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1  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Alt OWL on: March 27, 2018, 09:41:13 PM
I do not get any information about the AltOWL campaign, is this a scam? Huh
2  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Marketplace (Altcoins) / (ask) altOWL scam or not ? on: March 12, 2018, 01:19:11 AM
I joined the altOWL signature campaign managed by Woshib for two weeks. Until now I do not know the official notification for payment.
No telegram links could be contacted and other media to communicate. Give me news for this confusion !!
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Spend P2PK output in 2017? on: June 28, 2017, 10:04:23 PM
How can I spend a P2PK output in 2017? Electrum will not broadcast a signed TX containing it ("Non-canonical DER signature"), and will craft the transaction but will not sign it properly with the private key (it just outputs the unsigned transaction again). I am willing to use bitcoind's RPC, or bitcoin-tx, but I cannot figure out the proper syntax for either. It always spits out "Error parsing JSON: (my private key)" at me, regardless of whether I put it in quotes, brackets, or anything (or it tells me that the input doesn't exist or has been spent (which it hasn't according to all blockchain explorers)). I don't have this copy of Bitcoin Core synced and I'd rather not have to sync it just to sign a transaction since I think it should very well work offline. The unsigned transaction I am attempting to sign was generated by so it already includes the scriptsig.

Basically I will use any software that I can as long as I can sign this transaction offline. It's one input, one output, and a small transaction fee. The input is just an old P2PK one. How can I get this done?

Edit: I can sign/verify messages with the private key, by the way, so I know it's correct.
4  Bitcoin / Electrum / "Exposing a single private key can compromise your entire wallet!" on: June 23, 2017, 03:14:09 PM
Is it true that a deterministic wallet's seed (or master private key or equivalent) can be recovered completely from just one of the private keys that it created? Is this a guaranteed every time sort of thing, or a probabilistic thing, or what?
5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Why are decentralisation advocates seemingly only concerned about block size? on: August 19, 2015, 05:12:10 AM
One of the most common arguments against any proposal to increase Bitcoin's block size limit is that it would inherently reduce the decentralisation of the system. This is of course true, but (when you back away from the tribal politics that have recently emerged where your position on one technical issue is used to signal your entire philosophical/political alignment towards cryptocurrency) pointing this out seems pretty pointless if not disingenuous once you realise that there are no incentives, formulas, or processes in the Bitcoin system at all that are aligned toward increasing or maintaining any amount of decentralisation (not that any particular level of decentralisation that would be desirable has been proposed). It's quite the opposite in fact. From mining to data storage, centralisation is persistently economically rewarded by the Bitcoin network. This is well reflected in the fact that Bitcoin is already much more centralised than many would like, as core developer maaku points out here.

Decentralisation is obviously a very important value for many members of the community (myself included), but from the point of view of Bitcoin's currently implementation, it does not have any role in dictating the allocation of resources and therefore essentially does not exist. The Bitcoin network is a monetary system that plays by economic rules. It is politically neutral, which also means that there is nothing about it that is fundamentally opposed to the corrupting influence of humans that most of its proponents seek to eliminate. If you really care about decentralisation, then shouldn't you worry about fixing this broader issue instead of scapegoating one particular aspect of the system (the increasing demand for larger blocks) that is not in any way inconsistent with its broader context? You can't enforce a principle like decentralisation with piecemeal, band-aid solutions, because people will always find a way to get around the intended consequences of a system unless they are made explicit.

That raises one of the other fundamental problems with with the decentralisation debate: it has not been defined in a useful sense. What is decentralisation, empirically speaking? How do you measure the amount of decentralisation in the Bitcoin network? If you can't measure or objectively define something, then bringing it up in a debate that is fundamentally about technology is simply signalling ideological affiliation, not proposing a solution. If decentralisation advocates want to incorporate the issue into Bitcoin policy making, then they must come up with a method to measure the results of those policies. Simple metrics like how many full nodes are running aren't the answer (and don't capture the full picture, as we know from the large number of Chinese nodes that benefit from the smaller block sizes and yet simply by being run on hardware in China are basically under the de facto control of the Chinese government) since it is trivial for one entity to masquerade as many full nodes. Any proper measurement of decentralisation must account for and work around such Sybil attacks. This is part of the problem that Bitcoin was designed to solve in the first place so it won't be easy. Authentically measuring the "independence" of any given node/miner might be impossible, requiring the formulation or discovery of a clever proxy measurement (like proof of blockchain fair sharing to give an example of that kind of thinking) that correlates strongly with overall decentralisation by its very nature.

Then once you've established how to measure decentralisation, you will have to change Bitcoin's core formulas to incentivise its increase. Instead of "proof of work", you might have a "proof of independent work" value that incorporates some degree of weighted incentives for independent mining. If you were going to incentivise running full nodes as has been proposed, then you would want to reward independent nodes more heavily than a large number of nodes run by one entity. Yet you would also have to make sure that you aren't sacrificing overall mining security or the speed of the network in pursuit of these goals. Of course all of this in itself would be a dramatic change to Bitcoin that could very well be just as controversial and opposed as XT.

My main point is that there seems to be a fundamental conflict underlying the block size issue that is not being addressed. A large portion of the Bitcoin community is strongly in favor of decentralisation, but nothing about the basics of Bitcoin's design encourages it. Its P2P topology certainly allows for it, but ultimately does nothing to counter the economy of scale that does not favor it. I certainly don't have the solution to this very complicated problem, but I don't think that anybody benefits from ignoring the issue. As it stands, Bitcoin will inevitably continue to centralise simply as a result of basic economic laws. If decentralisation in Bitcoin is truly a desired goal, then it must be explicitly baked into the system or it won't happen. If decentralisation advocates are serious, then it's time to start addressing that fact. Block size is only one small part of the picture.

As far as the raising the block size limit goes, the only other argument that I can see against it other than the decentralisation aspect is the fear that blocks that are too large might literally break the network and make it impossible to process transactions. But obviously nobody is just going to allow Bitcoin to stay broken. The whole issue would be fixed relatively quickly just as all other network-breaking bugs have been. It would be an inconvenience, but hardly the existential crisis that many see a centralised future for Bitcoin as. So if you really are in favor of decentralisation yet only focus those concerns on block size issues then you are still being myopic. Block size is a red herring.
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / How can Bitcoin be made fun and exciting again? on: February 12, 2014, 09:23:50 AM
For those of you who don't know, Dogecoin's market cap recently passed Peercoin's, making it the third highest among mineable coins. It hasn't fully solidified itself in that position yet but is poised to do so, having seen huge gains in what is a bear market for most cryptocurrencies.  You can say what you want about Dogecoin (and I think it's a worthless scamcoin myself) but you can't deny that the amount of fun that its community members seem to have contributes to its success. With Charlie Shrem's arrest, the decline in price, the Mt. Gox fiasco, the ban in Russia, and other events in a seemingly endless string of bad news, Bitcoin fans aren't having any fun. The exuberance of the 2013 bubble is entirely gone. There might be another bubble soon but it'd be nice if we could have things to keep people engaged even when the price isn't soaring. So what can the Bitcoin community do to entertain the general public as much as Dogecoin is?

Do we need an animal mascot? Should we have a Bit-chan ( It seems like one already exists ( but I think the design is ugly and there was seemingly no community involvement. Stuff like bringing a Bitcoin banner to the Superbowl or putting a flag in space is great but we need stuff that anybody can be involved in. The great thing about the doge meme is that it doesn't require much of anything to participate.

People seem to think that Bitcoin has lost its soul. How can we prove them wrong? Dogecoin's rise proves that, at least in the short term, technology is not all that matters for a cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is becoming associated entirely with a very sterile, corporate image that I don't think really reflects the whole community. How do we fix this?
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Stable Bitcoin investments? on: November 27, 2013, 07:08:40 PM
In traditional currencies, it's pretty easy for even a financially clueless person to invest and get a modest nominal return. Can we ever expect to see these types of stable investments in Bitcoin or is that unlikely because of its deflationary nature? How does one put their bitcoins to work earning more bitcoins?
8  Other / Politics & Society / Cryptostates - Doing for politics what cryptocurrencies have done for economics on: November 24, 2013, 11:14:36 AM
The cryptocurrency movement has been wildly successful so far despite challenging many established power structures that would presumably seek to destroy it. I won't speculate on why they have been unable or unwilling to do so but from all indications they will not in the near future. Yet the cryptocurrency movement is hardly the first that seeks to provide alternatives to powerful and established structures. From the Principality of Sealand to Forvik the "micronation" movement has sought similarly to provide alternatives to existing state entities. They have almost universally failed, with some being raided by the existing authorities and most being completely ignored except for by hobbyists. Why the disparity between these two similar movements? Basic speculation suggests that it is because micronations have failed to adopt the most useful traits of cryptocurrencies. Below four of the most important features of cryptocurrencies that alternative states such as micronations should seek to emulate but have not are highlighted:

1. Additional value, particularly via the application of cryptography

This is the most critical feature that existing micronations entirely lack. Cryptocurrency systems like Bitcoin add plenty of value to the concept of a currency, their most important feature being the assurance that they provide above and beyond traditional currencies. With cryptocurrency a holder can be assured that pure mathematics and cryptography will be used to protect their currency, to prevent its seizure or transfer without their consent, and to prevent the arbitrary creation of additional units of currency. Separate from the later speculation and interest due to the possibility of material gain, it was this added ideological value, the inherent integrity of cryptocurrencies, that fueled the movement in its earliest stages and continues to provide it legitimacy today.

Micronations meanwhile provide no such additional value. Even those that have managed to transcend the digital world and "claim" a small amount of territory more resemble vanity projects designed to glorify their creators or mere roleplays for their amusement. Furthermore they do not in any way explore the theoretical possibilities of government, with most clumsily aping the representative democracy systems of existing governments or being simple autocracies. They are all style and no substance.

Yet this does not have to be the case. Cryptography can provide as much additional value to the concept of governance as it has to currency. When a voter today goes to the polls in any country, they have no guarantee of the accuracy of the results other than their government's assurance. Cryptographic voting systems can correct this. Cryptographically-enforced identities, using required cryptocurrency payments, webs of trust, or required proofs of work, could help reduce vote fraud. Alternative states allow individuals to explore the possibilities of alternative government systems such as futarchy (government via prediction markets) and liquid democracy, much like cryptocurrency allowed individuals to explore alternative forms of currency such as deflationary and demurraged currencies that were not like to be considered by the dominant authorities. Just as cryptocurrency has provided a solution for many to the corruption of traditional currencies, so too can these methods be used to provide a solution to the corruption of traditional states.

2. Decentralization

Many existing micronations that have made territorial claims have eventually had said territory raided or otherwise interfered with. Others exist solely as a centralized website, easily taken down and only saved by their own irrelevance. If robustness is sought, then alternative states must remain just as resilient against attack as cryptocurrencies are. Decentralization provides this. Protocols such as Bitmessage and Freenet show that the communications necessary for governance can be achieved in a decentralized manner.

3. Gradualism

The worst failure of micronations is that they have refused to accept the nature of their task. The creation of a state, in its most fully realized sense, is a profound political change. Like all political changes, to be successful they must be supported by a larger number of people before their realization, not after. Most micronations attempt to function exactly as their more established predecessors from day one, seeking immediate diplomatic recognition from all of the other nations of the world, demanding membership in international organizations, and maintaining a fiction of equality with established states at all times. Cryptocurrencies have not suffered from this mentality. The creator of the first cryptocurrency, Satoshi Nakamura, did not seek a currency code from the ISO, recognition from the Federal Reserve, or listing on existing currency exchanges. He recognized that the adoption of an alternative structure was a gradual process. Existing micronations have put the cart before the horse in this regard. Any successful alternative state must support a governmental structure that allows for its gradual expansion.

4. Freedom of choice

In the realm of cryptocurrency, a user is no more forced to use Bitcoin than they are Litecoin. This freedom of choice allows the best ideas to flourish. Alternative states can allow their citizens a similar choice, to perhaps renounce citizenship in one state and gain citizenship in another without changing out of their pajamas.

Alternative states that apply the above principles, particularly the application of cryptography, are aptly titled "cryptostates" by analogy to the word "cryptocurrency".

Why these should exist and would help cryptocurrencies

The implications that cryptostates could have for human choice and freedom are obvious. One likely already either agrees or does not that existing states warrant alternatives.

What particularly deserves to be highlighted is the complementary nature of cryptocurrencies and cryptostates. Cryptostates, being of a similar nature to cryptocurrencies, would naturally be more disposed to them than traditional states. To the degree that cryptostates gain influence in lieu of traditional states, the holders and users of cryptocurrencies could expect profit and benefit in proportion to the amount of regulation biased in favor of traditional currencies that is eliminated or evaded. In addition, the noted danger that traditional states pose to cryptocurrencies is reduced.

Cryptostates could provide some of the stability and structure that is lacking in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, helping to eliminate the "wild west" perception plaguing cryptocurrencies. A cryptostate adopting a futarchist model could also give cryptocurrencies suitable investment markets (prediction markets) that they have been lacking, simultaneously spurring investment and interest in cryptostates via the profit motivation while aiding cryptocurrencies. The two are a natural fit. This and more should provide the economic incentive and justification for cryptocurrency users to pursue cryptostates.


The primary intended purpose of existing states is to provide protection for their citizens, to resolve issues that disturb the peace or otherwise violate the rights of individuals. If individuals find that cryptostates provide a superior resolution to these issues than traditional states, then they will prefer to turn to them rather than traditional states. This could already serve to put a number of financial issues and other non-violent crimes under the jurisdictions of cryptostates, who from the perspective of traditional states would merely be perfectly legal private arbitration courts.

Some might think that cryptostates would be incapable of emerging into the physical world and remain a purely digital phenomenon. This is not necessarily true. Like all potentially superior alternatives, they could be adopted via a gradual process in all facets of life. The necessary component of a transition into enforcing issues that affect the physical world is a physical presence. Cryptostates are not necessarily incapable of providing this. Once they reach a certain degree of saturation, they may enlist average citizens to enforce their laws among their populace, providing some form of incentive or gameification to encourage this. Individual citizens of the same cryptostate that are close geographically may convene to form courts, watches, or whatever other service they deem necessary.

Eventually, via voluntary donations of capital, enforced taxation (which individuals would agree to by joining the cryptostate in the first place), lotteries, or other means of gaining revenue a cryptostate might be able to afford more professional law enforcement. Individuals, even non-citizens, may choose to turn to these alternative law enforcement structures if they find them exhibiting more integrity and less corruption and brutality than existing law enforcement agencies. The power of existing states will be reduced as less criminal issues are brought under their jurisdiction. These alternative law enforcement structures will serve to advertise the cryptostates, causing more individuals to join them and increase their revenue base, allowing them to employ even more people.

Existing law enforcement officers, either for ideological, personal (if citizens think more kindly of cryptostate officers than traditional ones), or financial (if cryptostates, which would likely deal in sound cryptocurrencies as opposed to less stable fiat currencies, can provide greater financial benefit than traditional states) reasons might prefer to join a cryptostate law enforcement agency rather than its traditional equivalent. With less manpower to enforce their edicts and less people voluntarily seeking their services, traditional states could slowly and gradually fade into irrelevance, via a purely decentralized process. From the perspective of existing states, most of these actions would be no more illegal than those of private security agencies. Cryptostates enable civil and bloodless revolutions.

Cryptostates could also act as a vehicle for the creation of seasteads, and may be similar or complementary to decentralized autonomous corporations


To have laws in any reasonable sense, a state must be capable of enforcing sanctions against those who violate them. Before cryptostates transition into the physical world, they must also have some means of doing this. This is not impossible via purely digital means. Some possibilities are presented below:

1. A citizen may gain more democratic influence in a cryptostate's government, such as more votes, as time goes on, or if they perform valuable services for the cryptostate. These may be taken away as punishment for criminality.

2. A citizen may be required to put up a certain amount of money as collateral (that would be returned to them in the event of their exit) to become a citizen of a cryptostate. This amount could be taxed as a penalty.

3. A citizen could be expelled from a cryptostate, or added to a "blacklist". This blacklist could prevent other citizens of the cryptostate from transacting or even acknowledging the blacklisted individual indefinitely or for a period of time, with possible additional penalties applied to those who choose to do so.

Mechanisms such as futarchic prediction markets could provide more alternatives.

Starting a cryptostate

To start a proper cryptostate, the following would likely be required:

1. A means for citizens and government officials of the cryptostate to communicate in a decentralized manner

2. A means for deciding which proposals are to be adopted

Futarchy seems to be the most promising system in this regard. The "welfare metric" (as explained in Hanson's paper about futarchy) of the system could be the number of citizens in the cryptostate, the number of citizens multiplied by their respective satisfaction with the cryptostate, the same metric weighted by the amount of time a citizen has been in the cryptostate (encouraging citizens to hold on to their citizenship long-term and causing the value of a citizenship to increase over time, much like a deflationary asset), the amount of tax revenue received by the cryptostate, or any other reasonable metric that encourages prosperity and expansion (with changes possible via democratic processes). If prediction markets are as successful in determining information as existing results suggest, then a cryptostate adopting this approach would already have a major advantage over any traditional state.

3. A means for deciding legal cases

4. A means for applying sanctions to criminal citizens

How to do the above could be decided by prediction market.

5. A means for enabling citizenship

A citizenship in a cryptostate likely would merely be a cryptographic identity, much like ownership of currency in a cryptocurrency is merely a cryptographic key. In the future, cryptostates could possibly invest in offering more traditional citizenships based on biometric markers. The expense involved in acquiring a citizenship, in terms of time, effort, computational proof of work, money, or other resource expenditure required could be decided via the same process as everything else.

None of these requirements seem technologically prohibitive given the success of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptostates and anti-statism

Some who consider themselves anti-statists might be opposed to the idea of a cryptostate, believing that we don't need any states at all. It is true that there is nothing inherent in the idea of a cryptostate that prevents them from adopting policies as repressive as traditional states. It is also true that given the processes they would likely use and the communities that they would emerge from that they are far less likely to do so. A cryptostate may make it a basic, immutable rule that exit from it must be voluntarily available for all of its citizens, and refuse to associate with other cryptostates that do not. If this were the case, a cryptostatist world would more closely resemble a panarchy than a traditional hierarchy, and not be incompatible with anarchist theories. Cryptostates may provide the means for an orderly transition to an idealized voluntaryist world by adopting and then modifying existing institutions.

A cryptostate federation

To aid in the development of the cryptostate movement while not impeding freedom of choice for cryptostate citizens, cryptostates may choose to belong to a cryptostate federation. The point of such a federation would be solely to promote the cryptostate movement, and not the interfere in any individual cryptostate's affairs. It might do things such as provide for legal fees and support for those who ever run into legal problems with traditional states due to their involvement with cryptostates, support the jurisdiction of cryptostates above traditional states, and other such similar things. Cryptostates might also contract and create treaties in more traditional ways.

I hope by now I've convinced somebody out there that this is a worthwhile subject of speculation. I'm sure it's not a wholly original idea but I couldn't find any discussion on it. The above represents simply some of my preliminary thoughts upon the issue.  Any thoughts?

Edit: If you're interested in the above idea at all, you should take a look at which seems to be the project that's furthest along toward accomplishing something like this.
9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Is Bitcoin the future of marriage? on: November 21, 2013, 01:38:53 PM
In the future, will putting your and your partner's assets behind two required signatures be the equivalent of saying "I do"? If you don't understand what I'm talking about:
10  Bitcoin / Electrum / Offline transactions with imported keys? on: November 21, 2013, 10:55:53 AM
Is there any way to do offline transactions with imported keys? Or does anybody know any other way I could do offline transactions without having to download the entire blockchain?
11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Is it time for Bitcoin to bite back against clonecoins and scamcoins? on: June 26, 2013, 03:22:10 AM
Alt-coins like Litecoin and Feathercoin are finally hitting the mainstream media and it's clear that your average journalist has no idea about the issues involved, leading them to make ridiculous statements like this:

Quote from: Duncan Greere
Litecoin is orders of magnitude more secure than Bitcoin, due to its use of a cryptography technique called scrypt,

For these clones to gain any attention at all due to the hard work and revolutionary ideas of Satoshi Nakamura is offensive. For them to be hailed as superior for making minor, unproven adjustments is ridiculous. For insta-mined scamcoins like Feathercoin to be given glowing portrayals is scandalous:

Quote from: Danny Bradbury
When creating Feathercoin, he copied the Litecoin algorithm, but tweaked some technical parameters, including the total number of coins that could be mined.

"I wanted a currency with four times the amount of coins, and to recreate the enthusiasm that we had in the first place," he says.

We must look to the comments on this article to find any semblance of knowledge:

Quote from: arman slipz
What this article doesn't point out about Feathercoins is that of the 8.3 million Feathercoins that are now in existence, 3 million of them were 'mined' on the first day (as can be verified by consulting the Feathercoin block explorer which logs all coin mining: That is an unfair distribution of the coins in my opinion. Whilst not technically a pre-mine I don't see how it's much better.

Unlike Litecoin, PPCoin or other 'serious' cryptocurrencies there was also no warning or pre-announcement of the launch. This means people lucky to be on the forums the hour the coin launched (I speculate amongst them the 'developer'/copy-paster-of-litecoin-code) received an unfair mining advantage and were able to scoop a large amount of those 'super easy' day 1 coins.

Because of this and other contentious issues, Feathercoin has found itself subject to many attacks (which I look down upon naturally). This is well known in the cryptocurrency community and is something an investor should think about before investing since it can significantly impact on the value of the coin.

These are all facts and can be verified independently through research. For example checking the Feathercoin block explorer, or reading bitcointalk forums to read about the Feathercoin attacks.

We also find that the general public has questions that are not being answered by these "journalists", who likely do not know the answers themselves:

Quote from: Drewv
"The founders, who plan to make the Ripple network open source but haven't yet, could do very well if the currency gains traction"

I guess this means that Ripples aren't open source, unlike Bitcoin. What about the others? This could have been included in the article.

Does it matter whether a currency is open source? I am certainly no expert, but I suspect that being open source can be a safeguard against scams and hidden commands (because people can detect them in the code).

It is clear that your average journalist is not properly educated enough to inform the public about the "importance" of these alt-coins (which is almost none). From PPCoin (which is actually somewhat innovative) being barely given a mention in favor of discussing Freicoin's silly demurrage scheme, to Feathercoin being discussed more than the coin it shamefully copies from, to the words "Franko" and "WorldCoin" ever being printed in a "respectable" publication, it is obvious that the media is looking to trumpet the story of a "better Bitcoin" or "Bitcoin successor" regardless of the actual facts. They are too used to Apple releasing another iWhatever every six months.

The Bitcoin community must not allow these airheads to take the lead in educating the public about alt-coins. We must make sure that people understand why these coins are slightly interesting from an experimental perspective at best and complete rip-offs at worst. Having dozens of cryptocoins get mainstream attention will harm not only Bitcoin but the entire idea of cryptocurrency by diluting the ecosystem and confusing people.

Bitcoin must establish itself as the "one true brand" and make the public "accept no substitutes" until a truly revolutionary successor comes along. I suggest education along these lines as a task for the Bitcoin Foundation and other community members. The Bitcoin community has held back for far too long against alt-coins in the spirit of "openness" and "competition". Those times should rightfully be over. We now risk more than some forum nerds getting burned by a pump and dump scamcoin, turning into a scandal that harms the entire cryptocurrency community. Even for slightly interesting coins like PPC and LTC, any improvements they make that prove to be useful can be implemented into Bitcoin if necessary. The cryptocurrency community must focus on uniting primarily behind one standard to drive adoption. Some suggestions:

1. Educate journalists about why most alt-coins are scams and clones. Remind them that any innovations they pioneer can easily be ported back to Bitcoin.

2. Boycott services and exchanges that use or promote worthless scamcoins, clonecoins, and pump and dumps.

3. Get some hash power and 51% attack a few of the smaller coins out of the ecosystem. "Developers" need to start thinking about whether their coins are worth releasing.

Any other ideas?
12  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / The growing list of scamcoin fallacies and thought terminating cliches on: May 10, 2013, 09:05:27 PM
Let's compile a list of all of the stupid things that scamcoin creators say to promote their garbage currencies.

1. "You just hate it because you own Bitcoin and are afraid that this revolutionary new currency will make your coins worthless."
2. "It's the free market! That means that anything stupid that I do is right!"
3. "Pre-mine? So what? What's wrong with a guy making a little bit of cash?"

Any more?
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Who can explain "purestrain bitcoin"? on: May 05, 2013, 02:47:56 PM

FF.2 Bitcoin-adit to whoever knows what this article is talking about.
14  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Decentralized checkpointing? on: April 27, 2013, 05:43:49 AM
Newbie Calder started an interesting discussion about a Stanford paper on Bitcoin that discussed decentralized checkpointing. The basic idea is for nodes to be skeptical of blocks that change transactions that they themselves witnessed in the past.

Quote from: Calder
anti-scam is right, you'd have to be careful with the math so you didn't wind up with blockchains accidentally diverging all over the place. Let's give ourselves a few definitions so we're on the same page.

The credibility C of a blockchain is a function of the blocks in that chain. The work W is a measure of how much work went into a given block. The age A of a block is how long ago this node first saw that block. Right now, this looks like:

    C = sum of W(b)

But there's no reason it couldn't look like this:

    C = sum of W(b) * F(A(b))

where F(t) is some function of the a block's age.

The hard part is how you pick for F(t). Discuss!

What do you think? Is a scheme like this feasible?
15  Other / Meta / Split alternate cryptocurrencies forum? on: April 25, 2013, 10:34:41 PM
With the growing number of alternate cryptocurrencies, theoretically-oriented threads on the alternate cryptocurrencies forum are being overrun by mundane matters such as trading, mining pool announcements, and price speculation. It seems to me that a split between the theoretical/development aspects and practical usage aspects of alternate cryptocurrencies would be a good idea. This new forum could be called something like "Cryptocurrency Theory and Development".
16  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Creating a fair alternative to Ripple on: April 24, 2013, 04:16:51 AM
(Topic is originally from the Newbies forum.)

I'm sure that by now most of you know about Ripple, an idea created by Ryan Fugger for an open, decentralized payment network. It allows users to route payments through open, arbitrary trust networks just like the Internet allows for packets to be routed through the same. If you want to read more about it, you may do so at the following addresses: (I do not agree with all aspects of this implementation, as I will explain.)

I'm sure that many of you also know that the currently dominant implementation of Ripple is one made by a company called OpenCoin Inc., and that using this implementation requires the use of a centrally governed currency known as XRP (or "Ripples"). Ripples were not created by mining or any other decentralized process, but rather by OpenCoin all at once in what could be conceived of as a 100% (100 billion XRP) "pre-mine". Users of Ripples, which are required for account reserve requirements (300 XRP per account) and to pay transaction fees (decided by valdiators), only have OpenCoin's word that 50% (50 billion XRP) of the Ripples in existence will be distributed fairly and freely to users. The remaining 50% will be used by OpenCoin to fund their operations. 20% has already been given to developers.

If for whatever reason this doesn't seem unfair to you, replace "Ripple" with "SolidCoin" and you'll get the general idea. OpenCoin's Ripple is basically a payment network that requires a SolidCoin equivalent (though even SolidCoin had less pre-mined units) to use it. No alternative is allowed. There's nothing wrong with programmers making money from their craft, but when you consider how much evangelism, word-spreading, and programming of websites and services goes into making an alternative currency viable, 50% for the originators alone is too much, not to mention the security/morality issues involved in one entity having so much control over the network.

OpenCoin has tried many tactics to silence criticism of this aspect of Ripple, from claiming that XRP is not a currency (and eventually admitting that it is) to keeping the Ripple server code closed-source so that nobody can fork Ripple to a system that doesn't require XRP. Some have been swayed, but many have not. I've been debating the issue myself with JoelKatz on their forums, which you can read here:

(I will admit that some of my earlier comments in this topic are unnecessarily confrontational and unproductive. I have been following the Ripple project for years, so I was angry at the idea that somebody had hijacked it. I hope that you will read the whole debate, particularly the latter parts, before judging the merit of our respective viewpoints.)

To me, the time for debate is over. That's why I've created this thread to discuss the creation of a fair alternative to Ripple, one that does not use XRP or any other centralized currency/component. The basic idea of Ripple as imagined by Ryan Fugger is good, but XRP is not. If you agree, then this thread is for you.

The basic protocol of OpenCoin's Ripple is sound and well-documented on their wiki (hopefully making it easy to replicate). The real issue is replacing XRP with a different mechanism for controlling spam. I have considered five different alternatives, listed below:

1. Instead of using/destroying XRP to pay transaction fees, users are allowed to pay transaction fees in the IOUs created by gateways, whether they be Bitcoin IOUs, dollar IOUs, or whatever by distributing them to the validators (that are on the user's unique node list), perhaps only a small, random subset of them, or even another random user in a "transaction fee lottery". It doesn't really matter where the fee goes, only that the user is required to pay it to prevent spam. This is somewhat more complicated than using only one currency, but has the advantage of allowing the user total freedom in choosing which currency they transact in. As a result, this is my current favorite solution. If these IOUs are supposed to have value, then not allowing transaction fees to be paid in them is pretty hypocritical.

2. Instead of only having one arbitrary currency (XRP), allow anybody to create their own XRP-equivalent. If a user finds the distribution of one currency inadequate, then they can create their own. This still restricts the user to using "pre-mined" currencies, but at least gives them a choice of which pre-miner they think is fairly distributing theirs. OpenCoin could even win in this scenario, if they allowed such competition.

3. Allow users to pay transaction fees directly in existing cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin or Bitcoin, either by destroying them (sending them to an invalid address) or distributing them as detailed above. This would require that at least some of the validators that an existing cryptocurrency user plans on using be connected to that cryptocurrency's blockchain. Validators that aren't connected to a particular blockchain can still service users that don't plan on using its corresponding cryptocurrency. This has the advantage of attracting the existing cryptocurrencies' communities and promoting their value by making another service for them to be used on. It's win-win.

4. Replace XRP with a fairly mined "RippleCoin" or equivalent. This restricts the user to only being able to pay transaction fees in one currency, but at least makes that currency more fairly distributed in a decentralized way. This is my least favorite solution, since it introduces a computationally wasteful proof-of-work system into the scheme. It would also require debate about block intervals, block rewards, hashing algorithms, and all of the usual points of contention. Though this could be potentially combined with idea #2 to allow multiple "RippleCoin" variants.

5. Eliminate transaction fees and use some other method, such as HashCash, to combat spam. This would be the best solution, if it could be done. Ideas about this are welcome. Though our best chance of competing with Ripple is to compensate validators in some way, which Ripple does not do.

Combinations of these solutions or others could be used. Any other issues with OpenCoin's Ripple protocol that need to be addressed are also up for consideration.

Programmers, developers, website designers, and other talented people will be needed to make this system competitive with the existing Ripple implementation. I would like to start a Bitcoin/Litecoin/etc. donation fund for the purpose of developing this, but since I am a newer user I feel that it would be more appropriate for a well-known forum member to take charge of that aspect. I've seen some of them express similar sentiments, so I'm sure that one will step up. OpenCoin has continually delayed the release of Ripple's full source code, so waiting for them to do so before starting on a fork is a bad idea. They have made it their intention to prevent forks of Ripple from being viable by delaying the source code's release.

The last thing that must be addressed is a name for this new Ripple implementation. Here are some ideas that I've had: "Fripple" (short for "fair ripple"), "Nipple" (short for "new ripple"), "Wave", "Flutter", "Flow", and "Mesh". "Flutter" is my favorite, but ideas are welcome.

This thread is not for debating about OpenCoin's Ripple or XRP. If you see no problem with it, then you are free to use it. This thread is only for productive posts about the creation of a Ripple alternative. Thank you.
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