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Fifty Years of Cypherpunk: History, Personalities, And Spread of its ideas
In this review, we tell how the ideas of cypherpunk were born, how they influenced cryptocurrencies, and modern technologies, who formed the basis and why its popularity these days has grown again.
From the early days to today: the chronology of key events of the cypherpunk
In the early 1970s,James Ellis of the UK Government Communications Center put forward the concept of public-key cryptography. In the early 1980s, small groups of hackers, mathematicians and cryptographers began working on the realization of this idea. One of them was an American cryptographer, Ph.D. David Chaum, who is sometimes called the godfather of cypherpunk. This new culture has proclaimed computer technology as a means of destroying state power and centralized management systems.Key figure among the cypherpunk of the 80s — Intel specialist Timothy C. May. His dream was to create a global system that allows anonymous exchange of information. He created the concept of the BlackNet system. In September 1988, May wrote The Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto: people themselves, without politicians, manage their lives, use cryptography, use digital currencies, and other decentralized tools.In 1989,David Chaum founded DigiCash an eCash digital money system with its CyberBucks and with the blind digital signature technology.Since 1992, Timothy May, John Gilmore (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and Eric Hughes (University of California) have begun holding secret meetings and regular PGP-encrypted mailing through anonymous remailer servers. And finally, in 1993 Eric Hughes published a fundamental document of the movement — А Cypherpunk's Manifesto. The importance of confidentiality, anonymous transactions, cryptographic protection — all these ideas were subsequently implemented in cryptocurrencies.The term "cypherpunk" was first used by hacker and programmer Jude Milhon to a group of crypto-anarchists.In 1995,Julian Assange, the creator of WikiLeaks, published his first post in cypherpunk mailing.In 1996,John Young and Deborah Natsios created the Cryptome, which published data related to security, privacy, freedom, cryptography. It is here that subsequently will be published data from the famous Edward Snowden.In 1997, cryptographerDr. Adam Back (you know him as CEO of Blockstream) created Hashcash, a distributed anti-spam mechanism.In 1998, computer engineer Wei Dai published two concepts for creating a b-money digital payment system:
Each member of the system has a copy of the system database with user funds balances (this idea found itself in Bitcoin).
Distributed base, but not everyone has a copy. To maintain the integrity of participants, deposits, fines, and incentives are provided. This was later implemented in the Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.
In April 2001,Bram Cohen developed the BitTorrent protocol and application.In 2002,Paul Syverson, Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson presented the alpha version of the anonymity network named TOR Project.In 2004, cypherpunk Hal Finney created the Reusable Proof of Work (RPoW) algorithm. It was based on Adam Back's Hashcash but its drawback was centralization.In 2005, cryptographer Nick Szabo, who developed the concept of smart contracts in the 1990s, announced the creation of Bit Gold — a digital collectible and investment item.In October 2008, legendary Satoshi Nakamoto created themanifesto“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, which refers to the works of the cypherpunk classics Adam Back and Wei Dai.In 2011,Ross William Ulbricht aka Dread Pirate Roberts created the Silk Road, the first major market for illegal goods and services on the darknet.In 2016,Julian Assange released the book "Cypherpunks: Freedom and the future of the Internet."At the beginning of 2018,Pavel Durov, the creator of Telegram, announced the launch of the TON multi-blockchain platform and mentioned his plans to launch TON ICO.In 2019, the Tor Project introduced an open anti-censorship group.
Plenty of services, products, and technologies were inspired by cypherpunk: Cryptocurrencies, HD (Hierarchical Deterministic) crypto wallets, Coin Mixers, ECDHM addresses, Privacy Coins. The ideas of distribution and anonymity were also implemented in the torrents and VPN. You can see the embodiment of cybersecurity ideas in the electronic signatures and protected messengers (Telegram, Signal, and many others).Why there were so many talks about cypherpunk this spring?In April 2020, Reddit users suggested that the letter from the famous cypherpunks mailing dated September 19, 1999, was written by Satoshi Nakamoto himself (or someone close to him). This letter is about the functioning of ecash. Anonymous (supposed Satoshi) talks about the "public double-spending database" and Wei Dai's b-money as a possible foundation for ecash.In addition, researchers of the mystery "Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?" periodically make some noise and discover the next "secret" about one or another legendary cypherpunks. So, in May 2020, Adam Back wrote in response to videos and new hype discussions that, despite some coincidences, he is not Satoshi.Other heroes of the scene are not idle too: in April 2020, David Chaum received $9.7 million during the presale of the confidential coin xx, created to encourage venture investors.
As you can see from the Satoshi Nakamoto's mentions and from the stories of DigiCash, Hashcash, RPoW, Bit Gold, the movement of cypherpunk influenced a lot the emergence of cryptocurrencies. As governments and corporations restrict freedom and interfere with confidentiality, cypherpunk ideas will periodically rise in popularity. And this confrontation will not end in the coming decades.
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today. During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it) In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited. For more threads like this see UASF
Amir Taaki - Breaking Bitcoin presentation (transcript)
Below I transcribed Amir's talk from Breaking Bitcoin (see previous post here, start of presentation (youtube): here). Excuse the errors (will fix if you point me to them). What was most interesting for me:
Amir tries to influence the world (on global scale) by introducing high tech projects that will help ordinary people - he is collecting hackers to work on projects (CTRL-F "academy")
one of those projects is using Bitcoin in local economies (in combination with supplementary systems (CTRL-F "vouchers")
interesting background - Skinner vs Mumford; open source software movement
Amir: Thank you for having me here. I believe that ideas play an important role in shaping human history. What I want to talk about is how technology has been shaped by key ideas. In particular how certain mechanical ideas of human society got mixed up with with politics and technology. What I want to talk about is the free technology movement. It was a movement that showed great potential promise to liberate humanity. At the heart of it was a idea that technology offered a new way to construct a radially different kind of society that never before was possible in history, this movement was influenced by the visions of early scientists who believed in the power of computer technology not just to serve large industry and military but everybody to have access to this new power. Influenced of by the 60s counterculture, this movement went on to develop the first personal computers. But that's not the end of the story because this radical vision mutated into the idea of self-regulating systems which see human beings as object managed by computer algorithms. In this vision, the value of human ideas to transform the world was diminished into a strange kind of consensus where everybody satisfies their personal desires. We now find ourselves in a strange static dreamworld while dark forces are returning to threaten to penetrate our reality and all of the dreams of the techno-utopiasts play the role in creating this fake virtual world in which human beings driven by desires, devoid of all sense of higher purpose become slaves to algorithms and vast computer intelligences. What is interesting about this story is the significance it has for Bitcoin. A project which is created for the purpose of creating a decentralized peer-to-peer money that cannot be controlled by governments and central banks but which now finds itself monopolized by large mining cartels. A lack of vision to guide the project forwards and increasing irrelevance in a world facing a global breakup of power. Lastly I want to explain my project to revitalize the free technology movement to formulate a wider vision to restore back the potential of the technology to transform human society and train the next generation of revolutionary hackers dedicated to the cause of using the technology to support the cause of freedom. My aim here is to find sponsors, find the place for establishing our hacker Academy, to find partner organisations to develop new technology projects with and to find people ready to dedicate themselves in advancing the free technology movement. People ready to be at the forefront of writing history. At the heart of this story lies a conflict between two men in 1968. One of them is good B.F. Skinner, the other is good Lewis Mumford. It was one moment when two ideas about how technology could be used to advance human society first XXX ((unintelligible)) to take hold. There's a documentary from this time made in mid-60s called "Towards tomorrow". And in this documentary, it described two possible future visions for human society. In a society where old forms of authority were declining, what would be the way that we could organize masses of human beings in a future society. One of these visions for this society was a world managed by an elite group of technocrats, a specialized elite who managed a large population of passive human beings who constantly needed to be monitored and managed to be able to to keep them happy. B.F. Skinner described a new way of controlling and ordering people. He posed the question in this age of mass democracy and individualism the old forms of coercion was simply not possible and he put forth the idea of using reward. And he described an experiment where you have a cage with a pigeon inside and the pigeon can be trained to peck symbols, buttons, and depending on which symbol they peck, they get a pellet of food. In this way, by giving the pigeons the right reward for the correct behavior, they train the pigeon as a mechanical object. He then took this farther and he went to a mental hospital in San Bernardino in California and in the mental hospital, what they did is they gave the mental patients small reward every time they did a good behavior. With this reward, when it was a lunch time or a dinner time, the patients could sit at a nicer table. So, inside the mental hospital, they created a new ordered hierarchy from a system of reward in which people don't feel controlled but feel empowered. Skinner describes this model as a model for the future of humanity. What's really interesting about this video by Skinner is it there's something very eerily similar to what we see today in which there is a technocratic elite that has interest in politics only in managing human society to keep us happy to keep everything stable and to keep themselves rich. A lot of this was powered in the mid-80s with the fake consumer credit to reward us as a form of social management - much like the experiment with the hospital, the mental hospital. Lewis Mumford put forward an alternative vision for a society. In this video I'm going to show you - he first criticises Skinner and then he puts forward an alternative vision where everybody in the society is a participant. Everybody is an active human being deciding their destiny.
There were many forms the computer could have taken. In 1800s, the computer was proposed by Babbage. And popularized by Ada Lovelace. It was seen as a tool that would have huge social uses and that should be in the hands of many people, but when the computer was first developed during WWII - for cracking German codes for the military and for guiding ballistic missiles - computers became a very large centralized machine. By the 80s, communities of hackers started to emerge which started to be fascinated with these huge machines - which at the time you had to get the time slice, to get the appointment to get to get some time to use the machine - they started to get jobs near these computing devices, because they wanted to know how these machines could work. They started to build their own computers in their garages, in their houses and universities - and that was the birth of the personal computers, the reason why we now have laptops and telephones. What happened was: a lot of big companies started to come along and they started to invest a lot of capital. All of the hacker community - who up until that point had never seen money before in their life - to throw themselves at, at the proprietary industry. And whereas before the culture that had created this personal computers, this liberatory technology, really believed in power to use the technology to improve the humanity for the better, who really believed in free technology, in sharing techniques and code with each other - instead became siloed off. But there was one guy - Richard Stallman - he was just a guy - he found this ethically wrong. If enough people got together, we could give a challenge against the proprietary industry. He made that as a proposal to the community - that it doesn't have to be this way, if we together put our energies we can build our own operating system. A lot of people at that time thought that he was crazy or that his ideas weren't feasible. This is early video of Richard Stallman.
So, in 1991, the cryptography was classified as ammunitions and Philip Zimmermann wrote the first freely available encryption software for anybody to use and he uploaded it to the Internet. The American government arrested him and he was facing a decade in prison. What Philip Zimmerman did was to print the source code of PGP - of this encryption software - which he sold internationally, which is something that in America is protected under the First Amendment. And the American government was realizing that they couldn't continue with the case, they dropped the case. And since that time, because of the action of Philip Zimmermann, software became classified as a form of speech. And cryptography became widely available. It's now reason why cryptography is available everywhere. Also, in early 90s, Stallman has started to piece together his operating system. And by now a community a community of people has emerged around him. It was the birth of Linux - a really important piece of technology. Not just in the free technology world, but in general, in hi-tech space it place a very key role. And that was a rise of the whole bunch of movements: free software movement, hacker movement, crypto-anarchist movement. Movements were invigorated with creating a lot of new ideas and a lot of new concepts about how we could use the technology to shape the world around us. These were collective movements driven by the shared sense of purpose. Towards the end of the 90s (the baby boomer generation), the western society became overly optimistic. Something the Jean Baudrillard called 'the dead of society' and 'obsession with desert-like forms / with the simulacrum'. Stallman free software movement failed to capitalize on institutionalizing his movement. And what happen was what emerged was the open source movement. It was a movement that said: making this technology is not a question of freedom/ethics, it's simply when you have access to source code of a program it's more efficient, it's cheaper, it makes more quality code. I don't think that's true, but that was their argument. One of the main spokesmen was Eric Raymond who released a book called 'A cathedral and a bazaar'. In that book, Eric Raymond has described the open source development philosophy as open bazaar where everybody, dozens or hundreds of people, a wide number of people all collaborated in a horizontal manner. He coined an idea that given enough eyes all bugs are shallow. When we have a piece of source code, if there are enough people - all contributing a small amount of time and looking at the source code - then if there is a bug, that bug will be found. The idea that given a huge amount of people with a small amount of contribution of each, that we can develop projects and advance technology. Then what happened was the biggest event in the modern western history - which was the collapse of the twin towers, the twin idols of capitalism, perfect in a reflections, reaching into the skyline of New York - which realized our deepest most hidden desires to see the destruction of this passive lifeless world. And what it represented was the return of the real (of the) dark forces - that we ignored - back to penetrate into our reality. In early 2000s we saw a lot of optimism and momentum for change. We saw the Arab spring, we saw The occupy, we saw the orange revolutions. In the technology world, we saw a lot of advances, there was a huge amount of optimism for Linux on the desktop. Every year the people were saying: this is going be the year of the desktop. Everybody was waiting for that sudden single breakthrough. One of the major developments in technology world was the confrontation that took place between Hollywood and a Manhattan programmer called Bram Cohen. ((...)) He developed BitTorrent. The concept started with sites like Napster or Kazaa - that were centralized services that were shut down by authorities. Cohen came up with a concept: if enough people downloading files and seeding them at the same time - then the more people that download the file the more that file will become widely distributed in the network. So, that file will become shared in a self-regulating network. It was a big success and the movie studios didn't know what to do about this, they were completely powerless in face of this technology. The idea of creating a functional self-regulating system outside of power proved itself and it's something wildly popular among technologists. The next major development is the shutdown of the Pirate bay which led to the development of the Pirate party that at one point had double digits in elections and even entered into the EU parliament. There is huge momentum behind it. Wikipedia was also developed - the idea that given thousands and thousands of people all contributing small edits, one line at time, could build this huge knowledge resource . Around this movements started to emerge the new priests of this internet-centric decentralization technology - people like Yochai Benkler, academics who would go to conferences and sell this ideology to people. But something strange started to emerge. Wikipedia released statistics about edits on Wikipedia. We found that it was a small group of dedicated people that wrote the majority of Wikipedia, people who really believed in the project and spent all their time writing the majority of the articles on the website. When we started to look closer at these decentralized systems, what we observed was small groups of leaders surrounded by a wider community. In BitTorent, it wasn't that everybody was seeding in the network. Most people, after they downloaded, didn't continue to run the software. In fact, it was a small group of users, who wanted to challenge Hollywood and promote BitTorrent, who would leave their software running seeding torrents. In open source, we observed that there were small groups of dedicated developers in a project surrounded by wider community. And in fact, what Stallman has done was not just to write Linux and put that in the community, but he had written articles, he had written manifestos, he had put forward a vision and an ideology that pulled together enough people and drove this movement of hackers forwards. So what drove these projects for freedom was not a new model or a new technique. It was a vision that pulled together enough people to realize an idea. To understand why Occupy and Arab Spring and orange revolutions and the Pirate Party and a lot of these movements had a huge of amount of will and movement - fail, it's really instructive to understand what happened to Egypt. In Egypt, huge amounts of youths started to mobilize through Facebook and they started to go to this center in Cairo to front the military dictatorship. Huge amount of people died in that struggle. And after they threw out ((?)) the military dictatorship, the youth then sat down and said: "Okay, now what we are gonna do? What's next?". So they started to discuss. And into that, came a group of people, with a vision, with an ideology, that was well organized and able to pull together enough strands of the society behind them. But they could put their vision into power. And that was the Muslim Brotherhood. And then the same youth hood - that kicked out the military dictatorship - came back to the square to ask the military dictatorship to come back and rescue them from the Islamists. At the same time, Satoshi developed Bitcoin. I remember on Satoshi's early website he described it as a peer-to-peer form of money that cannot be controlled by central banks and governments. And it's something that attracted libertarians, cryptographers and hackers. Bitcoin is kind of a technology - free technology project - that was a little late to the party. Interestingly, it finds itself in the same place as the movements that preceded it. The fundamental problem with Bitcoin is not a problem of missing this or that technology, it's a problem of a lack of vision, a lack of how this technology is - And it's not just about Bitcoin - it's something to do with the wider technology movement. We have to understand the global situation now. Humanity is facing a future with a huge amount of suffering. We are facing the threats from terrorism, from immigration. There's the rise of new ideological movements - ISIS just went and took a city in southern Philippines for more than a month - which is right next to Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country in the world. And in Europe the new right movement is getting very strong, organizing training camps, becoming well-organized, getting into political power and well-funded. This is the reality of our situation now. We have to think about how this technologies that we make -, where do they situate themselves in the wider global context. In Rojava, there is also a really important movement with the ideology of democratic confederalism which is the way forward from anarchism. And offers a really good analysis of what is the current society and what is the crisis that we're facing. And how, in that place, revolutionaries from all over the world are going to learning the methodology and ideology of this movement. It's a new emerging movement outside of any one person's control, but new forces can be harnessed. What we have to understand is that anarchist movement and the hacker movement is something deeply connected. The problem with anarchism is that it failed in it's potential to advance humanity forward, it's simply an ideology that no longer is able to work. What we have in Rojava is a libertarian revolution of 5 million people. What is democratic confederalism? It's an ideological movement that opposes the state as a mechanical worldview and sees the nature as something that is divine, that seeks to restore the balance back between internal+subjective and external+material world. The freedom comes from reaching our destiny as human beings, not simply through pleasure seeking. (Liberalism is the destruction of the free society.) And the better humanity it's not simply a happier humanity but stronger freer humanity. The crisis in the West not simply an economic crisis, but social crisis - we're facing a deep cultural issue. All of the ideas in hacker movement - such as BitLaw, digital governance, cryptographic economy, decentralized organization, new economic models, new technical tools - unless we are able to take all of these concepts and put them into a plan, with a sense of direction, that we can put these into practice - then it's something that's going to be lost. Now, what's presenting itself is a massive opportunity for hackers to put their ideas into practice. So, right now we are building a hacker team. There's 3 tasks we have to do: study of all the ideas and concepts in technology. From this study we have to develop a long- term plan. And thirdly, we have to devote ourselves to build the technical base of this new emerging democratic confederalism movement, we have to create revolutionary hackers dedicated to the course. If we don't, then all of the technology we are making is outside of the society, it's a toy, and what is relevant in this world is not making new products to fill the spaces in the environment around us, but using technology to shape politics that influence the world around us. This revolution in North Syria or Rojava is the biggest opportunity in the entire history of modernity. Through this we can give direction to the hacker movement. One of our main projects is a Bitcoin project. We have a nation of 5 million people and - and - and there is a financial situation where they're under financial embargo, they use - , they don't have the financial infrastructure so they use paper money and Syrian Lira is inflating massively. Because there's embargo so you can't send money in and out. Also there is a project to create decentralized economy and there's a lot of real concrete uses for Bitcoin. And also the ideology of the revolutionary nation is in line with the vision and values of the Bitcoin. When we decide to look at deploying Bitcoin, what we realize is that Bitcoin is not ready and there's a lot of new things that need to be developed in Bitcoin, they should make it so it's able to be deployed on a scale of 5 million people. We are assembling a project to deploy Bitcoin as the national currency of Rojava. We want to create new products in practical use on a large scale. Products that solve real problems and serve the cause of freedom. Towards this goal, we're assembling a team of 20 hackers dedicated for two years. We're looking to establish links with companies and sponsors to make this happen. The first step is to establish a hacker's academy in Greece - to train groups of revolutionary self-sufficient hackers that we're going to deploy on projects. Our needs now: partners, sponsors, space, support. Our first plan is to setup exchange shops and localized wallets in Bitcoin where people come buy vouchers and use Bitcoin to create a local Bitcoin market. We have to create brochures, lots of information. Once this system gets bigger, then we also need to think of bigger financial infrastructure - so one of the things is paper wallets. At the moment, 100 thousands paper wallet cost $6000. Unfortunately the counterfeiting measures on the paper wallets aren't very well made. There needs to be a lot research done. There is a small USB device called ESP 12 which can be programmed with micro Python and C and it has on-board Wi-Fi, plus you can fit modules for radio. Through that you can create a large scale payments networks with cheap consumer devices that cost fie dollars each for people to transact bitcoins. There is also a big market for Bitcoin because sending money between Rojava and Istanbul currently costs 5 %. Later, we also can create plastic card system where we print cards and also establish payments network using radio systems. There needs to be a lot of development and investigations in Lightning Networks and other technologies. This is why I [want to ((?))] have a laboratory - if I take a group of people there - I can create all kinds of technology projects and a lot of concepts we've been theorizing for a long time. We can see that it works practically. There is also the project of the Pirates to create liquid democracy - there is a system of local councils in every neighborhood which - , a lot of these digital platforms that have been developed for many years - we can deploy them. There was also the economy being based on cooperatives - all of the ideas about economic management, about collective management of resources about using cryptography and currencies to manage cooperatives. These all things we can deploy - but what it's going to take is a group of people who's doing this research, who's going deep - not only in terms of developing new concepts - but looking back into the literature about what were - , what is the history of the movement, where we situated it and also what are the concepts and how we can apply them towards our goal. I'm gonna to finish my talk on that. Does anybody have questions?
Do not underestimate the importance of this group of enthusiasts for the cryptoworld. Surely, they were the beginning of the modern era of cryptography, the rapid growth of which we can see now. The topic of privacy and encryption has always interested specialists and scientists. Modern cryptography was born during the Second World War, as a response to the widespread use of radio. By the time this technology became so popular that small radio stations had become a nightmare for secret military conversations. The United States and Britain began to use the developed mechanisms of encryption and coding, the technology was improved after the war. In the 1970s, the idea of public key encryption appeared on the basis of mathematical calculations. But the real development of cryptography was precisely with the emergence of a network that connects thousands of computers around the world — the Internet. By this time, the issue of privacy was not only interested in government officials involved in security matters, but also ordinary Internet users, as well as computer specialists. The ideas of the 80s about a secure network were to become a reality. At the end of 1992, a group of people called themselves “Cypherpunk” (Cypherpunks), using the words “cypher” and “cyberpunk” — a genre of fiction, which described the technological society of the future. They were people of different professions — Eric Hughes, mathematician, Tim May, businessman, Jude Milhon, hacker, John Gilmore, computer scientist and Sunmicrosystems employee, and their friends . These people disagreed with the government’s desire to gain full control over the Internet and use cyberspace for their own purposes. Thanks to Philip Zimmermann, the PGP program appeared, which provided military-grade encryption capabilities for ordinary people to work with regular documents and e-mail. In order to convey their ideas to other cryptography enthusiasts, the group began to issue regular mailings. Cypherpunks always put confidentiality and personal freedom above any arguments. In 1993, the “Cypherpunk manifesto” was released, in which the main ideas of the group, their principles, which are still relevant today, were presented.“Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something that does not want the whole world to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world. “ Cypherpunks are responsible for the appearance of HashCash, an algorithm for creating blocks, based on verifying the real computing work of the equipment. In 1997, this algorithm was developed to protect electronic correspondence from spam. The idea was to attach a certain “stamp” to the email, that a certain capacity of the computer was spent to send an email, which would make the sending of spam costly and slow. The next year, the concept of the electronic currency B-Money was invented. Then the idea of the POS algorithm appeared. In 2001, Bram Cohen created the P2P protocol and wrote the first BitTorrent client program. The main purpose was to make it possible to download files from different sources simultaneously, speeding up the download time. It is this technology that underlies the modern system of file exchange through torrents.Many members of the group were opposed to the government. Not all liked their ideology, the dissenting members of the intellectual community invented new ways of hacking their ciphers, and cypherpunks created new methods of encryption in order to protect their own ideas. It was in the company of the cypherpunks that a person (or a group of people) appeared, known as Satoshi Nakamoto. The theme of the mystery of this person still gives rise to many rumors and speculations. In 2008, he published a document called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Despite numerous criticisms, in 2009 the first Bitcoin block was produced.It is thanks to the cypherpunks that we are obliged to the appearance of modern encryption systems available to the public, the existence of crypto-currencies, as well as to the very idea of crypto-revolution and privacy in the network. And also the ideas of cyberpunk, which today have become a reality. t.me/WhiteBitcoin https://bitwhite.org/
Ideas are not harmless. Ideas can be destructive, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. New ideas run at risk of disturbing the homeostasis that evolved in the environment they contaminate. I worry everyday about what we have created. Inventions can not be put back into the box they came from. As soon as we announce a new invention, we lose control over it. Worse, there is no guarantee that a new invention ends up benefiting humanity in the long run. With the discovery of nuclear weapons we ensured that another great war would be the last one. With the discovery of heroin we ensured the death through addiction of millions. With Bitcoin, we have changed the natural laws that governed the global economy. This will inevitably trigger the largest social upheaval in modern history. Governments know that technology is the most disruptive power in the world. The American government knew this was going to happen. The NSA came up with a theoretical implementation of Bitcoin in 1996. They knew. And they prepared themselves. Today the US government is the owner of 144.336 Bitcoin, or one percent of the total current supply. Don't expect your government to let go of those coins. If the US government would ever see a need to purchase Bitcoin, it's own acquisition of new Bitcoin would inevitably trigger a rise in prices. This was the easiest way for your government to step into the game and preserve its own relevancy in the coming global economy. The official narrative is that Bitcoin surged as a result of the stability found through the closure of Silk Road. The Chinese then stepped into the market and we ended up at 200 dollar a coin. The official narrative is a lie. The sudden massive increase in volume on Chinese Bitcoin exchanges was completely unexplainable. There was no rise in client downloads in China. There was no rise in Bitcoin search volume on Baidu. There was no rise in Bitcoin visits on the Chinese Wikipedia. There was no Chinese bubble. You can all look this up for yourself, and you'll see that I'm right. What happened is that the world's second largest superpower took an emergency response upon discovering that the world's largest superpower seized 1% of the global Bitcoin supply. The closure of Silk Road was never about drugs, it was about seizing Bitcoin without causing a price spike. Who was capable of causing the April 2013 DDOS attacks that brought Mt Gox to its knees, triggering a price collapse? The US government owns a massive botnet. The US government thinks about the long term. Their goal is to make the worldwide adaptation of Bitcoin as little disruptive as possible. They know what's going to happen and the chaos it will cause. We're only barely beginning to understand what we have unleashed. As mentioned earlier, you have no power to stop the use of a technology. Mr. Nobel was horrified to see how dynamite was used, you will be horrified to see how Bitcoin will be used. You can't decide how Bitcoin will be used any more than Bram Cohen could decide what you will and won't get to download with Bittorrent. There is no "Stop" sign that Bitcoin has to obey. There is 32 trillion dollar worth of wealth hidden off shore to avoid paying taxes. This is sooner or later going to end up stored in Bitcoin. People who own Bitcoin will see no need to pay taxes, thus leading to a rise in taxes for people who do pay taxes, thus leading to more people fleeing to Bitcoin. Eventually, this leads to a situation where all financial transactions are done in Bitcoin. Fiat currency is going to be worthless. This is good news for you, but not for the rest of humanity. We are about to witness the largest transfer of wealth in human history. The victims will be those a few years from now who didn't invest and are forced to buy Bitcoin to pay for their groceries when the value of the dollar starts to take a nosedive. How will your neighbor feel when his savings have become worthless and his bank won't let him withdraw the money? How will people in third world countries without access to Bitcoin feel? How will the people of the world feel about people becoming billionaires through sheer luck? Will those people use their power in a responsible manner? You're going to feel thankful for every crash we've had, as every crash encouraged people with a large balance to divest and thereby lead to a more egalitarian distribution of Bitcoin. The problem is nonetheless unavoidable. There will be anonymous Bitcoin billionaires. There will be social and economic chaos. I genuinely hope that I'm wrong and shake my head a few years from now. We can't count on such luck however. Think about what you're going to do. You successfully inverted the global economic order. Now you are at the steering wheel.
History of Bitcoin: An analysis of where it's been, where it is, and where it's going.
What is Bitcoin? A brief history. Okay. So we know that cryptocurrencies are non-state issued currencies that seek to maintain value through scarcity (usually), security (hopefully), and easy transferability regardless of national borders (indubitably). Bitcoin does all of these things...but so do other cryptocurrencies. Why is Bitcoin special? Let's start with a bit of history. Beginning in the 1980s, a group of developers and activists formed a list serve and named themselves the Cypherpunks. This group was obsessed with societal privacy and anonymity. They believed that only complete privacy and security could guarantee a free and open society and that the government could not be relied upon to ensure it. Members of the group sought different modes to achieve this goal. Among others: Bram Cohen: BitTorrent -> Peer to Peer information sharing Nick Szabo: Bit Gold -> predecessor of Bitcoin, originator of smart contracts Julian Assange: WikiLeaks -> classified and secret document archive and disclosure Another person (?) on this list was "Satoshi Nakamoto" who, in his seminal whitepaper in 2009, outlined Bitcoin. Note that "Satoshi Nakamoto" is in quotation marks because his or her or their true identity is thus far unconfirmed. Regardless, Nakamoto's whitepaper conceptualized Bitcoin and in the process created the idea of the blockchain and solved the double spending problem. The double spending problem was something that had plagued digital currencies since they were first proposed. The problem, characterized by a digital currency's lack of physical permanence and resultant ability to be copied, forged, or otherwise falsified, prevent digital currency from progressing past the point of "internet money". Nakamoto managed to resolve double-spending this via implementation of the blockchain. Let me explain how: Traditional transactions are pretty straightforward. Party A gives Party B some number of dollars. Party B accepts this money without concern because, the possibility of counterfeiting not withstanding, he is pretty sure that the dollars that he is receiving are legitimate. Since dollars are physical, they can only be spent in one place at a time. Image 1 This works great when both parties are confident that the money being transacted can only be spent once as is the case with physical money. Digital money is intangible by its nature and therefore, double spending is a concern. Say that Party A has BitCash A. He wants to purchase goods from Party B and Party C. The goods to be purchased EACH cost BitCash A. If Party A is honest, he will only purchase one of the goods since he can't afford both. Party A is a bad dude, though, and decides to try to pull a fast one on Party B and Party C. Since BitCash is just internet money, it's easily reproducible and requires only a quick copy and paste to dupe the system. Party A sends BitCash A to Party B as well as to Party C. Someone is loses money (likely the whole network since this is a fatal flaw in the currency and indicates underlying unreliability). Image 2 For those of you wondering how credit cards and other digital systems alleviate this issue, they do it through a centralized ledger. In other words, a third party is needed to mediate transactions and to ensure that money only exists in one place at a time. While this works in the context of traditional banking, this system goes against the ethos of Bitcoin, which is predicated on decentralization, privacy, and anonymity. Additionally, the idea of trusting a third party to verify all transactions introduced a single point of potential failure, something that cryptocurrencies sought to avoid. The above issue remained unsolved until Nakamoto's invention of Bitcoin. Nakamoto introduced the idea of the blockchain, a constantly updated decentralized universal ledger that existed everywhere and nowhere, that was maintained by multiple parties on the network, and that was permanently reliable. Each transaction had to be verified by multiple parties (known as miners) as being legitimate before becoming irreversibly codified in the universal ledger known as the blockchain. Should a party seek to double spend, one of the transactions put forth would be rejected: either the one that was placed second, or the one that received fewer confirmations from the network. By relying on a second party system, the double spending problem was solved. Image 3 In the above case, Party A attempts to double spend his Bitcoin A to Party B and Party C. Both proposed transactions are sent to miners to verify. Only one of the two is accepted by the network and added to the blockchain. In this case, the Bitcoin A sent to Party B is confirmed as legitimate while the proposed transaction to Party C is rejected. Bitcoin A is NOT double spent. Party B ends up with Bitcoin A and Party C ends up with nothing. With the double spending problem and others worked out, Bitcoin became a viable mode for transaction. The first official Bitcoin transaction occurred on January 12, 2009 between Nakamoto and Hal Finney. Bitcoin ceased to be theoretical and entered the real world. Exchanges began carrying Bitcoin and facilitating its transfer between people. Over the next several years Bitcoin's value grew from fractions of a cent to over $11000 (as of 12/3/17). Image 4 Image 5 Image 6 In addition to its own growth, Bitcoin is also responsible for the rise of cryptocurrencies in general as the majority of cryptocurrencies today have used Bitcoin as their foundational model. Image 7 Controversies Bitcoin's ascent has been marred by several controversies both internal and external.
Advantages of Bitcoin over other cryptocurrencies I've broken down the major advantages of Bitcoin as follows: Image 8 Ubiquity/cachet: Ultimately, much of the advantage that Bitcoin possesses boils down to its place as the cryptocurrency leader. Odds are that when people say "cryptocurrency", they really mean Bitcoin. There's value to being at the top of the market and its position affords it a host of benefits. It has the largest user base of any of the cryptocurrencies which fuels its dollar value. Because it was first to market, and because of its users, it also has a robust development community working both internally and externally. One of the perks of investing in Bitcoin is the exposure that one gets to Bitcoin forks. Bitcoin Cash, a fork that occurred on August 1, 2017, is currently trading over $1600/coin. Every user of Bitcoin received Bitcoin Cash...just for holding Bitcoin. There have been other forks since, and there will continue to be forks in the future, all adding potential value to a Bitcoin investment. Furthermore, Bitcoin is relatively established and more robust to insults than other cryptocurrencies, making it a safer store of value. In order to be unseated as the clear crypto king, a new product would need to show up that is not only qualitatively better than Bitcoin, but better enough that it makes ditching the Bitcoin environment worth it. Technology: Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to reliably show that digital money could be used for transactions and as stores of value. As mentioned above, most cryptocurrencies today use the Bitcoin white paper as their model. We know that the foundations of Bitcoin are comparatively sound and that it is stable. This stability has allowed a healthy ecosystem of development to take root. Interested in buying a hardware wallet for your Bitcoin? They exist. More interested in creating a free online wallet? Those exist. Interested in mining? It's easy, albeit expensive to get started. The technology being proven has allowed the adjacent technologies to thrive. Price: While most would consider an $11000 entry tag to be a massive barrier to entry and potentially stifling, it's actually a major boon to Bitcoin. The price tag attracts investors and users, which encourages development, which makes the product more functional, which attracts users, which increases price, etc. Bitcoin is worth something and makes it difficult to dismiss. Furthermore, its high price tempers volatility and manipulation. Unlike other currencies that are worth pennies or dollars, Bitcoin is able to weather large capital inflows and outflows and is less prone to overt market manipulation precisely because its market cap is so high. Risks Image 9 Internal Technology: While Bitcoin functions completely adequately today, it will need to scale tremendously to reach its potential. While the technology behind Bitcoin is impressive, it pales in comparison to established modes of exchange. VISA averages 2000 transactions per second and has a peak capacity of 56000 transactions per second. Bitcoin presently averages 7 transactions per second. Certain solutions are being explored, like the Lightning Network, but there are no guarantees that there will be successful implementation. As can be said with any technology, Bitcoin is fundamentally dependent on its underlying code. Thus far it has had only one major exposed flaw (which resulted in the accidental creation of 184 billion Bitcoin). Development: Mentioned above was the advantage conveyed by forks. They can provide additional value. This is a good thing. They can also create competitors. This is a bad thing. While it is unlikely that a Bitcoin offshoot will unseat Bitcoin outright, there is the risk of market cannibalization and confusion with each new iteration. Which is the real Bitcoin? External Legislative: Because Bitcoin can so ably provide for functions that were once strictly in the government domain, it is likely to become the target of governmental limits at some point. We've already seen China try to crack down on Bitcoin and it's reasonable to assume that other countries will follow suit. Despite this risk, however, Bitcoin has proven to be incredibly resilient and is still traded by the Chinese. Since the Chinese ban, Bitcoin's price has nearly doubled from $6000 to over $11000 today (12/3/17). Competitive: I mentioned earlier that one of Bitcoin's main advantages was that it was first to market. While this is a tremendous benefit today, it does not guarantee ongoing success. History is littered with famous "firsts to market" that were overtaken by savvy competitors. The World was the first ISP to market. Magnavox released the first video game console. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that equates ISPs with The World or video game consoles with Magnavox. Bitcoin is not on the precipice of being overtaken by another cryptocurrency. However, the risk of an existing competitor, or more likely a new competitor that doesn't yet exist, supplanting Bitcoin is always a possibility and investors should mitigate risk appropriately. Investment opportunities: Bitcoin provides the surest cryptocurrency investment for the reasons mentioned above. Its status as the cryptocurrency leader makes it the most stable investment in the arena. Furthermore, its cachet makes it an attractive investment to lay investors looking for exposure to this particular market which subsequently makes it an even more attractive investment. While many may balk at investing in something whose single unit is priced at more than $11000 and that has experienced explosive growth, I believe that Bitcoin still has opportunity for upward movement. The number I keep coming back to is $7.8T (trillion). That's the market cap for gold. I use this as a bench mark because I see Bitcoin supplanting gold as a storage of wealth from fiat currencies. As I've discussed, the blockchain provides permanence in a way that is akin to gold's physical permanence. The present market cap for ALL cryptocurrencies is $340B (billion). Bitcoin presently accounts for 55% of the cryptocurrency market cap with $188B. Assuming that over the next year growth slows over the next year and that Bitcoin loses some of its dominance, I still think that it's reasonable to project an approximate Bitcoin value of $50000. This assumes that the crypto market continues to grow, albeit at a slower relative pace and still does not approach gold's market cap. Image 10 This is bullish and I assume that no major stumbling blocks present themselves. I am drawn to the fact that market penetration is still relatively low and that institutional money has barely begun to enter the market. These two factors mean that organic growth can continue for the foreseeable future. Conclusion Bitcoin represents the present pinnacle of the cryptocurrency market. As an investment, it provides the best combination of stability and potential growth precisely because it is the market leader. Through its innovation of the blockchain, it has spurred the cryptocurrency explosion that we have witnessed over the last several years.
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until here we are today at $15000. During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it) In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited.
Bram Cohen who created BitTorrent has also created the Chia Cryptocurrency and he might just have solved the electricity wastage problem of bitcoin.. Cohen’s latest creation, a cryptocurrency known as Chia which prides itself as ‘green money for a digital world’, is the very antithesis of bitcoin. BitTorrent Creator Bram Cohen is Launching a “Proof of Space”-based Cryptocurrency. Bram Cohen, who co-founded BitTorrent back in 2001, is reportedly preparing to launch a new cryptocurrency based on a “proof of space” consensus algorithm.. Cohen claims the proof of space consensus algorithm allows the cryptocurrency to function like a “greener” version of bitcoin. limit my search to r/Bitcoin. use the following search parameters to narrow your results: subreddit:subreddit find submissions in "subreddit" author:username find submissions by "username" site:example.com find submissions from "example.com" url:text search for "text" in url selftext:text search for "text" in self post contents self:yes (or self:no) include (or exclude) self posts nsfw:yes (or ... The inventor of Bittorrent has now turned his attention to blockchain technology and building a greener Bitcoin called Chia.Bram Cohen released Bittorrent to the world in 2004, but, in early 2017 ... by Total Exchange; on April 19, 2020; Comments Off on Bram Cohen: ‘Getting Rich Is a Terrible Metric of Success’ CoinDesk reporter Leigh Cuen is joined by Bram Cohen, author of the BitTorrent protocol and CEO of Chia. In this wide-ranging interview, they talk about Cohen’s early interest in “hard problems,” his unexpected ascent from sketchy to celebrity and much more. Disclosure ...
Skip navigation Sign in. Search Given the huge impact sentiment has on the price and momentum of bitcoin, Brave New Coin’s launch of a Bitcoin Twitter Sentiment index comes as welcome news for anyone working in the sector ... Visit our website: https://altcoinbuzz.io In this video, Mattie talks about IOTA being added to eToro as well as the U.S exchanges who will meet and discuss self-regulation. This is a daily ... Creator of BitTorrent and legendary cypherpunk Bram Cohen joins the Whalepool Teamspeak to talk with crypto traders. We covered a wide variety of topics rangin from: - Scaling in bitcoin - hard ... Whalepool: Live Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Markets Trading Stream 24/7/365 WhalePool 25 watching Live now Whalepool: Beginners Guide to Trading Series - Duration: 39:35.