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, Bitcoin 2, Bitcoin is Slow Motion
The US Marshals, the agency tasked with the management of criminal assets, should have held onto the bitcoin they’ve seized. According to security company CEO Jameson Lopp’s US Marshals Bitcoin Auction realtime schadenfreude tracker the weak hands at the federal law enforcement agency have resulted in missing $1.7 billion in potential gains. From Decrypt: Of […]
It costs $1 in bitcoin to receive an in-game life on the SatoshiQuest Minecraft server. From there, you can start looking for bitcoin treasure (equal to 90% of the money collected from all the players) hidden within the blocky simulated world. From Coindesk: The first round of SatoshiQuest began on Jan. 26 and the game […]
Yesterday's column by John Naughton in the Observer revisited Nathan Myhrvold's 1997 prediction that when Moore's Law runs out -- that is, when processors stop doubling in speed every 18 months through an unbroken string of fundamental breakthroughs -- that programmers would have to return to the old disciplines of writing incredibly efficient code whose […]
In today’s hyper-competitive business world, generating leads and converting them into viable business is a vital numbers game that can be the difference between your operation scaling and stagnating. Unfortunately, leads are becoming more and more expensive to generate, meaning any mishandled or dropped leads can have a huge negative impact on your bottom line. […]
When you’re out camping or just relaxing as the sun lazily slips below the horizon, there’s an elegant romanticism to the darkening sky and the onset of inky blackness. But when you’re stuck outside fixing a flat, trying to navigate or simply find something in the dark, all the charm and wonder of the night […]
Pipe smoking is in a weird place culturally. Even while smoking restrictions fall nationwide and companies produce tobacco flavors of every variety, there remains a stigma around conventional pipes that can be problematic in the wrong places. For those who want to smoke without all the attention, the Genius Mini 5.0 Pipe is a smart […]