Proof existence of documents using Nulldata

Besides storing value the Blockchain can be used to store small amounts of arbitrary data. This could be used to store a document hash to proof its existence on a particular date.

This article explains how to store a document hash on the blockchain or a full compressed message. We do this using a Nulldata transaction, you can read the full details in this article: Use Nulldata to Store Data on the Blockchain

1. Create a document hash in Python

First let's create a hash of the document. The script below splits the document in blocks of 64Kb so very large documents can be read as well. The SHA1 algorithm is used to create the hash, you can easily replace this with another algorithm if you wish.

Bitcoin Logo

Create a hash of this bitcoin logo PNG image file:

from hashlib import sha1

FILENAME = '/home/guest/Documents/bitcoin-logo.png'

# Get document hash
hasher = sha1()
with open(FILENAME, 'rb') as f:
    buf =
    while len(buf) > 0:
        buf =
document_hash = hasher.hexdigest()
print("Hash of %s is %s" % (FILENAME, document_hash))

When you run this script it should return the following output:

Hash of /home/guest/Documents/bitcoin-logo.png is f6e4f3701cc1ab4695195d809d5a54d8cb3a87aa

2. Store document hash on the blockchain

Now store the document hash from the previous step in a transaction output on the Blockchain.

The following script creates a wallet and a deposit address where you have to make a deposit for the transaction fees.

from bitcoinlib.transactions import Output
from bitcoinlib.wallets import wallet_create_or_open
from bitcoinlib.encoding import varstr

DOCUMENT_HASH = 'f6e4f3701cc1ab4695195d809d5a54d8cb3a87aa'

wallet = wallet_create_or_open('Messenger')
wk = wallet.get_key()

if not wallet.utxos():
    print("Please deposit %.8f Bitcoin to %s to create a Nulldata transaction" % (FEE_PER_TRANSACTION, wk.address))
    lock_script = b'\x6a' + varstr(DOCUMENT_HASH)
    t = wallet.send([Output(0, lock_script=lock_script)])

Once the deposit has been received the transaction will be created and pushed to the network.

Transaction aff2e75be2b82cc179058bbc0255a96310e55b2956fa827a3776c64d6fe91f4d
Date: None
Network: bitcoin
Status: unconfirmed
Verified: True
- 18KovL8EsjGGXo1ja4jcMihytbJcjd5sCw 1000 06d0cc8c8f85d7b10d02df8ff3abc5527e746760b19e7af9e2b656c6dc91e7b3 0
  Script type: p2pkh, signatures: 1 (1 of 1)
- NULLDATA  b'\xf6\xe4\xf3p\x1c\xc1\xabF\x95\x19]\x80\x9dZT\xd8\xcb:\x87\xaa'
Fee: 1000
Confirmations: 0
Pushed to network: True
Wallet: Messenger

3. Proof existence of a document with the blockchain

To proof existence of the document on a particular date you need to have the original document and the transaction ID.

Redo the first step to create a hash of the document. Then retrieve the transaction from the blockchain and compare the document hash with the Nulldata output.

txid = 'aff2e75be2b82cc179058bbc0255a96310e55b2956fa827a3776c64d6fe91f4d'
document_hash = 'f6e4f3701cc1ab4695195d809d5a54d8cb3a87aa'

srv = Service()
t = srv.gettransaction(txid)

found = False
for o in t.outputs:
    if o.script_type == 'nulldata':
        tx_doc_hash = to_hexstring(o.lock_script[2:])
        if tx_doc_hash == document_hash:
            found = True

if found:
    print("Existence of document with hash %s proofed in transaction with ID %s on %s" %
          (document_hash, txid,

If they match you have proofed the document existed on the time the transaction was confirmed.

Existence of document with hash f6e4f3701cc1ab4695195d809d5a54d8cb3a87aa proofed in transaction with
ID aff2e75be2b82cc179058bbc0255a96310e55b2956fa827a3776c64d6fe91f4d on 2018-07-12 05:57:59

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