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1  Economy / Speculation / ASICs are the reason the price is dropping, and it will not stop. on: July 06, 2013, 08:04:41 PM
Nature abhors a vacuum

Economics abhors a magic machine that prints money.

Here's what the network will look like at the end of 2013.  Here's what the exchange rate will be set (forced) to by ASICminer and the few others fighting over ASICminer's scraps dumping their coins desperately trying to claw their way to make ROI

Incoming hashrates:

ASICminer = 800 - 1000 TH
Avalon Chips = 300 TH
Avalon Batch 2 = 30 TH
KNCMiner=  200 - 400 TH
BFL = 100 - 1000 TH

Hash rate : 1430 TH/sec - 2730 TH/sec

Difficulty : 203396803 - 388302987

If ROI is fast (i.e. meets 100% ROI in less than a year) because exchange rate is good, difficulty will go up to compensate as people want to buy magic money making machines

if exchange rate is sane, difficulty will not go up because ROI is normal, i.e. one year.  This is what is happening now.  This is what will continue to happen.  So let's see what the exchange rate will be to make ROI sane @ 1 year

Marginal rate for plebs to buy hardware (KNC miner) : 17,500$ per TH/sec.

Price of BTC if set by plebs

Low diff: 49$
Max diff: 93$

Marginal rate for ASICminer to buy hardware : <10,000$ per TH/sec.  We'll be conservative and use 10,000$.  In reality it's probably closer to 5,000$, which means halve these numbers.

Price of BTC when set by ASICminer

Low diff: 11$
Max diff: 21$

Asicminer controls the price of bitcoin.  They are the reason the price has dropped.  It is impossible for anyone to get ANYWHERE near their level of efficiency except the ASIC designers themselves.  All of who currently charge an order of magnitude more for their chips than they actually pay for them.  ASICminer can get their chips for pennies on the dollar compared to you, and pays next to nothing for their industrial electricity.

There is nowhere near enough demand to buy coins to make up for the massive amount mined and dumped on a constant basis.  The exchange rate will continue to plummet until the value of dumped coins actually meets the amount of money flowing in for goods and services (practically non-existant at this time.)

And as the price drops nobody who isn't an idiot will consider holding coins as an investment

TL;DR - Unless YOU are ASICMiner, or you got an ASIC already (Avalon Batch #1) - You are screwed.  No, don't buy coins either, the price is going to keep dropping.

Oh, bonus points.  They EASILY have enough hardware to 51% the network.  They could break 75%.
2  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Altcoins and Scamcoins - Know the difference. on: May 21, 2013, 09:09:47 PM
Let's brainstorm.

Litecoin added a legitimate feature and utility that bitcoin did not have -- a different proof of work, replacing SHA256 with Scrypt.  Allowing for defense against established hashing power in the SHA256 networks.

It also added faster block times, but there is no change to the fundamental security of the network by doing this.  Security and confirmation confidence is related only to the length of time since the transaction first was broadcast, and the amount of hashing power during said time.  Faster block times should not be considered a legitimate reason to use litecoin vs bitcoin.  It should also not be a legitimate reason to use a 'faster' coin over a slower one.

Since then, I have seen dozens, maybe even 100+ "altcoins" launched which have been absolutely embarassing and essentially transparent get rich quick schemes.

Things which are not new features and pretty much just certify that you're making a scamcoin to mine and get rich quick if these are the only things your coin changes

* Changing block time
* Changing difficulty
* Changing the # of blocks per retarget
* Changing reward
* Changing reward change [i.e. block rewarding halving/etc]
* Using Scrypt or SHA256
* Incentives for early adopters
* Not announcing your launch at least several days in advance
* Any mining before announcement
* Launching earlier than stated -- later is fine.
* Setting starting difficulty extremely low.  At this point there are way too many people with way too much has power ready to jump on every single new coin even if it's an obvious fucking scamcoin.  Set your difficulty so 10Mhash will take several hours to mine the genesis block

Some things which would be good to have in an alternate coin

* Replace ECDSA with a Lattice-based asymmetric algorithm.  All cyrptocoins currently are theoretically vulnerable to Quantum computers capable of implementing Shor's algorithm.  A lot of things are indeed broken by this, including systems used by governments, banks, everyone.  But only crytpocoins have direct ownership and control of the coins based ENTIRELY on the knowledge of the private key.  Using the hash of the public key for the address may offer some defense, but it is still a massive security breach.  It is generally believed that if these quantum computers exist, they are classified information in the hands of governments.

*Non-SHA256/Scrypt POW.  Scrypt was originally intended to be a CPU only POW, and it was. for a while.  Then someone figured out how to make cgminer work with it.  There was some controversy as to who did this first and if they abused it for a while to get a massive hash advantage.
Any new POW should either be fundamentally secure against this sort of thing (i.e. someone could figure out how to use GPU or FPGA/ASIC SHA256 hashers on it while everyone else is using CPUs) or several days/weeks prior to coin launch - release a cgminer so that everyone in the community can use GPUs.  However at this point, you might as well just use scrypt.  
On one hand, this may be hated because the vast majority of altcoiners are GPU miners who would howl if they couldn't use GPUs.  On the other hand -- you can use those idle CPUs on your GPU miners to mine said coin while your GPUs mine another coin. a _TRUE_ cpu-only POW would have great promise.

* Low reward at start to offset 'premining' and early hash power consolidation which leads to orphan-mania.  Based on how much hash power gets thrown at basically any coin when it launches, you probably cannot combat the orphan rate, but you can minimize the absurdity of how many coins  they can farm.  Also reduces problem of mining large numbers of coins early to bribe people with bounties unfairly.  Bounties should require honest work and hashrates to achieve, just like on a mature network like current BTC/LTC

* Replace the "retarget at X time" / "retarget at Y block" with a "retarget if average time between blocks for the last A blocks exceeds Z seconds".  This prevents a situation like FTC where the mining rate SKYROCKETS, difficulty lags slowly and then skyrockets, and then all that hashing power moves off, leaving a miniscule hashing rate to fight a massive difficulty and find noblocks.

* Different network paradigm.  One possible way might be to run the network by default, or even by requirement, on a network like Tor.  I believe some of this is built into bitcoin but i think it is only used to hide individual people by connecting through the network and using the exit nodes of tor.  A better method would be to do everything within the onion network, no exit nodes.

Generally Bad Items(tm) Which You Shouldn't Do

* Centralize and/or close source anything (Ripple).  Cyrptocurrency means P2P and open source

* Offering exchanges coin to put your coin on them.  Obviously this will be next to impossible to actually discover.  Exchange should pick up coins because said coins have become popular based on their own merit.  Hopefully merit based in technology, not because it's the flavor of the week.

* Jumping directly to the livenet.  There's a testnet for a reason.  Use it.  Completely skipping the testnet, or doing testnet things in secret, only makes you look like an incompetent scamcoin


I will add to this post as (if?) more ideas are proposed

With any luck, developers of new coins can use this as a reference or a guide to making a useful alternative cryptocurrency.
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