Adam Back is the creator of Hashcash, a proof-of-work system that was used as an early spam control measure on Usenet groups and is also credited with being the first to propose using proof-of-work as a means of combating spam emails. In more recent years, he has been involved with Blockstream, a company that is working on developing technology to support the Bitcoin network.
Adam Back is a computer scientist and entrepreneur who is best known for his work on Bitcoin. He is the CEO of Blockstream, a company that is working to make Bitcoin more accessible and user friendly. Adam is also a co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation, and he has been involved with Bitcoin since its early days.
Back was born in London, England, in July 1970. His first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. He taught himself Basic, and spent his time reverse engineering video games, finding decryption keys in software packages. He completed his A levels in advanced mathematics, physics and economics.
He has a computer science PhD in distributed systems from the University of Exeter. During his PhD, Back worked with compilers to make use of parallel computers in a semi-automated way. He became interested in pgp encryption, electronic cash and remailers. He spent two thirds of his time working with encryption. After graduation, Adam spent his career as a consultant in start ups and larger companies in applied cryptography, writing cryptographic libraries, designing, reviewing and breaking other people's cryptographic protocols.
Back is a pioneer of early digital asset research similarly as Wei Dai, David Chaum, and Hal Finney. In 1997, Back invented Hashcash. A similar system is used in bitcoin.
He also implemented credlib, a library that implements the credential systems of Stefan Brands and David Chaum.
He was the first to describe the “non-interactive forward secrecy” security property for email and to observe that any identity based encryption scheme can be used to provide non-interactive forward secrecy.
He is also known for promoting the use of ultra-compact code with his 2-line and 3-line RSA in Perl signature file and non-exportable T-shirts to protest cryptography export regulations.
Back was one of the first two people to receive an email from Satoshi Nakamoto. In 2016, the Financial Times cited Back as a potential Nakamoto candidate, along with Nick Szabo and Hal Finney.
Back has promoted the use of satellites and mesh networks to broadcast and receive bitcoin transactions, as a backup for the traditional internet.
On 3 October 2016, Back was appointed as CEO of Blockstream. Since then he has introduced products such as the Liquid sidechain, Blockstream Mining Notes, mining colocation services, the Jade hardware wallet, and the Core Lightning implementation.
Adam Back envisions a future where digital assets and cryptography play a central role in transforming the way we exchange value and secure our digital transactions. With a background in computer science and a deep understanding of distributed systems, Back has dedicated his career to advancing the field of applied cryptography. His vision encompasses the development and implementation of innovative cryptographic protocols and technologies that enable secure and efficient digital transactions.
Back recognizes the importance of resilience and decentralization in the digital ecosystem. He has championed the use of satellite and mesh networks to enhance the robustness of transmitting and receiving Bitcoin transactions, offering an alternative to traditional internet connectivity. As the CEO of Blockstream, Back continues to drive innovation by introducing products such as the Liquid sidechain, Blockstream Mining Notes, and the Core Lightning implementation, all aimed at further advancing the capabilities and scalability of blockchain technology.
Through his pioneering work, Back envisions a future where digital assets, cryptography, and decentralized systems empower individuals and organizations, providing secure and efficient means of conducting transactions and reshaping the global financial landscape.
Recognition and Awards
- The Bitcoin Saga: A Mixed Montage l Bloomsbury Publishing
- Latest Satoshi Nakamoto Candidate Buying Bitcoin No Matter What l Bloomberg
- Proof of Work - An interview with Adam Back (Blockstream) l YouTube
- Is Bitcoin Creator Writing a Book? Cryptic Note Indicates Yes l Bloomberg
- Inside the Fight Over Bitcoin's Future l New Yorker
- Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on Twitter: The most important people to follow l Marketwatch
- Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System l Bitcoin Whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto
- BitBeat: Bitcoin Coding Allstars Launch Sidechains Project to Boost Innovation l WSJBlogs
- Non-Interactive Forward Secrecy l cypherspace.org
- Secure Programming with Perl l Data Privacy and Security, Springer
- export-a-crypto-system sig l cypherspace.org
- Secure Programming with Perl l Software Security Technologies, Cengage Learning
- On the brink of revolution l Burdens of Proof: Cryptographic Culture and Evidence Law in the Age of Electronic Documents, MIT Press
- Was Bitcoin Created by This International Drug Dealer? Maybe! l Wired
- New theory claims Adam Back is Satoshi Nakamoto l Decrypt
- Who Is Adam Back? About the Blockstream CEO l Coincentral
- Blockstream raises $210 million l Forbes
- Who is Adam Back? l CoinMarketCap