Before Bitcoin Pt.1 — 70s “Public Key Saga”

70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and the people behind the tech.

Part One’s Notes


So what is public key cryptography?

How does it work?

Easy video outline the concept of public key encryption

This was an extremely important concept for cryptography and would lead to the first big interest in cryptography…

Martin Hellman, a young ambitious man

Early Career

Early influences of Harry Feistel & Peter Elias

Pursuing research

Martin Hellman at Stanford (1973)

Whitfield Diffie, a very bored young man

Skimming day jobs to work on AI & ‘The Codebreakers’

IBM Thomas J. Watson Laboratory in Yorktown Heights

Hellman meets Diffie

Data Encryption Standard (DES)

1970s Stock photos from the NSA!

How the DES was designed

Hellman and Diffie’s criticisms

Merkle, the kid who knew nothing

Merkle’s Puzzles

Covers of 1970s CACM editions
Merkle on the left, Hellman in the middle, Diffie on the right (1977)

New Directions in Cryptography

Closing statement

1kx. MetaCartel. Venture DAO.