Researchers Discover Child Pornography Hidden in Bitcoin’s Blockchain

Blockchain has developed quite the reputation over the last year and a half. And why not? The blockchain is ten times more secure than other forms of data storage, primarily because it is virtually impossible to hack. However, the extra security has caused a number of problems for the blockchain sector, with the latest problem surfacing on Tuesday, March 20.

Bitcoin’s Blockchain: What Happened Tuesday?

On Tuesday, it was reported that a handful of German researchers discovered that an individual has been hiding, and storing, images of child pornography inside Bitcoin’s blockchain. This is extremely serious, and it brings into question what else blockchain is being used for. According to researchers from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, as well as researchers from the Data Protection Research Institute at Goethe University in Frankfurt, there were 1600 files found on bitcoin’s blockchain and eight of these files were sexual in nature. The research team stated that among the data were instances of pornography as well as serious privacy violations.

So, how did this happen? Doesn’t blockchain just act as a ledger for virtual currency financial transactions? The answer to that is yes, but bitcoin’s blockchain can also be used to store small quantities of information, which is where the illegal imagery in question was being stored. This, of course, is nerve-wracking to hear, but it actually gets worse: cryptocurrency users are now at risk.

Why are Cryptocurrency Users at Risk?

It might sound unfair, especially because a range of demographics are involved in the blockchain industry, but the research team announced Tuesday that anyone who downloads a blockchain could potentially be held legally responsible for the illegal content on the chain. If you’re spending bitcoin, it is important to keep in mind that spending the digital currency does not always require you to have a copy of the blockchain. However, this situation gets a little tricky when discussing other transactions, such as a number of mining techniques. Essentially, there are various transactions that call for the user to download the full blockchain or parts of it. To make matters worse, the researchers stated that this problem can “affect at least 112 countries in which possessing content such as child pornography is illegal.”

The Takeaway

This is going to be something that investors are going to want to remain watchful for over the next couple of weeks. It is a very serious offense, and there are bound to be repercussions in both the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector.

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