In an unique interview with Cointelegraph, famend cryptographer Jean-Jacques Quisquater discusses constructing the web’s first blockchain within the 1990s and being cited within the Bitcoin Whitepaper.

In 1989, Quisquater started engaged on transitioning media from analog to digital techniques for Philips Analysis Lab in Brussels, the place he had been working for 19 years.

“The purpose was to take a present (analog) scenario in actual life, and learn the way to deal with it in digital techniques,” mentioned Quisquater.

We did that for analog signatures, time, location … and we found many issues, some nonetheless to be solved appropriately, however we took particular look after time (we referred to as it timestamping).

After investigating concrete conditions by which timestamping is essential, the analysis lab had a collection of “very optimistic conferences with Belgian notaries” throughout the identical 12 months.

Conceiving the primary blockchain

Quisquater acknowledged that the analysis lab produced a system by which the digital signatures of notaries are used to timestamp paperwork which can be communicated throughout a distributed community and saved on a database:

We imagined, along with the notaries, a system the place notaries might convert paperwork right into a digital model (pdf was not there at the moment), put a digital signature on it, and ship it to a trusted central authority of the notaries (in Belgium, we name it l’Ordre des Notaires, a central location). On the time there have been some digital communications between notaries utilizing modems (overlook web).

“The subsequent downside was what to do on the central location,” mentioned Quisquater. “We then imagined utilizing cryptographic hash features in an effort to register in a safe method to obtain messages with none chance of fixing it with the digital signature of the central authority (ordre des notaires).”

And sooner or later I found that it was doable to make use of that with out the usage of such signatures if the entire file (chain) is public for all notaries. The idea of (block)chain was created!

Nonetheless, Quisquater famous that the lab additionally skilled escalating monetary difficulties, resulting in its closure on the finish of June 1991.

Timesec is born

Quisquater then started working for the Belgian college UCLouvain, “in a really dangerous place” the place he was paid “the bottom doable wage for a professor,” and solely labored half-hours.

Nonetheless, in 1996, he obtained a grant alongside Bart Preneel of KULeuven college to work on a undertaking referred to as Timesec.

“The concept was to introduce requirements on the [International Organization for Standardization] ISO and [Internet Engineering Task Force] IETF ranges about safe digital time in an effort to get a safer instrument as [Network Time Protocol] NTP,” mentioned Quisquater

The cryptographer recounts papers written by Scott Stornetta and Quisquater’s long-time pal Stuart Haber providing ground-breaking insights into the usage of hash features for timestamping on the time — papers which can be additionally cited within the Bitcoin Whitepaper.

Constructing the primary blockchain

After receiving the grant, Quisquater started to work on implementing the primary blockchain on the rising web alongside Haber:

“The primary blockchain, by Stuart, was utilizing NYTimes to publish hash values (surety.com). It nonetheless exists. We used blocks (the true thought of Merkle) chaining with 2 safe hash features (in case one is damaged) and a safe pseudo-random generator.”

Quisquater recounts that the IETF “was probably not involved in our concepts (too sophisticated), however ISO was capable of publish a working draft after which an ISO customary about blockchains [that] was continued until very just lately.”

5 papers have been written in regards to the undertaking, together with “Design of a safe timestamping service with minimal belief necessities” — the second reference listed within the Bitcoin Whitepaper.

Haber and Quisquater’s system didn’t contain any type of mining.

{Hardware} pockets producer hires Quisquater

Final week, EAL7-security licensed {hardware} pockets producer Ngrave introduced the appointment of Quisquater as an advisor forward of the launch of their flagship Zero pockets.

Quisquater acknowledged that he’ll advise the corporate on “how you can safe a chip, a bodily object, and how you can make it possible for a cryptographic algorithm is the suitable one,” along with “common guidelines to deal with safety.”

Ngrave co-founder and CEO, Ruben Merre, instructed Cointelegraph that the Ngrave’s founders first met Quisquater in October 2018, resulting in collaboration on crypto safety.

“It was obvious that Quisquater shared the identical imaginative and prescient because the Ngrave group,” mentioned Merre, recounting that once they subsequent met in particular person, “the Ngrave group defined their newly invented key technology course of, and Quisquater instructed the group he had the very same factor in thoughts.”

“The primary half of 2020, interactions turned extra frequent and finally Quisquater additionally turned formally concerned,” Merre added.

Quisquater has additionally suggested 12 blockchain startups, 4 preliminary coin choices (ICOs), and has given at the least 25 talks with regards to blockchain over the previous three years.

First revealed right here