15. 尼克萨博(Nick Szabo)有品格的思想家比特币伟大的奠基者之一

尼克萨博是最像中本聪的人。他在1998年就发表比特金的雏形,其间吸收了戴维B钱的想法。而戴维主张验证结果(账本)公开,就是现在的比特币的公开账本的思想。在尼克的比特金提到的验证方法是哈尔的独立第三方验证。相比之下,戴维的方法更高明一些。戴维最原始的B钱的想法是以故事的方式发表在尼克运行的网站上。2002年亚当发表了哈希现金,提出了工作量证明和难度系数的计算方法,也被吸收在比特金中。而中本聪依据自动控制的负反馈原理将难度系数计算发展为2016个区块的难度系数自动调节,十分精彩。保证了比特币系统的线性发币。中本聪对比特金的改进,还有利用经济的手段对拜占庭将军问题的处理。这点尼克十分认同。研究了尼克比特金的白皮书,我们仿佛看到了比特币。仿佛感到是中本聪拿比特金白皮书作为任务书在编程。当然如果是这样比特币早就问世了,说明还是有不通顺的地方。2005年比特金方案中本聪是看到的,否则不会说比特币是戴维和尼克思想的实现。比特金除了尼克所说的拜占庭将军问题,还有激励问题,这是生产关系,对于一般受西方教育的技术人员,这也是在观念上很难突破的跨界地带。中本聪的顿悟受2017年开始的金融危机刺激,对比特币没有想通的地方终于想通了。

研究加密货币的发展脉络有章可循,尼克吸收了密码朋克社区的营养,比特金代表了圈内最高水平。是相对完善的设计思想,尼克不愧为思想大师。在比特金文章的博客留言里,很多人都得出他是中本聪的结论,因为实在太像了。本文最后参考文献(8)是我的读书笔记。是对比特金的白皮书的学习,对特币和比特金的差异进行了分析。

戴维点评尼克:“尼克是为数不多的那些能够拥有广度、深度和特殊性知识的人之一。他是合适的年龄,有合适的背景,在正确的时间出现在正确的地点。他做出了许多正确的选择。”(1)这里的“特殊性知识”是什么含义?戴维还说过:“只有他和尼克有能力开发出比特币”。这就是特殊性知识的含义。只有这个小圈子的人才可能够开发出来。猜尼克是中本聪和猜哈尔是中本聪都不离谱,而尼克更为接近。高手之间本来差距就不大,如果说芬尼和比特币有一步之遥。尼克就只有半步之遥。

尼克1964年生,1989年毕业于华盛顿大学信息工程学系,在2009年已经是45岁的人了。超过我们在前面对中本聪年纪的估计,33-34岁。尼克过了程序开发最好的年龄。如果不是一直开发程序,并且有程序作品的程序员,到45岁,思想更为成熟技艺就生疏了,很难独立开发出类似比特币这样的高水平程序。因为比特币的开发水平是世界级的。丹·卡明斯基(Dan Kaminsky),安全专家,2008年发现互联网底层漏洞而闻名。卡明斯基说:“当我第一次看到这段代码时,我确信我将能够破解它,”但是他没能够攻破。他认为编程风格是缜密的。”整个事情的格式化方式是疯狂的。只有世界上最偏执、最刻苦的程序员才能避免犯错”。(2)这是尼克和中本聪最大的差距,即编程能力的差距。

除了编程的安全性技术,中本聪对密码学的研究也得到专家的高度评价。中本聪白皮书中有三处提到了斯图尔特-哈伯(Stuart Haber)的工作,他是普林斯顿H.P.实验室的一名研究员。哈伯是国际密码学研究协会的主任,对比特币了如指掌。他说:“不管是谁干的,都对密码学有很深的了解。”(2)读过尼克的文章会感到他在编程和密码学方面的缺陷。他和哈尔不一样,哈尔RPOW系统是自己编的,在中本聪发表比特币代码后,哈尔很快就下载了,并且和中本聪进行交流。中本聪把代码下载网址通过邮件告诉了亚当和戴维,贝克和戴维似乎都没有动。而尼克也没有表现出热情。上密码学邮件组搜一下没有找到尼克的文章,看来他和密码学离得太远了。

尼克自己独立开发不行,它可以找人。但是别人只能是他思想的程序实现。如果实现他的比特金完整程序,他的验证还是受到哈尔的启发要可信第三方验证,和比特币验证的水平还有距离。只有这个程序员自己对尼克的思想有深刻的理解,并且做出改进型创新才行。可是他和戴维都说,懂这些知识的人很少。谁又能帮他实现呢?程序能力难倒了尼克。他在2008年下半年还在寻找合适的开发人员,这时中本聪的比特币就要问世了。中本聪的比特币问世之后他把招聘帖从他的博客里删除了。外面能找到的该帖文都是转了很多手的。有兴趣的读者可以看参考文献(3)。删除该博客文章的原因又引起外界的猜想,甚至怀疑他的人品。其实道理很简单,中本聪做出比特币, 比尼克比特金设想好,他没有能力思考和开发出超过比特币的产品,就删掉了找人的帖子,代表了他的态度。13年过去了,超越比特币的项目一个没有。大师就是大师,中本聪也好,尼克也好,大师们判断力一流。尼克断了再开发的念想。这就是中本聪牛逼的地方,做就到极致叫你不能超越,只能是细节的改进。世上还曾经有这么一个人叫乔布斯,他设计的手机,后来者都是跟随着。手机2007年问世,他52岁,历经沧桑老辣成熟。而中本聪只有33-34岁。

尼克特点是设想,中本聪特点是编程能力强。尼克是一个高产的作家涉猎的话题十分广泛包括计算机科学、法律、政治、经济、金融、历史和生物学等一系列主题。在web.archive.org网站上显示尼克在2006 年2 月3 日至2022 年8 月23 日期间,在未枚举博客(unenumerated)进行803次保存。(4)也就是发表了差不多803篇帖文。中本聪留下的文字除了白皮书就是近8万字的客服帖和邮件。帖子的质量赶不上白皮书。白皮书两版发布时间相差了几个月,但改动很少,文字的改动几乎没有。说明白皮书是下了功夫,也许金主帮忙了。换句话说,中本聪随便写的帖子英语水平都是大白话,不似尼克行文洋洋洒洒,所以中本聪不爱写文章。中本聪认为他的编程能力好过写文章。他在论坛答复哈尔说过此话,(5) 给比特币的早期参与者马尔蒂(Martti)的邮件也说过同样的话。中本聪编程好过写文章,因为代码的指令集小,写东西格式化,语言的指令集太大了,变化太大,不好操纵。什么人会感到编程容易文章难?尼克不会。中本聪的英文也流畅,他为什么会感到表达困难呢?这是行为分析的内容。解密是一个很有趣的事情。

此外尼克不隐藏自己,喜欢用博客的人是希望更多的人知道自己。他可以公开地找人给他编程,实现他的比特金,为什么会为比特币给自己创建一个虚假的身份?于理不合。他是输出型的人,愿意公开交流而不喜欢私下交流。在他的博客一个不起眼的角落终于找到一个邮箱nszabo@law.gwu.edu,大概是他的邮箱。上面没有PGP加密的公钥。这个行为和中本聪很不一样。中本聪多一点的信息都不披露,隐藏的人不会去开博客,来介绍自己的思想和观点。中本聪所有的帖子都为了回答比特币的问题。中本聪喜欢通过邮件私下交往,他们的邮件都是加密的。披露自己的邮箱也同时披露自己的PGP加密公钥。这样的好处是垃圾邮件都会被挡在外边。行文的风格好隐藏,他们是玩角色扮演游戏长大的一代,通过行文风格去判断中本聪就落入了他的迷魂阵。行为方式是习惯不好隐藏,两人的行事风格有很大的不同。

再有一点不同,中本聪是自由职业者,他崇尚躺赢一开始就叫大家留点比特币,并身体力行。尼克还在大学教书做学问,输出思想,没有去躺赢。

没有找到尼克参与挖矿的证据,如果他有100多万比特币还需要上班吗?

尼克否认自己是中本聪,和哈尔一样都是出于真心。我一直猜想他们知道中本聪是谁,他们想保护他,或者说尊重别人的隐私,这是密码朋克的思想,他们具有高尚的道德情操。阿德里安陈(Adrian Chen)在推特上问尼克谁是中本聪?他说:“我不打算进一步评论此事,我认为他做出了这么伟大的贡献,我想尊重他保留隐私的愿望。”(6)一个“尊重”隐含他知道中本聪是谁。如果只是满足人们的好奇心,我也不花这么大的力气。前面我说过这是时代的呼唤,需要有人来唤醒这位天选之子。

尼克的2011年的文章 “比特币,为什么花了这么长时间?”(7)写得非常有水平和深刻,回答了外界的疑问。展现出什么是大师的胸怀和见底,尼克萨博的学问和人品都是榜样。参考文献(8)是比特金原文,可领略大师尼克的风采。

他的行为和想法是一致的,所以采信了他的言论证据作为辅助证据。他的年龄偏大,不符合不缺钱,自由职业者,擅隐藏,发送邮件要加密和不擅长写文章的特点。

结论:

中本聪:男,时年33-34岁,神童,美国人,住西海岸,是密码朋克。不缺钱。自由职业者。在过世的中本聪怀疑对象中没有中本聪。他具有卓越的编程能力和产品设计能力以及对社区的理解力。命好,有一个好金主兼谋士。中本聪对金融有深刻的认识。受奥地利经济学派影响。喜欢自由自在的生活。加密经济学的创立者。负有使命的天选之子。中本聪的角色扮演没有这么大的性格和行为跨度能力。擅隐藏,发送邮件要加密,不擅长写文章。

我们离目标越来越近。确认比否认难得多,解密故事是一个有趣的历程。

参考文献

1. frizzers 2014年3月21日

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/YdfpDyRpNyypivgdu/aalwa-ask-any-lesswronger-anything?commentId=kro6CDWaeQojqZnvb

Szabo is one of the few people that has the breadth, depth and specificity of knowledge to achieve what Satoshi has, agreed. He is the right age, has the right background and was in the right place at the right time. He ticks a lot of the right boxes.

2. The Crypto-Currency

By Joshua Davis

October 3, 2011

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/10/the-crypto-currency

3. Who is Nick Szabo, The Mysterious Blockchain Titan

Stefan Stankovic

Who is Nick Szabo, The Mysterious Blockchain Titan

He also started to collect and publish his ideas on a well-respected blog, “Unenumerated”

“Bit Gold would greatly benefit from a demonstration, an experimental market (with e.g. a trusted third party substituted for the complex security that would be needed for a real system). Anybody want to help me code one up?” he asked in the comment section his blog.

4.https://web.archive.org/details/http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/

Saved 802 times between February 3, 2006 and August 17, 2022.

5.Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper

Satoshi Nakamoto satoshi at vistomail.com

Fri Nov 14 13:55:35 EST 2008

https://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2008-November/014853.html

It’s very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I’m better with code than with words though.

6 .Adrian Chen

@AdrianChen

his is what Nick Szabo wrote when I asked him about Satoshi in 2011:

上午12:11 · 2013年12月3日Twitter Web

7. Bitcoin, what took ye so long?

Nick Szabo

https://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2011/05/bitcoin-what-took-ye-so-long.htm

8. Bit Gold

Nick Szabo

December 29, 2005

https://nakamotoinstitute.org/bit-gold/

Bit gold

A long time ago I hit upon the idea of bit gold. The problem, in a nutshell, is that our money currently depends on trust in a third party for its value. As many inflationary and hyperinflationary episodes during the 20th century demonstrated, this is not an ideal state of affairs. Similarly, private bank note issue, while it had various advantages as well as disadvantages, similarly depended on a trusted third party.

不信任第三方的观点是尼克常用语。最早比特币的白皮书叫现金系统无需信任第三方,而后中本聪改了标题。点对点的现金系统。其实中本聪改得准确。比特币要信任第三方,只是这个第三方是程序员和算力贡献者。中本聪最初文章标题的提法与尼克相同,是受到尼克影响,开始时他没有细想。

Precious metals and collectibles have an unforgeable scarcity due to the costliness of their creation. This once provided money the value of which was largely independent of any trusted third party. Precious metals have problems, however. It’s too costly to assay metals repeatedly for common transactions. Thus a trusted third party (usually associated with a tax collector who accepted the coins as payment) was invoked to stamp a standard amount of the metal into a coin. Transporting large values of metal can be a rather insecure affair, as the British found when transporting gold across a U-boat infested Atlantic to Canada during World War I to support their gold standard. What’s worse, you can’t pay online with metal.

金本位是理论基础。这是1914年的事。

Thus, it would be very nice if there were a protocol whereby unforgeably costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties, and then securely stored, transferred, and assayed with similar minimal trust. Bit gold.

Bit gold. 1。不可篡改,2.成本昂贵的数码,3.联机创建,4.最小信任第三方,5,安全存储,6.转移,7.最小的检查。4和7,比特币做得更好。很好地实现了比特金的全部要求。

My proposal for bit gold is based on computing a string of bits from a string of challenge bits, using functions called variously “client puzzle function,” “proof of work function,” or “secure benchmark function.”. The resulting string of bits is the proof of work. Where a one-way function is prohibitively difficult to compute backwards, a secure benchmark function ideally comes with a specific cost, measured in compute cycles, to compute backwards.

在验证上比特币又进了一步。这还是尼克的思路。

Here are the main steps of the bit gold system that I envision:

(1) A public string of bits, the “challenge string,” is created (see step 5).

(2) Alice on her computer generates the proof of work string from the challenge bits using a benchmark function.

这就是难度设置。

(3) The proof of work is securely timestamped. This should work in a distributed fashion, with several different timestamp services so that no particular timestamp service need be substantially relied on.

这点中本聪不熟,用了4份引文。

(4) Alice adds the challenge string and the timestamped proof of work string to a distributed property title registryfor bit gold. Here, too, no single server is substantially relied on to properly operate the registry.

这点就是分布式记账。

(5) The last-created string of bit gold provides the challenge bits for the next-created string.

这点比特币更好。

(6) To verify that Alice is the owner of a particular string of bit gold, Bob checks the unforgeable chain of title in the bit gold title registry.

比特币公钥私钥方式实现了这个验证

(7) To assay the value of a string of bit gold, Bob checks and verifies the challenge bits, the proof of work string, and the timestamp.

比特币记账方法实现了这个验证。

Note that Alice’s control over her bit gold does not depend on her sole possession of the bits, but rather on her lead position in the unforgeable chain of title (chain of digital signatures) in the title registry.

比特币的实现方法不同,比较巧妙。

All of this can be automated by software. The main limits to the security of the scheme are how well trust can be distributed in steps (3) and (4), and the problem of machine architecture which will be discussed below.

Hal Finney has implemented a variant of bit gold called RPOW (Reusable Proofs of Work). This relies on publishing the computer code for the “mint,” which runs on a remote tamper-evident computer. The purchaser of of bit gold can then use remote attestation, which Finney calls

the transparent server technique, to verify that a particular number of cycles were actually performed.

透明验证不如比特币

The main problem with all these schemes is that proof of work schemes depend on computer architecture, not just an abstract mathematics based on an abstract “compute cycle.” (I wrote about this obscurely several years ago.) Thus, it might be possible to be a very low cost producer (by several orders of magnitude) and swamp the market with bit gold. However, since bit gold is timestamped, the time created as well as the mathematical difficulty of the work can be automatically proven. From this, it can usually be inferred what the cost of producing during that time period was.

整个方法被中本聪修改了。中本聪认为是戴维和尼克的思想实现,说得完全没有错。

Unlike fungible atoms of gold, but as with collector’s items, a large supply during a given time period will drive down the value of those particular items. In this respect “bit gold” acts more like collector’s items than like gold. However, the match between this ex post market and the auction determining the initial value might create a very substantial profit for the “bit gold miner” who invents and deploys an optimized computer architecture.

这个结构是什么尼克没说,中本聪是一个具体实现。

Thus, bit gold will not be fungible based on a simple function of, for example, the length of the string. Instead, to create fungible units dealers will have to combine different-valued pieces of bit gold into larger units of approximately equal value. This is analogous to what many commodity dealers do today to make commodity markets possible. Trust is still distributed because the estimated values of such bundles can be independently verified by many other parties in a largely or entirely automated fashion.

这一点体现在比特币的钱包设计。

In summary, all money mankind has ever used has been insecure in one way or another. This insecurity has been manifested in a wide variety of ways, from counterfeiting to theft, but the most pernicious of which has probably been inflation. Bit gold may provide us with a money of unprecedented security from these dangers. The potential for initially hidden supply gluts due to hidden innovations in machine architecture is a potential flaw in bit gold, or at least an imperfection which the initial auctions and ex post exchanges of bit gold will have to address.

这一点在比特币早期的发币都被继承下来了。解决了没有?没有,也没有成为问题。对于黄金的理解,中本聪从尼克处获得营养。戴维的透明是公开,哈尔的透明是信任第三方。相对哈尔,戴维的透明度更高。

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