[Bitcoin-development] Time

Ron OHara ron.ohara54 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 01:14:20 UTC 2014


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I thought I should shortcut my research by asking a direct question here.

As I understand it, the blockchain actually provides an extra piece of
reliable data that is not being exploited by applications.

Which data?  The time.   In this case 'the time' as agreed by >50% of
the participants, where those participants have a strong financial
incentive to keep that 'time' fairly accurate. (+/- about 10 minutes)

Is this a reasonable understanding of 'time'? ... aka timestamps on the
block

Ok... 'time' on the blockchain could be 'gamed' ... but with great
difficulty. An application presented with a fake blockchain can use
quite a few heuristics to test the 'validity' of the block chain.
It can review the usual cryptographic proofs, and check that difficulty
is growing/declining only in a realistic manner up to the most recent
block. Even use some arbitrary test like difficulty > 10,000,000,000 
... on the presumption that any less means that the Bitcoin system has
failed massively from where it currently is and has become an unreliable
time source.

Reliable 'time' has been impossible up until now - because you need to
trust the time source, and that can always be faked.  Using the
blockchain as an approximate time source gives you a world wide
consensus without direct trust of any player.

So if this presumption is correct, then we can now build time capsule
applications that can not be tricked into exposing their contents too
early by running them in a virtual environment with the wrong system time.

Is this right? or did miss I something fundamental?

Ron

- -- 
public identify: https://www.onename.io/ron_ohara
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