30 Aug '17, 9am

Bitcoin's Academic Pedigree

Bitcoin's Academic Pedigree

Bitcoin uses essentially the data structure in Haber and Stornetta's 1997 paper, shown in simplified form in figure 2 (Nakamoto was presumably unaware of Benaloh and de Mare's work). Of course, in bitcoin, transactions take the place of documents. In each block's Merkle tree, the leaf nodes are transactions, and each internal node essentially consists of two pointers. This data structure has two important properties. First, the hash of the latest block acts as a digest. A change to any of the transactions (leaf nodes) will necessitate changes propagating all the way to the root of the block, and the roots of all following blocks. Thus, if you know the latest hash, you can download the rest of the ledger from an untrusted source and verify that it hasn't changed. A similar argument establishes another important property of the data structure—that is, someone can efficiently...

Full article: http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=3136559

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