Writing my own blockchain parser, I have come across an unrecognized opcode in block number 142312. The relevant section of the transaction input is this:

                 "hash": "0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000",
                 "n": 4294967295
             "coinbase": "fc70035c7a81bc6f4876c6036e4bc4080eaf81377bc9672828061491e79df5d4ddf1d65b058ccb30563f1f1c14f658607bd2c7138e87e480bcec3f5b91d041d041"

fc corresponds to opcode 252, which is not listed in the Bitcoin wiki. How should I interpret this script value?

My block parsing program gives me the following raw coinbase script value:


That is, there isn't any opcode before the above hexadecimal string.

1 Answer 1


It's possible for invalid scripts to exist in the chain. Scripts are only checked for validity when spent, and coinbase scriptsigs are never checked. You should just interpret coinbase scriptsigs as a chunk of arbitrary data that's usually (not always) a valid script. ScriptPubKeys can also be invalid: blockexplorer.com will print the script as "[error]" in such cases.

  • i know they aren't but i have parsed the block myself and this is how the coinbase script starts - there is no op_pushdata before 'fc'. i will update the question with the full coinbase script value in a sec Nov 25, 2013 at 5:40
  • @mulllhausen Actually, I forgot that blockexplorer.com prints coinbase scriptsigs differently than other scripts. It does start with 0xFC. This is legal: coinbase scriptsigs can be invalid scripts, even if they usually are valid. You can't interpret it as a script because it isn't one.
    – theymos
    Nov 25, 2013 at 6:28
  • ah right. how can i identify whether the script element is a coinbase scriptsig? i'm guessing it would be wrong to assume that the first transaction in the block is always the coinbase transaction? Nov 25, 2013 at 6:31
  • @mulllhausen No, that's right.
    – theymos
    Nov 25, 2013 at 6:31
  • 1
    @mulllhausen Yes, the coinbase tx is always the first tx in a block, and every block must have a coinbase tx.
    – theymos
    Nov 25, 2013 at 7:30

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