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Author Topic: The overlooked existential threat of centralization  (Read 1781 times)
gustav (OP)
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June 11, 2015, 06:50:52 PM
 #1

Bitcoin is more and more vulnerable the less nodes it has.
The less nodes it has the more likely a ddos becomes which could have fatal consequences.
This kind of attack where an only medium size enitity (like mastercard or visa for example) could ddos 90% or more of the nodes on the network is highly overlooked and underestimated. That's also a reason a blocksize increase which would further reduce nodes is very unwise.

Imagine Bitcoin with less than 1000 nodes ... it wouldn't be secure at all anymore.

If someone really would manage to ddos almost all nodes on the network i could imagine multiple forks to occure.

Correct me if i'm wrong.
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June 11, 2015, 07:46:32 PM
 #2

I will like I just did, you're saying the increased block size will lead to less nodes, the only thing changing with an increased blocksize is the POSSIBILITY of larger blocks. The large amount of time it would take to get those blocks full will negated by the always decreasing price per gigabyte.



The only other reason people wouldn't keep their full nodes is out of some sort of spite or vindictive attitude.
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June 11, 2015, 08:47:13 PM
 #3

Centralisation is a problem and it might get worse when block are consistently over 2M. We are not there yet. When there are more merchants accepting bitcoin and more bitcoin startups, we will have more high quality nodes. I think we have more nodes than reported because most users do not have their bitcoin core opened all day.
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June 11, 2015, 08:53:33 PM
 #4

It's true that we are having less nodes, and that's why nodes are incentivated and there is also dedicated hardware for nodes... But what makes you think that bigger blocks means less nodes? The only thing that would make us have less nodes is simply people feeling like shutting down theirs. There isn't really a reason to have less nodes...
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June 11, 2015, 09:00:45 PM
 #5

Centralisation is a problem and it might get worse when block are consistently over 2M. We are not there yet. When there are more merchants accepting bitcoin and more bitcoin startups, we will have more high quality nodes. I think we have more nodes than reported because most users do not have their bitcoin core opened all day.
Again by the time we get to 2mb expect the price of the current drives to be half of what they were and it to be no problem.
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June 11, 2015, 09:09:07 PM
 #6

I guess one of the contributing reasons could also be that it isn't as easy as it should be. Imagine if there was software and you had to only press "turn on" to become a full node (once synced).
We should work on explaining the need for nodes. Setting up one isn't that cheap and with 1TB of storage you will be set for a while.

Again by the time we get to 2mb expect the price of the current drives to be half of what they were and it to be no problem.
Not really. There isn't much more headroom with the current HDD technology, we're reaching the limit. At least the prices have returned to pre-flood levels.

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June 11, 2015, 09:19:25 PM
 #7

I guess one of the contributing reasons could also be that it isn't as easy as it should be. Imagine if there was software and you had to only press "turn on" to become a full node (once synced).
We should work on explaining the need for nodes. Setting up one isn't that cheap and with 1TB of storage you will be set for a while.

Again by the time we get to 2mb expect the price of the current drives to be half of what they were and it to be no problem.
Not really. There isn't much more headroom with the current HDD technology, we're reaching the limit. At least the prices have returned to pre-flood levels.
I think it will continue to go down as ssd's become more common and they start pushing hdd stock out.

http://hexus.net/tech/news/storage/78717-ssds-economical-solution-hdds-2016/

SSD is expected to quickly outpace standard hard drives for density and expected to match on price, this would essentially kill hdd just taking over as the new standard.

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June 11, 2015, 10:21:20 PM
 #8

I guess one of the contributing reasons could also be that it isn't as easy as it should be. Imagine if there was software and you had to only press "turn on" to become a full node (once synced).
We should work on explaining the need for nodes. Setting up one isn't that cheap and with 1TB of storage you will be set for a while.

Again by the time we get to 2mb expect the price of the current drives to be half of what they were and it to be no problem.
Not really. There isn't much more headroom with the current HDD technology, we're reaching the limit. At least the prices have returned to pre-flood levels.


hmmm... now that i think about it i should try to move my blockchain to another drive instead of my os ssd drive. thanks for reminding me of that. i just have to figure out how to do that now.
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June 11, 2015, 10:45:55 PM
 #9

I will like I just did, you're saying the increased block size will lead to less nodes, the only thing changing with an increased blocksize is the POSSIBILITY of larger blocks. The large amount of time it would take to get those blocks full will negated by the always decreasing price per gigabyte.



The only other reason people wouldn't keep their full nodes is out of some sort of spite or vindictive attitude.
Bitcoin Core has many downsides. The main one is it's really RAM heavy/CPU heavy. HDD space like you point, is the least of the worries.
It takes ages to sync, often it stops downloading blocks and you need to reopen it, which means waiting again for the blocks to be validated. A lot of people have problems even when they make sure connections aren't being blocked by firewalls and whatnot.
Finally, since you need to create one new address to receive and send payments each time, it means you need to backup your wallet every time you make a new address... overall, it needs a lot of work, making it more accessible will make more people run full nodes instead of resorting to third party wallets.
kingcolex
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June 11, 2015, 11:45:12 PM
 #10

I will like I just did, you're saying the increased block size will lead to less nodes, the only thing changing with an increased blocksize is the POSSIBILITY of larger blocks. The large amount of time it would take to get those blocks full will negated by the always decreasing price per gigabyte.



The only other reason people wouldn't keep their full nodes is out of some sort of spite or vindictive attitude.
Bitcoin Core has many downsides. The main one is it's really RAM heavy/CPU heavy. HDD space like you point, is the least of the worries.
It takes ages to sync, often it stops downloading blocks and you need to reopen it, which means waiting again for the blocks to be validated. A lot of people have problems even when they make sure connections aren't being blocked by firewalls and whatnot.
Finally, since you need to create one new address to receive and send payments each time, it means you need to backup your wallet every time you make a new address... overall, it needs a lot of work, making it more accessible will make more people run full nodes instead of resorting to third party wallets.
There definitely could be more done to make core more user friendly for nodes, speaking of what has happened to the idea of pruning. If I remember correctly Satoshi even suggested it.
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June 11, 2015, 11:49:06 PM
 #11

It's true that we are having less nodes, and that's why nodes are incentivated and there is also dedicated hardware for nodes... But what makes you think that bigger blocks means less nodes? The only thing that would make us have less nodes is simply people feeling like shutting down theirs. There isn't really a reason to have less nodes...

Nodes aren't incentivized

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June 12, 2015, 12:05:16 AM
 #12

hmmm... now that i think about it i should try to move my blockchain to another drive instead of my os ssd drive. thanks for reminding me of that. i just have to figure out how to do that now.
Move your datadir from its default location to wherever you want and always start Bitcoin Core with the -datadir flag.

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June 12, 2015, 12:10:08 AM
 #13

Bitcoin Core has many downsides. The main one is it's really RAM heavy/CPU heavy. HDD space like you point, is the least of the worries.
It takes ages to sync, often it stops downloading blocks and you need to reopen it, which means waiting again for the blocks to be validated. A lot of people have problems even when they make sure connections aren't being blocked by firewalls and whatnot.

I really don't know why people post pictures of HDD space costs here. That's greatly misleading, because the most limiting factor is not HDD, it's network upload capacity. It's increasing at a much slower pace than HDD costs sink - and you can't even simply determine it by measuring network capacity at a single point in time, because most residential connections have explicit or implicit limits on total data volume (at some point the speed my suddenly drop, because the provider puts you in slow mode).

Finally, since you need to create one new address to receive and send payments each time, it means you need to backup your wallet every time you make a new address... overall, it needs a lot of work, making it more accessible will make more people run full nodes instead of resorting to third party wallets.

That's not true, Bitcoin core has a pool of addresses already stored in the wallet.dat. Only if you exceed the maximum number, you will need to make a new backup.

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achow101
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June 12, 2015, 12:16:53 AM
 #14

I guess one of the contributing reasons could also be that it isn't as easy as it should be. Imagine if there was software and you had to only press "turn on" to become a full node (once synced).
Why is it so difficult to download and install Bitcoin Core then just start the program and let it run? What is so hard about that. That is essentially what you are saying. It is quite easy to run a full node, albeit the wallet function of Bitcoin Core could use some UI work. There are also hardware nodes that you can just buy and works right out of the box.

kingcolex
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June 12, 2015, 01:02:22 AM
 #15

Bitcoin Core has many downsides. The main one is it's really RAM heavy/CPU heavy. HDD space like you point, is the least of the worries.
It takes ages to sync, often it stops downloading blocks and you need to reopen it, which means waiting again for the blocks to be validated. A lot of people have problems even when they make sure connections aren't being blocked by firewalls and whatnot.

I really don't know why people post pictures of HDD space costs here. That's greatly misleading, because the most limiting factor is not HDD, it's network upload capacity. It's increasing at a much slower pace than HDD costs sink - and you can't even simply determine it by measuring network capacity at a single point in time, because most residential connections have explicit or implicit limits on total data volume (at some point the speed my suddenly drop, because the provider puts you in slow mode).

Finally, since you need to create one new address to receive and send payments each time, it means you need to backup your wallet every time you make a new address... overall, it needs a lot of work, making it more accessible will make more people run full nodes instead of resorting to third party wallets.

That's not true, Bitcoin core has a pool of addresses already stored in the wallet.dat. Only if you exceed the maximum number, you will need to make a new backup.

ya.ya.yo!
Well data depends on the area truly, I am pretty sure europe has way better than the US for data and here you can get 50mb/s up and 5mb/s upload at 50$ a month with specials or 60$/m without and i can double it to 100mb/s for 75$ a month without specials forand 10mbs up a second. This is an extreme speed increase from the same provider from 3 years ago was 20mb/s same price as 50 mbs . Internet speed is definitely following suite at least here in america.
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June 12, 2015, 02:12:43 AM
 #16

I think anyone with significant amount of bitcoin holding (10K+ USD) will surely setup a dedicated node on high speed residential networks, the cost of such a server is very low comparing with the safety of his investment

Mining farms on the other hand will have a trend to further centralize, that is the danger, has nothing to do with block size

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June 12, 2015, 06:57:27 AM
 #17

Bitcoin is more and more vulnerable the less nodes it has.
The less nodes it has the more likely a ddos becomes which could have fatal consequences.
This kind of attack where an only medium size enitity (like mastercard or visa for example) could ddos 90% or more of the nodes on the network is highly overlooked and underestimated. That's also a reason a blocksize increase which would further reduce nodes is very unwise.

Imagine Bitcoin with less than 1000 nodes ... it wouldn't be secure at all anymore.

If someone really would manage to ddos almost all nodes on the network i could imagine multiple forks to occure.

Correct me if i'm wrong.

As others have said, the increased block size shouldn't be a concern for nodes.
And the block size is ofcourse dependant on the miners because I think that many of them would want to broadcast the found block as soon as it's found before someone else does.
That means that the size will depend on how fast a miner solves a block IMO.

Also, what does a DDoS attack have to do with centralization?
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June 12, 2015, 06:59:32 AM
 #18

I think anyone with significant amount of bitcoin holding (10K+ USD) will surely setup a dedicated node on high speed residential networks, the cost of such a server is very low comparing with the safety of his investment

Mining farms on the other hand will have a trend to further centralize, that is the danger, has nothing to do with block size
Why do you say that when many people clearly do not do so today?

As others have said, the increased block size shouldn't be a concern for nodes.
Then why is startup and sync time the number one complaint about Bitcoin Core since 2013? Why have so many people and organizations told me they stopped running it because of that?
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June 12, 2015, 07:17:55 AM
 #19

think it will continue to go down as ssd's become more common and they start pushing hdd stock out.
SSD is expected to quickly outpace standard hard drives for density and expected to match on price, this would essentially kill hdd just taking over as the new standard.

I thought you were talking about current drives? I find it hard to believe that anyone is running a node on a SSD.

Why is it so difficult to download and install Bitcoin Core then just start the program and let it run? What is so hard about that. That is essentially what you are saying. It is quite easy to run a full node, albeit the wallet function of Bitcoin Core could use some UI work. There are also hardware nodes that you can just buy and works right out of the box.
For quite a good part of the population it is. You forgot port forwarding, which also most of the internet users don't know how to do. Besides, even though everyone seems very supportive (inc. this thread), I hardly think that most are running a node.
hmmm... now that i think about it i should try to move my blockchain to another drive instead of my os ssd drive. thanks for reminding me of that. i just have to figure out how to do that now.
Simple. Uninstall Bitcoin Core; install into onto the desired drive (I've installed it to something like X:\Bitcoin), then just copy over the blockchain and wallet.



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June 12, 2015, 07:20:04 AM
 #20

There isn't any centralization for a simple reason: Most people could run a full node, if they wanted to.
Centralization means: You can't join the club.
Just because some guy in the outback of china with a crappy internet connection can't run a full node, doesn't mean anything is centralized.
Are torrents centralized, because the same guy couldn't upload a HD-movie?

What would really happen, if the number of nodes decline too much? Some companies and enthusiasts, would just make new ones. Like I said, in the beginning, it is not hard to do so. I could just buy one of this full setup full nodes, go to a friend, who has ridicilous fast internet, he doesn't need and ask him nicely to just keep it connected to the internet and buy him some beer in return. No problem there at all.

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