Standing on the shoulders of Satoshi

For Isaac Newton, it was, allegedly, an apple falling off a tree that provided him with the inspiration to describe the laws of gravity. Yet Newton also acknowledged the body of knowledge he had inherited from preceding generations, “I can see so far because I stand on the shoulders of giants”.

Bitcoin is an innovation which is brilliant and original; at the same time, it builds on the work of others. The two main constituent parts are public key cryptography, which authenticates transactions, and a one-way function which secures the integrity of the ledger. Both…