[Cryptography] Elixxir

jamesd at echeque.com jamesd at echeque.com
Mon Sep 24 20:09:28 EDT 2018

>> Chaum is doing his own blockchain company:  Elixxir
On 2018-09-24 12:14, John Levine wrote:> There's a 20 page white paper 
on their web site:
> https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/4816439/Elixxir_Technical_Brief.pdf

Chaum has done this dance before.  He needs to tell us why this time it 
is going to be different to the last time he issued a crypto currency.

My reading of this brief is that this is not a genuinely decentralized 
system:  There is a special entity "the system" that has powers and 
secrets that regular peers, hosts, and clients do not have, which 
enforces the protocol, and Rober Mueller can find this special entity 
and send in goons with guns and a warrant charging money laundering and 
financial fraud to kick down the door at dawn.

In a genuinely decentralized system, everyone follows the protocol 
merely because it is in each individual's interests to do so provided 
that everyone else follows the protocol, and if a large group decides to 
follow a different protocol, then they have forked the blockchain.

In a genuinely decentralized system, the government might force some 
people to follow a different protocol, but that protocol is likely to be 
unpopular, and it will be difficult for the government to force everyone 
to follow its preferred protocol.

In a genuinely decentralized system, "The system" is just that most 
people choose to install the standard software with the standard 
configuration so that they can inter-operate with other people who have 
also installed the standard software with the standard configuration. 
Chaum's "system" seems to be something else, something considerably 
more, and his white paper is rather vague on what it is.

Hence the 51% attack is inherent in decentralization.  Any consensus is 
ultimately a consensus of machines following human orders, and thus 
ultimately a consensus of humans, and any human consensus necessarily 
has the usual well known problems.

What is going to happen to this system, Chaum's new proposed system, is 
what happened to Chaum's original anonymized currency.  Someone much 
resembling Robert Mueller threatens the operator with money laundering, 
financial fraud, and so forth charges if he does not play ball, so "the 
system" plays ball, rendering all that wonderful cryptography worse than 

That is what happened the previous two times we did this dance (e-gold, 
chaumian anonymity), and any proposed crypto currency needs to explain 
why it is not going to happen this time.

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