- Craig Wright has claimed in court that the Bitcoin blockchain will “unravel” if the bitcoin in the genesis block is spent
- The genesis block contains ₿50 but it has been hard coded so it can never be spent
- It’s not logically possible for the Bitcoin blockchain to unravel if the bitcoin was spent because it would have been designed differently
Craig Wright last week made the extraordinary claim in court that the Bitcoin blockchain will “unravel” if the bitcoin within the genesis block is spent, with his claims instantly pounced on by those in the sector, including Bitcoin developers, as not just being incorrect but impossible. Wright, who has both claimed and denied that he created Bitcoin along with Dave Kleiman and an unnamed third party, made the suggestion while being cross examined during the Kleiman vs Wright case last week, with his statement only coming to light today after court proceedings were tweeted by an observer.
Wright Calls Genesis Block an “Anchor”
Wright spoke on the subject of the genesis block, the first ever block in the Bitcoin blockchain, in response to a question of when the Bitcoin protocol first went live. After claiming that he sent the first version of the protocol to family members, including to his sister for her birthday in November, Wright then “came up with” certain aspects of Bitcoin that weren’t in the whitepaper, such as the 21 million limit and the 10-minute block time, before stating that the genesis block is an “anchor block”, which, if tampered with, would have some interesting side effects:
The genesis block anchors the entire bitcoin blockchain. If it’s spent the ENTIRE CHAIN WILL UNRAVEL 🤣🤣🤣🤣😅😅😅😅😂😂😂😂😂🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡
(okay here I think I quiet-laughed out loud and bailiff looked over to me like YO!)
— FractalEncrypt ∞/21M (@FractalEncrypt) November 15, 2021
This startling claim, which has never been stated by anyone else in the history of Bitcoin, was immediately jumped on by those who are currently developing it, including Peter Todd, who treated Wright’s claims with utter derision:
Repeating this because it’s a work of beauty:
“The genesis block anchors the entire bitcoin blockchain. If it’s spent the ENTIRE CHAIN WILL UNRAVEL” -Craig Wright
I can’t wait to get the official transcript of the trial, print out the page containing that line, and frame it. 😂 https://t.co/3CiURstfOY
— Peter Todd (@peterktodd) November 15, 2021
Genesis Block is Hard Coded to be Unspendable
Unlike other blocks whose bitcoin rewards can be spent by the holder of the private key, the genesis block was coded in such a way that the coins can never leave the address, something that Todd alluded to in a later tweet:
The real reason is because the genesis block is hard coded to exist and the utxo it creates is never added to the utxo set.
The fact is then that no one can retrospectively spend the ₿50 in the genesis block, and the only way they could do so is if the blockchain had been coded that way from the start, which would mean that there was no danger of the blockchain unravelling anyway. For someone who claims to know more about Bitcoin than anyone else, this is a pretty grave error.
Wright is due to take to the stand again today in the Kleiman vs Wright case following the illness of a juror last week. Perhaps she was as sick of his lies as the rest of us are?