You can now mine rather than inscribe a square Bitcoin block image

On Tuesday morning, publicly traded bitcoin miner Marathon Digital created a viral art piece on Bitcoin’s blockchain. However, unlike NFTs, Ordinals, Counterparty assets, or any other type of prior art, Marathon simply ordered transactions in a precise pattern. This block of ordered transactions rendered as a pixelated image on block indexer websites like

Many Bitcoiners shared the image, a corporate advertisement for Marathon, and as such, its media campaign worked. However, Marathon had to forgo some transaction fee revenue in order to carefully craft its block template with less competitively priced transactions.

Marathon compensated by increasing public awareness of its block template-building and mining skills.

The organizer of one Bitcoin conference poked fun, noting that the ad was uncentered by one pixel. The ad also failed to render on certain block indexers. Nevertheless, its message was communicated clearly enough to thousands of observers.

Marathon ordered transactions in a precise pattern, however, its artwork was apparently one pixel out.

Read more: Bitcoin miners increasingly rely on government handouts to compete

Although the rendering and ordering of pixels into particular dimensions is not a consensus-level decision enforced by Bitcoin full nodes, block indexers’ standard convention made it a convenient canvas for Marathon’s art.

Because Marathon owns its own mining pool and uses its own block templates, it was able to create a custom graphic that didn’t involve any NFT, Ordinal, or Counterparty protocols.

The Bitcoin block number is 836361. As with any block that wins Bitcoin’s 10-minute mining competition, Marathon received transaction fee revenue plus the coinbase reward for broadcasting the valid block. This time, that block just so happened to be a piece of art. Marathon received 7.972 bitcoins in combined transaction fees plus coinbase rewards for the block.

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