$64K Mystery: Someone Spent 1.5BTC to Inscribe Secret Messages on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Someone paid approximately $64,000 to inscribe secret messages on the Bitcoin blockchain. The crypto Twitter is struggling to decode the puzzling inscriptions, with no success so far.

Ordinals inscription Bitcoin

Someone spent a hefty amount of money to create a series of puzzling inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain. Ord.io, a Bitcoin Ordinals explorer, was the first to take notice, posting the finding on Twitter on January 7.

The mysterious author paid about 1.5 of BTC or $64,000 in fees to write 332 inscriptions amounting to nearly 9 MB of raw data. Most of the transactions cost about $200 in fees. However, the most expensive ones amounted to thousands of dollars. All the details are available on Ord.io website but you can get a glimpse of the "content" in the post below.

The post inspired hundreds of reactions, mostly of the LOL variety. Some users turned to ChatGPT for help, but the leading AI chatbot wasn't able to get past OCR-ing the image, not to mention cracking the code. "If this data is indeed binary data inscribed on the Bitcoin blockchain, it may require specialized decoding methods beyond standard OCR capabilities," it replied to the prompt.

The inscriptions are a truly enigmatic mixture of Latin, Greek, and mathematical symbols that seem impossible to decode without in-depth cryptographic expertise, if at all. The address associated with the string of transactions, labeled as "Unnamed" by Ord.io, also doesn't provide a clue as to the identity and intentions of the author.

An intriguing detail is the pepperoni pizza icon accompanying two of the inscriptions in the set. The symbol refers to the famous first-recorded real-world asset purchase made by Laszlo Hanyecz, an early Bitcoin contributor, who spent a mere 10,000 BTC to buy two Papa John's pizzas on May 22, 2010. Apparently, these contain satoshis from that transaction.

The Bitcoin blockchain capacity to hold content is linked to Ordinals. It's a numbering scheme for satoshis, the smallest subunits of Bitcoin, launched on the cryptocurrency mainnet by Casey Rodarmor, the former Bitcoin Core developer, on January 20, 2023.

The protocol enables the creation of unique digital assets akin to NFTs by attaching text or image data to satoshis (all of which are given a serial number based on the order of mining, hence the name). Unlike "traditional" NFTs, Ordinals enable storing data directly on the blockchain. Non-Bitcoin-based NFTs are typically stored off-chain with metadata and relevant links kept on-chain.

Ordinals are a novelty that have been making their way into the crypto space. Currently, the Ordinals market is by no means comparable to that of NFTs, but with the growing interest, it's bound to change in the future, so stay tuned to learn about the developments.