I was surprised to discover that one of James Randi's "million dollar
paranormal challenges" is protected by a surprisingly weak (dictionary-
based) commitment scheme that is easily reversed and that suffers from
collisions. For details, see my blog entry about it:

I had hoped to be able to suggest a better scheme to Randi (e.g., one
based on a published, scrutinized bit commitment protocol). Unfortunately
I don't know of any that meets all his requirements, the most important
(aside from security) being that his audience (non-cryptographers
who believe in magic) be able to understand and have confidence in it.

It occurs to me that the lack of secure, practical crypto primitives and
protocols that are intuitively clear to ordinary people may be why
cryptography has had so little impact on an even more important problem
than psychic debunking, namely electronic voting. I think "intuitive
cryptography" is a very important open problem for our field.


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