New Use Cases for Bitcoin

Although I’m new in the Bitcoin world I had a quite promising start. Earlier this month I was able to visit the Bitcoin Conference in Amsterdam and had some very good conversations with core developers from the Bitcoin Foundation and to my honor also the chance to talk to Gavin Andreesen, long-time lead developer and now chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation.

At DeepSec our first contact with Bitcoin was in 2012 when John Matonis, now Executive Director and Board Member of the Bitcoin Foundation, talked about the evolution of e-Money.  But since then we hadn’t intense contact.

Tomorrow I will visit the Bitcoin Expo in Vienna and hope to meet new people in the community and discuss the latest trends and developments.

The fascinating thing about Bitcoin and the global block-chain is the cryptographic background and the decentralized consensus algorithm. This distributed algorithm is used today primarily to “sign” transactions of Bitcoins but also gives the opportunity to “deposit” text messages which are so to say “notarized” in a distributed, decentralized way.

New Use Cases for the Block-Chain

Ethereum for example borrows the decentralized consesus of bitcoin and adds a “turing-complete” programming language to the blockchain in form of the so-called EVM or Ethereum Virtual Machine. In Ethereum Messages -or Transactions- can contain code, the so-called contract. The code in the contract can be used to control financial or semi-financial applications which will control transactions of e-money but it can also be used for non-financial applications like e-voting, decentralized e-government and possibly security applications.

Rivetz is suggesting to build a bridge between trusted computing and and the decentralized digital transactions of the Bitcoin world. Steven Sprague, CEO,  gave me a quick introduction to some of the ideas, for example a TPM module could push security-fingerprints of a system into the block-chain and access them later to check for inconsistencies or modifications. He called this application the “digital birth certificate” of a machine.

Standards will be appreciated

Although the Bitcoin community doesn’t completely agree there is quite a large interest in an open standard, possibly even an IETF RFC, describing the bitcoin protocol family. Currently Bitcoin is published as a reference code on github without a full formal description of the protocol and interactions. The standardization is focused on the usage of the API of this reference code.

Many stakeholders like Bitcoin Exchanges, vendors of Bitcoin-Miners and third-party software-vendors who interact with the Bitcoin would like to see a formal open standard in addition to the reference code to facilitate new applications like described above.

Maybe next year or when Bitcoin reaches version 1.0 we will have the first drafts available.

I’m curious about the Bitcoin Expo tomorrow and I will post an update soon.

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