Bitcoin in War: OP_RETURN Callouts of Russian Military Bitcoin Addresses Point to Blockchains’ Growing Role in Geopolitical Conflict

April 28, 2023

Mystery Bitcoin user labels nearly 1,000 addresses as Russian government assets in OP_RETURN transactionsIt’s no secret that Russian state actors have embraced cryptocurrency. Under ordinary circumstances, it would be difficult to detect cryptocurrency addresses used by hostile actors unless you were actively looking for them. To make things even more interesting, most of the OP_RETURN messages originated from addresses that the OP_RETURN vigilante also said belong to the Russian government in other OP_RETURN messages. The address used to lease that server — 18N9jzCDsV9ekiLW8jJSA1rXDXw1Yx4hDh — was also tagged by our OP_RETURN vigilante as belonging to the GRU. Most importantly, those OP_RETURN messages will be there forever — no government or corporation can take them down.