Saturday, July 13, 2024

Crypto Stories: Dr. Adam Back shares his life of hacks

It’s been a life of hacks for Dr. Adam Back, the CEO and co-founder of Blockstream. One of the few people quoted on the Bitcoin Whitepaper, hacking highlights of Back’s life are brought to life in the latest animated Crypto Story from Cointelegraph’s video team. 

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Over a game of Jenga in a park, Back told Cointelegraph that he’s always had a “kind of security mindset.” From his days as a student, he tinkered with door codes, pin pads and locks, testing out code and gaining access to places he “wasn’t supposed to have access to.”

Back talks through the creation of Hash Cash, one of the early attempts at digital money. He uses the “Birthday collision” as an allegory for hash functions, demonstrating his aptitude to breaking down complex functions into intelligible language:

“If you have a room full of people at a party or something, there’s a question which is how many people need to be in the room before there’s 50/50 chance that there are two people with the same birthday.”

He explains that while people would expect the outcome to be related to the number 365–because of how many days there are in a year, the reality is far lower. This line of thinking, combined with an understanding of spam email, led to Back’s coding up of Hash Cash.

Related: Blockstream CEO Adam Back talks Bitcoin over a game of Jenga

Bitcoin stands on the shoulders of Hash Cash, but Bitcoin caught on because Bitcoin ˙as a high level of decentralization, vital for the cryptocurrency’s success. Back adds that Bitcoin is also “Understandable at lots of different levels, right?”

“You can understand it from a user level or from an economics level. It’s surprisingly complex to fully appreciate all of it, including the game theory and things like that.”

The cartoon interview comes to a close with a reference to Blockstream’s decision to beam Bitcoin into space and an affirmation that there will be “More Bitcoin,” from one of the Bitcoin economy’s OGs.

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