According to a post on the Reddit community r/bitcoin, an old file was discovered that may be linked to Julian Assange, the whistleblower and founder of Wikileaks. The encrypted 7zip file is in the output script from a transaction that took place on Jan. 5, 2017, and was mined at block height 446,713.
Speculation Surrounds Purpose of 7zip File Called ‘Julianassange.Txt’ Found in Bitcoin Blockchain
Amid the thousands of inscriptions added to the Bitcoin blockchain via Ordinals, a 7zip file possibly linked to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was recently discovered. A Reddit user under the name “u/sprxzk34620” informed the r/bitcoin subreddit of the discovery. The post stated, “An encrypted 7zip file possibly related to Julian Assange is hidden in the Bitcoin blockchain.” The author also noted that the file could be obtained by splicing the pubkhash seg of all the output scripts from a specific transaction.
“The encrypted 7zip file contains a file named ‘Julianassange.txt,’ but attempts to crack the file have failed,” added the Reddit user. Commenters on the Reddit post asked why Assange would add this to the Bitcoin blockchain and some referred to speculation that he created a “dead man’s switch.” “It could be an encrypted link to the switch or files exposing secrets,” wrote one person. Others were doubtful and stated that a zip file named “Julianassange.txt” sounds like a hoax.
Coincidentally, the Jan. 5, 2017 transaction with the 7zip file occurred five days before Assange read the Bitcoin blockchain hash from block height 447,506 in a recorded video. At the time, many believed that the whistleblower used this tactic to prove he was alive. Despite being alive, Assange stated that he was not okay while he was confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“Don’t take some cryptographic proof as evidence that I am okay,” he emphasized at the time. “I’m not. I have been held here for eight years. I haven’t been okay the entire time.” Since then, Assange’s Ecuadorian asylum was revoked and he was arrested on April 11, 2019, when police raided the embassy. The contents of the 7zip file are unknown until someone successfully cracks it, as it may not belong to or be associated with Assange at all.
The Reddit post written by u/sprxzk34620 ended with a heated discussion about whether adding arbitrary data to the Bitcoin blockchain through Ordinals was a legitimate practice, as it has sparked controversy among some bitcoin advocates. “If everyone is going to post stupid cat JPEGs on the blockchain, I can keep buying new hard drives for my node … F*** that sh**. Keep it compact folks,” one Redditor stressed.
What do you think the contents of the encrypted 7zip file could reveal? Let us know your thoughts about this subject in the comments section below.
Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.
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