B-Money by Wei Dai


by Wei Dai

I am fascinated by Tim May's crypto-anarchy. Unlike the communities traditionally associated with the word "anarchy", in a crypto-anarchy the government is not temporarily destroyed bunently forbidden andpermanently unnecessary. It's a community where the threat of violence isimpotent because violence is impossible, and violence is impossiblebecause its participants cann cannot be linked to their true names or physical locations.

Until now it's not clear, even theoretically, how such a community could operate. A community is defined by the cooperation of its participants, and efficient cooperation requires a medium of exchange (money) and a way to enforce contracts. Traditionally these services have been provided by the government or government sponsored institutions and only to legal entities. In this article I describe a protocol by which these services can be provided to and by untraceable entities.

I will actually describe two protocols. The first one is impractical, because it makes heavy use of a synchronous and unjammable anonymous broadcast channel. However it will motivate the second, more practical protocol. In both cases I will assume the existence of an untraceable network, where senders and receivers are identified only by digital pseudonyms (i.e. public keys) and every messages is signed by its sender and encrypted to its receiver.

In the first protocol, every participant maintains a (seperate) database of how much money belongs to each pseudonym. These accounts collectively define the ownership of money, and how these accounts are updated is the subject of this protocol.

1. The creation of money. Anyone can create money by broadcasting the solution to a previously unsolved computational problem. The only conditions are that it must be easy to determine how much computing effort it took to solve the problem and the solution mus

Posted 50 years ago, never edited.

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