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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Losing Critical Mass and Call to Action on: September 17, 2010, 06:11:09 PM
((lots of good stuff removed))
The Madhatter

Thanks for your well considered response. I agree with all of your points. I want to re-emphasize I am a bitcoin supporter and have had only good experiences using the bitcoin software, bitcoin community websites, and discussing on this forum! I take bitcoin very seriously as a fundamentally important project - the idea of a decentralized currency, a p2p economic system, is inherently exciting, and bitcoin's design and implementation seems brilliant once you understand how the pieces all fit together.

All of that, however, still isn't enough for bitcoin to actually succeed and live up to its potential. What can loosely be described as "social factors" (and of course luck!) are in my opinion much more determinative of success than the correctness of the concepts or the skill of implementation. Those things have to be right to create the possibility of success (defined as long-term preservation of value and ability to transact in bitcoins for a wide variety of goods and services), but are not sufficient. The high ambition of bitcoin creates a lot of hurdles to jump over that most projects don't face. Satoshi has guts! As do other people who invest substantial effort and resources in building the bitcoin community, I remain very impressed by what already exists and has been accomplished.

I definitely believe bitcoin has the potential to deliver a "better user experience" of money than traditional systems, but at this point in time I don't think the chicken-and-egg problem of creating adequate diversity of goods/services and ease of transaction in bitcoins without a large user community and vice versa has been accomplished. I will try to offer my best practical suggestion: someone should develop a very easy to deploy "pay with bitcoins!" web widget for people selling services over the web. The kind of small startups funded by ycombinator might be interested in innovative payment systems and they are often at a stage where revenues are so small that even minor paths to monetization would interest them. I don't know exactly how you architect an ultra easy to use (for both service providers and consumers) bitcoin payment button, but I see it as something that could really drive adoption.
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Losing Critical Mass and Call to Action on: September 17, 2010, 12:46:39 PM
I think the current status of coin generation difficulty and the arms race of private-source GPU coin generation has discouraged some people's interest in the coin generation game/lottery which - rightly or wrongly - has been the motivation for a lot of people's involvement. It also seems to be a symptom of a meta-flaw in the project design, because open source projects want to ENCOURAGE the contribution and sharing of code, but the nature of the coin generation process seems to inherently reward and incentivize closed-source forks. Another set of concerns is the possibility of non-conforming clients exploiting the system (as seems to have occurred somewhat recently causing the 0.3.9 update) and the resiliency of the network to malicious behavior, and the potential fragility of your bitcoin bank account if you mess up handling your wallet file. Last but not least is the meta-issue of understanding how to deal with your local laws and regulations concerning taxes and money.

I love the idea of bitcoin, but I have donated all my bitcoins to the EFF donation thread now and am no longer actively participating in the bitcoin economy because of how the above issues apply to me. This is not intended as criticism of bitcoin, just as a user reporting why they are no longer using the software currently.

1. I'm not interested in running multiple computers at max cpu usage for weeks to try to generate a rather trivial value of coins, especially when I know GPU users have vastly higher efficiency
2. The mechanics of keeping my wallet files private and constantly backed up with a fresh copy gives me "data stress"
3. All software has bugs. Software that is related to money is an inevitable target of attacks, and there is no FDIC backing or legal system remedy available in the case of problems
4. I don't really know how to document and declare transactions in bitcoins for legal and tax purposes and I'm scared of getting it wrong

In other words, I see costs/risks to using bitcoin and trying to participate in the bitcoin economy without seeing practical benefits other than how much I like the idea of bitcoin and think its cool software. I want bitcoin to succeed, but my current evaluation of my economic self-interest is that I have no reason to run the client and no reason to purchase bitcoins. I also do not feel motivated to "promote" bitcoin because that makes me feel like I am basically working to advocate the economic interests of those who already hold large quantities of bitcoin wealth. The have/have-not dichotomy is another structural issue: "come join our economy! you can be a peasant!" is a hard marketing sell.
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: EFF Donation Thread [800 bitcoins and counting with 110 donated] on: August 27, 2010, 10:45:53 PM
Sent all 150 coins I pledged to the escrow address.
4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: EFF Donation Thread [685 bitcoins and counting] on: August 23, 2010, 08:43:18 PM
I'm completely fine with Kiba acting as the escrow for my contribution, so there's another AYE.
5  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: tcatm's 4-way SSE2 for Linux 32/64-bit is in 0.3.10 on: August 16, 2010, 05:30:15 AM
I have two quadcore Phenom II 64-bit linux machines (ubuntu 9.10 both) and the -4way option increases my hashing speed so much I'm suspicious. I get about 5-6khash/sec on these boxes previously and without -4way option. With -4way I get over 11khash/sec! In other words, the -4way switch almost DOUBLES the reported hashing speed. This level of improvement seems more than expected and makes me wonder if my boxes are really doing the hashing that much faster or if there could possible be an issue where the math operations are actually being skipped over for some reason, causing illusory speed and an inability to actually generate blocks?
o_O... good luck hashing, you're gonna need it!
I guess that should read either mhash/sec or THOUSANDS of khash/sec...but hey, what's 3 orders of magnitude among friends?

Perhaps that typographical error is why nobody has answered whether or not a nearly 100% speeded from the -4way option is at all realistic? I'm not convinced the crypto hashing is really taking place at the rate of 11000khash/sec on my desktop box.
6  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: tcatm's 4-way SSE2 for Linux 32/64-bit is in 0.3.10 on: August 16, 2010, 03:15:44 AM
I have two quadcore Phenom II 64-bit linux machines (ubuntu 9.10 both) and the -4way option increases my hashing speed so much I'm suspicious. I get about 5-6khash/sec on these boxes previously and without -4way option. With -4way I get over 11khash/sec! In other words, the -4way switch almost DOUBLES the reported hashing speed. This level of improvement seems more than expected and makes me wonder if my boxes are really doing the hashing that much faster or if there could possible be an issue where the math operations are actually being skipped over for some reason, causing illusory speed and an inability to actually generate blocks?
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: How long to start generating BC's? on: August 15, 2010, 12:00:22 PM
because you've been lucky on your first day and a half and had less luck since then.
block generation is kind of a lottery, you might win, or not,
it's not like you are supposed to generate a block each X hours/days.
Actually, I would say that is incorrect. The randomness means that you will see a lot of "spread" around the expected target time to generate a block, but over the long term, you should DEFINITELY see the expected "a block each X hours/days" ratio emerge from the data. The bitcoin calculator website will tell give you this data based on your khash/sec. I'm sure you know these things, but I'm stating them for the benefit of the new poster who I think might be misled by your statement.

The difficulty level has just increased again substantially, so it has become even harder for a user with relatively modest computational resources to personally verify their client is interacting with the generation process across the network correctly. I feel this is a bit of challenge for both building user confidence and trust and also the debugging process. Recently for instance from version 0.3.6 to 0.3.8 coin generation was broken in 64-bit linux clients, but this bug took awhile to be detected despite users running that client version, because the bug symptom of "not generating blocks" was more or less identical for the user to the expected behavior of generating blocks very slowly due to the high difficulty!

Anyway, even when everything is working correctly there is no guarantee your behavior will match statistical expections apart from over the very long term. At current difficulty, a standard desktop's expected time to generate a coin block may be a few weeks even with 24/7 operation.
8  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Network protocol overview doc on: August 15, 2010, 03:59:12 AM
The following is copy and pasted (a fair use in this case, I believe) from the link above. It is in reference to USA law:


What is Required for a Compilation to be Eligible for Copyright?

The law identifies three distinct elements, all of which must be met for a work to qualify as a copyrightable compilation:

   1. the collection and assembly of pre-existing material, facts, or  data;
   2. the selection, coordination, or arrangement of those materials; and
   3. the creation, by virtue of the particular selection, coordination, or arrangement of an original work of authorship.

Collection and assembling facts and information isn't enough. Compilations, just as any other work, may only be copyrighted if the originality requirement, “an original work of authorship,” is met.


I think its arguable if the document in the form it was copied to the wiki has sufficient originality to be considered an copyrightable work in the united states. It might be a court would view it as simply a "phone book" style collection of information which was not copyrightable. Given that the content of this document is clearly entirely derived from the code and behavior of Bitcoin in the first place, I hope an agreement is found where this information can legally be incorporated into the Bitcoin documentation because it is obviously useful to the community. Thank you again for taking the time to prepare it and share it - under whatever terms you decide are appropriate.
9  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Network protocol overview doc on: August 15, 2010, 02:26:40 AM
Quote
I'm discouraged by your hostile reaction to something that was obviously INTENDED to be helpful rather than harmful.

How is taking credit for my work intended to be helpful?

Quote
are you willing to contribute this documentation under a license such that it can actually be used by the bitcoin project?

It is highly demotivating to bother with it when others repost my work under their own names.


Did I miss something? You say "taking credit for my work" and "repost my work under their own names" - was there more copying and/or copying with misattribution than copying the material to the bitcoin wiki as linked in the second post? Given that the link was posted right here in the thread as a response and seems to be a simple exact duplication, I do not understand this characterization.
10  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Network protocol overview doc on: August 15, 2010, 02:12:53 AM

This is standard copyright stuff, as practiced in major open source projects.  Stop by Debian-legal or Fedora-legal for a while.

But copyright is a sideshow.  I put my time and effort into this, and it certainly discourages further work when people have so little care for the work of others.


Well, speak for yourself. I'm discouraged by your hostile reaction to something that was obviously INTENDED to be helpful rather than harmful. You ignored my earlier post which I thought was fairly substantive so I guess I won't bother to write much more. Thank you for producing this reference document. I will repeat one question from my earlier post: are you willing to contribute this documentation under a license such that it can actually be used by the bitcoin project?
11  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Network protocol overview doc on: August 14, 2010, 10:54:38 PM
Well, if this actually went to a USA court of law, it would be an interesting case. The following link presents the issues clearly:

http://www.pddoc.com/copyright/compilation.htm

Since I'm not a lawyer, I'm not sure if this compilation of facts would qualify for copyright protection or not.

Given that Bitcoin is an open source project distributed under a highly permissive license, I think people probably presumed that you were making this document available with licensing of equal permissiveness. Certainly as a legal matter you cannot "presume" such licensing at all, but as mentioned above there is a decent case this is not actually a copyrightable work in the first place.

My perception is that copying the information to the wiki was a good faith act done by someone who made the incorrect assumption that you would regard that action as helpful, desirable, and something you would certainly volunteer permission for if asked. I'd also agree as a matter of etiquette, separate from law, that asking if you wanted the material to be copied would have been a good thing to do, but I also find your response surprising. It seems clear your motivation in releasing this document was to be "helpful" to the bitcoin software project and other contributors, and that having this information on the wiki is helpful.

All that said, are you willing to license this document under the MIT license or place it in the public domain, assuming that in fact it IS a copyrightable work?
12  Economy / Economics / Re: Definition of a Commodity & Are Bitcoins a Commodity? on: August 14, 2010, 09:49:08 PM
I'm not sure what the most important question is here - the definition of the word "commodity", or the question of exactly what type of economic object Bitcoins are and whether that has consequences? Just on the basis of what springs to mind when I hear the word, I usually think of copper, wheat, and similar physical resources as the intended meaning of "commodity". If it is possible to extend the idea of a commodity to the digital realm at all, though, Bitcoins are in some ways more "commodity like" than a lot of other digital objects.

What about the in-game resources in an MMORPG? Is "wheat" grown in a videogame economy a commodity, or not?

In general, as an economic actor, I'm not so certain that currencies are actually as different from other things as some of the discussion seems to assume. A five dollar bill is a physical object I can barter with very easily - but I dont perceive I have done anything fundamentally different if I buy a chair with a 5-dollar bill or if I trade a t-shirt for the chair. An even better example is a traditional investment portfolio - in a highly diversified portfolio, stocks, currencies of different nations, gold, perhaps some fine art, will all be held by the investor and to the investor, there is no fundamental difference between the different categories. They are all chosen to try to achieve a different balance of costs, benefits, and risks.

To me the main reason we regard currencies as "different" is that they are treated differently BY LAW and most people think of currency only in terms of the government controlled monopoly fiat currency they deal with on a day to day basis. In a more open free market I don't think a currency would seem very different than any other kind of "paper investment" that represented some kind of ownership or contractual obligation or certificate of deposit - because that is what currencies usually are!

In fact Bitcoins might be said to be a "certificate of deposit" of mathematically provable trust issued by the "bank" of bitcoin users!
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Coin generation participation survey on: August 14, 2010, 07:02:42 PM
1. No, only found out about bitcoin about two weeks ago.

2. Yes, currently attempting to generate with every computer I own.

3. I've been generating since a few days after I found out about bitcoin and reassured myself it was at least a well-intentioned project.

4. I have succeeded in generating a small single digit number of blocks, slightly fewer than statistical expectation from khash/sec.

5. My initial motivation for generation was to try to personally verify that the system was working honestly and as designed. I have become increasingly enthusiastic about Bitcoin since then and that motivation has now been joined by actually wanting more coins.

14  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Coin generation participation survey on: August 14, 2010, 06:51:09 PM
It is common to hear people explain to newcomers to bitcoin that "its not about the coin generation or getting free money, its about creating a medium of exchange". I am interested in what the current ratio of generators to non-generators in the community is. Obviously this is an extremely NON-scientific method of examining that. So:

1) Have you been using bitcoin for more than two months?

2) Are you currently attempting to generate coins?

3) If not currently generating, have you attempted in the past? If generating, how long have you been generating?

4) Have you ever succeeded in generating a block? Many blocks?

5) Why or why not do you generate? Purely profit-oriented comparison of cost of generation with market value in another currency? Just for fun? As a selfless contribution to the mathematical strength of the proof of work?

Feel free to answer as much or as little as you like and I'm also interested in anything else relevant you would care to add. I will reply to my own post as the first answer.
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Does name "phpmybitcoin" cause confusion with name "mybitcoin?" on: August 13, 2010, 12:25:04 AM
I understand the concern - as context, there was discussion of this in the IRC channel immediately prior to this thread being posted - but it seems to me there are already several websites using "bitcoin" as part of their url, and as the bitcoin economy grows, there will be many partial overlaps. I think the analogy between "phpmyadmin" and "phpmybitcoin" means the choice of name is clear and understandable.

I also have no stake in this matter personally. I would hope that everyone in the community agrees that the appearance of new projects and websites is a good thing and that any potential confusion or concerns can be resolved by everyone in a friendly manner.
16  Economy / Economics / Re: Remove economic nonsense from home page on: August 12, 2010, 08:01:36 PM
I don't want to engage with detailed specifics of this issue, but I do not think it is actually beneficial to tie Bitcoin "officially" to claims about economic issues like ideal banking systems, especially any that may be perceived as political in nature. I see Bitcoins as useful for people and offering benefits regardless of your opinions about questions like fiscal policy and banking.

It seems the real point of this line of information is to explain that the money supply of bitcoins is very stable and there is a reliable system in place to generate the currency. Perhaps it could be reworded slightly to simply state these positive characteristics and not debate the issue of banking systems.
17  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: EFF Donation Thread [180 bitcoins and counting] on: August 12, 2010, 01:31:52 AM
I'm liking how this is going, and I've been meaning to donate to EFF for awhile, so I'll put some more skin in the game. I am going to match both noagendamarket's and dejayl's pledges and conditions - so that is another 140 bitcoins pledged from me. Same conditions as their donations - 50 if they setup a node, an additional 90 if they add a 'donate bitcoins' button somewhere on their website.
18  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Lost large number of bitcoins on: August 11, 2010, 09:08:59 PM
Ok, re-reading carefully and checking the referenced thread, I finally understand this in detail. It's not that bitcoin "empties your wallet" at each transaction - it fully empties an address used to send coins. In this particular case, the user had previously sent themselves the 9000 coins in a lump, resulting in all those coins being held at a single address.

So far as I can tell, there is no way from the GUI client to actually get at the information of what coins in your balance are held at what addresses? Given that the addresses are what is "really important" that information might be of value.
19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Lost large number of bitcoins on: August 11, 2010, 08:46:08 PM
News to me is that *all* your coins are at risk.  I thought it was just clumps of coins (previously received transactions) involved in the transaction, not my aggregate balance.  Yikes.
You were right before. The reason all of his coins were lost is that he first transfered all ฿9000 to himself, merging them into a single TxIn. If he had skipped that step and gone straight to sending himself ฿1, he would have only lost the smallest payment that he had previously received that was over ฿1.

I think the client needs to communicate TxIns and TxOuts better to the user. I don't know how to do that without being confusing, but there are real privacy, safety, and security implications in which coins the client chooses to transfer.

Wait, I'm confused again. I thought the essence of the surprise was that Bitcoin is programmed to "empty your wallet" for EACH transaction. According to the description I read, when you send coins from address A in your wallet to address B externally, the transaction is actually done by sending ALL the coins out from address A, and the ones that aren't going to address B get sent to address C which is your own address - in other words, even if I'm only paying you a single bitcoin out of my 9000, I mail 1 bitcoin to you and 8999 to myself at a new address.

In other words (unless I'm confused), every transaction you make will result in your old, backed-up wallet addresses become emptied out.
20  Economy / Exchanges / Re: New Bitcoin Exchange (mtgox.com) on: August 11, 2010, 02:03:35 AM
We (some people on the IRC channel) noticed what seemed to be unexpected behavior in the mtgox matchmaking system today. At one point, there was an outstanding offer to sell bitcoins at a price lower than the highest outstanding bid, and the transaction was at below-market rates. When we noticed this, it was possible to buy 1 bitcoin for six cents even at a time when there were outstanding offers at a higher price.
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