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EMURGO: Decentralization: How is Cardano Different From Other Blockchains?

EMURGO: Decentralization: How is Cardano Different From Other Blockchains?

https://preview.redd.it/uh2s44a3ci631.png?width=810&format=png&auto=webp&s=076434246c873038ceaa5db6ad031cc75f65e956

Introduction: What is Decentralization?
Decentralization is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the following:“the dispersion or distribution of functions and powers”
Within the context of a blockchain, a large aspect of decentralization is the power to maintain and update the distributed ledger in a dispersed way. This dispersion means not needing a central party. For Cardano, the first third-generation blockchain to emerge out of a scientific & peer-reviewed philosophy, decentralization will come with the upcoming release of Shelley. Shelley, the second phase of Cardano’s development, will bring about the full decentralization of Cardano. The first generation of these decentralized blockchains is bitcoin. How exactly will Cardano be different than bitcoin once it achieves decentralization? As we will analyze in this blog post, both ecosystems ensure they remain decentralized in two very different ways.

Cardano & Bitcoin: Two Very Different Routes to Decentralization
Within bitcoin, the people with the power to keep the ledger updated are the bitcoin miners. Once Cardano is fully decentralized, the people with the power to keep the ledger updated are those who have a stake in the system. This means that anyone who owns ADA (Cardano’s native cryptocurrency) can help keep Cardano decentralized.

How Does Bitcoin Work? How Does Bitcoin Stay Decentralized?
For bitcoin, it’s helpful to imagine the blockchain as a supermarket with many different checkouts. Imagine that behind the desk of each checkout is a cashier. Each time a cashier scans a full basket of goods that a customer wants to buy, they are rewarded financially. Each item in the basket can be seen as a single transaction that someone makes on the bitcoin blockchain, and a full basket can be seen as a single block. A block is simply the collection of all the different transactions. The miner is the cashier, responsible for validating that each of these transactions is correct. For their effort, they are rewarded in bitcoin and the block is added to the blockchain.
Imagine that in this supermarket there can be hundreds and hundreds of checkouts, each with a cashier. Over time, it becomes less likely that a customer will visit a checkout of an individual cashier. A cashier (miner) might need to wait for years until they get another customer. This happens when the difficulty of Bitcoin mining increases. The more miners there are, the less chance a single individual will have for validating a basket of transactions. As a result, it makes sense for cashiers to combine their checkouts. Rather than a large number of small checkouts, they could create a few, very wide checkouts. Each miner could help out at these very large checkouts each time a basket of goods (transactions) is presented. As a result, each of the cashiers (miners) at the checkout receive a proportion of the total rewards. These collections of cashiers and wide checkouts are known as mining pools.

**Continue reading on EMURGO's blog
submitted by zachsoileau to cardano [link] [comments]

Is Crypto Currency truly at risk due to Quantum Computers, and what can you do about it?

Is Crypto Currency truly at risk due to Quantum Computers, and what can you do about it?

There is no denying that the Quantum revolution is coming. Security protocols for the internet, banking, telecommunications, etc... are all at risk, and your Bitcoins (and alt-cryptos) are next!
This article is not really about quantum computers[i], but, rather, how they will affect the future of cryptocurrency, and what steps a smart investor will take. Since this is a complicated subject, my intention is to provide just enough relevant information without being too “techy.”

The Quantum Evolution

In 1982, Nobel winning physicist, Richard Feynman, hypothesized how quantum computers[ii] would be used in modern life.
Just one year later, Apple released the “Apple Lisa”[iii] – a home computer with a 7.89MHz processor and a whopping 5MB hard drive, and, if you enjoy nostalgia, it used 5.25in floppy disks.
Today, we walk around with portable devices that are thousands of times more powerful, and, yet, our modern day computers still work in a simple manner, with simple math, and simple operators[iv]. They now just do it so fast and efficient that we forget what’s happening behind the scenes.
No doubt, the human race is accelerating at a remarkable speed, and we’ve become obsessed with quantifying everything - from the everyday details of life to the entire universe[v]. Not only do we know how to precisely measure elementary particles, we also know how to control their actions!
Yet, even with all this advancement, modern computers cannot “crack” cryptocurrencies without the use of a great deal more computing power, and since it’s more than the planet can currently supply, it could take millions, if not billions, of years.
However, what current computers can’t do, quantum computers can!
So, how can something that was conceptualized in the 1980’s, and, as of yet, has no practical application, compromise cryptocurrencies and take over Bitcoin?
To best answer this question, let’s begin by looking at a bitcoin address.

What exactly is a Bitcoin address?

Well, in layman terms, a Bitcoin address is used to send and receive Bitcoins, and looking a bit closer (excuse the pun), it has two parts:[vi]
A public key that is openly shared with the world to accept payments. A public key that is derived from the private key. The private key is made up of 256 bits of information in a (hopefully) random order. This 256 bit code is 64 characters long (in the range of 0-9/a-f) and further compressed into a 52 character code (using RIPEMD-160).
NOTE: Although many people talk about Bitcoin encryption, Bitcoin does not use Encryption. Instead, Bitcoin uses a hashing algorithm (for more info, please see endnote below[vii]).
Now, back to understanding the private key:
The Bitcoin address “1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm” translates to a private key of “5HpHagT65TZzG1PH3CSu63k8DbpvD8s5ip4nEB3kEsreAnchuDf” which further translates to a 256 bit private key of “0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001” (this should go without saying, but do not use this address/private key because it was compromised long ago.) Although there are a few more calculations that go behind the scenes, these are the most relevant details.
Now, to access a Bitcoin address, you first need the private key, and from this private key, the public key is derived. With current computers, it’s classically impractical to attempt to find a private key based on a public key. Simply put, you need the private key to know the public key.
However, it has already been theorized (and technically proven) that due to private key compression, multiple private keys can be used to access the same public key (aka address). This means that your Bitcoin address has multiple private keys associated with it, and, if someone accidentally discovers or “cracks” any one of those private keys, they have access to all the funds in that specific address.
There is even a pool of a few dedicated people hunting for these potential overlaps[viii], and they are, in fact, getting very efficient at it. The creator of the pool also has a website listing every possible Bitcoin private key/address in existence[ix], and, as of this writing, the pool averages 204 trillion keys per day!
But wait! Before you get scared and start panic selling, the probability of finding a Bitcoin address containing funds (or even being used) is highly unlikely – nevertheless, still possible!
However, the more Bitcoin users, the more likely a “collision” (finding overlapping private/public key pairs)! You see, the security of a Bitcoin address is simply based on large numbers! How large? Well, according to my math, 1.157920892373x1077 potential private keys exist (that number represents over 9,500 digits in length! For some perspective, this entire article contains just over 14,000 characters. Therefore, the total number of Bitcoin addresses is so great that the probability of finding an active address with funds is infinitesimal.

So, how do Quantum Computers present a threat?

At this point, you might be thinking, “How can a quantum computer defeat this overwhelming number of possibilities?” Well, to put it simple; Superposition and Entanglement[x].
Superposition allows a quantum bit (qbit) to be in multiple states at the same time. Entanglement allows an observer to know the measurement of a particle in any location in the universe. If you have ever heard Einstein’s quote, “Spooky Action at a Distance,” he was talking about Entanglement!
To give you an idea of how this works, imagine how efficient you would be if you could make your coffee, drive your car, and walk your dog all at the same time, while also knowing the temperature of your coffee before drinking, the current maintenance requirements for your car, and even what your dog is thinking! In a nutshell, quantum computers have the ability to process and analyze countless bits of information simultaneously – and so fast, and in such a different way, that no human mind can comprehend!
At this stage, it is estimated that the Bitcoin address hash algorithm will be defeated by quantum computers before 2028 (and quite possibly much sooner)! The NSA has even stated that the SHA256 hash algorithm (the same hash algorithm that Bitcoin uses) is no longer considered secure, and, as a result, the NSA has now moved to new hashing techniques, and that was in 2016! Prior to that, in 2014, the NSA also invested a large amount of money in a research program called “Penetrating Hard Targets project”[xi] which was used for further Quantum Computer study and how to break “strong encryption and hashing algorithms.” Does NSA know something they’re not saying or are they just preemptively preparing?
Nonetheless, before long, we will be in a post-quantum cryptography world where quantum computers can crack crypto addresses and take all the funds in any wallet.

What are Bitcoin core developers doing about this threat?

Well, as of now, absolutely nothing. Quantum computers are not considered a threat by Bitcoin developers nor by most of the crypto-community. I’m sure when the time comes, Bitcoin core developers will implement a new cryptographic algorithm that all future addresses/transactions will utilize. However, will this happen before post-quantum cryptography[xii]?
Moreover, even after new cryptographic implementation, what about all the old addresses? Well, if your address has been actively used on the network (sending funds), it will be in imminent danger of a quantum attack. Therefore, everyone who is holding funds in an old address will need to send their funds to a new address (using a quantum safe crypto-format). If you think network congestion is a problem now, just wait…
Additionally, there is the potential that the transition to a new hashing algorithm will require a hard fork (a soft fork may also suffice), and this could result in a serious problem because there should not be multiple copies of the same blockchain/ledger. If one fork gets attacked, the address on the other fork is also compromised. As a side-note, the blockchain Nebulas[xiii] will have the ability to modify the base blockchain software without any forks. This includes adding new and more secure hashing algorithms over time! Nebulas is due to be released in 2018.

Who would want to attack Bitcoin?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency represent a threat to the controlling financial system of our modern economy. Entire countries have outright banned cryptocurrency[xiv] and even arrested people[xv], and while discrediting it, some countries are copying cryptocurrency to use (and control) in their economy[xvi]!
Furthermore, Visa[xvii], Mastercard[xviii], Discover[xix], and most banks act like they want nothing to do with cryptocurrency, all the while seeing the potential of blockchain technology and developing their own[xx]. Just like any disruptive technology, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have their fair share of enemies!
As of now, quantum computers are being developed by some of the largest companies in the world, as well as private government agencies.
No doubt, we will see a post-quantum cryptography world sooner than most realize. By that point, who knows how long “3 letter agencies” will have been using quantum technology - and what they’ll be capable of!

What can we do to protect ourselves today?

Of course, the best option is to start looking at how Bitcoin can implement new cryptographic features immediately, but it will take time, and we have seen how slow the process can be just for scaling[xxi].
The other thing we can do is use a Bitcoin address only once for outgoing transactions. When quantum computers attack Bitcoin (and other crypto currencies), their first target will be addresses that have outgoing transactions on the blockchain that contain funds.
This is due to the fact that when computers first attempt to crack a Bitcoin address, the starting point is when a transaction becomes public. In other words, when the transaction is first signed – a signed transaction is a digital signature derived from the private key, and it validates the transaction on the network. Compared to classical computers, quantum computers can exponentially extrapolate this information.
Initially, Bitcoin Core Software might provide some level of protection because it only uses an address once, and then sends the remaining balance (if any) to another address in your keypool. However, third party Bitcoin wallets can and do use an address multiple times for outgoing transactions. For instance, this could be a big problem for users that accept donations (if they don’t update their donation address every time they remove funds). The biggest downside to Bitcoin Core Software is the amount of hard-drive space required, as well as diligently retaining an up-to-date copy of the entire blockchain ledger.
Nonetheless, as quantum computers evolve, they will inevitably render SHA256 vulnerable, and although this will be one of the first hash algorithms cracked by quantum computers, it won’t be the last!

Are any cryptocurrencies planning for the post-quantum cryptography world?

Yes, indeed, there are! Here is a short list of ones you may want to know more about:

Full disclosure:

Although I am in no way associated with any project listed above, I do hold coins in all as well as Bitcoin, Litecoin and many others.
The thoughts above are based on my personal research, but I make no claims to being a quantum scientist or cryptographer. So, don’t take my word for anything. Instead, do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I’ve included many references below, but there are many more to explore.
In conclusion, the intention of this article is not to create fear or panic, nor any other negative effects. It is simply to educate. If you see an error in any of my statements, please, politely, let me know, and I will do my best to update the error.
Thanks for reading!

References

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhHMJCUmq28 – A great video explaining quantum computers.
[ii] https://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~nd/surprise_97/journal/vol4/spb3/ - A brief history of quantum computing.
[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lisa - More than you would ever want to know about the Apple Lisa.
[iv] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpIctyqH29Q&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNlUrzyH5r6jN9ulIgZBpdo - Want to learn more about computer science? Here is a great crash course for it!
[v] https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/quantify - What does quantify mean?
[vi] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key - More info about Bitcoin private keys.
[vii] https://www.securityinnovationeurope.com/blog/page/whats-the-difference-between-hashing-and-encrypting - A good example of the deference between Hash and Encryption
[viii] https://lbc.cryptoguru.org/stats - The Large Bitcoin Collider.
[ix] http://directory.io/ - A list of every possible Bitcoin private key. This website is a clever way of converting the 64 character uncompressed key to the private key 128 at a time. Since it is impossible to save all this data in a database and search, it is not considered a threat! It’s equated with looking for a single needle on the entire planet.
[x] https://uwaterloo.ca/institute-for-quantum-computing/quantum-computing-101#Superposition-and-entanglement – Brief overview of Superposition and Entanglement.
[xi] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-seeks-to-build-quantum-computer-that-could-crack-most-types-of-encryption/2014/01/02/8fff297e-7195-11e3-8def-a33011492df2_story.html?utm_term=.e05a9dfb6333 – A review of the Penetrating Hard Targets project.
[xii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-quantum_cryptography - Explains post-quantum cryptography.
[xiii] https://www.nebulas.io/ - The nebulas project has some amazing technology planned in their roadmap. They are currently in testnet stage with initial launch expected taking place in a few weeks. If you don’t know about Nebulas, you should check them out. [xiv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_bitcoin_by_country_or_territory - Country’s stance on crypto currencies.
[xv] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/30/venezuela-is-one-of-the-worlds-most-dangerous-places-to-mine-bitcoin.html - Don’t be a miner in Venezuela!
[xvi] http://www.newsweek.com/russia-bitcoin-avoid-us-sanctions-cryptocurrency-768742 - Russia’s plan for their own crypto currency.
[xvii] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/01/05/visa-locks-bitcoin-payment-cards-crackdown-card-issue - Recent attack from visa against crypto currency.
[xviii] https://www.ccn.com/non-government-digital-currency-junk-says-mastercard-ceo-rejecting-bitcoin/ - Mastercards position about Bitcoin.
[xix] http://www.livebitcoinnews.com/discover-joins-visa-mastercard-barring-bitcoin-support/ - Discovers position about Bitcoin.
[xx] http://fortune.com/2017/10/20/mastercard-blockchain-bitcoin/ - Mastercard is making their own blockchain.
[xxi] https://bitcoincore.org/en/2015/12/21/capacity-increase/ - News about Bitcoin capacity. Not a lot of news…
[xxii] https://learn.iota.org/faq/what-makes-iota-quantum-secure - IOTA and quantum encryption.
[xxiii] https://eprint.iacr.org/2011/191.pdf - The whitepaper of Winternitz One-Time Signature Scheme
[xxiv] https://cardanoroadmap.com/ - The Cardano project roadmap.
[xxv] https://eprint.iacr.org/2017/490 - More about the BLISS hash system.
[xxvi] https://www.ethereum.org/ - Home of the Ethereum project.
[xxvii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SHA-3#Security_against_quantum_attacks – SHA3 hash algorithm vs quantum computers.
[xxviii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamport_signature - Lamport signature information.
[xxix] https://theqrl.org/ - Home of the Quantum Resistant Ledger project.
submitted by satoshibytes to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Community Based Approach To AI?

I don't know very much about AI but have been interested for a bit. I had a number of long commutes to work a while ago and started to think about the idea of starting not with a single AI, but with a community of IA which is interacted with as a whole to act as the AI. Perhaps this is already how things are done by some projects and is nothing novel, I haven't done a lot of reading on AI specifically so I'm not sure the exact approaches being used. This could make absolutely no sense which is why I thought I'd toss it here and see what the feedback is. I apologize for the length, its tricky to describe in any way that makes sense and I struggle with brevity. I added a TL;DR near the top to save you the wall of text.
My thought process is that the earliest humans could only identify incredibly simple patterns. We would have had to learn what makes a plant different than an animal, what was a predator and what was prey, etc. The complex patterns we identify now, we're only able to do so because the community has retained these patterns and passed them onto us so we don't have to go through the trouble of re-determining them. If I were isolated at birth and presented with various objects, teaching myself with no feedback from peers what patterns can be derived from them would be a horribly arduous, if not impossible, task. By brute forcing a single complex AI, we're locking the AI in a room by itself rather than providing it access to peers and a searchable history of patterns.
This made me think about how I would model a community of IA that made sharing information for the purpose of bettering the global knowledge core to their existence. I wrote the majority of the model's description for an AMA with Ben Goertzel. Since then I've found an intelligent agent that's modelled similar to how I imagined this agent being modelled so I added the proposed implementation section with a likely completely unhelpful potential implementation of it. If nothing else it may help better describe the way it works for some people.
TL;DR Since we developed our intelligence through community, and we know that it worked for us, I think we should approach developing AI through a community based IA model rather than a single AI model. The AI would then be interacted with as the collection of interconnected communities of IA.
The Model: A Plain Language Description
Instead of creating a single complex intelligent agent, you spawn a community of simple agents, and a special kind of agent I'm calling the zeitgeist agent, that acts as an intercessor for certain requests (more on that in a bit).
Agents each contain their own neural networks which data is mapped to, and a reference to each piece of information is stored as meta data to which "trust" values can be assigned which would relate to how "sure" the agent is of something. I'm not entirely sold on the need for neural networks, I've learned of a self learning IA that may be worth looking into instead (see the proposed implementation below).
Agents contain references to other agents they have interacted with, along with meta data about that agent including a rating for how much they trust them as a whole based on previous interactions, and how much they trust them for specific information domain based on previous interactions. Domain trust will also slowly allow agents to become "experts" within certain domains as they become go-tos for other agents making requests within that domain. This allows agents to learn broadly, but have proficiencies emerge as a byproduct of more attention being given to one subject over another and this will vary from agent to agent depending on what they're exposed to and how their personal networks have evolved over time.
As an agent receives information, a number of things take place: it takes into account who gave it the information, how much they trust that agent, how much they trust that agent in that domain, how much trust the sending agent has placed on that information, whether conflicting information exists within its own knowledge-base, and probably other factors. The receiving agent then determines whether to blindly trust the information, blindly distrust the information, or whether to verify it with its peers.
Requests for verification are performed by finding peers who also know about this information which is why a "language" will need to be used to allow for this interaction. I'm envisioning the language simply being a unique hash that can be translated to the inputs received, and whenever a new piece of information is received the zeitgeist provisions a new "word" for it and updates a dictionary it maintains that is common to all agents within the community. When a word is passed between agents, if the receiving agent doesn't know the word, it requests the definition from the zeitgeist agent and then moves on to judging the information associated with the word (though if they don't know the word, they're likely being taught it rather than queried on it).
When a verification request is made to peers, the same evaluation of trust/distrust/verify is performed on the aggregate of responses and if there is still doubt that isn't enough doubt to dismiss it entirely, the receiving agent can make a request to the zeitgeist. This is where I think the model gets interesting, but again it may be commonplace.
As agents age and die, rather than lose all the information they've collected, their state gets committed to the zeitgeist agent. Normal agents and the zeitgeist agent could be modelled relatively similarly, with these dead agents just acting as a different type peers in an array.
When requests are made to the zeitgeist agent, it can inspect the states of all past agents to determine if there was a trustworthy answer to return. If after going through the trust/distrust/verify process its still in doubt, I'm imagining a network of these communities (because the model is meant to be distributed in nature) that can have the same request passed onto the zeitgeist agent from another community in order to pull "knowledge" from other, perhaps more powerful, communities. The zeitgeist agent will retain its own knowledge base containing data from its community and the larger community to form its best estimate of correct patterns. I have no idea what data would be worth keeping or how the data should be modelled internally.
Once the agent finally has its answer about how much trust to assign that information, if it conflicts with information received from other peers during this process, it can notify those peers that it has a different value for that information and inform them of the value, the trust they've assigned, and some way of mapping where this trust was derived from in order for the agent being corrected to perform its own trust/distrust/verify process on the corrected information. This correction process is meant to have a system that's generally self correcting, though bias can still present itself by allowing agents the ability to refuse to correct information depending on undetermined conditions.
I'm picturing a cycle the agent goes through that includes phases of learning, teaching, reflecting, and procreating. Their lifespan and reproductive rates would be determined by certain values including the amount of information they've acquired and verified, the amount of trust other agents have placed on them, and (this part I'm entirely unsure of how to implement) how much information they've determined through some type of self reflection. They will identify patterns within their neural network, posit a "truth" from those patterns, and pass it into the community to be verified by other agents. There would also exist the ability to reflect on inconsistencies within their knowledge base, or put differently to evaluate the trust values and make corrections as needed by making requests against the community to correct their data set with more up to date information. This would likely best be done as new information is received to keep it dependant on changed information.
Agents would require a single mate to replicate. Agent replication habits are based on status within the community (as determined by the ability to reason and the aggregate trust of the community in that agent), peer-to-peer trust, relationships, meaning the array of peers determines who the agent can approach for replicating with, and hereditary factors that reward or punish agents who are performing above/sub par. The number of offspring the agent is able to create will be determined at birth, perhaps having a degree of flexibility depending on events within its life, and would be known to the agent so the agent can plan to have the most optimized offspring by selecting or accepting from the best partners.
There would likely also be a reward for sharing true information to allow for some branches to become just conduits of information moving it through the community. Because replication relies on trust and ability to collect validated knowledge, as well as being dependent on finding the most optimal partner, lines of agents who are consistently wrong or unable to reflect and produce anything meaningful for the community will slowly die off as their pool of partners and peers will shrink over time. This paired with the ability for bias to be introduced into the system I think will allow microcommunities to form around potentially false frameworks of information. This means they'll explore patterns based on that information, but as more of a divide forms around the information, it would become more of an importance to the community to come to a consensus so it will become a greater factor in mating decisions and will slowly kill off false information. Or perhaps cement it. I don't know, I'm mostly just guessing at things with all of this.
The patterns that emerge at first would be incredibly simple, but by sharing information between peers, as well as between extended networks of peers, they could become more and more complex over time with patterns being passed down from one generation of agent to the next via the zeitgeist agents so the entire community would be learning from itself, much like how we have developed as a species. The more information and existing list of patterns the communities have available, the more accurate the agent's decisions would get I think.
The Model: A Proposed Implementation
Since I wrote the majority of that description, I've learned of this agent via this article. It seems to be modelled similar to how I imagined this agent being modelled, though I have absolutely no understanding of the underlying mechanics of it.
I've also been thinking about how the interacting zeitgeist agents functions similarly to how Bitcoin works. Replace the blockchain with the community knowledge ledger and replace wallets with the zeitgeist agents, each with their own address, holding bits of community knowledge rather than coin.
Clients could be ran similar to bitcoin miners, verifying and confirming determined patterns into the public knowledge ledger. Since you're in effect running you're own little community I thought it might be interesting to make a bit of a game out of the client and allow ways to interact with the community in some way. I imagined the full community of communities being the real AI so perhaps allow clients to interact with the AI similar to something like Cleverbot as another type of data input. Clients could have stats about how much they've contributed to the overall knowledge pool and stats about the development of their own community.
My thoughts on potentially how this could be implemented, or at least a more concrete description of how it functions using examples, is as follows:
I look forward to any feedback and corrections of misunderstood things. I'm hoping to spend more time learning about AI soon so hopefully this will give me some direction.
submitted by proggR to artificial [link] [comments]

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