Bitcoin, Asset Seizure

The assets in the original Bitcoin could have been confiscated

On July 28, 2010, users discovered that they could “steal” another’s bitcoins by adding any script pre-locked with OP_TRUE OP_RETURN. Since OP_RETURN stops script execution (like a return function in any programming language), it will return the previous value on the stack, OP_TRUE , which returns a real condition allowing coins to be spent by anyone, regardless of their spending terms.

This “bug” was quickly corrected by Satoshi Nakamoto, who changed the OP_RETURN function to return false immediately instead. However, with the understanding that Bitcoin does not operate outside the law and that miners will not realistically process transactions with this script, even if it is technically feasible, we can now question whether this is just a technical oversight.


Satoshi notoriously stated that he believed that “a few nodes will be large server farms”. Thinking about it, this implies large corporations that will not allow crime to occur with impunity. Moreover, holding such large corporations will comply if the government orders freezing orders or confiscation of assets. This ability to connect was implemented in Bitcoin early on as well as across alert system. BTC Core developers removed this functionality in 2016.

Today, many in the cryptocurrency space believe that the confiscation and freezing of assets is technically impossible, because the system is “decentralized” and cannot be done due to it being Simple mathematics. The truth is that the creator implemented puzzle pieces to make this possible from the early stages of the network, but due to its immaturity, the subsequent removal of those features allowed newcomers to control the narrative on Why have been removed. For example, regardless of Nakamoto’s intention, BTC Core offers its own subjective and explanatory reasons as to why the alert system should It is removed:

Mark Karpeles Alert System
source: Bitcoin Wiki
Reasons for retirement

Original features are not scaled because nodes can be run on home PCs with little or no capital investment. Unlike large corporations that generate millions in revenue and must be registered legal entities, these home users cannot be trusted to follow court instructions, or not to steal someone else’s assets.

Craig Wright explains it in March 2020:

Bug, bitcoin mining
source: Slack MetaNet ICU

Even if the OP_TRUE OP_RETURN error is technically possible on Bitcoin today, it is likely that nodes will reject these scripts because they would be primarily guilty of facilitating the crime. Therefore, a simple re-implementation of this “bug” from the original Bitcoin version would implement the technology possible for miners to be able to freeze and return assets despite Experts claim that this is impossible.

If the implemented solution does not make OP_TRUE OP_RETURN scripts possible, another solution is contract agreement via notarized contract. Can contract now Receive instructions from court orders to freeze assets or reallocate coins. This implementation by the Bitcoin Association reflects Wright’s sentiments in February 2022, amplifying the notion that network compatibility must be achieved outside the technical capabilities of the blockchain:

OP_True Status
source: Slack MetaNet ICU

This concept is a reminder that we live in the real world. Just because something is technically achievable, doesn’t mean it’s morally right or legal. Bitcoin cannot be the world’s money if loss of possession leads to loss of ownership, unlike No other assets in the world. It’s also worth noting that the original Bitcoin white paper states that nodes protect “property” and not “property”.

After all, Joseph von Berling stated that this was crucial to the mass adoption of Bitcoin in May 2016:

Joseph von Berling, Bitcoin Mass Production
source: Bitcoin Magazine

Watch: How to Redeem Digital Assets on Bitcoin

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New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for beginners the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and the blockchain.

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