Alert key

Alert Key   – 4 Members

Bitcoin versions 0.3.10 introduced an alert system which allowed messages about critical network problems to be broadcast to all clients.

The alert system has been completely retired.[1] The code was removed since 0.13.0 and since 0.14.0 any old nodes will receive a static hard-coded “Alert Key Compromised” message.

When an alert was in effect, the message it contains would appear in the status bar of all clients and in the “errors” field of RPC getinfo. Any script registered with the -alertnotify command-line option will be notified.


The System Is Based on Economics

The differential of the use of bitcoin as cash under existing limits imposed by regulations, when compared to its use in large transactions, is simple; it lies in the cost involved with taking action. It does not take an own hashing and server farm or an own miner, as a government, to implement changes such as in the form of freezing bitcoin or even reassigning keys; it requires the ability to act against corporate entities. Which is, of course, what is overlooked. It is not possible to be a node on the Bitcoin network without a significant investment that is easily detected.Bitcoin users may remain pseudonymous at low levels of transactions, but no Bitcoin node (aka miner) can escape detection. The matter presents not a flaw; it is the implication of how Bitcoin is designed. Some of the criminals that have been involved with Bitcoin don’t like it. They have sought to change it, yet adding extra layers such as the Lightning Network just makes it easier to intercept.

As with everything in life, there are economic limits; using Bitcoin comes with limitations. If you use Bitcoin as cash, it can be seen to be cash. If you use Bitcoin as a monetary system in an attempt to bypass money handling, fraud, and criminal law, you will find that the system allows that you be tracked and traced and caught. Bitcoin presents an immutable ledger, an immutable ledger holding evidence of all activities performed using the Bitcoin protocol.

Some people try to tell you that ‘censorship resistance’ means that you cannot freeze funds. Again, such people are in error. When I introduced the alert key, fulfilling some of the aspects of what I said could be done in the white paper, I allowed nodes to freeze unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs) and transactions. There will never be a blockchain-based system that is legal and allows for the transfer of funds outside of money handling laws. Bitcoin is not a first, as bitcoin can be frozen and seized.

The Consensus Methodology

If every single user on the Bitcoin network decided that a court order from a government for freezing a Bitcoin transaction was invalid, they would have no impact whatsoever. The implementation of a blacklist or transaction-freezing code on the largest five Bitcoin nodes would ‘orphan’ any blocks containing transactions covered by the freezing order.

Bitcoin is not and has never been about ‘censorship resistance’. I added the alert key to be able to freeze and reverse transactions, if needed. All that matters in Bitcoin is a public record of any transaction that is reversed. Without encryption, the way Bitcoin was designed, there is nothing that anybody can do to stop such actions from occurring.


What Is Censorship Resistance?

By Craig Wright
10 Jul 2020


The Alert Key

Removing the alert key does not remove the legal requirement to validate the source of funds. Customer due diligence (CDD), know your customer (KYC), and anti-money laundering (AML) laws apply even in the absence of a simplified system that would allow for the reporting of proceeds of crime and stolen coins.

The Bitcoin alert key was not added merely because of the vulnerability that had been announced a week earlier. I had been working on the alert key since July 2010. The patch to the vulnerability was announced on 15th August, 2010, and indeed, the alert system would be good for the notification of vulnerabilities. But here lies not the reason that Bitcoin had an alert system. The patch was created rather expeditiously, in response to the overflow bug and as a temporary disabling of certain prescription operators. My implementation of script had a lot of vulnerabilities at the time”.

Ledgers and Design.
By Craig Wright
18 Mar 2020


“… When I launched Bitcoin, I had not yet completed implementing the system of the alert key, and I still had not fully determined how it would best work. It was always envisioned. When I said that there was a strategy to protect systems based on simplified payment verification (SPV) using alerts from nodes, I was not limiting the nature of alerts to the same one possible form of attack….”

The History of Freezing in Bitcoin.
By Craig Wright
22 Apr 2020


Minute: 28

Bitcoin SV: The Blockchain for Business Panel Discussion
11 may. 2020


Satoshi’s Secret Bitcoin Alert Key Is Widely Available, Says Developer
A Bitcoin software programmer has revealed his knowledge of Satoshi Nakamoto’s secret network alert key, taking a swipe at Dr. Craig Wright in the process. In a tweet, LedgerX developer Bryan Bishop claimed the key — retired but still relatively secret — was “unwittingly copied by many hundreds of Bitcoin copy-cats”. Also see: Western Union CEO …

Satoshi’s Secret Bitcoin Alert Key Is Widely Available, Says Developer. Bitsonline .

 by Jon Southurst



[bitcoin-dev] Completing the retirement of the alert system

Gregory Maxwell greg at
Sat Sep 10 00:42:30 UTC 2016


Alert System Retirement

1 November 2016

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Written by Ramon Quesada

Passionate about Blockchain & Bitcoin technology since 2013, Co- Founder of, Team Manager in the CoinTelegraph Spain franchise (2016-2017 years) Co. Organizer of the Blockchain Boot camp Valencia 2018, Co. Organizer of the mini Hackathon BitcoinSV Barcelona, in August 2019, current coordinator of the BSV Valencia Meetup.

Censorship Resistance