7

Simply: who are Alice and Bob, and why are they mentioned in every Bitcoin-related article I read about that talks about Bitcoin transactions?

What is the history or mystery of these two?

0
6

Fictional characters. Cryptography (and other) books use names like that often.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_and_Bob

5

Alice and Bob are placeholder characters corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. They are used especially in computer science to describe use-cases or scenarios. The scheme is used because it's more convenient to say "Alice sends money to Bob" than to say "Party A sends money to Party B". As each name has a different initial, diagrams can fall back to single letter labeling.

It's a well-known meme:

Obligatory XKCD
via xkcd.com

The list usually goes something like this: Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dave, Erin, Frank,…

Other names are used to represent attacker types or other recurring roles:

  • Carole, the oracle
  • Eve, the eavesdropper
  • Mallory, the man-in-the-middle attacker with malicious intent
  • Sybil, the attacker with lots of identities
  • Trent, the trusted entity

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