[Cryptography] Another Bitcoin issue (maybe) (was: BitCoin bug reported)

Bear bear at sonic.net
Mon Feb 17 13:26:49 EST 2014

>   Two variations of Bitcoin called Litecoin and Novacoin turn another
>   cryptographic mechanism into collateral damage.  In this case it’s scrypt,
>   which was specifically designed to be expensive to implement in custom
>   hardware by accessing data spread across a large amount of memory in a
>   pseudorandom manner, a so-called memory-hard algorithm [ ].  Unfortunately
>   while this makes scrypt extremely expensive to implement in FPGAs and ASICs,
>   it’s well suited to GPUs, so mining isn’t nearly as hard as it should be.  A
>   side-effect of this Lite/Novacoin mining is that, again, a mechanism
>   designed to protect one type of resource, passwords, is weakened when it’s
>   also used to protect another type of resource, coin scarcity.

For whatever it's worth, I don't think anybody was buying the idea that 
players with serious skin in the game (at the very least La Cosa Nostra 
and various foreign and domestic TLA's) hadn't already been developing
ASICS and FPGA's for password cracking.

So now that there are cryptocurrencies, such things are being developed
for broader audiences.  Good.  That only means that people can't ignore 
them anymore.  Our security has been compromised by them ever since the
TLA's and crooks started using them; now that we can't ignore them,
maybe we can start designing security that takes them into account.


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