One of the founders of the cypherpunk movement has just revealed a new technology that he believes will revolutionize the cryptocurrency from this moment on.
Revealed exclusively for CoinDesk, David Chaum, a gray and digital hair money pioneer, launches a new cryptocurrency Elixxir through his startup.
And his goals are bold. Using cryptographic techniques that he invented decades ago, he believes he has "reinvented" cryptocurrency, solving fundamental problems afflicting emerging technology, including speed, privacy, scalability and – perhaps not receiving as much attention – resistance to disasters. future.
Also, think that solving these problems will take the "mainstream" blockchain.
One of the most influential pioneers of digital money that brought bitcoin, the famous cryptographer has been a recent investigator on cryptocurrency conferences: dropping suggestions here and there – Spit out theories about what exactly he did.
What he found, however, were many problems with the technology.
Not least of all that requires more than one hour to send a secure payment, which is not at all competitive with PayPal, Visa or other major digital payment systems.
"Yes, it's not really suitable for widespread use," Chaum told CoinDesk.
But using his more than 30 years of experience working with cryptography and payments, including the development of anonymous eCash money before the Internet existed, he thinks he has found a new way to solve these problems.
"I think we can kill these problems," Chaum told CoinDesk, adding:
"It's not bullshit, we have code running in our lab."
The cryptographer claims to have made two discoveries of blockchain.
One is to change digital signatures, a crucial cryptographic component of cryptocurrency, used to check if anyone has the cryptocurrency they say they do.
According to Chaum, the way digital signatures are calculated in most cryptocurrencies today is just a nuisance. These signatures are too expensive from a computational point of view, as Chaum claims.
"There's no way to get speed and scalability if for every transaction a server has to perform a public key operation like making a signature or checking a signature," he said.
So, Elixxir changes it a little bit.
"We can cheat a little," said Chaum.
Claiming that the system could perform these "early" public key operations, Chaum explained that, doing so, Elixxir is not less than a thousand times faster than any other blockchain.
"It's a turning point – nobody else does anything like that," he added.
The public key cryptography used in Elixxir also has another impact: it protects the cryptocurrency of quantum computers. Currently, most cryptocurrency architectures make them vulnerable to quantum computers.
And while this technology is probably still far from being released, Chaum believes this is such an important notion that governments should spend time making digital money resistant to quantum.
An honest person
Then there is the privacy of Elixxir – probably the strong point of Chaum, since he is known as the "father of online anonymity".
Within the Elixxir architecture, Chaum believes that "true privacy" can be achieved through so-called "multiparty computations" – a term that coined decades ago and a feature used to improve privacy in cryptocurrency projects like Zcash and Enigma.
The essence of the system is that a group of developers or nodes are involved in a cryptocurrency calculation, but only one person must be honest to make the calculation work and keep private data.
Elixxir uses this idea in a new way. The nodes on the network, called "Mixnodes", produce a multiparty calculation for each block of transactions.
Chaum compares this process with a group of people sitting around a gaming table. Everyone cuts the deck and mixes it, passing it to the next person. Let's say that three of them are card sharks who know how to mix in a way that helps them determine the position of the cards in the deck.
But if only one of these people is honest and fray enough, the card sharks, in the end, are "completely in the dark," Chaum said.
"Despite their best efforts to collude, and you know how to take notes exactly on what they do and on everything, they are powerless against the only part that actually does what they should."
And in this way, Elixxir privatizes transactions.
What led Chaum to build Elixxir was the suspicion and apprehension of the state of the cryptocurrency industry today.
"In this space, there are a lot of unfounded claims made," he told CoinDesk.
"People bend the rules, they try to present things in a way that makes them look as good as possible," continued Chaum, arguing that many projects "fly over" on various technical issues that could break or weaken a project.
However, there is a similar skepticism on the part of the crypt enthusiasts who investigate the promises of Chaum. A notable example is when the pseudonym blogger of cryptocurrencies WhalePanda has unearthed the Elixxir website before today's announcement, expressing concerns on what he found.
While Elixxir claims to increase privacy, WhalePanda has claimed that requiring participants to submit their name and position in a "KYC form" goes against these goals.
But with the technical brief now released, the wider community will be able to determine if the discoveries are actually those or if there are any bumps in the system.
All in all, although the project is currently focused on payments, Chaum believes that Elixxir can play an even more important role in ensuring that more people have control over their online data.
"The biggest goal is to create the expectation of a broader public for fundamental human rights – digital rights in their ability to control all these aspects of their digital lives," he told CoinDesk, concluding:
"Cryptography is the only thing that can empower the individual in the information era."
Image of David Chaum via Elixxir