What’s Going On?
The global crypto community has worked itself into a conspiracy theory frenzy over a mining hash some believe to be a coded message from Bitcoin’s mystery creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Why Does It Matter?
The full hash – #00000000000000000021e800c1e8df51b22c1588e5a624bea17e9faa34b2dc4a
– was spotted this week by Mark Wilcox, who posted it to his Twitter account.
— Mark Wilcox (@mwilcox) June 19, 2018
The hash code corresponds to an otherwise unremarkable transaction, but armies of crypto commentators focused on the ‘21e8’ element after the initial zeros. They claimed it relates to Bitcoin’s supply cap of 21 million coins and a paper published by Garrett Lisi in 2007 known as the E8 Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.
So…Is This Real?
Kind of, but conspiracy theorists are almost certainly going to be disappointed. If this hash is indeed a “vanity hash”, the computing power to create it would have to be magnitudes greater than current technology allows, reported CoinDesk. In addition to this, the time needed to create it using current tech is put at 2,500 years.
Theories include the possibility of this being a secret Satoshi message, proof that a mystery miner has access to quantum computing power, or evidence the Bitcoin architecture has been hacked. The most outrageous of these claims is that Satoshi Nakamoto is an artificial intelligence from the future. Time travel removes discrepancies between current tech levels and those required to create this kind of hash, say theorists.
But Andrew Miller, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, told Futurism: “There’s nothing to say about this really, it’s just a joke. The phenomenon of having the block begin with the string 21e8 is not even rare, it should happen about once a year.“