For those who are thinking of adding illegal content on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) chain, consider yourself warned. The BSV ecosystem is standing firm that bad actors or groups attempting to abuse the chain for illegal purposes will not be tolerated.
This week, reports surfaced that a piece of illegal content involving child exploitation material has been posted on the BSV blockchain—in a possible attempt to hurt the network and manipulate cryptocurrency market prices. Mainstream news outlets claimed the incident is a “harsh reality” involving a proof-of-work chain “perpetually verifying the existence of child exploitation material.”
The reality, however, is this: it’s not the first time illegal content has been published on a blockchain. Even internet giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter have been grappling with this issue for years.
In 2015, Interpol cyber threat researchers identified the threat of using blockchain transactions to embed illegal data. Then in 2018, German researchers reported finding child abuse content on the Bitcoin Core (BTC) blockchain, including image files. This is similar to the recent BSV incident, but what sets BSV apart is how the ecosystem is working quickly and proactively to address the issue.
Money Button, where the illicit content was uploaded, and BitcoinFiles.org, the site on which it was discovered by authorities, immediately took action to ensure the content was blacklisted and no longer accessible. Other BSV network participants quickly followed, blacklisting the content from blockchain data viewing services as well as making it inaccessible on web portals.
Money Button and BitcoinFiles.org also updated their Terms of Service, which now explicitly state that their service cannot be used to write on the blockchain, upload or access illegal content.
Founding President of bComm Association Jimmy Nguyen also noted that moderation facilities are already in place to alert site operators of questionable content. This is in addition to efforts being done “to improve logging of source IP addresses so that more detailed evidence can be provided to law enforcement authorities.”
Bitcoin SV means business
These immediate, proactive measures, according to Nguyen, demonstrate the BSV ecosystem’s clear mandate to create a platform that lives in the real world, with real laws. He explained:
“The Bitcoin SV ecosystem does not tolerate illegal activity. Unlike the anti-government culture of many other cryptocurrency communities, Bitcoin SV is the most business friendly, government friendly, and law enforcement friendly.”
Content—illegal or not—resides in the blockchain only in the form of data, which means that it is not accessible or human viewable without specialized decoding tools and clear intent, particularly for questionable content. And because everything is recorded permanently on the blockchain, it provides an immutable and mathematically provable evidence whenever criminal activity takes place on the blockchain. BSV, in particular, is not designed for anonymity, so the digital signatures used to authorize Bitcoin transactions creates a public and undeletable evidence trail. In fact, Money Button said after investigation, they “have banned the user responsible for creating those transactions.”
“On behalf of the bComm Association (the leading industry association for Bitcoin SV) and the entire BSV ecosystem, we want to send a very clear message: the Bitcoin SV blockchain is a not a place for criminal activity, and if you use it for illegal purposes, you will leave a digitally signed evidence trail that cannot be erased. This evidence is fully admissible in a court of law, and you will likely be caught and prosecuted. Think twice and be prepared for legal action before you try adding illegal content to the blockchain. We stand ready to work with global law enforcement authorities to stamp out this and any other illegal misuse of Bitcoin,” Nguyen said.
Read the full bComm Association statement, Zero Tolerance for Illegal Content on Blockchains, here.
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