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Finally! Competition for Smart Contracts.

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I have always been opposed to seeing Ethereum being pitched as a competitor to Bitcoin. Not because I am a Bitcoin maximalist, but because the two are so fundamentally different in scope no comparison is possible. Ethereum is not aiming to change world finance, it is offering a platform for applications. Moreover, Ethereum as a project has much more in common with a company offering a product...

Thoughts on “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto”, part 5

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Privacy in an open society also requires cryptography. If I say something, I want it heard only by those for whom I intend it. If the content of my speech is available to the world, I have no privacy. To encrypt is to indicate the desire for privacy, and to encrypt with weak cryptography is to indicate not too much desire for privacy. Furthermore, to reveal one’s identity with assurance when the...

VIDEO: Blockchain Statements – Tweakers Meetup 2018.

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I made this presentation for the Tweakers meetup in 2018. Tweakers.net is one of the largest and most influential tech sites of the Netherlands.
I was very honored to be asked to provide some insight to this audience. Instead of giving them a bland “this is blockchain” talk, I opted for a different format, presenting statements meant to elicit thought and response.

Thoughts on “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto”, part 4

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Therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy. This is a fairly straightforward argument, but an important one...

Twitter Threads: on Open Source

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“Open Source” means nothing if there is no one that audits your code. It tends to become a smokescreen that signals “Nothing wrong here! Open Source, you know!” It’s like saying a huge warehouse full of clocks is “safe” because everyone can check them all. If there’s one in the centre with a bomb attached, there is no way to find it until it’s...

Twitter Threads: on Voting and Blockchain

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The “voting” issue on the blockchain is a, like almost any discussion in this industry, a mess. Lack of definition, lack of historical perspective and an almost wilful lack of knowledge of the theory and ideas behind voting in the first place. I am not an expert at all, but to at least make a distinction between voting as a means to elect public representatives (ie. being able to vote...

Twitter Threads: Private and Public Blockchains

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I feel this short thread is missing the point somewhat, and also engaging in some slight of hand with definitions. Public and private ledgers are a useful access model distinction that's not going anywhere. What should disappear is the association of [public = decentralized = proletariat = good] and [private = centralized = big business = bad]. — Amber ☘️ (@AmberBaldet) June 4, 2018 The...

Thoughts on “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto”, part 3

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Since we desire privacy, we must ensure that each party to a transaction have knowledge only of that which is directly necessary for that transaction. Since any information can be spoken of, we must ensure that we reveal as little as possible. In most cases personal identity is not salient. When I purchase a magazine at a store and hand cash to the clerk, there is no need to know who I am. When I...

Thoughts on “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto”, part 2

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If two parties have some sort of dealings, then each has a memory of their interaction. Each party can speak about their own memory of this; how could anyone prevent it? One could pass laws against it, but the freedom of speech, even more than privacy, is fundamental to an open society; we seek not to restrict any speech at all. If many parties speak together in the same forum, each can speak to...

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