**From:** maru dubshinki (*marudubshinki@gmail.com*)

**Date:** Mon Jan 08 2007 - 22:11:00 MST

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On 1/8/07, Russell Wallace <russell.wallace@gmail.com> wrote:

*> On 1/9/07, maru dubshinki <marudubshinki@gmail.com> wrote:
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*> > I'm not so sure this is true. Public-key cryptography, for example,
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*> > relies on it being easier to check that two primes multiply to a given
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*> > number than it is to actually obtain the answer by factoring that
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*> > given number. Wouldn't zero-knowledge proofs[1] provide a basis for
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*> > information as currency? It allows people to verify the authenticity
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*> > of information to a desired degree of certainty, but wouldn't let any
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*> > of the information leak (which would 'devalue' the possessor's asset).
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*>
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*> Zero-knowledge proofs and similar techniques can verify the truth of things
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*> like logical statements about the properties of certain integers. They can't
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*> verify that a statement about the real world, corresponds to a state of
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*> affairs that actually obtains in the real world.
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Forgive me for trying your patience, but according to the en Wikipedia

entry, zero-knowledge proofs can be done for any NP problem. I don't

find it hard to believe that answers to the many NP problems in the

real world could be valuable; and things of value can have very

tenuous ties to the real world - witness intellectual property, and

pirating of "certain integers" (as digitized media like movies, and

software, are) as examples. It might make quite a bit of sense for a

transhuman to value information far above any merely physical object.

On a side note, even if you can't directly check the validity or

desirability of information through cryptographic means, they could

still provide a mechanism for a currency: currencies need to be more

expensive to forge or make than to use, and large enough integers

could be economically infeasible to factor. There are a lot of

proposals for digital cash which are currently just interesting

suggestions (ex. Nick Szabo's bit gold

<http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html>) and nothing

solid, but I don't think that's a sufficient reason to assert

categorically that they cannot be a good future system.

~maru

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