From this post:

Our beloved Satoshi is on record that he doesn’t think it appropriate to embed data willy-nilly in the block-chain

Is this claim true? If so, why did he object?

I don't think it's "wrong" in any sense to embed data in the blockchain, because you're essentially paying for it. Since the protocol allows it, it is a legitimate service.

  • Sorry, I was a bit lazy with that claim. I remember reading a quote by him in the forums to that effect, but I haven't found it again to post a link to it. Jan 17, 2012 at 16:12
  • "I don't think it's "wrong" in any sense to embed data in the blockchain, because you're essentially paying for it." You're paying the miner, but then everyone else suffers latency having to download the huge thing. May 13, 2016 at 2:28

2 Answers 2


He supported IsStandard, but he was not against small amounts of arbitrary data. Satoshi said:

why not make it easier on everyone and just allow say, 64 or 128 bytes of random data in a transaction?

That's already possible. <pubkey> OP_CHECKSIG. <pubkey> can be 33 to 120 bytes.

I also support a third transaction type for timestamp hash sized arbitrary data. There's no point not having one since you can already do it anyway. It would tell nodes they don't need to bother to index it.

He always promoted putting hashes in the chain instead of the arbitrary data itself, though I don't know whether he was strongly opposed to the latter.


I can't answer your questions about whether it's true and why.

It's possible that he would've taken that stance because sensitive information could be put into the block chain. Consider the consequences if some of the following examples were included in the block chain (and thus stored on every PC running the client):

  1. Diplomatic cables from Wikileaks
  2. Illegal pornography
  3. The name of someone who has name suppression granted by a court
  4. The private key for an important encryption algorithm (eg this one)

While some activities making use of Bitcoin may be illegal in themselves in some countries, storing data such as the above in the blockchain would create additional legal problems in many countries.

  • Bitcoin itself could be made illegal in some countries, regardless of the content of the block-chain. This does not mean people living in other countries should not use it. Same goes for messages. In any case - it is a possibly unavoidable feature of the current protocol. Your post seems to be more a comment than an answer - I'm not debating whether it's ok, I'm asking about Satoshi's opinions. I've asked the original author to answer here as well.
    – ripper234
    Jan 16, 2012 at 20:05
  • It's far too long to fit in a comment, and gives a very plausible reason why Satoshi (or anyone else) would object to the idea, so I very much believe it is worthy of remaining an "answer". Sometimes, an answer to a slightly different question is more worthwhile than a strictly accurate answer to the stated question. Jan 16, 2012 at 20:22
  • As you wish. I won't accept it though :)
    – ripper234
    Jan 16, 2012 at 20:34

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