15. 尼克薩博(Nick Szabo)有品格的思想家比特幣偉大的奠基者之一

尼克薩博是最像中本聰的人。 他在1998年就發表比特金的雛形,其間吸收了戴維B錢的想法。 而戴維主張驗證結果(帳本)公開,就是現在的比特幣的公開帳本的想法。 在尼克的比特金提到的驗證方法是哈爾的獨立第三方驗證。 相比之下,戴維的方法更高明一些。 戴維最原始的B錢的想法是以故事的方式發表在尼克運行的網站上。 2002年亞當發表了哈希現金,提出了工作量證明和難度係數的計算方法,也被吸收在比特金中。 而中本聰依據自動控制的負回饋原理將難度係數計算發展為2016個區塊的難度係數自動調節,十分精彩。 保證了比特幣系統的線性發幣。 中本聰對比特金的改進,還有利用經濟的手段對拜占庭將軍問題的處理。 這點尼克十分認同。 研究了尼克比特金的白皮書,我們彷彿看到了比特幣。 彷彿感到是中本聰拿比特金白皮書作為任務書在程式設計。 當然如果是這樣比特幣早就問世了,表示還是有不通順的地方。 2005年比特金方案中本聰是看到的,否則不會說比特幣是戴維和尼克思想的實現。 比特金除了尼克所說的拜占庭將軍問題,還有激勵問題,這是生產關係,對於一般受西方教育的技術人員,這也是在觀念上很難突破的跨界地帶。 中本聰的頓悟受2017年開始的金融危機刺激,對比特幣沒有想通的地方終於想通了。

研究加密貨幣的發展脈絡有章可循,尼克吸收了密碼朋克社群的營養,比特金代表了圈內最高水準。 是相對完善的設計思想,尼克不愧是思想大師。 在比特金文章的部落格留言裡,很多人都得出他是中本聰的結論,因為實在太像了。 本文最後參考文獻(8)是我的讀書筆記。 是對比特金的白皮書的學習,對特幣和比特金的差異進行了分析。

尼克1964年生,1989年畢業於華盛頓大學資訊工程系,在2009年已經是45歲的人了。 超過我們前面對中本聰年紀的估計,33-34歲。 尼克過了程式開發最好的年紀。 如果不是一直開發程序,並且有程序作品的程式設計師,到45歲,思想更為成熟技藝就生疏了,很難獨立開發出類似比特幣這樣的高水平程序。 因為比特幣的開發水準是世界級的。 丹卡明斯基(Dan Kaminsky),安全專家,2008年發現網路底層漏洞而聞名。 卡明斯基說:「當我第一次看到這段程式碼時,我確信我將能夠破解它,」但他沒能夠攻破。 他認為程式風格是縝密的。 “整件事的格式化方式是瘋狂的。只有世界上最偏執、最刻苦的程式設計師才能避免犯錯”。 (2)這是尼克和中本聰最大的差距,也就是程式設計能力的差距。

除了程式設計的安全性技術,中本聰對密碼學的研究也得到專家的高度評價。 中本聰白皮書中有三處提到了斯圖爾特-哈伯(Stuart Haber)的工作,他是普林斯頓H.P.實驗室的一名研究員。 哈伯是國際密碼學研究協會的主任,對比特幣瞭如指掌。 他說:「不管是誰幹的,都對密碼學有很深的了解。」(2)讀過尼克的文章會感到他在程式設計和密碼學方面的缺陷。 他和哈爾不一樣,哈爾RPOW系統是自己編的,在中本聰發表比特幣代碼後,哈爾很快就下載了,並且和中本聰進行交流。 中本聰把代碼下載網址透過電子郵件告訴了亞當和戴維,貝克和戴維似乎都沒有動。 而尼克也沒有表現出熱情。 上密碼學電子郵件組搜一下沒有找到尼克的文章,看來他跟密碼學離得太遠了。

尼克自己獨立開發不行,它可以找人。 但是別人只能是他思想的程式實現。 如果實現他的比特金完整程序,他的驗證還是受到哈爾的啟發要可信第三方驗證,和比特幣驗證的水平還有距離。 只有這個程式設計師自己對尼克的思想有深刻的理解,並且做出改良創新才行。 可是他和戴維都說,懂這些知識的人很少。 誰又能幫他實現呢? 程序能力難倒了尼克。 他在2008年下半年還在尋找合適的開發人員,這時中本聰的比特幣就要問世了。 中本聰的比特幣問世之後他把招募貼文從他的部落格裡刪除了。 外面能找到的這篇文章都是轉了很多手的。 有興趣的讀者可以看參考文獻(3)。 刪除該部落格文章的原因又引起外界的猜想,甚至懷疑他的人品。 其實道理很簡單,中本聰做出比特幣, 比尼克比特金設想好,他沒有能力思考和開發出超過比特幣的產品,就刪掉了找人的帖子,代表了他的態度。 13年過去了,超越比特幣的計畫一個沒有。 大師就是大師,中本聰也好,尼克也好,大師們判斷力一流。 尼克斷了再開發的念想。 這就是中本聰牛逼的地方,做就到極致叫你不能超越,只能是細節的改進。 世上還曾經有這麼一個人叫賈伯斯,他設計的手機,後來者都跟著做。 手機2007年問世,他52歲,歷經滄桑老辣成熟。 而中本聰只有33-34歲。

尼克特點是設想,中本聰特點是程式設計能力強。 尼克是一位高產量的作家涉獵的話題十分廣泛包括電腦科學、法律、政治、經濟、金融、歷史和生物學等一系列主題。 在web.archive.org網站上顯示尼克在2006 年2 月3 日至2022 年8 月23 日期間,在未列舉部落格(unenumerated)進行803次保存。 (4)也就是發表了差不多803篇貼文。 中本聰留下的文字除了白皮書就是近8萬字的客服貼文和郵件。 貼文的品質趕不上白皮書。 白皮書兩版發佈時間相差了幾個月,但改動很少,文字的改動幾乎沒有。 說明白皮書是下了功夫,也許金主幫忙了。 換句話說,中本聰隨便寫的貼文英文程度都是大白話,不像尼克行文洋洋灑灑,所以中本聰不愛寫文章。 中本聰認為他的程式設計能力比寫文章好。 他在論壇回覆哈爾說過此話,(5) 給比特幣的早期參與者馬爾蒂(Martti)的郵件也說過同樣的話。 中本聰程式設計好過寫文章,因為程式碼的指令集小,寫東西格式化,語言的指令集太大了,變化太大,不好操縱。 什麼人會覺得程式設計容易文章難? 尼克不會。 中本聰的英文也流暢,他為什麼會覺得表達困難呢? 這是行為分析的內容。 解密是一件很有趣的事。

此外尼克不隱藏自己,喜歡用部落格的人是希望更多的人知道自己。 他可以公開地找人為他編程,實現他的比特金,為什麼要為比特幣給自己創建一個虛假的身份? 於理不合。 他是輸出型的人,願意公開交流而不喜歡私下交流。 在他的部落格一個不起眼的角落終於找到一個信箱nszabo@law.gwu.edu,大概是他的信箱。 上面沒有PGP加密的公鑰。 這個行為和中本聰很不一樣。 中本聰多一點的資訊都不披露,隱藏的人不會去開博客,來介紹自己的思想和觀點。 中本聰所有的貼文都為了回答比特幣的問題。 中本聰喜歡透過郵件私下交往,他們的郵件都是加密的。 揭露自己的郵箱也同時揭露自己的PGP加密公鑰。 這樣的好處是垃圾郵件都會被擋在外邊。 行文的風格好隱藏,他們是玩角色扮演遊戲長大的一代,透過行文風格去判斷中本聰就落入了他的迷魂陣。 行為方式是習慣不好隱藏,兩人的行事風格有很大的不同。

再有一點不同,中本聰是自由工作者,他崇尚躺贏一開始就叫大家留點比特幣,身體力行。 尼克還在大學教書做學問,輸出思想,沒有去躺贏。

沒有找到尼克參與挖礦的證據,如果他有超過100萬比特幣還需要上班嗎?

尼克否認自己是中本聰,和哈爾一樣都是出於真心。 我一直猜想他們知道中本聰是誰,他們想保護他,或者說尊重別人的隱私,這是密碼朋克的思想,他們具有高尚的道德情操。 阿德里安陳(Adrian Chen)在推特上問尼克誰是中本聰? 他說:「我不打算進一步評論此事,我認為他做出了這麼偉大的貢獻,我想尊重他保留隱私的願望。」(6)一個「尊重」隱含他知道中本聰是誰。 如果只是滿足人們的好奇心,我也不花這麼大的力氣。 前面我說過這是時代的呼喚,需要有人來喚醒這位天選之子。

尼克的2011年的文章 「比特幣,為什麼花了這麼長時間?」(7)寫得非常有水平和深刻,回答了外界的疑問。 展現出什麼是大師的胸襟和見底,尼克薩博的學問和人品都是榜樣。 參考文獻(8)是比特金原文,可領略大師尼克的風采。

他的行為和想法是一致的,所以採信了他的言論證據作為輔助證據。 他的年齡偏大,不符合不缺錢,自由工作者,擅隱藏,發送郵件要加密和不擅長寫文章的特點。

結論:

中本聰:男,時年33-34歲,神童,美國人,住在西海岸,是密碼朋克。 不缺錢。 自由職業者。 在過世的中本聰懷疑對像中沒有中本聰。 他具有卓越的程式設計能力和產品設計能力以及對社群的理解力。 命好,有個好金主兼謀士。 中本聰對金融有深刻的認識。 受奧地利經濟學派影響。 喜歡自由自在的生活。 加密經濟學的創立者。 負有使命的天選之子。 中本聰的角色扮演沒有這麼大的性格和行為跨度能力。 擅隱藏,發送郵件要加密,不擅長寫文章。

我們離目標越來越近。 確認比否認難得多,解密故事是一個有趣的歷程。

參考文獻

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

(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.

(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.

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

(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.

(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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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