Digital Cash

John Schofield John.Schofield at
Mon Mar 28 04:43:48 PST 1994

 --==<Quoting Uucp to John Schofield about "Re: Digital Cash">==--

 Uu> I have always been skeptical of this observer-chip approach, because
 Uu> it wasn't clear that it was feasible to make a tamper-resistant chip
 Uu> economically, and because the specialized hardware that would be
 Uu> required would prevent the system from being used on widely-available
 Uu> PCs.  However, now we see that our military rulers apparently trust
 Uu> tamper-resistant technology well enough to put it into thousands of
 Uu> public hands, without fear that even one chip will be opened and read.
 Uu> Breaking an observer only lets you double-spend the coins it holds,
 Uu> while breaking Clipper allows you to permanently defeat the escrow
 Uu> provisions of the whole system.  So this suggests that the technology
 Uu> is adequate for observers.

I once asked my grandfather if he was sure he could take apart the tractor he
was working on.  His response?  "A man put it together."  Anything one man can
do, another can undo--the only variable is the degree of effort required.  I'm
sure we can make a tamper-resistant chip, but can we make a tamper-proof one?

Considering the determination and intelligence of some of the people involved,
I'm sure that a tamper-resistant chip would be compromised pretty quickly.

--John Schofield

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