The Bitcoin blockchain can store arbitrary data. Especially recently, with the ordinals inscriptions, I've seen claims that images up to 390 kB are stored on the chain. In light of this, I was wondering if the bitcoin whitepaper itself can be found somewhere on the chain?

Did Satoshi and his contemporary bitcoiners consider this – if not the full document, then at least it's hash, or a plain-text version of the document? Interestingly, the Bitcoin wiki entry from 2013 already recognizes the use case of putting messages on chain to prove document ownership:

Each bitcoin gives the holder the ability to embed a large number of short in-transaction messages in a globally distributed and timestamped permanent data store, namely the bitcoin blockchain. [..] This message embedding certainly has intrinsic value since it can be used to prove ownership of a document at a certain time, by including a one-way hash of that document in a transaction

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    The whitepaper was already embedded into the blockchain in mid-2013. Each node in the network has the capability to extract this whitepaper as a PDF document. Following post shows details how the document can be decoded from the blockchain: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/q/35959/87158
    – deyw
    Nov 13, 2023 at 10:39
  • @deyw great, thanks! I was expecting something like this early. I'm not sure if my question is a complete duplicate of that one, it seems mostly it is, but maybe someone can add some info on who did it, and their stated motivations?
    – kfx
    Nov 13, 2023 at 13:55
  • Since there's no substantially different new answers to this one, I'm accepting the duplicate suggestion.
    – kfx
    Nov 14, 2023 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


This command line extracts the bitcoin.pdf from the blockchain:

bitcoin-cli getblock 00000000000000ecbbff6bafb7efa2f7df05b227d5c73dca8f2635af32a2e949 0 | tail -c+92167 | for ((o=0;o<946;++o)) ; do read -rN420 x ; echo -n ${x::130}${x:132:130}${x:264:130} ; done | xxd -r -p | tail -c+9 | head -c184292 > bitcoin.pdf

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