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New research finds links to child pornography on Bitcoin blockchain

Bitcoin blockchain contains hundreds of links to child pornography, new research has revealed.

Researchers at Germany's RWTH Aachen University analysed the non-financial content on the bitcoin blockchain, which revealed that of the 1600 files on the blockchain, more than 99 percent are texts or images. They said that among these files was included “objectionable content” such as links to child pornography, which is distributed to all Bitcoin participants.

“Bitcoin’s blockchain contains at least eight files with sexual content. While five files only show, describe, or link to mildly pornographic content, we consider the remaining three instances objectionable for almost all jurisdictions: Two of them are backups of link lists to child pornography, containing 274 links to websites, 142 of which refer to Tor hidden services. The remaining instance is an image depicting mild nudity of a young woman,” the researchers said.

The researchers see a high probability for illegal blockchain content to jeopardize blockchain-based system such as bitcoin in the future. Possession of child pornography is illegal at least in the 112 countries.

“Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as child pornography can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users,” the report said. “As of now, this can affect at least 112 countries in which possessing content such as child pornography is illegal. This especially endangers the multi-billion dollar markets powering cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.”

The researchers further pointed out that such potentially objectionable blockchain content is infrequently inserted and recommended future blockchain designs to proactively cope with the same.

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