Blockchain Ethics

Podcast with Nick Szabo

I haven’t listened yet but this looks good, so I am pasting it here in case anyone else wants to listen.

Location: San Francisco
Date: Monday, 21st October
Project: n/a
Role: Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts pioneer

On October 31st 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto emailed the cypherpunk mailing list , telling them “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.” In the 11 years that followed Bitcoin has proven to be the most successful attempt at creating a censorship-resistant and trust minimised digital currency.

Bitcoin was not the first attempt at creating a trust minimised currency, and there were several proposals, implementations and technologies which led to Bitcoin:

  • In the 1990’s DigiCash , headed by David Chaum, attempted to make online payments anonymous.
  • In 1997 Adam Back created HashCash using a proof-of-work system to reduce email spam and prevent denial of service attacks.
  • In 1998 Wei Dai proposed B-money to allow for an “anonymous, distributed electronic cash system”.
  • In 2004 Hal Finney built upon the idea of Hashcash and created Reusable Proofs of Work .
  • And in 2005 Nick Szabo proposed Bit Gold . Where unforgettable proof of work chains would share properties of gold: scarce, valuable and trust minimised but with the benefit of being easily transactable.

When Satoshi released the Bitcoin whitepaper, rather than a revolution, Bitcoin was an evolution of all that had come before it with Bitcoin being the most trust minimised, censorship-resistant and hardest currency that has ever existed.

Among Satoshi’s email recipients was Nick Szabo, a computer scientist, cryptographer, the designer of Bit Gold and Smart Contracts pioneer. In a rare interview, Nick joins me to discuss the cypherpunk movement, what money is, privacy and of course, Bitcoin.