Computational Puzzle: SHA-1 Collision

To follow along this tutorial

  • Clone the Github repository

  • cd code

  • npm install or yarn install

  • Execute the transaction code by typing node tx_filename.js

  • Alternatively you can enter the commands step-by-step by cd into ./code then type node in a terminal to open the Node.js REPL

  • Open the Bitcoin Core GUI console or use bitcoin-cli for the Bitcoin Core commands

  • Use bx aka Libbitcoin-explorer as a handy complement

On September 13, 2013, Peter Todd, a renowned Bitcoin Core developer, announced a bounty on BitcoinTalk forum. As he explain himself, "rewards at P2SH addresses are available for anyone able to demonstrate collision attacks against a variety of cryptographic algorithms. You collect your bounty by demonstrating two messages that are not equal in value, yet result in the same digest when hashed. These messages are used in a scriptSig, which satisfies the scriptPubKey storing the bountied funds, allowing you to move them to a scriptPubKey (Bitcoin address) of your choice".

On the February 23, 2017, someone successfully claimed the SHA-1 hash collision bounty of 2.48 BTC, with this transaction 8d31992805518fd62daa3bdd2a5c4fd2cd3054c9b3dca1d78055e9528cff6adc

To read more about Bitcoin computational puzzles and Peter Todd bounties

Let’s recreate the Peter Todd bounty for SHA-1 hash collision.

Creating and Funding the P2SH

Import libraries, test wallets and set the network
const bitcoin = require('bitcoinjs-lib')
const { alice } = require('./wallets.json')
const network = bitcoin.networks.regtest
Create the script.
const redeemScript = bitcoin.script.compile([

console.log('Redeem script:')
You can decode the redeem script in Bitcoin Core CLI.
decodescript 6e879169a77ca787

The p2sh method will generate an object that contains the P2SH address.

Get the P2SH address
const p2sh = bitcoin.payments.p2sh({redeem: {output: redeemScript, network}, network})
console.log('P2SH address')
Let’s fund this address with 1 BTC. This is the reward for whoever as the solution to the locking script.
sendtoaddress 2MyJKxYR2zNZZsZ39SgkCXWCfQtXKhnWSWq 1
Get the output index so that we have the outpoint (txid / vout).
gettransaction TX_ID
Find the output index (or vout) under details  vout.

Preparing the spending transaction

Now let’s prepare the spending transaction by setting input and output.

Alice_1 wants to send the funds to her P2WPKH address.
const keyPairAlice1 = bitcoin.ECPair.fromWIF(alice[1].wif, network)
const p2wpkhAlice1 = bitcoin.payments.p2wpkh({pubkey: keyPairAlice1.publicKey, network})
console.log('P2WPKH address')
Create a BitcoinJS transaction builder object.
const txb = new bitcoin.TransactionBuilder(network)
Create the input by referencing the outpoint of our P2SH funding transaction.
txb.addInput('TX_ID', TX_VOUT)
Create the output, leaving 100 000 satoshis as mining fees.
txb.addOutput(p2wpkhAlice1.address, 999e5)
Prepare the transaction.
const tx = txb.buildIncomplete()

Creating the unlocking script

Now we can update the transaction with the unlocking script, providing a solution to the SHA-1 bounty.

Here are the two values that have been used to claim the Peter Todd bounty.

const value_1 = '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'
const value_2 = '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'
We provide the two values above as the answer, plus the redeem script.
const InputScriptP2SH = bitcoin.script.compile([
  Buffer.from(value_1, 'hex'),
  Buffer.from(value_2, 'hex'),
tx.setInputScript(0, InputScriptP2SH)

In order to push data we should use OP_PUSHDATA. Here, regarding the length of the values, we should use OP_PUSHDATA2, followed by two bytes that contain the number of bytes to be pushed onto the stack in little endian order. Fortunately, BitcoinJS is taking care of that for us.
If you inspect InputScriptP2SH, you will see that the values are preceded by 4d4001.
4d is the OP_PUSHDATA2 opcode, which states that the next two bytes contain the number of bytes to be pushed onto the stack in little endian order.
0140 is 320 in decimal, which is the length of the values.

We don’t need to sign this transaction since the redeem script doesn’t ask for a signature.

No build step here as we have already called buildIncomplete

Get the raw hex serialization.
console.log('Transaction hexadecimal:')
Inspect the raw transaction with Bitcoin Core CLI, check that everything is correct.
decoderawtransaction TX_HEX

Broadcasting the transaction

It’s time to broadcast the transaction via Bitcoin Core CLI.
sendrawtransaction TX_HEX
Inspect the transaction.
getrawtransaction TX_ID true


Check the hash collision
bitcoin.crypto.sha1(Buffer.from(value_1, 'hex')).toString('hex')
bitcoin.crypto.sha1(Buffer.from(value_2, 'hex')).toString('hex')

Both returns the same hash, f92d74e3874587aaf443d1db961d4e26dde13e9c.

Peter Todd’s other bounties (SHA256, RIPEMD160, RIPEMD160-SHA256, SHA256-SHA256) remain unclaimed at the time of this writing. They’re all written in the same manner as the SHA-1 example above.