Crypto OG David Chaum announces Elixxir0.16

The Wall Street Journal reported today that "the godfather of the cryptocurrency movement is back with a plan to address bitcoin’s biggest shortcoming: speed." David Chaum, who invented a Bitcoin precursor in the 1990s called DigiCash, has announced a new project called Elixxir. According to Chaum, "Elixxir can process thousands of transactions a second—a dramatic increase over bitcoin’s current capability—and cuts down on the energy required to maintain the network."

The Wall Street Journal
@WSJ

A new cryptocurrency platform, called Elixxir, promises to improve on bitcoin’s speed by processing thousands of transactions a second on.wsj.com/2Df4UGk

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WSJ reporter Paul Vigna said Chaum's product purports to solve "what Vitalik Buterin called the scalability trilemma."

Paul Vigna
@paulvigna

@WSJ Chaum says he's solved what Vitalik Buterin called the scalability trilemma. His new system, called Elixxir, is decentralized, secure, and fast. Very fast.

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Fellow crypto pioneer Nick Szabo is impressed:

Nick Szabo
@NickSzabo4

@adlerdavid4 "Elixxir"? He used to always name his protocols after his initials ("digital cash", "dining cryptographers", etc.) He was a splendid inspiration and inspiring now again to see him still at work!!!!

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Coindesk's Wong Joon Ian reports from Consensus Singapore that Elixxir has implications for Dapp development too:

Wong Joon Ian
@joonian

He's pitching elixxir as a platform for users to have multi sig control over dapps

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However despite Chaum's reputation, we'll have to wait and see whether his Elixxir works. In the meantime, Adam Taché has a useful thread on what's currently known about the tech spec.

Adam Taché 🎑
@Adam_Tache

1/ David Chaum (@chaumdotcom), inventor of digital cash and blind signatures, announced his new payment and messaging blockchain called Elixxir. Notably, the presentation had no mentions of the monetary policy or distribution of the coin.

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2/ The technical brief is accessible here: cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/4816439/… and focuses on the tenants of speed, scale, and privacy.

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3/ “So far we have excellent store of value systems, but we haven’t really reached the global consumer payment system scale. With this [Elixxir], we’re able to realize Satoshi’s dream and take the blockchain to global deployment.”

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4/ “When you talk about consumer products, there’s a long history of nations trying to destroy the consumer payment system of other nations during war. That wreaks havoc and causes a lot of problems for civilians…

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5/ …so there is an immutable requirement that there’s no chance someone can find a clever attack to break a public key system. We need the strong quantum resistant approach.”

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6/ “We need to match the privacy and speed that people have today because we’re not going to be able to get someone to accept something that’s worse from them in that regard. I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve been able to meet these requirements in a technical system."

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7/ “Fundamental innovations” of Elixxir —

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8/ How does it work? Quick highlights from the technical brief:

- The architecture is based on an anonymous mixing protocol to anonymize batches of messages and transactions to provide user privacy.
- The platform is said to scale linearly as new computers join the system.

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9/

- Nodes are deterministically organized into per-block, temporary teams and work in them to generate blocks.
- All nodes within a team create verifiable proofs published with the new block that transactions were received and ordered properly.

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10/

- One honest node within the team preserves the anonymity of the team (“no 51% attacks”).
- The nodes validate then decrypt and process each message.

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11/

- Nodes stake tokens in order to participate in the network.
- A pre-computation is performed that creates a template describing how nodes process information during block generation.
- Teams use anonymous, verifiable, bi-directional transaction channels to process blocks.

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12/

- If an actor is identified as malicious, its staked tokens are burned, and it’s ejected from the network.
- Once a block is generated (created by a single team at a time), it’s broadcast to the nodes in the next team.
- The data is then broadcast to the rest of the nodes.

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13/

- Sybil resistance is attained through verifiable performance (need more info), such as elections balloting trustworthy nodes based on previous data.
- Blocks contain no no sender/receiver/transaction amt data, allowing for on-chain unlinkability between payer and payee.

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14/

- Blocks contain a list of past and new addresses that tokens were assigned by transactions of that block.
- The token ownership scheme is called “Hash Based Ownership” based on pre-images as proof of ownership of specific images, and is said to be quantum resistant.

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Fin/ To make a payment:

- Bob sends Alice an invoice with the destination, which is an image (output of hash function) that Bob generated.
- Alice then sends a transaction to the system proving she owns the token and Bob’s address (image).

etc.

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Chaum on Elixxir's hash-based ownership of tokens instead of digital signatures, and smart contract capabilities:

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