A couple of things that have been proven true in practice recently: first, the people who benefit most from zero-trust systems are people who shouldn’t be trusted. The primary utility of these systems is to give people who are not trustworthy a way to claim their untrustworthiness doesn’t really matter. That claim is demonstrably false.

Once you make even the slightest concession to the notion that trust might matter, the entire cryptocurrency exercise just… dissolves into meaninglessness. If you admit that the double spend solution only needs to be good enough, you can run the whole bitcoin exercise on five year old Android phones, thousands of times faster and for a vanishing fraction of the energy cost.

In a way that, you might notice, mirrors a well-functioning human society: the direct consequence of an absence of trust is a tectonic amount of wasted and redundant effort. That’s what zero-trust systems are. Waste.

@mhoye now do zero-trust networking

(this is a subtoot about work)

@mhoye this is a pattern in general, and you can really extend it well beyond this - to be able to exist as a society with any kind of efficiency, you *need* trust, and honestly without it a lot of possible kinds of interactions aren't worth it to begin with. Worse, no trust in some areas like cryptocurrency makes other areas worse. It erodes any kind of consumer protection, for one - I can pay you in trustless bitcoin, but then I'm screwed if you send me a brick instead of a phone.

@mhoye Zero knowledge proofs have important uses outside of cryptocurrency. Signal uses them for authenticating administrators of end-to-end encrypted groups without the server knowing who is in the group.


It seems to me that @mhoye is only critiqueing the waste from zero-trust coordination problems, not the underlying cryptography that predates "blockchain" by several decades.

Coordinating the whole world without any trust is horrendously expensive, but a zero knowledge proof in its simplest form only takes a little work to prove one thing to one other party.

@be zero knowledge proofs are not what I mean - I mean zero _trust_ _systems_.

@mhoye this is a really good succinct way to put it, thank you

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