A text/file upload system.
bitfossil.org/ an indexer website which interprets the format. Each page has an "abuse report" button to unindex presumably. TODO website source? Local indexer/extraction script? Ciro's indexer and its generated index can be found at:
Each AtomSea payload has a toplevel transaction which links to other transactions. All the linked transactions together make up the payload. The most common payload type is a text plus image, as is the case of Nelson-Mandela.jpg, which can be seen at bitfossil.com/78f0e6de0ce007f4dd4a09085e649d7e354f70bc7da06d697b167f353f115b8e/ where 78f0e6de0ce007f4dd4a09085e649d7e354f70bc7da06d697b167f353f115b8e is the toplevel transaction ID: www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/78f0e6de0ce007f4dd4a09085e649d7e354f70bc7da06d697b167f353f115b8e
See Section "Nelson-Mandela.jpg (2013-12-07)" for a detailed reverse engineering of the format, and Section "AtomSea & EMBII data format" for a summary of it.
apertus.io/ is the system to upload/index locally, and therefore likely part of the backend of bitfossil: github.com/HugPuddle/Apertus
The system shows the messages and the images on a single page: bitfossil.org/4cbb32cd27b5b5edc12d3559bdffc1355ac2a210463d5cfaadc7ce9b06675b2b/index.htm It is basically a blockchain-based Twitter.
Hidden surprises in the Bitcoin blockchain by Ken Shirriff (2014) suggests that AtomSea & EMBII are the creator's aliases. The following online profiles of the creators feel authentic:Tried saying hi to them at: twitter.com/cirosantilli/status/1382080760774033415 and they replied: twitter.com/AllenVandever/status/1563964396656812034
Somewhat related projects:
These are of course likely all made by AtomSea & EMBII themselves while developing/testing their upload system.
They are also artsy peoeple themselves, and as pointed at twitter.com/AllenVandever/status/1563964396656812034 what they were doing was basicaly non-fungible token art, which became much much more popular a few years later around 2021.
The first upload that we could find at github.com/cirosantilli/bitcoin-inscription-indexer/tree/3f53e152ec9bb0d070dbcb8f9249d92f89effa70#atomsea-index was tx 44e80475dc363de2c7ee17b286f8cd49eb146165a79968a62c1c2c4cf80772c9 on block 272573 (2013-12-01) but it does not show on Bitfossil: bitfossil.org/44e80475dc363de2c7ee17b286f8cd49eb146165a79968a62c1c2c4cf80772c9/. This is was due to an upload bug explained by the following entry. By looking at the ASCII data at github.com/cirosantilli/bitcoin-inscription-indexer/blob/master/data/out/0272.txt#L449 that this is meant to contain the same content as the following message: a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, so this is definitely a bugged version of the following one.
The next one is bitfossil.org/c9d1363ea517cd463950f83168ce8242ef917d99cd6518995bd1af927d335828/ on block 272577 (2013-12-02). It actually shows on bifossil and it reads:
followed by:
He who regards
With an eye that is equal
Friends and comrades,
The foe and the kinsman,
The vile, the wicked,
The men who judge him,
And those who belong
To neither faction:
He is the greatest.
The bug message is definitely a reference to the previous non-visible bugged upload bitfossil.org/4b72a223007eab8a951d43edc171befeabc7b5dca4213770c88e09ba5b936e17/, TODO understand exactly how they fucked up. This illustrates the beauty of the blockchain very well: unlike with version control, you don't just see selected snapshots: you see actual debug logs!!!
Figure 1. WeAreStarStuff.jpg. Source.
The third AtomSea & EMBII upload, and the first actual image.
Photo etchin' test. #AtomSea #embii (photo by Travis Ehrich)
The image shows showingAtomSea and EMBII together, presumably photographed by this dude.
The filename is of course a reference to the quote/idea: We Are Made of Star-Stuff that was much popularized by Carl Sagan.
bitfossil.org/fac0b9a4f90414710b806fd286e020aea2404498946845ef3783f305dd4cd3a7 (2024-01-13) contains a crapped version with only AtomSea persent.
Figure 2. HugPuddle.jpg. Source.
The fourth AtomSea & EMBII upload, and the second image. Message:
HugPuddle Testing Apertus Disk Drive
And then finally we meet Chiharu, EMBII's partner, with her hair painted blond (she's Japanese): ILoveYouMore.jpg.
Then there's an approximation of pi as ASCII decimal fraction bitfossil.org/70fd289901bae0409f27237506c330588d917716944c6359a8711b0ad6b4ce76/ from block 273522 (2013-12-07):
tx b8b9f50a354166c46b69ecd47a0fbd20ee78c3471d2557bf275aff1b4cf4752d (2013-12-07) contains Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. TODO find on bitfossil.org, toplevel, tx seemed like a likely toplevel, but not working: bitfossil.org/b8b9f50a354166c46b69ecd47a0fbd20ee78c3471d2557bf275aff1b4cf4752d
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
, And watch where the chalk-white arrowls go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
tx 56768b30dec33bd284223d85c23087975e2360b3391d20d505aa59a5675e5379 (2013-12-13) TODO find on bitfossil.org has the cutest message:
Dear Aliens,
Sincerely, EMBII & AtomSeaMBII
bitfossil.org/73ca50321147bac9010bec43d63f7f76857fe9ede240cc89710e28723fdb242f/ (2013-12-14) has message:
and links to 3 .txt files 1.txt, 2.txt, 3.txt containing single characters 1, 2, and 3.
Figure 3. CompressedLogo.png. Source.
2013-12-20. Message:
Colby Nelson and myself burnt the midnight oils designing the APERTUS imagery last night....
Thanks Colby for all your help.
Possibly www.linkedin.com/in/colby-nelson-59b538207/.
Contains an Apertus logo which is used on bitfossil.org/ itself, presumably they were designing that logo.
This is the first of many love declarations and mentions EMBII makes of his partner Chiharu! This came just one day afte the very first uploads of the system.
Figure 1. ILoveYouMore.jpg. Source.
My Dearest Chiharu....I Love you more. <3 Eric
Note that she's Japanese and not really bond, it's hair dye.
Figure 2. OurWedding.jpg. Source.
My Dearest Chiharu, I will love you forever. Taken Aug 6th 2014 in Ipswich, SD.
Figure 3. MadyBobbyOffToCollege.jpg. Source.
Associated messages:
A #father could not ask for more perfect daughters. I #Love you both so much!! <3 Pa
My oldest daugher moves into the dorms tomorrow morning. Dear Mady, You are forever my baby. <3 Pa
EMBII's daughter, Maddy Bobby, (presumably not with Chiharu) is going off to college! Sadface.
Figure 4. Chiharu EMBII and The Atom Sea say Happy Halloween.jpg. Source.
#Chiharu #embii & the #AtomSea #Fargo #ND
so their location was: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fargo,_North_Dakota
Figure 5. Chiharu.jpg. Source.
mini camera test #Wilson #Chiharu #embii #Broadway #Fargo #ND
"Trip to Italy" Mini Digital Camera N. Broadway, Fargo, ND 49°F
TODO actual Italy? Or some place named Italy in the US?
Figure 6. Loraine.jpg. Source.
Photographer unknown, but presumably EMBII's father or another close family member.
In loving memory of Loraine Elizabeth White
EMBII's mum died :-(
Cost: ~0.001 BTC ~ $0.80 at the time.
Figure 7. SatoFamily.jpg. Source.
This one gives Chiharu's full identity with picture basically. Message:
The Sato Family Arrives from Japan! Taken Aug 2. 2014 in Minneapolis MN. (Keiko, Chiharu, Hideaki, Katsuhiko) Now preparing for the Sato / Bobby Great American Vacation!!
so presumably Chiharu's full name is Chiharu Sato.
Figure 1. Nelson-Mandela.jpg. Source. Message:
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." - Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. - Wikipedia Born: July 18, 1918, Mvezo, South Africa Died: December 5, 2013.
tx 8881a937a437ff6ce83be3a89d77ea88ee12315f37f7ef0dd3742c30eef92dba contains a copy of part of his wiki page ending in an image:
There is nothing like returning to a place
 that remains unchanged to find the ways in
 which you yourself have altered.lson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. -Wikipedia

Born: July 18, 1918, Mvezo, South Africa
Died: December 5, 2013Nelson-Mandela.jpg?14400/d-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 40
By inspecting the transaction, we see that the initial text is cut up because it starts in the middle of a script with line:
00000000  22 33 39 36 5c e2 80 9c  54 68 65 72 65 20 69 73  |"396\...There is|
00000010  20 6e 6f 74 68 69 6e 67  20 6c 69 6b 65 20 72 65  | nothing like re|
00000020  74 75 72 6e 69 6e 67 20  74 6f 20 61 20 70 6c 61  |turning to a pla|
The txid is the first of an index at tx 78f0e6de0ce007f4dd4a09085e649d7e354f70bc7da06d697b167f353f115b8e:
tomSea & EMBII
The A is really missing from AtomSea, it shows up as AtomSea almost in all other greps. This is presumably chopped to fit the 20-byte granularity without an extra output.
We see that www.blockchain.com/btc/tx/78f0e6de0ce007f4dd4a09085e649d7e354f70bc7da06d697b167f353f115b8e starts with:
  • 2 data txs encoding 8881a937a437ff6ce83be3a89d77ea88ee12315f in hex ascii
  • a spent change tx
  • 37f7ef0dd3742c30eef9 on the next
  • 2dba|396*8881a937a43 on the next
  • the newlines from the ASCII dumps are encoded directly:
    00000000  34 32 63 33 30 65 65 66  39 32 64 62 61 0d 0a 35  |42c30eef92dba..5|
    00000010  37 35 30 36                                       |7506|
  • the last is:
    00000000  30 39 31 0d 0a 74 6f 6d  53 65 61 20 26 20 45 4d  |091..tomSea & EM|
    00000010  42 49 49 00                                       |BII.|
    Yes, 2 char Windows newlines, even in one of the most expensive per-byte storage mechanisms ever invented!
All non-change value are 0.00005500 BTC.
Therefore, the rest of the transactions presumably contain the rest of the image!
The bytes for the first one are:
which is

00000000  76 a9 14 33 4e 65 6c 73  6f 6e 2d 4d 61 6e 64 65  |v..3Nelson-Mande|
00000010  6c 61 2e 6a 70 67 3f 88  ac                       |la.jpg?..|
And then the next one:
which is:
00000000  76 a9 14 31 34 34 30 30  2f ff d8 ff e0 00 10 4a  |v..14400/......J|
00000010  46 49 46 00 01 01 00 88  ac                       |FIF......|
so unlike in ILoveYouMore.jpg, we do have the raw JPEG header data here starting with ffd8!
And there is a possible footer ffd9 in the last file of the list 39348722b841afa0c5b67e5af10839afe965ed1b24874e89336bea9fa4ef3091!
However, when I put everything together, cutting around delimiters, it gives only the top half of the head! My data is 14960, not 14400. So there must be 460 bytes of metadata in some of the blocks, possibly error checking.
The actual data starting at ffd8 and cutting off header/tails (20 bytes per transaction):
The above bytes are not contained at all in Ken's uploaded image.
On a related note, tx f3c2e1178fa20a44e942e1137cd7125b376edaadb4fbd46be30b69fe89525d64 contains a speech from Mandela starting with:
/1442:Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

"I am fundamentally an optimist ...
followed by lots of text.
That transaction is also part of an index in the same file:
tx 9e2928e02e77ceffc217a6df1fc992be128f2188e691986cbb0df8a4207a492f
The middle hash 27f4cc5c688e8V2b2347295ec3f071947bb847fb0cb2eb1a0fb9150040929e4e8 does not name any existing transaction however (it is one byte too long).
tx e3e37ed5c1de2631c147bd39429e42ff634e95b7d72423bc32d6c6b9d8eef8ee (2014-07-01):
For my first official Journal entry I've decided to archive some old poetry. Here are a few of the computational poems I've created using cyphers.
Figure 1. Shiemaa&Vincent.jpg. Source.
"Even if we tried to do it on purpose, never would have we succeeded." My beloved Vincent.
TODO identify Shiemaa and Vincent.
Figure 2. BikeLady.jpg. Source. Bike Lady by Allen Lee Vandever. tx 2c4b9497af8c0c0eb9383357b40c3de33dba0b4f481099a32719f2b9036da8e7, block 319927 (2014-09-10)
Figure 3. Arecibo_message.svg. Source.
An "artificially" colored visualization of the Arecibo message ripped from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arecibo_message.svg (with attribution).
The cool thing about this image is that it highlights the striking parallels between the encoding of the Arecibo message with crypto graffiti, because in both cases people were creating undocumented new ways of communicating with strangers on a new medium in those early blockchain days.
The associated message contains the Arecibo message as ASCII 0's and 1's. When properly cut at the newlines, they draw the message as ASCII art, as the original Arecibo encoding intends, here's a version with the 0's replaced by spaces to make it more readabale:
      1 1 1 1
  1 1     1 1       1
1   1   1   1  1 11  1
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1  1  1

          11 1
          11 1
          1 1 1

11    111   11    11
1             11  1
11 1   11   11    11 1
11111 11111 11111 11111

    1                 1

    1                 1
11111             11111

11    11    111   11
1       1         1
11 1    11   111  11 1
11111 11111 11111 11111

    1      11         1
    1     11          1
11111     11      11111
  1        1        1
    1      11       1
    11    11      1
      11   1    11
          11  11
      11   1    11
    11    11      1
    1      1        1
  1       11        1
  1        11        1
  1         1       1
  1       1       1
    1            11
    11        11
  1   111 1 11
  1       1
  1     11111
  1    1 111 1  1 11 11
      1  111  1  111111
1 111    111     11 111
          1 1     111 11
  1      1 1     111111
  1      1 1     11
  1     11 11

  111     1
  111 1 1   1 1 1 1 1 1
  111         1 1 1 1
              1 1
    111       111
    11           11
  11 1         1 11
  11  11       11  11
  1   1 1     1 1   1
  1   1  1   1  1   1
      1   1 1   1
      1    1    1
      1         1
        1  1 1
  1111  11111 1  1111
Figure 4. He sleeps in a temple.jpg. TODO identify. Novel work by EMBII? TODO we need a geocacher to find it, some city in North America no doubt. tx 460ed23bea89176cdfe18e13fce51ad5386ad8e3e1f7d6f5b4711b3be97b0502, block 360565 (2015-06-12)
Figure 5. PIA17563.jpg. Source.
Associated message:
NASA: A purple nebula, in honor of #Prince, who passed away today. Image: Crab #Nebula, as Seen by Herschel and #Hubble Image credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/MESS Key Programme Supernova Remnant Team; #NASA, ESA and Allison Loll/Jeff Hester (Arizona State University) #PIA17563
Figure 6. YellowRobot.jpg. Source.
Yellow Robot on block 450516 (2017-01-29)
Photography by EMBII, original art by TODO.
The associated message reads:
Chiharu and I found this little yellow robot while exploring Chicago. It will be covered by tar or eventually removed but this tribute will remain. N 41.880778 E -87.629210
This is one of Ciro's favorite AtomSea & EMBII uploads. This is the cutest thing ever, and perfectly encapsules the "medium as an artform" approach to blockchain art. More Chiharu stalking at: ILoveYouMore.jpg.
At twitter.com/EMBII4U/status/1615389973343268871 EMBII announced that he would be giving off shares of that image on a Bitcoin-based NFT sale system he's making called Sup!?, and in December 2023 gave some shares to Ciro Santilli. Amen.
TODO why did we fail to index examples such as these:
For a detailed analysis of one transaction see: Nelson-Mandela.jpg.
Best guess so far, all in ASCII hex of output scripts:
  • remove the single output value different from first one from payload, that's the change, and it is randomly placed as far as I see
  • 64 bytes: hex address of top level text
  • 1 byte: some random punctuation
  • decimal number of bytes of some payload
  • 1 byte: some random punctuation
  • 64 bytes: same as the first address
  • CR LF
  • ends in NUL