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421  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: URI-scheme for bitcoin on: June 16, 2010, 12:15:47 AM

But as long as the link is already doing the typing for you, I don't see much benefit in using a domain address instead of bitcoin address.  With a bitcoin address, the user can't send an unidentified payment.  They can't send payment until they've been given a correct bitcoin address to send to.

What would be nice about sending by domain is you could visually verify who it's going to.

A more crucial issue is what if the browser isn't allowed to connect to

and if that's true, then what about that example freenet link that had in it?
422  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: What is the incentive to collect transactions? on: June 15, 2010, 11:41:29 PM
Adding transactions to the block you're working on will slow down your generation rate
The premise is false.  Adding more transactions to the block you're working on does NOT slow down your generation rate.  When generate is scanning hashes, it only hashes the header of the block, which is constant size.  The header contains a hash of the transactions (the Merkle root) and is only updated occasionally.

If necessary I can write code to make nodes prefer not to use a block if it doesn't contain enough of the transactions they know about.  A discouraged block would almost always fail to be included in the main chain, but would be accepted if it did get in.  I doubt this will be necessary, since there's no real advantage for nodes not to include all transactions.
423  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Can't Build r80 from SVN on: June 14, 2010, 10:40:14 PM
Sorry, I didn't test compile on linux the last few revisions.

Reverted makefile.unix.
424  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Technical clarifications on: June 14, 2010, 10:21:55 PM
3) Nothing, if sending by bitcoin address
5) It is decentralised.  After you have connected to the network the first time, you no longer need IRC.
425  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Dealing with SHA-256 Collisions on: June 14, 2010, 08:39:50 PM
SHA-256 is very strong.  It's not like the incremental step from MD5 to SHA1.  It can last several decades unless there's some massive breakthrough attack.

If SHA-256 became completely broken, I think we could come to some agreement about what the honest block chain was before the trouble started, lock that in and continue from there with a new hash function.

If the hash breakdown came gradually, we could transition to a new hash in an orderly way.  The software would be programmed to start using a new hash after a certain block number.  Everyone would have to upgrade by that time.  The software could save the new hash of all the old blocks to make sure a different block with the same old hash can't be used.
426  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Hostnames instead of IP Addresses on: June 14, 2010, 07:53:44 PM
SirArthur has a good point about the normal online merchant case, which is what the send-by-IP option is more suited to.  This is the case where the merchant will have a server on a static IP and their own domain name and SSL cert.

Instead of connecting by IP, we can connect to a domain name by SSL, using the existing CA infrastructure to authenticate that you're connected to the owner of that domain.

The user would send to (or is ok too).  That would be very natural and users could see and verify that what they entered is who they intend to pay.

The SSL also makes it safe for TOR users.

Problem is, I think merchants would still prefer to use bitcoin addresses to be certain they know what the payment is for.  You simply cannot count on users to enter the right thing in the comment fields to identify the transaction.  It would only approach practical if we had a mailto style link that prepopulates the comment field with the order number, but then the link could just as well be a bitcoin address.

Just having an open bitcoin server at that users could send unidentified payments to would be too much of a liability.  Regular users aren't used to the idea of having to identify the payment.  Merchants would get too many blank payments followed by "I paid you, where's my stuff?!" a week later.

The payment sequence does have a step where the receiver verifies the order before accepting it.  It can reject the payment and return an error message if it doesn't contain a valid order number.  That would require a difficult level of integration of custom code with the bitcoin server though.
427  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: On IRC bootstrapping on: June 14, 2010, 06:13:21 PM
Bitcoin has its own distributed address directory using the "addr" message.  It's about time we coded in a list of the current long running static nodes to seed from.  I can add code so new nodes do not preferentially stay connected to the seed nodes, just connect and get the list, so it won't be a burden on them.

What do you think, should I go ahead with adding the seeds?

It'll still try IRC first.  The IRC has the advantage that it lists nodes that are currently online, since they have to stay connected to stay on the list, but the disadvantage that it's a single point of failure.  The "addr" system has no single point of failure, but can only tell you what nodes have recently been seen, so it takes a little longer to get connected since some of the nodes you try have gone offline.  The combination of the two gets us the best of both worlds and more total robustness.

Is there anyone who wants to volunteer to run an IRC server in case freenode gets tired of us?
428  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Website translations on: June 02, 2010, 10:18:09 PM
I uploaded the 93% complete Dutch translation to SVN.  Thanks!
429  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Proof-of-work difficulty increasing on: June 02, 2010, 06:45:38 PM
That's a good idea.  I'm not sure where exactly to fit that in, but it could certainly calculate the expected average time between blocks generated, and then people would know what to expect.

Every node and each processor has a different public key in its block, so they're guaranteed to be scanning different territory.

Whenever the 32-bit nonce starts over at 1, bnExtraNonce gets incremented, which is an arbitrary precision integer.
430  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Hostnames instead of IP Addresses on: June 02, 2010, 06:18:15 PM
The current sending by IP is not very useful: it connects to the IP, so you'd like to use TOR for anonymity, but then it can totally be eavesdropped and man-in-the-middled.

The future plan for sending to an IP is to make it a bitcoin address plus IP, like:


I need suggestions for the separator character.  ":" is a candidate, but IPv6 has : in it and that might get confusing.  Something that's allowed in url parameters would be nice.

I want to use SSL for the connection, using the bitcoin address' public key as the cert.  You would be certain you're connected to who you thought, and safely encrypted.  The bitcoin address would not be used for the transaction, only for authentication.  A new generated bitcoin address would be sent through the SSL connection.

Since it's authenticated, it would then be safe to allow the IP address to be a domain name.  Some care taken that if a proxy is used, it uses socks4a instead of DNS lookup.
431  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Website translations on: May 27, 2010, 02:18:22 PM
Hurray!  We have our first language.  I uploaded it to SVN to go in with the 0.3 release.

432  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Odd amount of generated coins on: May 26, 2010, 09:34:32 PM
In the SVN version, if a transaction requires a transaction fee, it says
"This transaction is over the size limit.  You can still send it for a fee of #,
which goes to the nodes that process your transaction and helps to support the network.
Do you want to pay the fee?"

If you don't have enough money with the fee added, it says
"Total exceeds your balance when the # transaction fee is included  "
433  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Website translations on: May 26, 2010, 09:16:34 PM
Does anyone want to translate the Bitcoin client itself?  It would be great to have at least one other language in the 0.3 release.

All you have to do is get poedit and translate the po file I'm attaching to this post.  It's less than 750 words.

Updated bitcoin.po attachment for 0.3.1
434  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Share database blocks ? on: May 26, 2010, 08:34:34 PM
It does in fact download 500 blocks at a time, then the counter counts one at a time as it verifies the blocks.

The advantage of letting bitcoin download and verify the blocks is that you do not have to trust the person you're downloading them from.  If you downloaded the blk*.dat files from some site, you would have to trust that site, since you would be accepting the data without verifying it yourself.  If you're copying blk*.dat from another computer of yours, that should be fine.

How long is the initial block download taking for you?
435  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: CLI bitcoin generation on: May 26, 2010, 08:09:34 PM
An optional parameter to specify the minimum number of blocks after that transaction (getallreceived 1 for current behavior, or just getallreceived, getallreceived 5 for the paranoid, getallreceived 0 for instant confirms)?
Yeah, that actually is what it is.  getallreceived 0 should do what you want.  (now it's renamed to listreceivedbyaddress 0)  The default is 1 confirmation, but I think in reality most digital goods and services can be 0 confirmations.  Like you say, if you need more than 0 confirmations, you could show two numbers, unconfirmed and available balance, so they immediately see their transaction went through.

listreceivedbyaddress [minconf=1] [includeempty=false]
[minconf] is the minimum number of confirmations before payments are included.
[includeempty] whether to include addresses that haven't received any payments.
Returns an array of objects containing:
  "address" : receiving address
  "label" : the label of the receiving address
  "amount" : total amount received by the address
  "confirmations" : number of confirmations of the most recent transaction included

or listreceivedbylabel if you're labelling addresses with their username.

So far I've concentrated on functions for web merchants, not so much on stuff for remote management of headless coin generators yet.
436  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Tracing a coin's lineage on: May 26, 2010, 06:51:04 PM
Can't we force a user to use a new address for receiving payments?
Every time a payment is received display another Bitcoin address in the address bar. (only transactions via Bitcoin addresses, NOT IPs of course, since that'd be useless, right?)
The actual key would still be kept to ensure that the user would still receive payments of people sending to the same address.
This is on my list.  I will soon make the "Your Bitcoin Address:" window automatically change whenever you receive anything to the address displayed.

I'm also recommending this approach for the implementation of web apps.  I just posted some sample code showing a suggested way of implementing this.

Versions on SVN since 0.2.4 already have a "New..." button next to the address bar to encourage changing it manually too.

@theymos: If nothing else, we can fall back on that solution in the future.
437  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / JSON-RPC programming tips using labels on: May 26, 2010, 06:27:25 PM
I added label related functions to help with managing multiple addresses per user.  New or renamed functions are:
 getreceivedbyaddress -- amount received on a single address
 getreceivedbylabel -- amount received by all addresses with this label
 listreceivedbyaddress -- list addresses and amounts they've received
 listreceivedbylabel -- list labels and amounts they've received
 setlabel -- misc label functions for completeness

For consistency I renamed getamountreceived->getreceivedbyaddress and getallreceived->listreceivedbyaddress.  The old names are still there so as not to break existing code, but they're deprecated.

The idea is that if you give the username whenever you call getnewaddress, you can get the user's total received across all their addresses using the "bylabel" functions.  You can freely change their address without worrying about tracking all their old addresses.

A good way to automate changing the user's receiving address: just before displaying their current address, check if it has been used to receive anything, if it has then replace it with a new one:

// Get a new address whenever the current one has received anything
if (strAddr == "" || getreceivedbyaddress(strAddr) > 0)
   strAddr = getnewaddress(strUsername); // Label the address with username
Display(strAddr); // Display their current receiving address

// Get total received by all the user's addresses
getreceivedbylabel(strUsername, 0) // unconfirmed
getreceivedbylabel(strUsername, 1) // available balance

If you're just getting one particular user's balance, such as in response to a page request by that user, use getreceivedbylabel, but if you're scanning over all users, it's better to use listreceivedbylabel to get the complete list and scan against the result.  Scanning users with getreceivedbylabel would be n-squared, using listreceivedbylabel is n-log-n (or n linear).

You should only really need to scan all users if you're polling in order to spontaneously take action in response to money received, rather than the user going to a webpage, seeing their balance and telling you what to do with it.  It's not necessary to poll very frequently.  If you require 1 confirmation, that'll take an average of 10 minutes anyway, so there's no point in polling more often than every few minutes.

If you're selling digital goods and services, where you don't lose much if someone gets a free access, and it can't be resold for profit, I think you're fine to accept 0 confirmations.

It's mostly only if you were selling gold or currency that you'd need multiple confirmations.
438  Economy / Marketplace / Re: We accept Bitcoins on: May 20, 2010, 09:43:42 PM
Can I just butt in with a question on why that is? To me it seems that if Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography to transfer ownership of the coins, it should be a trivial matter to include a short message that is only readable by the recipient.
Almost but not quite.  Bitcoin uses EC-DSA, which can only do digital signing, not encryption.  RSA can do both, but I didn't use it because it's an order of magnitude bigger and would have been impractical.
439  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Ummmm... where did my bitcoins go? on: May 18, 2010, 08:06:46 PM
It's not the download so much as verifying all the signatures in all the blocks as it downloads that takes a long time.

How long is the initial block download typically taking?  Does it slow down half way through or is about the same speed the whole way?

I've thought about ways to do a more cursory check of most of the chain up to the last few thousand blocks.  It is possible, but it's a lot of work, and there are a lot of other higher priority things to work on.

Simplified Payment Verification is for lightweight client-only users who only do transactions and don't generate and don't participate in the node network.  They wouldn't need to download blocks, just the hash chain, which is currently about 2MB and very quick to verify (less than a second to verify the whole chain).  If the network becomes very large, like over 100,000 nodes, this is what we'll use to allow common users to do transactions without being full blown nodes.  At that stage, most users should start running client-only software and only the specialist server farms keep running full network nodes, kind of like how the usenet network has consolidated.

SPV is not implemented yet, and won't be implemented until far in the future, but all the current implementation is designed around supporting it.

In the meantime, sites like and have been experimenting with account-based sites.  You create an account on a website and hold your bitcoins on account there and transfer in and out.  Creating an account on a website is a lot easier than installing and learning to use software, and a more familiar way of doing it for most people.  The only disadvantage is that you have to trust the site, but that's fine for pocket change amounts for micropayments and misc expenses.  It's an easy way to get started and if you get larger amounts then you can upgrade to the actual bitcoin software.
440  Economy / Trading Discussion / Re: Is there a way to automate bitcoin payments for a website? on: May 18, 2010, 02:58:11 AM
A little late, but in case anyone else has the same issue.  The compile dump had 2 warnings (that were 20 lines long) and 2 link errors.  The errors were:
obj/nogui/init.o(.gnu.linkonce.t._ZNK13wxArrayString4ItemEm+0x13): In function `wxArrayString::Item(unsigned long) const':
/usr/local/include/wx-2.9/wx/buffer.h:42: undefined reference to `wxTheAssertHandler'

obj/nogui/init.o(.gnu.linkonce.t._ZNK13wxArrayString4ItemEm+0x45): In function `wxArrayString::Item(unsigned long) const':
/usr/src/bitcoin/trunk/uint256.h:526: undefined reference to `wxOnAssert(char const*, int, char const*, char const*, wchar_t const*)'

Those are probably due to switching to the release build of wxWidgets instead of debug.  They're moving towards only debug build and ditching the release build, so they probably don't care that their release build is broken by referring to non-existent assert stuff.  There's nothing to fear about the debug build.  It's fully suitable for releases.

bitcoind runs as a daemon and can either be controlled by command line or JSON-RPC.

Thanks madhatter and generica for detailing the instructions for building on freebsd.
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