EECS500 Spring 2012 Seminar

Gideon Samid
Can Cryptographic Money Help Revive The Economy?
Case Western Reserve University
White Bldg., Room 411
11:30am - 12:30pm
March 22, 2012

Many have tried (e.g. DigiCash, Bitcoin). The vision of bumping up money into its most abstract form: a binary string, has attracted many computer scientists. The benefits can hardly be overstated: easy to store, easy to move, and most importantly a binary string can be linked to terms of payment, opening up the specter of tethered money -- money that can be used only for its declared purpose. In large areas of the under developed world cellphone is the only infrastructure, and digital money will render one's phone into one's bank! Alas, the obstacles are looming as high as the promise: the proposed solutions so far have relied on fast eroding intractability of one-way functions, which means that banks will have to bet against innovation (ideas to overcome the computational intractability that underlies the digital currency). Realizing that a new approach is called for, the BitMint team constructed a solution based on equivocation which allows for cryptographic money that is theoretically resistant to even brute-force cryptanalysis; resistance that does not erode with time. In this short seminar we describe the construction of the BitMint digital money, its minting, trade, and eventual redemption procedures  -- followed by a short description of the prospective impact on the economy. The BitMint solution was vetted by a UN commission, and by a large German international conglomerate, where BitMint won the first prize in an international competition for innovative start-ups (2011).

Challenge: money – digital or not, attracts smart fraud. We need to role-play the bad guys, and find holes in the scheme. Please help and challenge the BitMint solution with your most creative ideas on how to compromise the system


Gideon Samid holds the underlying patents, and chairs the technical team that develops the BitMint solution. This innovation is a practical illustration of InnovationSP: Innovation Solution Protocol, presented by Gideon in his book "The Innovation Turing Machine". Gideon's interests include complex systems, inferential knowledge swarms, knowledge realization momentum (correcting for our tendency to model the unknown in the image of the known), cryptography, and computer security. Gideon is an adjunct faculty at EECS, and an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland, University College. He writes the cyber security column for "Digital Transactions", and his 2009 book "The Unending CyberWar" enjoyed critical acclaim.