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Author Topic: Lost Bitcoins  (Read 13833 times)
DannyHamilton
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September 13, 2012, 03:35:25 PM
 #21

Yes they are lost for good. The currency is divisible to 8 decimal places and potentially further if there is a significant need and a code change. So the currency can adapt in its silly way.

Bitcoins are not "infinitely divisible" as a lot of people will say though. A hard fork of the code is required to add additional decimal places. This is not a simple matter in the least.

What is the limit on the potential divisibility that you admit exists?

The value isn't stored in the blockchain as a decimal at all.  It is stored as an integer . . .

Technically the blockchain doesn't store values it stores unspent outputs . . .
Isn't there a value stored in the output?  If I spend a single output, and create multiple outputs of my own, don't my outputs have values stored as int_64 in the blockchain indicating how much is being spent along with the public key (or hash of the public key) allowing the private key holder to spend that output?

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kjj
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September 14, 2012, 11:02:55 PM
 #22

Requiring a hard fork to add extra decimal places is a significant, breaking change to the bitcoin protocol and should not be taken lightly or assumed to be part of the specification.

I was only making that clear.

And they will never be infinitely divisible as there would have to be an infinite number of bits.

Fair enough.  In any event, it's difficult to imagine 8 decimal places not being sufficient.  I still don't understand why it isn't possible to always be able to add one more decimal place to the right.

The protocol currently uses integer math.  Values are 64 bit.  If I send 1 BTC to myself, in the transaction that shows up at 100,000,000.

In other words, the fundamental unit of the system is 1/100,000,000 of a BTC (commonly nicknamed "one satoshi").  The software does all math in terms of satoshis, but displays BTC to the user by scaling.

I sorta suspect that we'll switch to a 128 bit representation for technological reasons (wider CPUs) long before we need more digits for economic reasons.  Such a switch would give us some combination of more headroom and more dividing room.  It would also require a more-or-less hard fork.

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Etlase2
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September 14, 2012, 11:13:46 PM
 #23

A 64 bit int can hold the entire supply (8 decimals in all) in one integer, 8,700 times over. 4 more decimals could be added and still almost hold the entire supply in one int64 (18.5 vs 21 with a bunch of zeroes). If you limit the left hand side, you could go much further than 4 more decimals.

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September 14, 2012, 11:19:51 PM
 #24

A 64 bit int can hold the entire supply (8 decimals in all) in one integer, 8,700 times over. 4 more decimals could be added and still almost hold the entire supply in one int64 (18.5 vs 21 with a bunch of zeroes). If you limit the left hand side, you could go much further than 4 more decimals.

But why would you do that?  Changing the way you interpret the integer is what breaks everything, not the size of the field.  If you are going to make the change, make the change big.

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Etlase2
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September 15, 2012, 05:22:20 AM
 #25

What you should argue is, if you are going to make the change, make the change smart. Doubling the size of every integer in the block chain so that you can go to 30 zeroes seems a bit odd from that standpoint. I wonder why satoshi didn't just go to 11 decimals though since that wouldn't have changed anything.

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September 15, 2012, 01:49:58 PM
 #26

Probably because headroom is useful too.  It means that 64 bit accounting systems, for example, can be exact even when dealing with values many times larger than the bitcoin market cap.

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September 17, 2012, 02:01:15 AM
 #27

The whole hard limit will kill BTC all by itself one day. No one needs to do anything but wait and sell BTC to suckers err, investors.
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September 17, 2012, 12:59:41 PM
 #28

satohsidice is holding over 16 of my BTC hostage. Dont ask me why  Cry
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September 20, 2012, 03:09:32 PM
 #29



Back to the question:

Is it possible that sometime in the future there may be a way crack private keys of lost coins?
Maybe because those lost coins are less protected then the not lost ones?

you can crack them now with vanitygen, good luck doing it though.
flatfly
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September 20, 2012, 03:26:23 PM
 #30



Back to the question:

Is it possible that sometime in the future there may be a way crack private keys of lost coins?
Maybe because those lost coins are less protected then the not lost ones?

you can crack them now with vanitygen, good luck doing it though.

For the naive (or superlucky) ones:
the 2^256 Deep Space Vagabond awaits you (my little timesink project) Smiley

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dooferorg
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September 20, 2012, 04:39:46 PM
 #31

Yes the coins are lost forever. No amount of hash-power that we could reasonably posses will ever find all or even a few of the priv keys.

nothing that we could possess TODAY. Technology marches on Smiley

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kjj
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September 20, 2012, 05:01:04 PM
 #32

Yes the coins are lost forever. No amount of hash-power that we could reasonably posses will ever find all or even a few of the priv keys.

nothing that we could possess TODAY. Technology marches on Smiley

Quote
If we built a Dyson sphere around the sun and captured all its energy for 32 years, without any loss, we could power a computer to count up to 2192. Of course, it wouldn’t have the energy left over to perform any useful calculations with this computer. But that’s just one star, and a measly one at that. A typical supernova releases something like 1051 ergs. If all of this energy could be channelled into a single orgy of computation, a 219-bit counter could be cycled through all of its states. These numbers have nothing to do with the technology of the devices; they are the maximums that thermodynamics will allow. And they strongly imply that brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space.

Bruce Schneier

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DannyHamilton
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September 20, 2012, 05:47:48 PM
 #33

Yes the coins are lost forever. No amount of hash-power that we could reasonably posses will ever find all or even a few of the priv keys.
nothing that we could possess TODAY. Technology marches on Smiley


Quote
These numbers have nothing to do with the technology of the devices; they are the maximums that thermodynamics will allow. And they strongly imply that brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space.


Of course there is a small possibility that the algorithms themselves could succumb to new technology and new understandings, such that finding the private key for a given hash of a public key does not require brute force calculation of all keypairs until a matching one is found.

Jermainé
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September 24, 2012, 05:25:19 PM
 #34

lost coins go straight to my wallet. Just thought you should know.
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September 24, 2012, 09:35:25 PM
 #35

For a "Satoshi" to even be worth one penny, which is the smallest unit of a dollar, we would need bitcoins to be valued at TEN MILLION DOLLARS. This is ludicrously high. Some countries don't even use pennies, like New Zealand. Considering our inflation, by the time we have 10 million dollar bitcoins, 1 cent will be even more completely worthless than it is now, pushing to limit to a 10 cent saroshi.Keep in mind, even though the dollar has a lower limit of 1 cent, finance and accounting still trades and deals with fractions of a cent. This is also possible with a bitcoin lower limit. You can make up any division of any currency by arithmetic necessity in accounting.

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DannyHamilton
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September 24, 2012, 10:20:12 PM
 #36

For a "Satoshi" to even be worth one penny. . .we would need bitcoins to be valued at TEN MILLION DOLLARS. . .
Double check your math on that...

1 BTC = 100,000,000 Satoshi

If 1 Satoshi = $0.01, then 1 BTC = 100,000,000 X $0.01 = $1,000,000

So, for a "Satoshi" to be worth on penny, we would need bitcoins to be valued at ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

werneo
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December 31, 2013, 04:37:15 AM
 #37

The question of "Lost bitcoins" was raised in this recent article on Read/Write:
http://readwrite.com/2013/12/30/bitcoin-may-fade-2014-prediction

"a full 64 percent of bitcoins have never been spent."

Ref: http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~smeiklejohn/files/imc13.pdf

Assume these coins are actually LOST FOREVER. In the next few decades, the Technological Singularity is supposed to achieve super-sentience:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

If the Singularity follows Moore's Law and becomes exponentially intelligent in a relatively short period of time, when do you suppose it will acquire enough processing capacity to recreate the lost bitcoins?

kjj
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December 31, 2013, 05:05:40 AM
 #38

If the Singularity follows Moore's Law and becomes exponentially intelligent in a relatively short period of time, when do you suppose it will acquire enough processing capacity to recreate the lost bitcoins?

No.  Please do some research instead of asking why not.

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DannyHamilton
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December 31, 2013, 07:53:56 AM
 #39

Why does it seem like 99% of necro-posts are useless drivel based on idle speculation and fanciful imagination rather than well thought out logic based on facts and reality?

ISAWHIM
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December 31, 2013, 09:06:40 AM
 #40

Bitcoins are never lost... they are always there... you just lose access to them.

Sorry, but with 100PHs network, you can easily "guess" a collision of sha-256, or guess a collision of a collision of a sha-256.

If it were 1:999999999999-trillion-trillion-trillion to find 1 collision... You could find it in 1 try, on some address on the network, just as easily.

Now 256-bits is only 32-bytes, represented as 64-bytes as HEX-values.
EG: "BOB" = 54fcf974eabb0444320acd2835977b2c686b916162e6571668ac45db549da031

A collision for that could be the hash for the word "SUE", or "FRED", or "CAT", though that is hashed again.
EG: 54fcf974eabb0444320acd2835977b2c686b916162e6571668ac45db549da031 => 96faee69f068c221ad557cbba0c0e7afdd9d3a18ffa2d81f2290d72e2818111a

Now that hash, which could have been "BOB" or "SUE" or "FRED" or "CAT"... has collisions also, which could be "FISH", or "SNOT", or "PEPSI", or "PASSWORD", or "GOLD"... Multiplied by the number of collisions that were possible from the first conversion.

Thus, now there are multiple more "acceptable" hashes/keys that will unlock any of those wallets. Because you are still converting a single-answer-password into a multi-possible-answer-hash, into another multi-possible-answer-hash.

You can test this with something simple like CRC32, and see that you now have millions of "keys" that are valid, instead of only a hundred, by double-encryption, with the same type of encryption. (That is the real reason the whole project was abandoned.)

P.S. Doesn't take a computer long to create 32-bytes randomly and stuff those values into an off-line wallet to see if it unlocks it. Since those accounts are not being monitored by anyone. Since the whole chain, all accounts, are already downloaded on his computer. Takes but a few seconds to make one random key, and try it on all existing accounts, before generating another random key, and trying it on all of them again.
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