Data Insertion in Bitcoin's Blockchain

Andrew Sward, Ivy Vecna, Forrest Stonedahl


This paper provides the first comprehensive survey of methods for inserting arbitrary data into Bitcoin’s blockchain. Historical methods of data insertion are described, along with lesser-known techniques that are optimized for efficiency. Insertion methods are compared on the basis of efficiency, cost, convenience of data reconstruction, permanence, and potentially negative impact on the Bitcoin ecosystem.



Blockchain; Data Publication; Script; Transaction Malleability; OP_RETURN; Coinbase; Free Speech

Full Text:



Antonopoulos, A. M. Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media 133 (2014).

Bartoletti, M., Pompianu, L. “An Analysis of Bitcoin OP_RETURN Metadata.” arXiv preprint (2017).

Bitcoin Core Development Team. “Make Transactions with Extra Data in their ScriptSig’s Non-Standard.” commit message (2012)

bitcoinj Java Library (accessed July 2017) (accessed July 2017)

Coin Sciences Ltd. Coin secrets (beta) (accessed July 2017)

Erstu, E. (a.k.a. 1Hyena). v0.90 (accessed July 2017)

HugPuddle Team. Bitfossil (accessed July 2017)

HugPuddle Team, embii, The AtomSea. Apertus (accessed July 2017)

Lopp, J. “Unspent transaction output set graph,” Statoshi dashboard (Accessed July 2017)

Majakivi, A. (a.k.a. Anduck). (accessed July 2017)

Miller, A., Juels, A., Shi, E., Parno, B., Katz, J. “Permacoin: Repurposing bitcoin work for data preservation.” In Security and Privacy (SP), 2014 IEEE Symposium on, 475–490 (IEEE, 2014).

Nakamoto, S. “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” (2008) (accessed July 2017)

Narayanan, A., Bonneau, J., Felten, E., Miller, A., Goldfeder, S. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction. Princeton: Princeton University Press 217-218 (2016).

Reid, F., Harrigan, M. “An analysis of anonymity in the bitcoin system.” In Y. Altschuler et al. (Eds.) Security and Privacy in Social Networks. New York: Springer 197–223 (2013)

Ron, D., Shamir, A. “Quantitative Analysis of the Full Bitcoin Transaction Graph.” In A. Sadeghi (Ed.), Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 17th International Conference, FC 2013, Okinawa, Japan, April 1-5, 2013, Revised Selected Papers, New York: Springer 6-24 (2013)

Segregated Witness (segwit) Bitcoin Improvement Proposal. blob/master/bip-0141.mediawiki.

Shirriff, K. “Bitcoin transaction malleability: looking at the bytes.” Ken Shirriff’s blog (accessed July 2017)

Shirriff, K. “Hidden surprises in the Bitcoin blockchain and how they are stored: Nelson Mandela, Wikileaks, photos, and Python software.” Ken Shirriff’s blog (accessed July 2017)

Sleiman, M. D., Lauf, A. P., Yampolskiy, R. “Bitcoin message: Data insertion on a proof-of-work cryptocurrency system.” In 2015 International Conference on Cyberworlds, IEEE 332–336 (2015)

Todd, P. “Making UTXO set growth irrelevant with low-latency delayed txo commitments”

Todd, P. (accessed July 2017)



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Andrew Sward, Vecna, Forrest Stonedahl

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.