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Topics - eBlob

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Introduce Yourself / Hello
« on: July 14, 2016, 11:26:40 AM »
Hello everyone, good to be here!

Bitcoin / Thoughts On Scaling Bitcoin
« on: March 09, 2016, 11:59:44 AM »
Hello everyone,

I'm curious to know if others have been keeping a close watching on the scaling debate as it relates to bitcoin. It seems there is quite a bit of disagreement on how exactly this technology should be scaled sustain ably, or even what purpose bitcoin should serve in 10 years.

Some will claim that bitcoin needs to be scaled up so that it can accommodate faster, and a greater quantity of payments. This could come at the costs of a higher barrier to entry for the mining industry as it would increase the storage requirements for running a full node (a full copy of all transactions conducted). Increasing the block size would allow more payments to be included in a block, but that would make the barrier to entry higher for new miners.

The current block size is 1 MB.

After the Satoshi Roundtable event this last month (February), it seems like no definite path forward has been reached.

What do you think?

Should bitcoin be a platform for fast and quick micro-payment for everything from daily purchases to large movements of money? Or should it remain as decentralized as possible while keeping the barrier to entry low and the blockchain ledger an immutable record of financial information?


Diffie and Hellman's Invention of Public-Key Cryptography and Digital Signatures Revolutionized Computer Security

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today named Whitfield Diffie, former Chief Security Officer of Sun Microsystems and Martin E. Hellman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, recipients of the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award for critical contributions to modern cryptography. The ability for two parties to communicate privately over a secure channel is fundamental for billions of people around the world. On a daily basis, individuals establish secure online connections with banks, e-commerce sites, email servers and the cloud. Diffie and Hellman's groundbreaking 1976 paper, "New Directions in Cryptography," introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which are the foundation for most regularly-used security protocols on the Internet today. The Diffie-Hellman Protocol protects daily Internet communications and trillions of dollars in financial transactions.

The ACM Turing Award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing," carries a $1 million prize with financial support provided by Google, Inc. It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing and who was a key contributor to the Allied cryptoanalysis of the German Enigma cipher during World War II.

"Today, the subject of encryption dominates the media, is viewed as a matter of national security, impacts government-private sector relations, and attracts billions of dollars in research and development," said ACM President Alexander L. Wolf. "In 1976, Diffie and Hellman imagined a future where people would regularly communicate through electronic networks and be vulnerable to having their communications stolen or altered. Now, after nearly 40 years, we see that their forecasts were remarkably prescient."

"Public-key cryptography is fundamental for our industry," said Andrei Broder, Google Distinguished Scientist. "The ability to protect private data rests on protocols for confirming an owner's identity and for ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of communications. These widely used protocols were made possible through the ideas and methods pioneered by Diffie and Hellman."

Cryptography is a practice that facilitates communication between two parties so that the communication will be kept private and authenticated from a third party trying to read or alter what is being communicated. From ancient times, cryptography has been achieved through encryption, the conversion of readable information into gibberish that only a select few can decipher. In its earliest incarnations, encryption might have involved substituting one letter for another or rearranging the order of letters in the message. The development of radio in 1903, followed a decade later by World War I, gave cryptography a central role it never had before. At the same time, the development of electricity and machining allowed the development of machines that could encrypt far more securely than any human could. The post-World War I period saw the development of a number of enciphering machines that matured over the next 20 years and became the backbone of World War II cryptography. After the war, the development of computer technology led to faster and more secure cryptography by purely electronic machines.

In encryption, a "key" is a piece of information used to transform readable plain text into garbled incomprehensible cipher text. Encryption is much like keying a lock to accept a particular key and decryption is like using the key to open the lock. In the past, when two parties were seeking to establish secure communications, they needed to have identical keys. Supplying these keys—key management—was a major limitation of the flexibility of encrypted communications.

Two significant shortcomings of symmetric cryptosystems are the need for a secure means of key transfer and, because both parties have the same key, one could forge a message to oneself, claiming it came from the other. In addition, overuse of a particular key may provide an opponent with sufficient ciphertext to break the cryptosystem (i.e., discover the key). To limit the number of parties sharing the same key, separate keys are often distributed to each pair of communicating parties, posing additional key management challenges.

In "New Directions in Cryptography," Diffie and Hellman presented an algorithm that showed that asymmetric or public-key cryptography was possible. In Diffie and Hellman's invention, a public key, which is not secret and can be freely distributed, is used for encryption, while a private key, that need never leave the receiving device, is used for decryption. This asymmetric cryptosystem is designed in such a way that the calculation of the private key from the public key is not feasible computationally, even though one uniquely determines the other.

Reversing the process provides a digital signature. The transmitter of a message uses a private key to sign the message, while the receiver uses the transmitter's public key to authenticate it. Such digital signatures are more secure than written signatures because changing even one word of the message invalidates the signature. In contrast, a person's written signature looks the same on a $10 check and a $1,000,000 check.

Any user of the World Wide Web is likely to be familiar with the use of public-key cryptography to establish secure connections. A typical secure URL begins with "https," where the "s" means that the Secure Transport Layer protocol will be used to encrypt the communication. The secure connection is established using a combination of public-key cryptography to transport a key with symmetric cryptography that is used to encrypt subsequent communications.

In addition to laying the foundation for today's online security industry and establishing cryptography as a leading discipline within computer science, Diffie and Hellman's work made encryption technologies accessible to individuals and companies.

ACM will present the 2015 A.M. Turing Award at its annual Awards Banquet on June 11 in San Francisco, Calif.

Bitcoin / Goldman Sachs: Blockchain is Ready For Centre Stage
« on: December 02, 2015, 11:07:50 PM »
Blockchain technology is ready to "take centre stage", says a new report by banking giant Goldman Sachs.

The bank – which participated in Circle's $50m funding round earlier this year – notes in its Emerging Theme Radar research note sent to clients today that bitcoin might just be the "opening act" for blockchain technology.


Bitcoin / Winklevoss Gemini Exchange Is Approved For Launch
« on: October 07, 2015, 07:08:08 AM »
Finally, after what seems to have been months of delay, the Winklevoss twins have gained approval from the NYSDFS to launch their bitcoin exchange. Already, this seem to has caused some upward price momentum.

It really does seem like the twin duo is seeking to bring on institutional players not just on Wall Street, but from around many different countries!

Winklevoss Gemini Bitcoin Exchange Eyes Institutional Players
Bitcoin Exchange Gemini Approved for Launch in New York

Startup Management

The concept of a “Distributed Autonomous Organization/Corporation” is an idealistic outcome of the crypto-tech revolution. Its roots originate in themes on organizational decentralization that were depicted by Ori Brafman in Starfish And The Spider (2007), and ones about “peer production”, aptly described by Yochai Benkler in The Wealth of Networks (2007). But these two themes were recently joined by the advent of cryptocurrency related technologies by Dan Larimer who observed that Bitcoin is the original DAC, and Vitalik Buterin who expanded on that construct by generalizing it further as a DAO, noting that the DAO has “internal capital”. Deregulation of crowdfunding and unbundling of services were two additionally paired themes that added to this combustion, and the whole thing was turbo-charged by a crypto-tech governance layer of technologies and trust-based automations to allow DAOs to “run without any human involvement under the control of an incorruptible set of business rules.”

Read the full article.

Bitcoin / Using Bitcoin Aliases
« on: January 29, 2015, 07:50:19 PM »
Work has been going into making bitcoin more user friendly, and making the bitcoin wallet address invisible. A recent paper on how to use aliases instead of addresses has been published by Electrum, a leader in bitcoin wallet services.

Read the full paper here.

Here are some highlights:

Vanity addresses
  • 1BRMLAB7nryYgFGrG8x9SYaokb8r2ZwAsX
  • encourages address reuse

  • 1brmlab
  • short, easy to remember
  • allocated forever

Bitcoin / CoinShuffle: Decentralized Bitcoin Mixing Technology
« on: January 29, 2015, 07:40:05 PM »
The following is the abstract of the CoinShuffle technology being developed. The full paper can be found here.

The decentralized currency network Bitcoin is emerging as a potential new way of performing financial transactions across the globe. Its use of pseudonyms towards protecting users’ privacy has been an attractive feature to many of its adopters. Nevertheless, due to the inherent public nature of the Bitcoin transaction ledger, users’ privacy is severely restricted to linkable anonymity, and a few Bitcoin transaction deanonymization attacks have been reported thus far. In this paper we propose CoinShuffle, a completely decentralized Bitcoin mixing protocol that allows users to utilize Bitcoin in a truly anonymous manner. CoinShuffle is inspired by the accountable anonymous group communication protocol Dissent and enjoys several advantages over its predecessor Bitcoin mixing protocols. It does not require any (trusted, accountable or untrusted) third party and it is perfectly compatible with the current Bitcoin system. CoinShuffle introduces only a small communication overhead for its users, while completely avoiding additional anonymization fees and minimizing the computation and communication overhead for the rest of the Bitcoin system.

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