The unsung Heroes of Bitcoin, Cryptography

I'm writing this post directed at Bitcoin enthusiasts that are not cryptographers. If you are a programmer you might have heard of some of these names.
The brilliance of Bitcoin is imo how Satoshi did not invent a new building block but elegantly combined preexsisting classics of cryptography. Standing on the shoulders of giants. But every story about giants has its side characters.
So, let's take a look at the side figures in the development of cryptography:


One of the most foundational achievements in Cryptography is the concept of perfect security (in symmetric encryption). It is mainly attributed to the One Time Pad nowadays. But Vigenere reached almost the same conclusion based on letter-permutations instead of bitwise xor in the 1500s without the theoretical groundworks that the later One Time Pad had.
Everybody in cryptography knows Claude Shannon. He was for sure a great man creating the very foundations for modern cryptography but he's not as underrated. Other notable figures in this field are Frank Miller, Gilbert Vernam etc.


In the 1800s Kerckhoff formulated the principle that all cryptographys security should only be based on the key and not the system. He said it a little differently but the thought still stands.
« Il faut qu’il n’exige pas le secret, et qu’il puisse sans inconvénient tomber entre les mains de l’ennemi. »


William Friedman broke "code purple" in WW2 which was not only instrumental for the free world winning against the Japanese but also maybe the reason cryptography came into institutions, universities and companies in the US.
Everybody knows about Alan Turing inventing basically modern computers to beat the Nazis, few people know about William Friedman and his later to be wife Elizebeth Smith basically reinventing cryptoanalysis from scratch.
Another funny story about Friedman: His first employer was a millionairs playground who didn't know anything about cryptography and basically thought it wasn't important but very fun and interesting to pour his endless wealth into.


Everybody has heard about RSA . But even a lot of people that know the brilliance of prime factorization based crypto don't know why we talk so much about Rivest and Shamir and so little about Leonard Adelman. Sure, especially Shamir has achieved a lot a lot more - he's basically the DaVinci of crypto...
Have you evere wondered why "RSA" isn't alphabetically?
In the development of RSA Rivest and Shamir were inventing new ideas and algorithms all the time and then running over to Leonard Adelman who was trying to break it or build a mathematical proof around it. It's the underrated job in this development process. But not at all less important. Certainly not so much less important to write his name last.
I think Adelmans contribution to humankind is so underrated, don't forget him when mentioning Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Adi Shamir and Taher Elgamal.


David Chaum might not be as unknown to non-cryptographer Bitcoiners here. Basically Chaum introduced in 1990 anonymous eCASH with his company DiGiCash. It did not really solve the double spend problem and it was still a centralized currency. But he was so far ahead and he is the godfather of all that came later. He almost cashed out big with Microsoft but did not because he had idiotic demands. I can't speak for his actions after 2009, some of you guys probably have opinions about that.


The founder of Silk Road. Why is his contribution to Bitcoin underrated in my opinion? Because Bitcoins early days were highly dependent on people who ugently needed Bitcoin. For most of us the need for a decentralized hard money is a goal in pursuit of noble ideals. For Silk Road users it was an urgent necessity.


okay, you know what cringe paragraph comes here. Blabla, you get the point
This was a fun writeup for me. I still know a lot of other stories that I want to tell, I could write a second post if you liked this one
Wonderful writeup. Thanks
Awesome piece! Indeed bitcoin came a long way.
Adelman isn't the underrated one in RSA. Shamir is the real Chad. He literally shows up in ANY topic in cryptography. If you look up something in DL, there is Shamir, you look up something in prime numbers, there is Shamir. You look up something about obscure SHA-3 alternative hash proposals, a wild Shamir appears. Shamir secret sharing.
запиши в блок чейн биткоина. попробуй сжать информацию таким образом что бы она поместилась.