A confusing 18 zero hashtag posted on June 19th provokes lots of debate within the crypto community. What is the secret behind the code? Let’s try to shed some light on it.

On June 19, Mark Wilcox posted on his Twitter a strange hashtag #00000000000000000021e800c1e8df51b22c1588e5a624bea17e9faa34b2dc4a. Members of the cryptocurrency community lost their minds when seeing this confusing code. The hashtag actually represents a cryptographic code known as a hash produced each time new transactions are validated and written onto the bitcoin blockchain.

Many Twitter users have probably been thinking about this code for hours, mulling over how it could have possibly gotten into their life and what it could mean.

On June 19, at 19:32 UTC, block number 528249 was discovered by the BTC.top mining pool, one of the world’s largest mining pools. At first glance, nothing seemed unusual about the block. Its size was just over 1MB. The block had 6,500 inputs, 1047 outputs, and 125 SegWit transactions. These numbers are all similar to previous blocks. However, if you take a closer look, astonishing things happen. When the block is viewed in an explorer, the number 00000000000000000021e800 appears.

The hash contains several important elements. The first 18 zeroes are totally normal. Such a high number of zeroes could have came either by accident or design. If it was the former, there is nothing to read into the significance of block 528249 commencing with 18 zeros; their presence is no more meaningful than any other string of numbers. If it is the latter, however, and someone inserted those numbers by design, then that individual has a level of computing power that is currently unattainable by several orders of magnitude.

The next four numbers are astounding people. The number 21 is significant because bitcoin has a total supply of 21 million. The four digits 21e8 are also important because it’s a well-known internet theory. 21e8, also known as E8, is referred to as the “Theory of Everything”, or “Unified Field Theory”. There’s even a website, 21e8.com, which displays a fractal pattern based on the elementary particle spin that forms a part of E8 theory. After the 528,000+ blocks mined in the bitcoin network, we can expect 8 blocks to have 21e8 in them, that’s why “21” is important.

It has been estimated that it would take 2,500 years to create that hash, working at a rate of 1 exahash/second (which represents around 2.5% of the current BTC network hashrate). For this feat to have occurred deliberately, it would had to have been performed on a yet undiscovered quantum computer, or by a time traveler taking advantage of future advancements in processing power. As theories go, this one’s pretty tinfoil, but there are those who believe that Satoshi Nakamoto is a time traveler.

Some have assumed that the hashed number could have been the work of Andrew DeSantis, who is working on a quantum computer, and regularly posts cryptic messages that have shades of E8 theory to them. Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer thinks that people have just created a needless fuss and replied to a tweet by Charlie Noyes.

The chances that the hash of block 528249 is more than an amusing coincidence are pretty high. Anyway, the mystery of the hash will fuel further speculation as to Satoshi Nakamoto’s whereabouts in space and time, the serendipity of the hashed genesis block, and the appearance of 18 consecutive zeros in another block, hashed nine years later.

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