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Monday, October 10, 2011

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Danielle

We know there is not backdoor because the source code is open ( https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin ). Anyone can inspect it and see if anything sneaky is in there. Whoever Satoshi was is irrelevant now, since it's an open source project with known contributors.

Inserting fake transactions is very difficult, since the network is running at 140 petaflops, exceeding the fastest computer in the world by nearly a factor of 20.

gwern

> Later, Clear makes a non-denial denial, the paradoxical kind that logicians love: "I'm not Satoshi, but even if I was I wouldn't tell you."

He's pointing out that the reporter is asking an idiotic question: 'Mr. Clear, did *you* murder your wife?' If Satoshi wanted to be known, he wouldn't've gone to so much trouble to remain pseudonymous...

> How do we know Bitcoin's creator hasn't created a backdoor to manipulate Bitcoin's behavior at a later date, for example,

The backdoor is unlikely as the code has been reviewed by many people since. There was no way to predict Bitcoin would ever be even slightly successful, so what are the odds that Satoshi came up with a very clever digital cash approach and then larded it with a clever backdoor? Sometimes a crypto-research is just a crypto dude and not an evil scammer to boot.

> or has a large reserve of Bitcoin he plans to cash out at a later date?

Actually, it's generally believed that Satoshio and a very few far-sighted early adopters have an unknown amount of the earliest coined 1.6m bitcoins, and probably still have most of them (around 1.1m), based on lack of blockchain movements: see https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=37333.0 for the general discussion, and especially https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=37333.msg458441#msg458441

Of course, who knows how many are still accessible - early on when bitcoins are just a extremely geeky project, who's going to bother carefully backing up their wallet? This has happened to more than one early adopter - oops.

LinkMcGiver

the new yorker article pdf:

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:907D7553CA140DCCBFA92416A1BDAF5A3DDF63AA

Hamlet Au

"Anyone can inspect it and see if anything sneaky is in there."

Maybe, maybe not. The article notes that top Internet security expert Dan Kaminksy looked at the Bitcoin code and found it dense and inscrutable: "The way the whole thing was formatted was insane." If it's difficult for even Kaminsky to fully understand, what are the odds anyone else can?

Domchi Underwood

Actually, Kaminsky said something else, more important than mere formatting which has nothing to do with security: "As a note, I have a tremendous amount of respect for BitCoin; I count it in the top five most interesting security projects of the decade. Entire classes of bugs are missing." Here's his original post. For more info and link to Kaminsky's talks about bitcoin please see this Stackexchange question and also this Quora question.

qarl

back when i was growing up - my dad bought a new TV for my grandma. it was state of the art and came with something revolutionary: a remote control. the idea was that my grandma was getting older, and having to stand-up to change the channel was fairly hard for her. this would save her a lot of effort.

after about a month, we noticed that she would still stand-up to change the channel. we repeated showed her that she could do exactly the same thing by pressing a button on the remote, and she timidly agreed - but a little bit later she'd be back to standing-up.

it took a bit of gentle coaxing to finally figure-out the problem: she was afraid that if she used the remote, but she missed the TV, she might hit the wall and start a fire.

Hamlet: stop being my grandma.

David Schwartz

"How do we know Bitcoin's creator hasn't created a backdoor to manipulate Bitcoin's behavior at a later date, for example"

How would knowing his identity help with that? And in any event, we know because top security experts like Kaminsky have searched for exactly that. It's the same way we know any software is safe.

nBarab

What if Michael Clear is just the programmer?

It seems to me difficult to believe that the mastermind is this 23 year old guy, not because he might not be smart, but the whole Bitcoin system conception looks like something huge, long time planned, like the work of a more experienced team or organization. Although it may have looked at the beginning like another hacker supported initiative it think it was never close to that.

What if Clear´s undergrad student internship in 2008 in Allied Irish Banks (AIB), allegedly to "to improve its currency-trading software", had the real purpose of coding the already conceived virtual currency system? Or maybe it was not the actual purpose but they got this interesting outcome and decided to try it in the real world... of course, anonymously.

Micheal Clear looks like the ideal candidate for a coding work like this, a top CS student in the country (Ireland), and some economics and crypto background. From reading Clear's comments in his page I found admiral to the project, knowledge of its inner workings and denial of being its creator (Satoshi), but not denial of having participated...

I think we have the programmer, for the mastermind I would look for his AIB internship mentors, any hint?

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