Chapter 04: Blockchain, An Evolution of Applied Cryptography

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” 

- Sir Isaac Newton

“There are two kinds of cryptography in this world: cryptography that will stop your kid sister from reading your files, and cryptography that will stop major governments from reading your files.” 

– Bruce Schneier

Blockchain technology is the culmination and continued advancement of several hundred years of mathematical and cryptographic innovations. To understand the current state of the blockchain industry in 2019 and onward requires taking a look back at the development of modern-day cryptography from its infancy. 

Some of the cryptographic mechanisms and systems used to create a blockchain were known and used in computer science for several decades, and it is the unique combination of these functions that makes today’s technology possible. The combination of these various applied forms of cryptography as part of a cohesive whole is the real genius behind blockchain. 

For those brand new to the concept of cryptography, to put it, cryptography is the practice and study of techniques that allow for secure communication in the presence of third parties. In the modern sense, cryptography is all about the creation and analysis of protocols that prevent these third-party adversaries from reading private messages.