Knock the Bat Down
These days I miss baseball.
When I was younger, baseball was a big part of my life. In many respects, it was life. Maybe you remember the shirts that said “Baseball is life. The rest is just details.”
It started when I was 7 or 8 years old, when my grandpa took me to a book store to buy the Bill James encyclopedia. Bill James invented sabermetrics, a new approach to baseball strategy and the basis for the Brad Pitt movie, Moneyball. The Boston Red Sox won 4 World Series by literally employing him as an advisor. In the 1980’s I spent whole days pouring myself in the Bill James encyclopedia, memorizing player stats and the novel methods of analysis he gifted to the world.
Fast forward to high school. A few friends on the baseball team would stay after practice and play a game called knock the bat down. It’s exactly what it sounds like. We stood a bat upright on home plate and took a bag of balls out to second base. At second base, we all took turns trying to knock the bat down. Nobody could ever beat Luke Hansen. One legendary day, he knocked the bat down 10 times in a row! As you can imagine, he was a pretty good pitcher.
Zcash reminds me of knock the bat down.
In one sense, the magical math behind ZK proofs is like Luke Hansen who knocks the bat down 10 times in a row. Doing something like that doesn’t happen by random chance. Statistical improbabilities can prove to any bystander that a particular thing is true.
In another sense, when a Zcasher pays with Zcash, he/she only has to do one thing. The merchant sets up the bat at home plate and says, if you can knock this down, I’ll give you the thing. Make the payment. Knock the bat down.
It doesn’t matter if the zip code on the billing address doesn’t match. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t provide your phone number. It doesn’t matter if your social credit score isn’t good enough.
The only thing that matters is – did you knock the bat down.