What influenced Satoshi’s description of how Bitcoin solved the Byzantine Generals Problem? When Satoshi created Bitcoin, how did he envision it to exist and solve problems in the world?
In his latest blog post, “The King’s Wi-Fi,” Dr. Craig Wright talks about the proof-of-work description he uses in regard to how Bitcoin solves the Byzantine Generals Problem, as well as how he envisions Bitcoin to exist in the world and the misunderstandings he saw individuals have about Bitcoin shortly after the whitepaper was released.
Before Dr. Wright gets into the thick of it, he sets the scene by telling the audience about some of his experiences in academia and how one exercise/exam in particular influenced the PoW description he describes.
“The GSE cohort needed to crack the ‘King’s Wi-Fi’. Using AirSnort, Aircrack-ng, WEPCrack, etc., we could work together in an aim to break into the network, prior to being discovered, as a demonstration of a pen-testing exercise,” said Dr. Wright.
“Ironically, one aspect of my writing that has not been picked up on is that my description of how Bitcoin solved the Byzantine Generals Problem was taken from the SANS exercises. The requirement was that the exercise would work in a group; we all needed to configure our machines using wireless cracking tools to capture the Wi-Fi and attack the wireless network managed by the SANS/GIAC examiners before the time would run out.”
Shortly after Dr. Wright completed his SANS/GIAC exam, he published the Bitcoin Whitepaper, however, he immediately realized that not everyone understood bitcoin the way he envisioned it.
“On November 13th, Mr. Donald sent me a rather long, rambling message, saying that the Byzantine Generals Problem was a classical hard computer science problem, one that would not be solved easily. James Donald said I could not model the system under attack. I had done so many times. The entire purpose of my PhD thesis evolved around The Quantification of Information Systems Risk. I used economic processes in econometrics in the modeling of risk,” said Dr. Wright.
“I was already getting frustrated with Mr. Donald as he called Bitcoin “bitgold”, continuously. Bitcoin was not bit gold, which did not seem to be something many people wanted to understand, and it remains something people don’t seem to understand. I had been explaining over and over again that Bitcoin was not a system where every single person would run a node. I believe I made it very clear that only a few nodes would exist, but unfortunately, individuals such as Mr. Donald kept going on about anti-government, anti-bank, and other crazy ideas that they wanted to be part of my creation.”
“My goals for Bitcoin were not to design a system that suited the anarchist concept of a government-free money. My system was designed to provide micropayments for the web and the Internet generally.”
Dr. Wright also discussed node operators, and how his idea was not to have every individual who supports the network run a full node but rather, to have a few commercial nodes that service the rest.
“My argument was simple: networks become commercial data centres, and as such, a few nodes service the rest,” said Dr. Wright.
Afterward, he explores why the system needs to scale, and why 1MB blocks just doesn’t cut it.
“The King’s Wi-Fi” provides a lot of insight into what inspired Satoshi’s description of how Bitcoin solves the Byzantine Generals Problem, why having a few commercial nodes is more efficient than having every individual operate a node, and why Bitcoin needs to operate at a scale that is much greater than 1MB per block.
And of course, being Dr. Wright, he ends his blog post letting the audience know that the law is looming over blockchain networks with questionable operating practices.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.