The Hash Wars: A Perspective – Opinion

Opinion | November 16, 2018 By:

Today, “The Hash Wars” begin.

Let’s start with a little bit of history to color this perspective. A long time ago, when the Internet was just being created, there were individuals who believed a computer was a tool for freedom and knowledge. One of these individuals was named Fravia+, and he believed in a future where information could be exchanged without consumerism and advertising bombarding us.

Meet the Cypherpunks.

The cypherpunks were individuals who believed a computer was a tool to be used for good, and that privacy was a right we all deserve.

It was not until 1995, that we saw some of the first public cryptography systems, such as Eric Young’s release of SSLeay, the precursor to the OpenSSL library. It was the first time regular people had access to cryptography, which released government’s hold on it. What was to follow, though, was the opening of Pandora’s Box, after which the world was never the same.

Who are these guys?

There are three types of cryptographers: crackers, hackers, and seekers.

Crackers download tools created by hackers, and while in their Mom’s basement, brag about how they cracked their neighbor’s WiFi on hacker forums. These guys make up the majority. Another word for them is “script kiddies.”

Hackers create new tools and find new ways to penetrate systems by exploiting vulnerabilities through a number of different techniques. Let’s just say you don’t want to piss one of these guys off, or your website could end up with a dancing meme making kissing faces at you because that open port on your web server had ROP vulnerabilities.

Seekers, on the other hand, create new systems. A good seeker is one that is disciplined and efficient. A seeker has principles; they cannot be bought.

Seekers are dangerous.

And now enters bitcoin.

A cryptocurrency was a cypherpunk’s dream for many decades. Then, on October 31st, 2008, on a cypherpunk mailing, a mysterious seeker named Satoshi Nakamoto combined an architecture called B-Money with HashCash in a paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

Thus, bitcoin was conceived.

The first block was mined on January 6th, 2009. This is when the blockchain was actually birthed, in a software client v1.0 of Bitcoin. This release was actually only available on Windows (or Windoze as Fravia+ calls it), coded in Visual C++ -, a Microsoft implementation of the C++98 standard.

Shortly after, Hal Finney – yes, the guy the Finney attack is named after – received the first bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto, marking the beginning of the bitcoin transaction history. Unfortunately, Hal died from ALS, and so was cryogenically frozen for future revival at Alcore, in Nexus’ hometown area of Phoenix, Arizona. He is still considered one of the original cypherpunks, along with Jeff Garzik, who worked with Satoshi to guide bitcoin through its early years.

What was Satoshi’s Vision?

There are a lot of people that like to claim they know what it was, including some of the debates we are seeing now with Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) and other battles between developers. We can derive principles such as privacy, self reliance, and independence directly from the cypherpunks. We can also deduce from Satoshi’s forum posts that the block size increase was what was desired, but the truth is, We do not know.

We can only deduce our analysis based on this individual or group’s psychology. Regardless of what we think, Satoshi left the project to give it to the world – as a creator would need to – meaning that now it is up to us to decide what vision we want to see come to life.

This is one thing we can know.

Our next steps need to be considered very carefully. If we continue to fork the protocol, we will continue to print money out of thin air. Was crypto not designed to prevent this very action? By trading and giving value to a fork, we contribute to the problem as much as those creating the forks in the first place. The best solution is always to shift the direction and quality away from something we do not prefer, rather than continuing to empower the cycles, repeating the same mistakes as those before us.

We must take a moment to ask ourselves: “What is our vision?” And if our actions aren’t in accordance with this, we must find ways to support projects that are.

Will Nexus survive?

Over the last four years, Nexus has seen attacks in many forms from DoS, to stake, to mining, to governance. We are hardened to a wide variety of these types of attacks, from 51% large reorgs (overwriting history) to empty blocks. This hardening comes from having technology such as prime and hash channels, chain trust, automatic distributed checkpoints, and trust based Proof-of-Stake.

The next year will be the proving ground for what projects survive. We will soon see who crumbles and who comes out stronger on the other side. With that being said, stay strong, stay vigilant, and remember:

The world only begins to change when you change yourself.