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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 07:37:51 AM
I think that's a whopper of an assumption. It can take years/decades to find weaknesses in crypto systems....meaning someone might find a vulnerability tomorrow or someone might find a vulnerability in several years. Given the narrow adoption of bitcoin, I'd say there hasn't been enough significant research to dismiss bitcoin's protocol as fundamentally sound. In fact, there never will be. We're always questioning and finding vulnerabilities in (existing) crypto systems.
Furthermore, the ability to change the protocol in the face of a vulnerability is a strength of bitcoin not a weakness.
We have fixed serious currency-ending flaws in the protocol design in the last year (and in every year before, for that matter), e.g. in this one from March a tricky interaction between the surprising possibility of creating _valid_ duplicated transactions and the way the protocol undoes blocks during reorganization made it possible for someone to mine a pair of blocks which when shown to a node cause it to forever separate from the main network.  Another example is this one from May, where bitcoin's transaction hash tree is calculated in a flawed manner where a different set of transactions can be created for a block that have the same hash (a second-preimage attack on the function). An attacker could use this to create a bizarro version of a valid block that was invalid— carrying duplicated transactions— but had the same hash/ID, and after giving it to a node that node would never reorganize onto the chain containing it or its valid clone, leaving that node on a fork or preventing particular miners from successfully mining. (This attack doesn't even require the attacker to mine, he only has to relay maliciously). It turned out that the attack blocks had to a special form which can be rejected very early on before saving the block then the node can blacklist the peer and not allow that to prevent it from fetching the same block ID from another peer and, eventually, get a non-corrupted copy.  These were both day-one protocol design flaws that could be used for either massive scale denial of service attacks, or targeting single nodes to rob them (by mining some blocks slowly on the fork they're on).

Protocol level flaws are not unique to any particular implementation but implementation specific bugs are dangerous for all Bitcoin users, not just for people who are on the broken implementation: Because Bitcoin is a distributed consensus algorithm consistency is more important than correctness— a serious implementation specific flaw in _any_ widely deployed implementation, especially one widely deployed in merchants and miners— may result in a complete failure of the system (e.g. allowing half of all transactions for a day or two to be reversed and respent to new destinations, bankrupting a significant chunk of users and rightfully scaring everyone sane away from the system), because regardless of which implementation is right if nodes don't agree they will split into two currencies where all the coins can be spent in each. Once healed one side must lose, so it's more important to be consistent than correct. The attacks I listed above are so dangerous in  particular because an attacker could use them to create inconsistency in the network.

By taking extra care and doing extra design work we've kept the protocol fully compatible while fixing these things— as far back as 0.2.10 (compatibility prior to that was broken by _Satoshi_ on a several year time delay, and absent that protocol version change I believe we're compatible to the first version). Although old nodes could be subjected to targeted attacks absent an attack they continue to work like normal. If you don't want software that changes you can just continue to run old software… and get robbed when someone finally gets around to attacking you. (Although I strongly encourage you to not keep substantial funds in known vulnerable nodes, or even online, if there is anything I've learned from Bitcoin is that there is no amount of potential loss which is great enough to make many people become careful and informed about security— no amount of explanation of risk that will prevent someone from saying "well I haven't been robbed yet!"— witness the popularity of untrustworthy centralized services, scams, etc.)

Of course, many non-protocol changes are constantly being worked on by the small crew of active developers and by smaller contributions from the broader community— fixing bugs that crash the software, adding infrastructural features that make it possible for people to run fancy services like web wallets, explorers, escrows, and distributed bond markets (e.g. raw transactions), closing day one denial of service vulnerabilities that malicious parties could use to shut down all copies of the software, and improving performance so that Bitcoin doesn't become centralized to a few big websites that could afford to keep running inefficient node software (or write their own private non-released high performance software)— itself an essential aspect of security. If Bitcoin was just a couple major exchanges and webwallets— well, we'd be better off with paypal.  

There remain serious performance and DOS issues which are not yet resolved, many kinds of Bitcoin service that can't be provided without modifying the software,  etc— lots of work remains before we even start talking about all the squishy-feely user-centric improvements which are also urgently needed.   These sorts of challenging and unsexy infrastructural tasks are the things the core developers are working on and I find it depressing that this work is not only not highly appreciated by some in the community but the that community tolerates persistent misplaced attacks which violate even the broadest definitions of acceptable conduct.


I will not questions things any further. I submit. I am gone.
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 04:10:50 AM
Here's the question: Would a unofficial, newly created forked have as great of a cloud of influence? Would it have the same authority Bitcoin.org has now?

It'd have nearly the same amount of influence if all of the main developers transferred to it.

Assuming there is no competition.
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 04:00:16 AM
That is the point. Development would not stop. Bitcoin would not be stopped. It should not be feared. The success of Bitcoin does not depend on the Bitcoin.org development team.

The goal is true decentralization.

Might as well just explicitly declare the end of the bitcoind development project.

bitcoind is currently the only stable implementation of a full Bitcoin node AFAIK, so if the bitcoin.org project was closed everyone would move to some fork of bitcoind. Probably a fork maintained by the current developers of the bitcoin.org client. There wouldn't be much increase in "decentralization".

Here's the question: Would a unofficial, newly created forked have as great of a cloud of influence? Would it have the same authority Bitcoin.org has now?
4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 03:59:37 AM
In order to introduce great certainty in the Bitcoin economy at-large, whether it be in the mind of a regular user, merchant or an investor, we need to make sure Bitcoin as a currency remains stable in form. People need not be able to question that Bitcoin can change its rules --whether the rule be minor or significant-- in the face of major social influence of the current "official" dev team or otherwise.

I think we can all agree that if the Bitcoin protocol was vulnerable at its core, it would of been compromised by now. No major change is needed in that respect, whether it be novelty or a new idea of an experiment in cryptocurrency.

In face of this, I propose the Bitcoin.org dev team makes decree that the Bitcoin protocol set in the compatible Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind releases of 0.7.1 and below as well as beyond, not be changed for a period of at least 5 years -- in Bitcoin.org's respective releases. They should agree that their efforts and ambitions are not greater than the survival and integrity of the Bitcoin currency as a whole, and that with their great social influence comes great responsibility.

So, again, for the good of Bitcoin, please promise us that you will not be attempting to change the Bitcoin protocol for at least 5 years, Bitcoin.org.

Thank you.

P.S. Why five years? So new competing releases have time to develop and challenge any dangerous changes that come our way.

Furthermore, the ability to change the protocol in the face of a vulnerability is a strength of bitcoin not a weakness.


Who says I want to stop that? I just want to decentralize it. I don't want to end development. I just want to end the authority surrounding it.
5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 03:43:27 AM
(or maybe just bitcoind) would be quickly out-competed if that rule was adopted.

That is the point. Development would not stop. Bitcoin would not be stopped. Only a certain (and currently central) sect of it will and it would only apply to protocol changes, not client development. This prop should not be feared. The success of Bitcoin does not depend on the Bitcoin.org development team.

The goal is true decentralization.
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 03:31:12 AM
You do realise that Bitcoin is an experimental currency as the warning states on bitcoin.org 'Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world.'

The word experimental to me brings up things like expect change until its been gotten right. As is there has been a lot of faith in the terms of money from punters such as myself and time from the devs etc. that it will succeed eventually but it is still a risk, one that I willingly take. I have not found any guarantees for Bitcoin yet.

I put faith in the devs that they are doing the right thing, if they had nefarious intentions it would of been far more easily to implement in the past than now as each day passes. I dont have a coding background so I also have to have faith in those that do and keep an eye on the code.

Educate yourself on how to actually fix your perceived problems, learn coding, make your own fork etc.

Get some life experience as well.

No, Bitcoin.org and Bitcoin.it claims its an experimental currency. That is not the consensus. That is not the 110 million dollar consensus in the exchange market.

Faith doesn't cut it when it comes to money. The more real certainty, the better and we must not a look at the dev team now but in the future. A power structure over a very successful Bitcoin is prone to corruption: The incentive would grow exponentially.

I don't need code experience to know its risky to change up Bitcoin. Again, there are bugs generated everyday and they could easily be found in a protocol change that could be a major vulnerability. I value Bitcoin as-it-is and so do many others. We are not throwing that love away just because of sensibilities and our purported lack of license.  

And we have forks. Plenty of them. Litecoin is not likely to have the same momentum. We are sticking with Bitcoin and making sure it retains its security and value which can only be ruined through reckless change. I have enough life experience and knowledge of history to know how things go to shit and how things become corrupt.

The United States came with a clear limitation of powers that were gradually changed by a centralized federal government. The US government now gains further control of the lives of its citizens and the people all around the world. Let's not let that happen here with our Bitcoins.

Again, the Bitcoin.org development team acting as the single outlet for Bitcoin maintenance and change is dangerous.
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 02:51:37 AM
I will also add that recently a bug was found in Bitcoin-Qt's latest build (Ultraprune) that changed the Bitcoin protocol, inadvertently. If this were released, people running older Bitcoin software would be forced to fork into a separate Bitcoin currency that might of had little to no acceptance. This scenario would be traject if the actual protocol changes were not fully announced.

I will say over and over again, the Bitcoin.org dev team has a lot of power that must be watched with extreme caution.

Imagine if a release was made that didn't change the protocol fundamentally until a later time and the software had already been accepted by mostly everybody? This may not be feasible but it's one question of many others when it comes to the power of a single core software developer in the community.

There are many men who would like to see Bitcoin as a competing currency gone and they will be willing to penetrate our sphere of influence to do it. Stay awake.

Addendum: The Bitcoin.org dev team may makes claim of democracy, transparency and good faith but so do governments and other organizations, which will always inevitably fail. People fail and if Bitcoin is not to fail it must not depend on a lone group of people.
8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Prop: A Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol release that's guaranteed to stay the same. on: October 23, 2012, 02:43:24 AM
In order to introduce great certainty in the Bitcoin economy at-large, whether it be in the mind of a regular user, merchant or an investor, we need to make sure Bitcoin as a currency remains stable in form. People need not be able to question that Bitcoin can change its rules --whether the rule be minor or significant-- in the face of major social influence of the current "official" dev team or otherwise.

I think we can all agree that if the Bitcoin protocol was vulnerable at its core, it would of been compromised by now. No major change is needed in that respect, whether it be novelty or a new idea of an experiment in cryptocurrency.

In face of this, I propose the Bitcoin.org dev team makes decree that the Bitcoin protocol set in the compatible Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind releases of 0.7.1 and below as well as beyond, not be changed for a period of at least 5 years -- in Bitcoin.org's respective releases. They should agree that their efforts and ambitions are not greater than the survival and integrity of the Bitcoin currency as a whole, and that with their great social influence comes great responsibility.

So, again, for the good of Bitcoin, please promise us that you will not be attempting to change the Bitcoin protocol for at least 5 years, Bitcoin.org.

Thank you.

P.S. Why five years? So new competing releases have time to develop and challenge any dangerous changes that come our way.
9  Other / Meta / Re: Censorship on Bitcointalk on: October 23, 2012, 02:05:56 AM
If there is a pattern of trolling you should have no problem pointing to examples of clearly trolling behavior.  Instead, you have dodged doing so for over a week and have instead pointed to posts hidden behind  a paywall on another forum apparently dedicated to trolling this site.  Why, exactly, are you a member of such a group?

It sounds more and more that the definition of "trolling" on this forums is simply "stuff Theymos doesn't like"

There is no literal trolling on this forum with exceptions of Rarity or others. These people are obviously looking for just a reaction.

On the other hand, skepticism and disagreement are labeled as trolling here, wrongly so.

Yet another baseless accusation leveled at Rarity.  Let me guess, you have posted with the troll planners on this "Something Awful" too?

Rarity was the definition of a reasonable skeptic on these forums.  Her skepticism of libertarian arguments and her pro-government and regulation views were labeled as trolling specifically because they were a minority viewpoint strongly argued.  Some of those with less faith in their views could not handle the challenge of not not existing in an echo chamber and chose the easy way out of attacking the messenger rather than defending their views.

Okay, Rarity.
10  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: How is Bitcoin "decentralized" and without a central authority? on: October 23, 2012, 12:22:57 AM
No, what you mean to say as long as your modified software adheres to the rules of the protocol set by the developers of Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind after they push a protocol change that is approved by Gavin Andresen, who has the final say. Ask him. He wants to be the Linus Torvalds of Bitcoin. He wants the approval process of Bitcoin changes to be just like Linux.

If the majority of the network accepts Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol changes under Mr. Andresen's guidance, your modification will mean squat. It will fork and you will be left with your toy Bitcoin that nobody accepts.

Yea but if nobody agree with his protocol change, no one will follow his fork anyway and instead will continue to use the old fork.

In theory. This is dependent on good communication throughout the whole community. If people don't know about the changes, they have nothing to go against. They will accept the upgrade out of apathy.

The chance of this occurring is increased when we have a central release. Competing releases resolve this in many ways.
11  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: How is Bitcoin "decentralized" and without a central authority? on: October 23, 2012, 12:14:51 AM
You understand that the source code for the "official" software is open source, and that you and anybody else is welcome to take a copy of that source code and modify it right?  That as long as your modified software adheres to the rules of the protocol, it will work with the bitcoin system?

No, what you mean to say as long as your modified software adheres to the rules of the protocol set by the developers of Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind after they push a protocol change that is approved by Gavin Andresen, who has the final say. Ask him. He wants to be the Linus Torvalds of Bitcoin. He wants the approval process of Bitcoin changes to be just like Linux.

If the majority of the network accepts Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind protocol changes under Mr. Andresen's guidance, your modification will mean squat. It will fork and you will be left with your toy Bitcoin that nobody accepts.
12  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: How is Bitcoin "decentralized" and without a central authority? on: October 23, 2012, 12:05:34 AM
Nice agressive confrontational very first post.  Good luck!

No, he asks a great question that most of you don't like. It's a reality that's hard for some of you to deal with.

Authority and centralization go far beyond the actual product. There are social matters to be dealt with in any ecosystem that needs to be sustained.
13  Other / Meta / Re: Censorship on Bitcointalk on: October 22, 2012, 11:58:36 PM
If there is a pattern of trolling you should have no problem pointing to examples of clearly trolling behavior.  Instead, you have dodged doing so for over a week and have instead pointed to posts hidden behind  a paywall on another forum apparently dedicated to trolling this site.  Why, exactly, are you a member of such a group?

It sounds more and more that the definition of "trolling" on this forums is simply "stuff Theymos doesn't like"

There is no literal trolling on this forum with exceptions of Rarity or others. These people are obviously looking for just a reaction.

On the other hand, skepticism and disagreement are labeled as trolling here, wrongly so.
14  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 22, 2012, 01:15:18 AM
gmaxwell: jgarzik: Atlas works at odds with his stated goals, he makes me want to centeralized bitcoin just so we can write him out of it. Tongue

This is what he said in response to this thread.
15  Bitcoin / Hardware wallets / Re: Bitcoin Wallet for Android on: October 22, 2012, 12:41:30 AM
Well, the problem is really that we haven't finished (or even started) deploying bloom filters. It means the RAM requirements are going up over time as Bitcoin usage scales.

There's no theoretical reason Bitcoin can't run well on your phone. But as Andreas said, we haven't finished all the programming for that yet.

It already runs well on mobile devices through web-based thin clients. It may not be your ideal security scheme nor be a node like you like, but it works just fine for the end user. And they will move on without your suggestions.

No, Bitcoin will not die because everyone and their grandma is not running a node. Mining nodes can become numerous enough.
16  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 22, 2012, 12:32:36 AM
The frequent releases of the Bitcoin devs play a very small part especially when most users use custom GUIs or a web client to conduct Bitcoin business.

Right, sort of how companies like Cisco, Intel, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, and guys like Linus Torvalds, have little to do with people's ability to read their e-mail, and they owe 98% of the credit to the guys who invented the binary code and the transistor.
Why should we owe anyone anything? The debt has been paid inherently when they released their work. Why should they keep endless authority?

All I am calling for is no authority over the Bitcoin development culture. I am not questioning people doing things. However, I do question the "I am special, worship me, need me, depend on me." mentality.
17  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 22, 2012, 12:20:44 AM
The momentum I am referring to is the userbase that continues to grow which is not fully due to the post-2010 work of Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind.

I think it would be very hard to argue that it was because of the efforts of Mr. "Bitcoin is just a experiment, don't bet the house." that Bitcoin is trading over $12 a coin.

Satoshi Nakamoto made 98% of what the core Bitcoin protocol is today. That was the Big Bang. Every other software development is a secondary footnote. The real success is in user support of Satoshi's core product.

I recognize people want to be important, they want people to depend on them for Bitcoin to work but that's not how free societies work. We don't indebt ourselves to a supposed leader. We shouldn't have to owe Bitcoin's success to a certain class of people. We all stand on equal ground and stand independently. Bitcoin as a decentralized currency should represent that.  


Satoshi also made 98% of SolidCoin, NameCoin, I0coin, IXCoin, and every other coin out there that is presently deep in the toilet.

Bitcoin trades at over $12 a coin because of the collective actions and frequent releases of the Bitcoin devs, entities like MtGox/BitInstant/BitPay, utilities like BlockChain.info, the many businesses who accept Bitcoin as payment, promoters like Bitcoin Magazine and WeUseCoins.com (not to mention my own coins), and like it or not, things like the Silk Road.  When you say "Hey Gregory, you didn't build that!", that's being a douche and has nothing to do with how much money you have in Bitcoin - it's just plain and simple being a douche.

The frequent releases of the Bitcoin devs play a very small part especially when most users use custom GUIs or a web client to conduct Bitcoin business.

I am not saying other people haven't built anything. I am saying the Bitcoin.org dev team hasn't built everything and that we owe them nothing. They are doing this out of their own interest and their own time, especially when they want to force certain things down our throat.

All I am calling for is no recognition of significant power in this community: Bitcoin.org implying they have great say and clout in this offends that ideal. They imply it when they want to push radical changes. This change may not be too radical but I am waiting for the day a radical push comes.

Also, I have no shame in being a douche. I am just out for the long-time survival of Bitcoin. I have no agenda besides keeping things as they are: Working.

Anyways, I agree, we all built Bitcoin. As for the Bitcoin.org developers, no they don't have exclusive ownership over it.

TLDR: Nobody should be dependent on the work of anybody in the Bitcoin community.
18  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 22, 2012, 12:01:53 AM
Bitcoin has momentum that is very scarce. If destroyed, cryptocurrency might be doomed for another few decades.

The fact is Bitcoin would live on without his support. If a feature is truly needed, it will be done anyway by another party or two.

Which is it?  How many fingers can you chop off your hand before it ceases to be a hand?
The momentum I am referring to is the userbase that continues to grow which is not fully due to the post-2010 work of Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoind.

I think it would be very hard to argue that it was because of the efforts of Mr. "Bitcoin is just a experiment, don't bet the house." that Bitcoin is trading over $12 a coin.

Satoshi Nakamoto made 98% of what the core Bitcoin protocol is today. That was the Big Bang. Every other software development is a secondary footnote. The real success is in user support of Satoshi's core product.

I recognize people want to be important, they want people to depend on them for Bitcoin to work but that's not how free societies work. We don't indebt ourselves to a supposed leader. We shouldn't have to owe Bitcoin's success to a certain class of people. We all stand on equal ground and stand independently. Bitcoin as a decentralized currency should represent that.  
19  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 21, 2012, 11:50:14 PM
it's not generally considered polite to demand what people do with their time if you're not paying them. Smiley

The way I see it, by downloading the software, they are paying, just not with money, the same way they "pay" Google by seeing ads.  These people are offering Bitcoin (the idea) a share of their mind and their time.  They are incrementally adding to the entire Bitcoin-based economy by considering accepting Bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services.  They are paying with their willingness to change how they see a BTC as something worth 0.00 to them, to something worth over $10.  Of course, I am also respectfully keeping in mind that you have contributed substantially to bitcoind, and I have not.

The fact is Bitcoin would live on without his support. If a feature is truly needed, it will be done anyway by another party or two. There is enough capital and value here to sustain Bitcoin on a as-it-goes basis. Bitcoin as a protocol is sustaining just fine after all. There are no major vulnerabilities. Client innovation is being advanced by various people. The Satoshi client will likely become a relic.

Bitcoin could not live without the users putting their money and time into this. It's the user that is God in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

This isn't Ubuntu Linux or another hippy open-source software project. This is money. Real money. It's beyond the leagues of anything else in the development world.

Yes, I will continue to be a douchebag because I have too much money in this thing.
20  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Ultraprune merged in mainline on: October 21, 2012, 11:37:34 PM
Quoting for archival purposes.


...part of the reason people should choose to use and recommend the reference software instead of some other is the consideration of features that where is the consideration of features that where included _and_ excluded, even if some people don't always agree completely with all of them.


This is central planning right here.


Here's another example of central planning: http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

In other words, not persuasive.

Nakamoto's plan is the canvas in the context of my argument. It functions perfectly fine. Bitcoin has no problems thus far.

All I am arguing against is people who want to single handily plan out its future and shape it to their wishes. Why? Because people fail. Nakamoto hasn't failed and that's great but we should preserve the success we have now and not squander it through radical change that may or may not work nor through a single point of failure that is a single development process.

Hybrid secessions in the Bitcoin development community are a must else we end up with a inbred culture that can be easily corrupted.

No, another currency will not do. Bitcoin has momentum that is very scarce. If destroyed, cryptocurrency might be doomed for another few decades.
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