The network wide Alert system is being retired. No Bitcoins are at risk and this warning may be safely ignored.
Upgrade to the newest version of your wallet software to no longer see the alert.
Reasons for Retirement
The network wide Alert system was created by Satoshi Nakamoto as a means of informing Bitcoin users of any important
information regarding Bitcoin. It has been used in the past to inform users about important network events such as
accidental blockchain forks. However, the Alert system also represents a large source of centralization in Bitcoin.
The holders of the singular Alert Key can at any time send an alert which could affect the entire network. As more
developers join, the Alert Key is given to others, but cannot be taken away from those who have left. This has led
to the Alert Key potentially falling into the hands of malicious actors who could use it to disrupt the network. Because
there is only one Alert key, it is not possible to prevent former developers from sending an alert nor is it possible
to identify who sent an Alert.
In addition, the Alert system is primarily Bitcoin Core specific. Many other wallets have their own systems in place but
still must have handling for the Alert system because it is network wide. Something specific for one software should
not be imposed on the entire network.
The Alert system has also lost its usefulness. It is no longer necessary to use it to inform users about problematic network
events as users can easily get their information from any major Bitcoin news outlet.
The Retirement Plan
Retirement of the Alert system consists of a pre-final alert (this alert) which will warn about the impending retirement, a
final maximum sequence alert which cannot be overridden and displays a static “Alert Key Compromised” message, and the
publishing of the Alert key itself. The final alert will be hard coded into Bitcoin Core 0.14 to ensure that all old nodes
receive the final alert.
|Pre-final Alert Posts
||Posts on Bitcoin.org, various forums, and various mailing lists that the Alert system will be retired
||The alert itself warning that the Alert system will be retired
||Max sequence Alert to disable the Alert system
|Alert key release
||The Alert key will be made publicly available
||Postponed until further notice.
Software without the Alert system
Most major Bitcoin wallets have already removed the alert system in the most recent releases. The software listed below
are guaranteed to have removed/disabled the Alert system or allow you to disable it.
- Bitcoin Core 0.12.1+
- Bitcoin Core 0.10.3, 0.11.x, and 0.12.x can disable alerts with
- Armory 0.94.1+