Fluid dynamics is not something that typically comes to mind when thinking about bitcoin. But for one Stanford physicist, the connection is as simple as stirring your coffee.

In a study published April 23 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford applied physics doctoral student William Gilpin described how swirling liquids, such as coffee, follow the same principles as transactions with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This parallel between the mathematical functions governing cryptocurrencies and natural, physical processes may help in developing more advanced digital security and in understanding physical processes in nature.

“Having an actual physical model and showing that this is a naturally occurring process might open up new ways to think about those functions,” Gilpin said. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin work in mysterious ways on purpose.

As a virtual currency, it isn’t protected or controlled by any central group. Instead, cryptocurrencies exchange and secure information through a mathematical function called a cryptographic hash — a modern workhorse for cybersecurity.

These functions mathematically transform digital information into a unique output that disguises the input. Hash functions are deliberately designed to be complex, but they also remain consistent so that the same input always produces the same output. Read more from sciencedaily.com…

thumbnail courtesy of sciencedaily.com