[Cryptography] blockchain and trustworthy computing

ianG iang at iang.org
Wed Sep 30 23:22:10 EDT 2015

Thought experiment.

The blockchain [0] provides a way to do verifiable computing [1].

Popularly under the tag of "smart contracts" these little scripts can be 
executed on every node, and the ability of the nodes to come together 
and find consensus on the state or results provides a way to not only 
compute, but also know that we have verifiably computed.

Verifiable computing was a long treasured goal - but proved elusive 
outside an academically restricted set of assumptions.

If we have verifiable computing finally in the blockchain - a thesis - 
does this mean we now have a trustworthy computing platform?

To cast back to prior efforts at trustworthy computing platforms, they 
all more or less failed because they moved the pieces around the board, 
they didn't actually provide a neutral, independent and fair definition 
of what was trustworthy.  E.g., creating special computing cells within 
CPUs created the concern that those who created the cells could always 
manipulate the results.  Hence, even if you believed Intel wouldn't 
cheat, there wasn't the combined faith in the system to incentivise the 
many large investments that inventors hoped for to make it fly.

In practical terms, if I run a personal blockchain on my laptop, home 
computer, TV, android tablet, iPhone, and xWatch, have I created a 
trustworthy computing platform?  In the process, has the 
hardware-I-Don't-Trust conundrum been solved?

Or, for a more hypothetical example, if I have an EPA-tester running on 
the blockchain calculating in turn over the various cars that are 
providing the nodes, does this solve the VW problem?


[0] I'm talking about the conceptual idea, as implemented in various techs.
[1] Some more found here:

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