You can't trust anyone or anything

My bleak tech reality: You can't trust anyone or anything, anymore • The Register by Trevor Pott

Very few among us - maybe none - are worthy of the level of trust required to have complete access to our activities, beliefs, actions, associations and desires. Acknowledgement of this means designing the systems that store all of that information in a way that treats everyone as untrusted by default.

I’ve joked about Layer 8 with my colleagues for years. Turns out it’s a well known concept.

Blockchain and trust

Blockchain and Trust - Schneier on Security by Bruce Schneier

The word "trust" is loaded with many meanings. There's personal and intimate trust. When we say we trust a friend, we mean that we trust their intentions and know that those intentions will inform their actions. There's also the less intimate, less personal trust -- we might not know someone personally, or know their motivations, but we can trust their future actions. Blockchain enables this sort of trust: We don't know any bitcoin miners, for example, but we trust that they will follow the mining protocol and make the whole system work.


What blockchain does is shift some of the trust in people and institutions to trust in technology. You need to trust the cryptography, the protocols, the software, the computers and the network. And you need to trust them absolutely, because they're often single points of failure.

When that trust turns out to be misplaced, there is no recourse. If your bitcoin exchange gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If your bitcoin wallet gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If you forget your login credentials, you lose all of your money. If there's a bug in the code of your smart contract, you lose all of your money. If someone successfully hacks the blockchain security, you lose all of your money. In many ways, trusting technology is harder than trusting people. Would you rather trust a human legal system or the details of some computer code you don't have the expertise to audit?