Basic Bitcoin Competency Certification

Tuesday, 25 August, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

It recently came to my atention that known conmen are openly advertising "Bitcoin certification".

While so-called certification is a preminent and widely reviled part of the bezzle that the USG mostly consists of, and while their execution is exactly as appallingly poor as you'd expect from someone affectionately dubbed "the shit fountain", I suspect there may be some merit nevertheless in the idea of allowing interested parties to score their knowledge of a field.

Consequently, find thei actual Basic Bitcoin Competency Certification test below. You may use this in either of two ways. One way is to read the questions, think about the answers, write them down, think about them some more, correct what you wrote down and so on ad infinitum. The other way is to get in the WoT, clearsign your answer and leave it as a comment here. You will receive an answer consisting of a clearsigned certification of your resultsii. Either way is perfectly valid. Some mentally simple individuals may perceive a third alternative. This is purely their overactive imagination put to the hard, thankless, arid work of trying to compensate for an underdeveloped intellect.

Section A. Mathematics, applied.

  1. What is a trapdoor function ? What is an acyclic graph ?
  2. Explain the Byzantine Generals problem.
  3. Create your own symmetric enchiphering scheme, so that obtaining the plaintext out of cyphertext takes at least twice as many operations if one doesn't have the key.
  4. Discuss perfect forward secrecy, in the broader context of mathematical guarantees.
  5. What is meant by "Proof of Work" ?
  6. What is a stable solution ? Define Nash's equilibrium.
  7. Describe at least two orthogonal notions of 'entropy', and discuss their applications.

Section B. Economics, applied.

  1. Illustrate the roles and fuctions of a bank, and discuss its historical evolution.
  2. Provide a brief history of remittance in human civilisation.
  3. Explain, with reference to economic theory and to the history of economic thought, why the medium-of-exchange function of money and the store-of-value function of money are orthogonal.
  4. Explain the functions and functioning of centrally-issued currency. Propose criteria to score the performance of the centrally-issued currency manager.
  5. Illustrate with examples created for the purpose the dangers which beset economic systems built on programatically-issued money.

Section C. Computer Science, Engineering and Systems Design, applied.

  1. Explain the solution Satoshi Nakamoto found to the Byzantine Generals problem.
  2. Discuss the advantage of distributed data storage over alternative solutions, as well as the broad history of deployments.
  3. Introduce and discuss the concept of stability.
  4. Discuss the characteristics of the C++ language that make it an uniquely inappropriate choice for the implementation of Bitcoin. Make proposals for an alternate choice, with justification.
  5. Give an example in which chained encryption results in a scheme weaker than the weakest link.
  6. Explain the second-system effect, with application to a well known case.

Section D. Sociopsychology and Operational Security, applied.

  1. What purpose does asymmetric cryptography serve ?
  2. Explain the disadvantages of "brainwallets".
  3. Explain what "airgap" means, and then illustrate through discussing an example created for the purpose.
  4. What is "social engineering" and why is it difficult to defend against in an institutional setting ?
  5. Define consensus, with references.
  6. Discuss the practical differences between anonimity and pseudonimity. What is a Sybil attack ?
  7. Explain why Rawls' approach to ethics is pseudoscientific.

Note that overly verbose answers will be penalized.

  1. Open, by the way! Fancy that, "everyone else does X" is no argument to do X and "safeguarding the integrity" of a test is in no way related to or served by making it secret. How about that!

    Whoever could have predicted!!11 []

  2. Which you can print and hang on your wall just as well as any other worthless piece of paper purporting to be a "certification". Unlike said piece of maculature however, this also has the value of reflecting your actual competence in a field of your choice. []
Category: Bitcoin
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6 Responses

  1. This is awesome!

    >> Introduce and discuss the concept of stability.

  2. This is awesome!

    >> Introduce and discuss the concept of stability. << This question, unlike the others, is vague and doesn't give the unknowing enough of a hint as to how to start researching the answer.

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 25 August 2015

    Yeah, but deliberately.

  4. This is should be included in the 'first steps for #b-a'

    I love it, though. Now I have a better gauge of my own incompetency, and how to improve it. Thanks!

  5. "Note that overly verbose answers will be penalized." PRICELESS!

  6. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 27 August 2015

    Ahh, when one's art is appreciated...

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