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Showing posts from August, 2016

Smart contracts and dumb principles: a primer on ethereum, the DAO hack, and the hard fork

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When Satoshi Nakamoto conceptualized the blockchain in his bitcoin whitepaper back in 2008, the emphasis on its inherent immutability was patently obvious. "The network timestamps transactions", the abstract ran, "by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed ..."

Of course, he wasn't using the term blockchain yet ... but it would pick up soon.

Eight years hence, the blockchain has become more than just a buzzword in a select set of silos around the world. Computer scientists and math nerds are excited about the technology for what it is. Finance folks are peering in its direction, their noses quivering in anticipation of what this strange entity could mean to them. Law practitioners are, unsurprisingly enough, trying very hard to make it all about them. Government officials are still (mostly) scratching their heads and trying to figure out whether they can make easy money out of it. And if not, how …