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Everything You Need to Know About Adam Back

by Matthew Harris
, Everything You Need to Know About Adam Back

Ever since his name was mentioned in the infamous Bitcoin white paper and the mysterious Satoshi cited a protocol invented by him as an early influence on Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm, Adam Back has been an important figure in the crypto-sphere.

Of course he is well-known as the founder and CEO of Blockstream, but what else do we know about him?

Well, in the 1990’s Back’s career focused on the intersection of cryptography and computer science. While working at a company called Zero Knowledge Systems, he worked on encryption and privacy and was even a consultant to Nokia on the feasibility of mobile phones being able to utilize electronic cash.

In 1997, he developed the idea and wrote the code for Hashcash, the proof-of-work system used by several anti-spam systems in order to make it difficult for spammers to send millions of emails by requiring senders to enter a valid header for the message before sending. Hashcash is also utilized in combating blog spam, defending against user namespace pollution, and in other protocols.

In the early 2000’s, Back proposed his own B-money solution which used computational effort to prevent double spending. Unfortunately however, the solution wasn’t able to effectively address the problem of inflation.

Currently the CEO of Blockstream, where he has been since launching the company in 2014, Dr. Adam Back holds a PH.D. in computer science from the University of Exeter and is known for a number of notable achievements and accomplishments over the years.

The British born cryptographer and computer scientist is also known for:

  • Implementing Credlib, a library that implements the credential systems of Stefan Brands and David Chaum.
  • Being the first to formalize the Non-Interactive Forward-Secrecy security property for email and observing that any Identity Based Encryption scheme can be used to provide Non-Interactive Forward Secrecy.
  • Pioneering the use of non-exportable T-shirts and ultra-compact code with his 3-line RSA in Perl signature file to protest the United States cryptography export regulations…. which are now relaxed.
  • Consulted with leading security companies, including: Vmware, QWcap, and oneID.

Adam Back has influenced the cryptocurrency industry since the early days and as the leader of Blockstream, he continues to do so today. And with so much of the Bitcoin core-development team having joined him, we’re likely to continue hearing the names Back and Blockstream for the foreseeable future.

Image via ForkLog, Johoe

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