I’ve been taking a moment or two today to futz with Ethereum, which is – as the site puts it – “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts”.
I mention this as something that might be of interest to Eldraeverse readers, since if you squint very, very hard when you look at it, you can see the beginnings of the fancy automatic-resource-management-and-smart-contract infrastructure I describe the Worlds as having – I mean, back in its equivalent of the technological paleolithic, but then, it’s a lot easier to write about these things than actually sit down and develop them, y’know?
Anyway. Even if you’re not quite so determined a poker of new technologies as I am, you might still want to take a browse through the project site and some of the examples and possibilities therein described. This piece of the future might not be here quite yet, but you can smell it from there!
With the dependence of the Imperial economy on self-generated electronic contracts, fully-digital currency, etc. etc., I have to wonder how common it is for individuals or groups to search for and find security holes or low-level glitches somewhere in the software implementing all of this, which they could then exploit for fun and profit.
(Asked because no, I was not just watching too many videos discussing software bugs and their security implications. Nope. Not at all.)
Fairly common, but less effective than you might think. It tends to mostly be a problem in less developed regions, and with the leading edge of innovation that hasn’t had much of a chance to have the bugs worked out of it yet.
That’s because the core protocols, languages, runtimes, etc., have two advantages where this sort of thing is concerned.
One of them is that they’re, well, a mature software environment. And when I say mature – well, the core ML runtime, the Banking & Credit Weave, IIP, and so forth, they’ve been around for longer than civilization has on Earth, at this point. They’ve got software architects older than Imhotep. Needless to say, it’s spent enough time out there that it is pretty damn solid.
The other one, of course, is that a lot of this stuff is also what the Transcend uses for its own internal architecture, so it’s had the advantage of a security review carried out by a god-brain that expects the crackers trying to get in to be other god-brains. 🙂
Pity etherium looks like it won’t survive the month, what with that scam draining their accounts as we speak. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/17/digital_currency_ethereum/
That is a drastic misunderstanding of what’s happened.
What happened was that someone published a smart contract running on Ethereum, called “TheDAO”, and a bunch of investors put money under its control. The plan was that TheDAO would act as a sort of venture capital fund and use the investors’ pooled money to support various projects. But there was a bug in TheDAO’s code that allowed a user to start withdrawing all of the money in it for himself. Only money that was invested in TheDAO was at risk of being stolen in this way. There’s no bug in Ethereum itself, just in this one smart contract.
It’s sort of like if someone found a bug in a particular bank’s website and used it to steal a bunch of money from that bank. It doesn’t mean that “websites won’t survive the month” or that “banks are a scam,” it means that this one particular bank screwed up bad. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept of websites or banks.