When bitcoin bros talk cryptography 

You might remember that last month, chief bitcoin bro Anthony Pompliano — better known as “Pomp” — had a go at talking global finance (it didn’t go terribly well).

This time round, the crypto fund manager talked cryptography. You know, that old practice of using codes (where words and numbers are converted into different words and numbers) and ciphers (where a message is converted on a letter-by-letter basis) in order to protect, or “encrypt” secrets. A practice that dates back to roughly 1900BC, when some unusual hieroglyphs were carved into the wall of a tomb in the Old Kingdom of Egypt.

Modern cryptography is, of course, a little different, as it uses computers to generate and crack the codes and ciphers. It dates back 100 years or less, depending on how you want to measure it, with great advances made during World War II.

It wasn’t until 2008, however, that some elements of cryptography — public-key cryptography, specifically, which was invented in the 1970s — were combined to create bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto (whoever he or she or they is or are or was or were) wasn’t creating any new cryptography, but was simply combining a number of existing bits of it. Such as a “hashing” function called SHA-256, designed by the US National Security Agency around the turn of the millennium. And the “Hashcash” proof-of-work system, designed in the late 1990s as an anti-spam measure.

Fast-forward to 2019 (h/t Ed Salazar for drawing our attention to this) and earlier this week Pomp — who has over half his net worth in bitcoin — talked to CNBC about bitcoin as a “safe haven”. He argued that it was “irresponsible for institutions to not have exposure to this asset”. (Ahem.)

When one of the CNBC journalists put it to Pomp that just because bitcoin is scarce that doesn’t necessarily make it valuable, as “there are a lot of things that are scarce that nobody cares about”, Pomp said:

Of course. Look, if you don’t believe in bitcoin,…

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