Scientists want to make blockchain safer

What scientists as entrepreneurs fascinated on Bitcoin, is the real innovation behind it: the blockchain – a kind of official online booking system in which from the beginning every Bitcoin transaction is recorded. Not least because of the data structure, the stored information can be updated at any time and with minimal risk of hacking or forgery attack, and the entire blockchain can be copied to a network of computers with Bitcoin software. The operator of the computers have to do not necessarily know each other, or even trust the other.

Many see the block chain architecture as a model for self-sustaining treaties or security systems for online voting and crowdfunding. The latter is also the aim of the block chain based Ethereum, a started in July of the same name project non-profit organization headquartered in Baar in Switzerland. Also, the research consortium at the same time founded IC3 (Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts) under the direction of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is interested.

The cryptography Nicolas Courtois from University College London holds the Bitcoin block even for “the most important invention of the 21st century” – if Bitcoin just would not ever shoot own goals. Since its introduction weaknesses of blockchain are apparently – of being absolutely sure she is far away, as more than 40 cases of theft and acquisitions of Bitcoins show, which ended partly in losses of one million US dollars.

Interested companies and researchers now want to proceed with tools of game theory and new cryptographic methods against it. “Crypto currencies are different from other systems, and smallest mathematical bugs can have catastrophic consequences,” says the co-director of the ICE Ari Juel. “If there are problems because the real experts of the research community must take drastic action.”

In one of the new approaches of the private key is once split among multiple devices such as desktop and Smartphone; the confirmation of a transaction requires a certain minimum proportion of all fragments of the total key. And because a fragment has not the next date on its share, would hackers – even if they have one of the devices assumed – always have to hack all the others, to gain access to the entire private key. Before the User noticed but then hopefully the hacker attack.

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