Ben Laurie is a respected cryptographer (he maintains OpenSSL and is in charge of security research for Google) and he's skeptical of BitCoin, a virtual, cryptography-based currency that has attracted a lot of attention. Ben has written three posts describing his objection to "proof-of-work" as a basis for a virtual currency, and they're great reading, as are the followups from his readers. I don't have the crypto chops to have a strong opinion one way or another on this, and in situations like that, watching people a lot smarter than me arguing is my best strategy for getting smarter myself:
Also, for what its worth, if you are going to deploy electronic coins, why on earth make them expensive to create? That's just burning money - the idea is to make something unforgeable as cheaply as possible. This is why all modern currencies are fiat currencies instead of being made out of gold.
Bitcoins are designed to be expensive to make: they rely on proof-of-work. It is far more sensible to use signatures over random numbers as a basis, as asymmetric encryption gives us the required unforgeability without any need to involve work. This is how Chaum's original system worked. And the only real improvement since then has been Brands' selective disclosure work.
If you want to limit supply, there are cheaper ways to do that, too. And proof-of-work doesn't, anyway (it just gives the lion's share to the guy with the cheapest/biggest hardware).
, Bitcoin 2
, Bitcoin is Slow Motion
In this week’s Cool Tools Show podcast, Kevin Kelly and I interviewed Nick Bilton. Nick is a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair and author of three books, including Hatching Twitter and his latest, American Kingpin, which chronicles the rise and fall of the Silk Road and the Dread Pirate Roberts. Here’s a bit from the […]
Kim Dotcom says he’s launching a Bitcoin payments system for users to sell content uploads, or charge for streaming live video.
A new Transparency International report ranks the world’s most superheated urban property markets to find the most corrupt and finds that Australia is a playground for offshore criminals looking to launder their money, because “real estate agents are not subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 2006,” thus, “70 per […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]