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The strange new virtual currency called bitcoin relies on something more trustworthy than people or institutions. It relies on mathematics—in fact, 'trusty' one-way mathematics. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains. PreviouslyI spoke about how important the concept of trust was to finance, and how this trust usually relied on either people, or institutions such as banks or governments —or both. By the way, if you want to look at the continuous flow of transactions on the Bitcoin Network, check out blockchain.
But the strange new virtual currency called bitcoin relies on something more trustworthy than people or institutions. Yes, I'm talking ron rivest bitcoin stocks in fact, 'trusty' one-way mathematics. You might think one-way mathematics is impossible. After all, you can add three and two to get five. Then you can use 'subtraction', hit 'reverse', and get back to where you started.
Yes, ron rivest bitcoin stocks minus two gets you back to three. This is ron rivest bitcoin stocks mathematics. And yes, addition can be reversed with subtraction. But think about multiplying two really large prime numbers, each digits long. It would take many hours by hand, or a few instants on a computer.
The multiplication gives you a really long number, about 1, digits long. It's practically impossible to go backwards, to find the only two prime numbers that can be multiplied to generate this 1,digit number. You just have to make lots of guesses, and try them out—one after the other. This method is appropriately called the 'brute force method'.
It's not totally impossible to find those two prime numbers—but it would take today's fastest supercomputers many times the age of the universe to find them. So with today's technology, it's effectively or computationally impossible to find the only two factors of our 1, digit number. One-way mathematics is at the basis of the two key technologies needed for the blockchain to work.
The blockchain is the brilliant invention that stops people from spending their virtual currency ron rivest bitcoin stocks than once.
It also provides secure communication which nobody can intercept, or change. Did you know Great Moments In Science is a podcast?
One-way mathematics is essential to this strange encryption method. It was theoretically proven to be possible in by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. This set off a race among the mathematicians to make ron rivest bitcoin stocks work. The first public and private key encryption ron rivest bitcoin stocks actually constructed two years later in by Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, later collectively known ron rivest bitcoin stocks RSA.
You might have read of Julian Assange and others using this technology to make totally secure communication. Here's how it works. In cryptography, the examples always start with Alice and Bob. Alice mathematically constructs two keys, as a related pair—a private key and a public key. Each key is just a bunch of letters and numbers.
Everybody in the world can have a copy of Alice's public key. They can plug Alice's public key into the RSA algorithm also freely available to anybody who wants it when they want to send her a message. So Bob uses Alice's public key to encode a message, generate a string of gibberish and email it to Alice. Alice is the only person who has her private key. She applies her secret private key to the gibberish Bob emailed her—and suddenly, Alice can read Bob's original message.
This is the weird ron rivest bitcoin stocks though everybody has Alice's public key and a copy of the RSA algorithm, she's the only person who can decode it.
But besides making possible the sending of secret messages, public-key cryptography makes digital signatures possible. A digital signature is like your regular signature—easy to make, hard to forge. In fact, it's so hard as to be computationally impossible. Again, it's a two-part process.
One algorithm is used with your private key to sign the message, and another algorithm is used with your matching public key to check the validity of the message. You can fuse your digital signature to your message so they can't be separated. Now your digital signature can't be ron rivest bitcoin stocks and used on another message.
This means anybody can verify that the message they received came from you—and ron rivest bitcoin stocks you. The digital signature provides proof of ownership of bitcoins. This means that you can announce that you promise to send me 10, bitcoins—and everybody can be confident that you are the person who made that transaction, and actually own those bitcoins. The second technology made possible by one-way mathematics, and which is essential for bitcoin and the blockchain to work is the hash function—and I'll talk more about that, next time This [series episode segment] has image.
The public key cryptography algorithm known as RSA had actually been discovered in by a British mathematician named Clifford Cocks - four years before its discovery by Rivest, Shamir and Adelman in As Cocks was working for GCHQ, the secret communications agency of the UK government, his discovery was classified and not revealed to the world for some 24 years.
Alice's public key must have a prescription to encrypt the message so that only her private key can decrypt it. Bob's machine follows the prescription blindly and can not reverse the process. However, is the encryption vulnerable if Bob intercepts his own message further down the path to Alice?
I guess this is the impossible reversal already stated, but it seems like there might be different reference frames to try to reconcile the known and gibberish copies. I'm sorry, but it;s a myth that Bitcoin is "maths based". Rather, like all software, it's assumption-based. The cryptography is crucial but there is ron rivest bitcoin stocks much more to Bitcoin and the underlying "blockchain" open source code than the maths. And many more have been made by the Bitcoin developer community; most notoriously the decision to fix the blocksize at 1MB.
Getting these assumptions revisited is notoriously difficult. The team is deeply divided, almost anarchic. The "math-based" idea is really pretty silly. At some level, all software is "math-based" but flaws and bugs and design constraints are deeply human. Presented by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Cannibalistic behaviour has been observed in many animal species — and, for most of history, in humans as well.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki investigates. There's 60 years of space junk floating around the earth's orbit crashing into itself. How do you clean it up? Dr Karl Kruszelnicki sifts through the trash to unpack just how much space junk is floating around us — and how it got there.
Bitcoin and ron rivest bitcoin stocks First published: Tuesday 28 June 4: Listen to the podcast Download Tuesday 28 June Dr Karl explains how bitcoin relies on one-way mathematics.
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