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Handbook of Financial Cryptography and Security

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Cryptography has made a peculiar journey to become a modern science. It had long been associated with the military and with magic. The rst published work in the eld was Steganographia, by an alchemist named Trithemius. Although written earlier, the book was published in 1606. Cryptography has continued this connection with the arcane | during World War II, intelligence derived from the broken Japanese PURPLE cipher was code named Magic [8].

Because of the association with the military, and cryptography's importance for warfare and tradecraft, it confronted a restrictive status quo as cryptography's usefulness started to expand beyond its established boundaries. During a period beginning around 1976, the needs of commerce for con dentiality over electronic communication channels and the public study of cryptography to satisfy those needs meant that cryptography had to nally walk out of its cloisters among the government agencies and become a science, as had other sciences walked away from unnecessary and restrictive strictures [3]. It was not just an amazing change, but a change that was the best and most direct expression of the change of our times into an information age and an information economy. It was part and parcel of the recognition of a cyberspace, in which a cybersociety will be inhabited.

At the technical end of things, the invention of public key encryption was by far the greatest enabler of these changes. At its birth, in the New Directions paper [1, 2], along with a new sort of cryptography, better able to deal with the ad hoc patterns of civil communication, there was the proposal of a digital signature, that is, a method by which it can be publicly veri ed that a signer has agreed to a document. In solving this problem, cryptography now had become another thing. It was thereafter a great misrepresentation and underestimation to describe cryptography as being about secret messages, or of only keeping things con dential.

Immediately afterwards emerged blind signatures to enable untraceable cash. Cryptography broadened out of its traditional military context, into a nancial context, with an immediate challenge to culture. Untraceable electronic cash is as much an awesome discovery as it is a threat to the status quo. At each unfolding of cryptography, at each new direction, something about culture, commerce, and freedom needed to be renegotiated.

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