An Information-Theoretic Account of Secure Brainwallets

An important and controversial topic in the area of personal wallet security is the concept of “brainwallets” - storing funds using a private key generated from a password memorized entirely in one’s head. Theoretically, brainwallets have the potential to provide almost utopian guarantee of security for long-term savings: for as long as they are kept unused, they are not vulnerable to physical theft or hacks of any kind, and there is no way to even prove that you still remember... [Read More]

Scalability, Part 2: Hypercubes

Special thanks to Vlad Zamfir, Chris Barnett and Dominic Williams for ideas and inspiration In a recent blog post I outlined some partial solutions to scalability, all of which fit into the umbrella of Ethereum 1.0 as it stands. Specialized micropayment protocols such as channels and probabilistic payment systems could be used to make small payments, using the blockchain either only for eventual settlement, or only probabilistically. For some computation-heavy applications, computation can be done by one party by default,... [Read More]

Gav’s ÐΞV Update I: Where Ethereum’s at

Who are you? I’m Gav - together with Jeffrey Wilcke and Vitalik Buterin, I’m one third of the ultimate leadership of Ethereum ÐΞV. ÐΞV is a UK software firm that is under a non-profit-making agreement with the Ethereum Foundation to create version 1.0 of the Web Three software stack. We three directors—who are ultimately responsible that the software is built and works—are the same three developers who designed and implemented the first working versions of the Ethereum clients. ÐΞV is... [Read More]

Slasher Ghost, and Other Developments in Proof of Stake

Special thanks to Vlad Zamfir and Zack Hess for ongoing research and discussions on proof-of-stake algorithms and their own input into Slasher-like proposals One of the hardest problems in cryptocurrency development is that of devising effective consensus algorithms. Certainly, relatively passable default options exist. At the very least it is possible to rely on a Bitcoin-like proof of work algorithm based on either a randomly-generated circuit approach targeted for specialized-hardware resitance, or failing that simple SHA3, and our existing GHOST... [Read More]

Scalability, Part 1: Building on Top

Over the next few weeks, I am going to make a series of posts that is going to be a large overview of the possibilities for scalability of Ethereum, intending to create a precise understanding of the problems at bay in implementing a scalable cryptocurrency infrastructure, and where the least-bad tradeoffs and sacrifices required to solve those problems might lie. As a general outline of the form that this series is going to take, I intend to first discuss the... [Read More]

crypto renaissance

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay</blockquote> January 3rd 2009 marked the beginning of a new era. The invention of the blockchain is a milestone in technology – the string of characters 36PrZ1KHYMpqSyAQXSG8VwbUiq2EogxLo2 being just one of the side effects triggered by it. Thanks to you and this technology, more than thirty one thousand bitcoins will go towards spawning an entire new digital realm. The unfettered peer to peer world wide digital finance grid is... [Read More]

Software and Bounded Rationality

One of the key properties that is usually sought for in a cryptoeconomic algorithm, whether a blockchain consensus algorithm such a proof of work or proof of stake, a reputation system or a trading process for something like data transmission or file storage, is the ideal of incentive-compatibility - the idea that it should be in everyone’s economic interest to honestly follow the protocol. The key underlying assumption in this goal is the idea that people (or more precisely in... [Read More]

State of Ethereum: August Edition

Development of Ethereum has been progressing increasingly quickly this past month. The release of PoC5 (“proof of concept five”) last month the day before the sale marked an important event for the project, as for the first time we had two clients, one written in C++ and one in Go, perfectly interoperating with each other and processing the same blockchain. Two weeks later, the Python client was also added to the list, and now a Java version is also almost... [Read More]

An Introduction to Futarchy

One of the more interesting long-term practical benefits of the technology and concept behind decentralized autonomous organizations is that DAOs allow us to very quickly prototype and experiment with an aspect of our social interactions that is so far arguably falling behind our rapid advancements in information and social technology elsewhere: organizational governance. Although our modern communications technology is drastically augmenting individuals’ naturally limited ability to both interact and gather and process information, the governance processes we have today are... [Read More]

building the decentralized web 3.0

how ethereum could shard the web Given the state of our 25-year old web and all the problems inherited from legacy 1970’s systems design, we should pause and take inventory of those components which are fundamentally broken and would offer a substantial return on development investment. Intersecting this concern with security, privacy, and censorship resistance, it should be painfully obvious that an all-out attack on Internet infrastructure is already underway. As netizens, a shared duty falls on us to explore,... [Read More]