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Easter Egg Found in Bitcoin’s Original Code

Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, included a message in the genesis block of Bitcoin that reads “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” which has since become famous as it gives the motivation behind Bitcoin’s creation. Now an easter egg has been found in Bitcoin’s original code from 10 years ago, the same message in the genesis block except its buried in pseudocode and in encrypted hexadecimal format.

This is a snippet from the pseudocode for the Bitcoin genesis block. While it appears to be setting some sort of parameter in the code, it really is an encrypted message.

// txNew.vin[0].scriptSig     = 486604799 4 0x736B6E616220726F662074756F6C69616220646E6F63657320666F206B6E697262206E6F20726F6C6C65636E61684320393030322F6E614A2F33302073656D695420656854

There are multiple layers of encryption, making the hidden message very hard to find, and it is quite surprising that someone has just discovered this easter egg 10 years later. The hexadecimal string starts after 0x at 736, so only someone skilled with hexadecimal would be able to spot this. When this hexadecimal string is decoded, it reads “sknab rof tuoliab dnoces fo knirb no rollecnahC 9002/naJ/30 semiT ehT”. This is the message from the genesis block, except its backward.

The meaning of the message in the genesis block is that when Bitcoin launched in 2009 the world was being rocked by the Great Recession which started in 2008. Numerous banks and corporations collapsed and many people lost their retirement and investments. Perhaps worst of all, governments bailed out numerous banks and corporations by printing trillions of USD of fiat currency. This devalued fiat worldwide, causing hardship for average citizens. Ultimately, the same banks and corporations that caused the economic crash with their immoral investment practices were bailed out with the money of average citizens who were already victimized by the events of the economic crash.

It is clear that the events of the Great Recession motivated Satoshi to create Bitcoin, so the world would have a decentralized and secure alternative to fiat currency. Bitcoin cannot be printed at will like fiat, and therefore cannot be manipulated by any government or organization. If the world adopts Bitcoin, bailouts and inflation similar to those which occurred during the Great Recession will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Bitcoin adoption is still relatively small compared to fiat adoption, and the global debt and money printing crisis have only accelerated since Bitcoin launched in 2009.

It is exciting that an encrypted message has been found in Bitcoin’s original code so many years after it was written, raising the possibility that Satoshi left more hidden messages in the thousands of lines of Bitcoin’s original code.

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