Weiwu Zhang - HP Enterprise Blockchain Architect - Sep 20th 2016

Cryptography: Foundations of Blockchain & Distributed Ledger

Taking a step back from the use cases of blockchain, it is important to visit the history of blockchain and how it came to be so powerful.

The building blocks of blockchain stem directly from the innovations of cryptography and its ability to guarantee a secure method of information validation.

Weiwu outlined the key innovations of cryptography were specific to the design of a trapdoor function. This function is designed to be easily computed in one direction, yet hard to compute in the reverse without a secret information.

The most barebones example of this was shown by Weiwu with the formula to calculate the present value of future annuity payments. With the interest rate as the secret information, you can easily compute this formula but take away the interest rate and you're stuck with a bunch of numbers that mean nothing.

The prominent function which revolutionised cryptography was the one created by Diffie, Hellman and Marke. Subsequently, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is now the method used in public-key cryptography.

What this meant in the blockchain space is that people were now able to guarantee trust online through this method of encryption and securely store data on a publicly distributed ledger without making the data public.


WeiWu Zhang - Biosnap:

Weiwu Zhang is the blockchain architect for HP Enterprise, servicing Sydney's banking industry. Weiwu has been working on bitcoin blockchain since 2011. He has co-designed two alternative currencies and is currently working on Corda.

He is also currently looking for experienced developers working with cryptography and blockchain projects.