[ExI] proto-bitcoin

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Fri Apr 19 23:14:23 UTC 2013

On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM, spike <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:

> GIMPS is an organized search for the record prime number, but it occurred
> to me that it is kinda sorta like a prototype of bitcoin.  Imagine you have
> a hardcore math buddy who would give an absurd amount of money to be on the
> same short list with Mersenne, Euler, Cataldi, and those kinds of cats,
> guys who have always been indistinguishable from god to your math buddy,
> but not so much to you.  Rich and famous?  You like rich, but don’t care
> about famous, at least not in that.  So if you are running GIMPS because
> she thought it was cool, and consequently discovered the next Mersenne
> prime, it makes sense to me to contact your buddy and tell her you found
> one and will sell it to her for say, 50k, along with an agreement to say
> nothing about it after the sale.

Algorithmically, there is a big difference. If I tell you that the shah
hash of 80934875179832740981723723984710721 is 100000000000000000000000001,
(it isn't, just an example) you can verify that fact by hashing it yourself
and verifying the fact in way under a millisecond of compute time. If you
tell me that 80934875179832740981723723984710721 is prime, I have to go
through the same work verifying the fact that you did figuring it out in
the first place (except that I don't have to also check all the other
numbers that you think aren't prime along the way). When the numbers are
large enough (like what GIMP works on, this is a nontrivial check.

The ability to have a huge amount of work required to find the excessively
weird case, but a trivial amount of work to verify it is what makes Bitcoin

I wish the same were true of finding and verifying prime numbers, because
they are useful for other things (just like gold is useful for

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