470c164c7aa74903106e56595722f286391de75179.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
Blockchain has become widely used across the globe in recent years and has even been explored by organizations such as UNICEF, The United Nations Children's Fund.
The sexually explicit material isn't the only potential risk for users. Some religious content may also provide issues for Australian bitcoin users if religious content is found in Blockchain. "Certain symbols, prayers, or sacred texts can be objectionable in extremely religious countries that forbid other religions and under oppressive regimes that forbid religion in general," the researchers said.
"As an example, possession of items associated with an objected religion, eg, Bibles in Islamist countries, or blasphemy have proven risky and were sometimes even punished by death." The study did not mention whether any religious material was found but rather theorized about the potential risk associated with it in some countries.
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