August 15 reminds us of a commemorative day both in the religious world and in the cryptographic world. Indeed, it reminds us of the release of RPOW, a prototype digital currency based on Nick Szabo’s collectibles theory. To say that its initiator is none other than Hal Finney, the man to whom Satoshi Nakamoto sent the first bitcoins.
eCash, Hashcash… and RPOW
According to this news, bitcoin is not the first money idea intended to decentralize finance. Because long before him, more precisely in 2004, Hal Finney set up RPOW, an untraceable digital currency and guarantor of human freedom.
Anti-intrusion to privacy on the internet, this pioneer of cryptography had joined a movement of digital money developers of the time. At his side were indeed David Chaum, the founder of DigiCash, the company behind eCash, as well as the Cypherpunks, authors of Hashcash.
” Cryptography can enable a world in which people have control over information about them, not because the government has given them control, but because they alone have the cryptographic keys to reveal that information. This is the world we work to create “says Finley.
Hence the birth of the prototype Reusable Proofs of Work on August 15, 2004.
As mentioned above, the RPOW was inspired by the theory of Nick Szabo, the inventor of “Bit Gold”. Here is an excerpt from his explanations reported by Bitcoin Magazine.
” Nick’s concept is more complex than the simple RPOW system, but his idea applies: in a way, an RPOW token can be considered to have the properties of a rare substance like gold. It takes effort and expense to mine and mint gold coins, making them inherently rare “, underlined Harold Thomas Finney.
Happy 18 years RPOW! Here is the reminder of Rémi Forte, author of a documentary on Sathoshi, on this subject.
What happened to the RPOW?
” The logo is worth seeing “, how a user about the tweet of R. Forte. For reference, the RPOW logo is inspired by the style of Batman comics. Specifically highlighting his amplified uppercut with a “POW”.
As for his future, it should be noted that Finney prompted the tests. He even concocted a server called RPOW to facilitate transactions of eponymous tokens. To this he added a secure hardware component with the name IBM 4758, a private key embedded by IBM. She is the guarantor of trusted computing “.
Unfortunately, this Bit Gold replica had its limitations. Among other things, its strong dependence on a central server or its exposure to volatility (like bitcoin for that matter), etc. You will find details here.
What favored the appearance of bitcoin, the solution to all problems, according to Hal Finney.
” Bitcoin seems like a very promising idea. I like the idea of basing security on the assumption that the CPU power of honest participants outweighs that of the attacker. […] I also believe there is potential value in a form of tamper-proof token whose rate of production is predictable and cannot be influenced by corrupt parties. “, he admits.
Currently, there is a lack of data regarding the Reusable Proof-of-Work. But we do know that Hal Finney’s failures allowed Satoshi Nakamoto to make corrections with the king of cryptocurrencies, BTC. So, if his anonymous inventor decided to send him the first 10 coins from block 70 on January 12, 2009, he certainly showed his gratitude to the designer of the RPOW.
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