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Re: [tor-talk] Mailpile SMTorP [ref: nexgen P2P email]



On 05/29/2015 05:57 PM, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:

[...]
(Confidential to cryptography list lurkers: IMO we have plenty of Ben Lauries
at this point, and could use a lot more Hal Finneys. :)

It just occurred to me how obscure that sentence is.  Let me explain...

When Satoshi (or whoever) released the initial version of Bitcoin, he/she/they posted to the Crypto List[1]. Hal Finney responded with posts that showed he a) read the Bitcoin whitepaper, b) read some of the code that Satoshi linked, and
c) ran the Bitcoin daemon to see how it worked. Ben Laurie responded
by posting a link to a paper on the general topic of "proof-of-work" (like Hashcash,
upon which Bitcoin is based) and why he believed it cannot work.

While a general critique of Hashcash probably seemed appropriate at the
time, it completely overlooked central features of Bitcoin's design. There's a kind of bikeshedding in those early threads, presumably because it's easier to
discuss the failures of spam prevention than it is read and understand novel
code in C++. (But even a casual glance at the whitepaper elucidates Bitcoin's
bootstrapping mechanism, which AFAICT had never been employed or
written about before the Bitcoin whitepaper was posted.)

Given the influx of post-Snowden FLOSS privacy/security apps, I think the only
way forward is to follow Finney's lead and strive for a kind of "proof of
comprehension" in our discussions[2]. Otherwise we're all just picking our favorite
slide from the Snowden leaks to reject 100% of the apps out of hand.  (And
then adding our own efforts to the pile.)

-Jonathan

[1] http://www.mail-archive.com/search?l=cryptography@metzdowd.com&q=from:%22Satoshi+Nakamoto%22

[2] There were other respondents on that list who critiqued the design
but also showed clear evidence that they had read the paper.


-Jonathan

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