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Author Topic: The Bitcoin consensus mechanism is incorrectly labeled Proof of Work  (Read 4171 times)
r0ach
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September 11, 2015, 02:27:11 AM
 #1

I would argue the current Bitcoin consensus mechanism is "Delegated Proof of Work".

See my quote below from another thread for how this got started:

A common complaint of DPoS is that it can't be decentralized because it has the word "delegated" in the title, yet anyone mining with a pool in PoW is doing the exact same thing.  Satoshi made the claim of one CPU, one vote, yet you're delegating your vote to the pool owner in PoW pool mining.  Some argue you are not delegating in PoW because you can solo mine.  While this statement would be technically correct, the miniscule portion of the Bitcoin userbase able to do so makes it functionally infeasible.  It's only a question of what percent of the hash rate is being delegated at any given time.

I would make the argument that for the Bitcoin devs to not be misrepresenting how the system actually functions, one of the following actions would have to be taken:

A)  Rename the consensus mechanism to Delegated Proof of Work

B)  Implement the Andrew Miller non-outsourcable problem fix in a hard fork

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=309073.0

The argument against my statement, is that as long as you can opt out of delegation, even only one person out of six billion choosing to solo mine with a trivial hashrate, then my statement would be false.  This argument doesn't make sense because ever since the first pool was created, I can now always opt out of direct proof of work, and choose to only delegate my vote.  Both choices are represented equally.  The Bitcoin protocol does not guard against my action without the Andrew Miller fork.

The other problem with leaving the system as is, is the majority of the community, probably including most Bitcoin devs, claim that PoW is the only known, secure consensus mechanism.  Delegation and direct voting (PoW) are represented as equal choices, yet are two completely different things.  If you claim that only one person out of six billion can be solo mining with a trivial hash rate, while everyone else is delegating (pool mining) and still be secure, you're endorsing delegation as secure by default.  At that point, there would be no reason to use PoW at all over a better engineered delegation system, unless you demand a specific origin of money school of thought until all coins have been mined.  After they have been mined, that part is out of the equation.

For the detractors that try to claim this is all semantics, I would say it's the exact opposite.  If you incorrectly define what the current system is, and what it's actually doing, it makes it extremely hard to define what type of changes can be done to improve it.

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September 11, 2015, 07:49:01 AM
 #2

Satoshi made the claim of one CPU, one vote, yet you're delegating your vote to the pool owner in PoW pool mining.  Some argue you are not delegating in PoW because you can solo mine.  While this statement would be technically correct, the miniscule portion of the Bitcoin userbase able to do so makes it functionally infeasible.  

Although suiscide is still popular among humans due to their aversion to pain, it is obviously true that the number of humans who are lining up to take on a guaranteed money losing activity such as solo bitcoin mining is approaching zero.  Delegated bitcoin mining conquered solo mining long long ago.  This is nothing new, however, hungry humans have evolved to be greedy because those who were the most scrupulous, killed their procreation competition.  Only through knowledge retention can humans evolve, and the internet has increased both knowledge retention and application to the highest level, however, cheap energy is required to power this global knowledge osmosis.  

Not only does bitcoin and all crypto voraciously consume energy, but it can only survive on internet/electrical grid life support.  Therefore, only those coins that consume the lowest amount of energy will continue to grow.  Bitcoin had to consolidate and centralize if it wanted to survive.  This is no different than any other dynamic thing in nature (organic or otherwise).  

If you have not learned this fundamental law of nature, then here's the proof that even a child can understand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKvT1lRWhE0
"the bubbles are trying to find the most efficient shape"

Why?  is it because the bubbles are alive?

The best thing you can do before you die is to come alive (learn).  Understand that stars burn out, people die, all living things change into a lower energy state - so why should bitcoin be imune to this law of nature?

Of course bitcoin has evolved into a more efficient (lower energy) structure in the same way that complex atomic structures do.



Who cares that delegated pools are required to keep bitcoin alive (profitable).  Many humans are on life support, what's wrong with that?  Why did people stop solo mining?  The same reason why they quit mining anything (profitability).  The gold rush is over.  It started with thousands of solo miners, and is now just a handful of bitcoin gold mining corporations.  Who cares that 70% of bitcoin hash power is located in a country that won't let you exchange your property for food for you to feed your childeren:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-08/china-s-stock-sale-ban-draws-scorns-from-templeton-wells-fargo

Those bitcoin mines obviously belong to 1 entity... this is well understood...

"decentralization" is not the first popular crypto myth to be debunked...."anonyminity" was... I'm sure you remember the good old days?

Remember when Ross said: "we won the war on drugs because of bit coins!".  good times...


So even though the amount of new users who are signing up to permanently mine BTC is approaching zero, your realization that bitcoin is truly D(elegated)POW is inconsequeencial to the reality that NOBODY IS SOLO MINING CHINA COIN.

Nostalgic solo miners can try to convince others to altruisticly sacrifice their lives (time and money) to bitcoin with zero external benefit, but convincing people to martyr their lives for something that only you and your wealthy elite hold nostalgic went out of vogue when, without fanfare, French flesh fed German gears in WW1.  

"you first" has been the mantra ever since..

who are the gods of crypto whom you would die for (waste your money mining for) and whom do they serve?

Satoshi (now Gavin) - began as "one cpu one vote," but has crossed the threshold to "delegated minining or die"

Vitalik - realizes that POS is not only more secure than bitcoin's "70% Chinese consolidation solution" but:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2265&v=3uvbIyzsCLY#t=37m47s

"the thing that POS will do is it will allow us to provide much more security much more cheaply"

https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/08/01/introducing-casper-friendly-ghost/

How can Vitalik be so sure?  Where is the proof?

Ethereum has not even been out for a month and it's POW structure has already evolved to mimic bitcoin's natural evolution:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/3ki4mt/is_the_promise_of_pow_for_decentralization_a/

"Ethereum has plenty of full nodes but these two pools, nanopool 39.6 % and suprnova 17.5 %, are shaping the fate of the block-chain. PoW is nicely converging to a quasi-centralized process. Mathematically, one can show that PoW based on hash-rate is inherently exhibiting a centralized process, the one enjoying big hash-rate is the master."

Vitalik may not have proven this law of nature, but he certainly added another volume of knowledge to the library of life.  Just look at a graph of the number of DPOS coins in the coinmarketcap100 over time and you just might see a trend.  One by one, they will capitulate to nature's simple elegant laws.  One by one they will evolve.  One by one we all succumb to the tomb .

You cannot fight delegated mining no more than you can fight death.  Many have tried, and many have succeeded ...... until they grew older...giving in to gravity and meeting their maker like all the rest..There are some fundamental laws of nature at work here such as the facts that there will always be some level of trust in the system (China will not nationalize 70% of the bitcoin hash power that resides within its borders), and unless you learn to love learning, your precious will always be 100% centralized on this planet.

Behold the dying breed of solo bitcoin miners:


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September 11, 2015, 06:39:39 PM
 #3

The argument against my statement, is that as long as you can opt out of delegation, even only one person out of six billion choosing to solo mine with a trivial hashrate, then my statement would be false.

Since you posted on the other thread that this is a reply to my comment, I'll point out that was not my argument. My argument was that as long as the option to opt out of delegation exists, the power of pools is limited, even if no one solo mines in practice.

Consider the analogy of a parking garage in a very convenient location (say right next to a popular theater) when there is free parking available a short to moderate distance away compared to the situation with the same garage but no free parking available at all. In the first case, the garage may charge only a nominal fee and nearly everyone (or conceivably everyone) might pay it for more convenient access to the theater. In the second case, the garage will charge the maximum fee possible until people stop going to the theater at all.

As for your naming idea, I'd agree with Delegatable PoW. Since the protocol does not require or enforce the delegation (nor does it prohibit it) of block creation, that is the more correct form of the word.
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September 11, 2015, 09:34:02 PM
 #4

'delegated' means you must delegate, you cannot mine yourself.  That's the idea of trusted super node systems like bitshares.


r0ach
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September 11, 2015, 11:23:04 PM
 #5

As for your naming idea, I'd agree with Delegatable PoW.

I guess if you want to be really picky, in the real world we can probably prove that given a system with finite, contested resources, and sample size of 4 or higher, hell, why not 3 or 2, that over time, delegation of authority will occurr, or failure to do so will result in death of said participants as they compete for these resources.  From that you can probably extrapolate it will be cascading delegation until failure of distributed consensus.  Then we can be more specific and call it "delegated proof of work until cascading failure of distributed consensus."

In case you didn't notice, Bitcoin is an experimental war game exercise.  War is the ultimate consensus mechanism where the winner takes all and the loser dies.  The delegators in Bitcoin, which are the participants of the war, are currently wild, uncontrolled, unaddressed variables.  Each time one of them delegates vote power to another, you're essentially having a war casualty.  The only way to address this cascading failure of distributed consensus, is to either implement the Andrew Miller non-outsourcable problem to prevent them from delegating at all, or to make all participants immortal via a deterministic block validator set such as DPoS.  These are the only two options to move forward.

I believe the Andrew Miller solution would lose once released to compete with the deterministic block validator set in the wild.  Have you ever heard of the term "convergent evolution"?  This is what's used to describe how eyeballs form on different evolutionary paths that aren't related to one another.  The convergent evolution in this case would be deterministic block validators occuring in things like DPoS and Darkcoin independently even though both are completely different systems.


related post:  Why War is Good

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1162791.0


'delegated' means you must delegate, you cannot mine yourself.  That's the idea of trusted super node systems like bitshares.

Not even going to comment on that since I don't think you read or understand anything in this thread.

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jonald_fyookball
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September 11, 2015, 11:26:30 PM
 #6




'delegated' means you must delegate, you cannot mine yourself.  That's the idea of trusted super node systems like bitshares.

Not even going to comment on that since I don't think you read or understand anything in this thread.

Ooops... I meant DPOS. 

Sorry, blame Friday.


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September 11, 2015, 11:37:01 PM
 #7




'delegated' means you must delegate, you cannot mine yourself.  That's the idea of trusted super node systems like bitshares.

Not even going to comment on that since I don't think you read or understand anything in this thread.

Ooops... I meant DPOS. 

Sorry, blame Friday.


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September 11, 2015, 11:50:36 PM
 #8

Consider the analogy of a parking garage in a very convenient location (say right next to a popular theater) when there is free parking available a short to moderate distance away compared to the situation with the same garage but no free parking available at all. In the first case, the garage may charge only a nominal fee and nearly everyone (or conceivably everyone) might pay it for more convenient access to the theater. In the second case, the garage will charge the maximum fee possible until people stop going to the theater at all.

Except as your analogy applies to Satoshi's proof-of-work design, then the free parking is not accessible by anyone who has a car because it is on the top of a skyscraper[1]. The only people who can access this free parking must either have a helicopter or they must pool their resources to buy one.

Myopic blind spots like this smooth cause us to waste time in discussion.


[1] Because the hashrate needed to win a block any time within this century is inaccessible to your average person sending a transaction to the network.

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September 12, 2015, 01:25:45 AM
 #9

Consider the analogy of a parking garage in a very convenient location (say right next to a popular theater) when there is free parking available a short to moderate distance away compared to the situation with the same garage but no free parking available at all. In the first case, the garage may charge only a nominal fee and nearly everyone (or conceivably everyone) might pay it for more convenient access to the theater. In the second case, the garage will charge the maximum fee possible until people stop going to the theater at all.

Except as your analogy applies to Satoshi's proof-of-work design, then the free parking is not accessible by anyone who has a car because it is on the top of a skyscraper[1]. The only people who can access this free parking must either have a helicopter or they must pool their resources to buy one.

You are confusing miners and users. Perhaps they could be the same, but they need not be. (Indeed satoshi's original design more explicitly divides the two than current thinking among many prominent Bitcoin developers.)

r0ach's claim was that pooling of mining in practice makes the consensus system of Bitcoin inherently delegated, but that is false because miners need not pool, and certainly need not pool with one of a fixed set or even a fixed-size set of pools. Thus this is different in structure from a system where delegation is required. (It is true if you posit that Bitcoin will certainly be 51% attacked, as I think you believe but can't prove, and turned into a centrally-controlled system instead, where pools or whatever they are they are called in that outcome enforce membership, but then why bother with the delegation argument, just show that this is certainly true and prove Bitcoin useless unconditionally.)

I specifically doubt that the outcomes will be the same in a system with permitted delegation to an open set of delegates (pools) as opposed to a system with required delegation to a fixed size set of delegates. But if r0ach wants to try to prove the same outcome in his war game model, he is welcome to do so, and I will read his proof with interest. Unfortunately if he does that, then he will show no advantage to DPoS over PoW, which undermines his original argument.

For his original argument to hold he has to show both that the distribution-of-power outcome is different between delegates in DPoS and pools in "delegatable PoW" and that the DPoS outcome is (in some specified way) preferable.

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September 12, 2015, 05:02:34 AM
 #10

Smooth, you've constructed an elaborate strawman.

I claim the entire purpose of crypto-currency is a) permission-less commerce and b) decentralized control to prevent gaming the control over the issuance of money (so it can scale globally among other benefits).

Since I already argued that one can't mine with lower economies-of-scale without losing hash rate share over time, then the ability to mine or not mine in any specific pool is irrelevant to homeostasis of the case #b.

So that leaves us only with #a remaining as it pertains to pools.

QED.

For his original argument to hold he has to show both that the distribution-of-power outcome is different between delegates in DPoS and pools in "delegatable PoW" and that the DPoS outcome is (in some specified way) preferable.

It consumes less electricity.


Fact is that mining will become ever more centralized in Satoshi's design because of the economies-of-scale of ASICs and electrical power. I believe there was maybe even a research paper that proved something along these lines?

The fundamental problem is the mining is done for profit. For as long as that is the case, ASIC farms (or Larry Summers' 21 Inc. economies-of-scale) and subsidized, industrial/government/utility scale electricity will rule.

Also due to bandwidth issues and that every full mining node has to validate every transaction, scaling transaction volume will force centralization.

Also your argument about sacrificing cost is nonsense, because the low cost leader will take hash rate from the others over time by reinvesting higher rates of return.


Edit: Smooth has a valid point if no entity (or collusion of entities) has 51% of the hash rate because then someone could sacrifice mining losses in return for censorship resistant way to post transactions to the block chain. So in that sense, my word "nonsense" is incorrect and I apologize. But the huge glaring flaw is that once the State can regulate 51% of the mining power (which is destined to be centralized), then Smooth's caveat no longer applies. And this is my overriding concern, so that is why I often downplay this caveat that smooth points out.

Edit#2: however if hashrate is very large then smooth's caveat is really pointless because who has enough hash rate to push their transaction onto to the block chain without a pool. And again Satoshi's design doesn't enforce that pools must allow getblocktemplate. If your hashrate is not too small, you can just mine on any pool that offers getblocktemplate and wait a long time until you win a block solution to insert your transaction, or just mine a long time solo. Many could potentially join together to pool their resources to mine at a loss to have ready access to censorship resistance, but unless you are using P2Pool (which can be attacked with share withholding attacks) then the State might target your pool server (but again I think it is easier for them to just target 51% of the hash rate for regulation requiring all transactions to carry KYC, since you might place your server behind an anonymity network although this will be very difficult to do in Satoshi's design because of the bandwidth requirements).

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September 12, 2015, 05:07:06 AM
 #11

Consider the analogy of a parking garage in a very convenient location (say right next to a popular theater) when there is free parking available a short to moderate distance away compared to the situation with the same garage but no free parking available at all. In the first case, the garage may charge only a nominal fee and nearly everyone (or conceivably everyone) might pay it for more convenient access to the theater. In the second case, the garage will charge the maximum fee possible until people stop going to the theater at all.

Except as your analogy applies to Satoshi's proof-of-work design, then the free parking is not accessible by anyone who has a car because it is on the top of a skyscraper[1]. The only people who can access this free parking must either have a helicopter or they must pool their resources to buy one.

You are confusing miners and users. Perhaps they could be the same, but they need not be. (Indeed satoshi's original design more explicitly divides the two than current thinking among many prominent Bitcoin developers.)

r0ach's claim was that pooling of mining in practice makes the consensus system of Bitcoin inherently delegated, but that is false because miners need not pool, and certainly need not pool with one of a fixed set or even a fixed-size set of pools. Thus this is different in structure from a system where delegation is required. (It is true if you posit that Bitcoin will certainly be 51% attacked, as I think you believe but can't prove, and turned into a centrally-controlled system instead, where pools or whatever they are they are called in that outcome enforce membership, but then why bother with the delegation argument, just show that this is certainly true and prove Bitcoin useless unconditionally.)

I specifically doubt that the outcomes will be the same in a system with permitted delegation to an open set of delegates (pools) as opposed to a system with required delegation to a fixed size set of delegates. But if r0ach wants to try to prove the same outcome in his war game model, he is welcome to do so, and I will read his proof with interest. Unfortunately if he does that, then he will show no advantage to DPoS over PoW, which undermines his original argument.

For his original argument to hold he has to show both that the distribution-of-power outcome is different between delegates in DPoS and pools in "delegatable PoW" and that the DPoS outcome is (in some specified way) preferable.


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September 12, 2015, 05:16:09 AM
 #12

It consumes less electricity.

Miners or delegates or validators or whatever will expend resources only to the extent justified by transaction processing profit margin, which delegates in DPoS will also do. In fact DPoS may well have high profit margins because the number of delegates is fixed, making it a closed market.

So perhaps less electricity, but if so then more resources expended on something else (politics most likely).

(This assumes that the coin distribution phase of Bitcoin is over or insignificant, which must be done to meaningfully compare with DPoS since DPoS is incapable of distributing coins at all.)

Quote
Since I already argued that one can't mine with lower economies-of-scale without losing hash rate share over time

I don't agree with your argument that your argument is conclusive. You need to show that economies of scale are net positive at the economically relevant scale, which depends greatly on many undetermined factors.

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September 12, 2015, 05:32:06 AM
 #13

It consumes less electricity.

Miners or delegates or validators or whatever will expend resources only to the extent justified by transaction processing profit margin, which delegates in DPoS will also do. In fact DPoS may well have high profit margins because the number of delegates is fixed, making it a closed market.

So perhaps less electricity, but if so then more resources expended on something else (politics most likely).

(This assumes that the coin distribution phase of Bitcoin is over or insignificant, which must be done to meaningfully compare with DPoS since DPoS is incapable of distributing coins at all.)

Quote
Since I already argued that one can't mine with lower economies-of-scale without losing hash rate share over time

I don't agree with your argument that your argument is conclusive. You need to show that economies of scale are net positive at the economically relevant scale, which depends greatly on many undetermined factors.


The number of delegates won't be fixed.. Hence why I posted about the n delegate model and how it prevents top down corrupt entities from retaining control within the voting framework. N is determined dynamically in the same way. I believe min is 101 and there is a max number that isn't outrageous.

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September 12, 2015, 05:39:56 AM
 #14

The number of delegates won't be fixed.. Hence why I posted about the n delegate model and how it prevents top down corrupt entities from retaining control within the voting framework. N is determined dynamically in the same way. I believe min is 101 and there is a max number that isn't outrageous.

You are correct (I didn't understand your earlier post), the number of delegates is set by stake holder voting, and I haven't analyzed the effect of that structure. As TPTB says, as these systems get more complex the game theory becomes increasingly impractical to analyze.

At first glance it seems dangerous to me since a large malicious stakeholder now has an additional degree of freedom, namely "pack the court" (or perhaps, depending on the specific voting rules, blocking an increase supported by others). But as I said it is extremely difficulty to analyze.

Anyway, this is irrelevant to the question whether it is proper to consider Bitcoin as "Delegated PoW" just because right now, in 2015, most miners happen to delegate. But honestly is that even true by hash rate?

Of the large "pools" Ant, Bitfury, KnC, 21, and maybe some others are certainly running a lot of their own mining gear (though these pools may have independent miners too, in unknown amounts). That's concentrated mining power for sure, but it's not really delegated.
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September 12, 2015, 07:32:18 AM
 #15

I had gone into elaborate analysis as to why proof-of-stake and reputation based systems are inherently centralizing.

Proof-of-work has the potential be an unbounded entropy (i.e. effectively random and not gameable) up to 25 - 51% (25 - 33% for selfish mining) concentrated control of the hash rate. That is where I agree with smooth's caveat, except if permission-less commerce is the goal even that caveat has another caveat which is you've still got to find sufficient hash rate to push your transaction through without KYC if 51% of the hash rate is regulated for KYC.

The poll lacks a choice for "no proof-of-stake system will win".

Proof-of-stake will never remain decentralized:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=558316.msg6501774#msg6501774

Send all proof-of-stake currencies to the trashcan.


It is time to squash Proof-of-Stake once and for all. It can NEVER remain decentralized. Satoshi's Proof-of-Work is the only known solution to the Byzantine General's Problem (was a known unsolved problem since at least the 1970s).

Apologies I've been busy and hadn't had time to squash bytemaster's latest N.A.O.D. (nonsense algorithm of the day).

First of all, he never was able to address the issues I raised about Transactions as Proof-of-Stake quoted as follows.

This proposal appears to be flawed, unless I am missing something. I have only read the first 4 pages thus far.

1. You propose to decrease the coin rewards as coin-days-destroyed volume increases, so this makes it less costly for an attacker to obtain > 50% of the hash rate assuming the attacker includes all the transactions. You apparently are attempting to imply there is no useful attack to do if the attacker is including the most coin-days-destroyed? Please confirm or deny then I will dig into more analysis of this vector.

2. Also how do you choose between someone who generates a proof-of-work hash with lower coin-days-destroyed several times sooner than the network propagation delay versus another who generates it that much delayed with a higher coin-days-destroyed? If you choose the latter, then you've killed the proof-of-work incentive because it means it will always pay to be later and wait for more transactions to arrive.

3. You claim to defeat my Transactions Withholding Attack, by blacklisting those who send blocks with transactions that were not recently seen by all miners. I retorted against this recently. This centralizes the network (all for one and one for all outcome) by requiring every miner to be responsible for the incoming network connectivity of other miners. And it centralizes the network in other ways, such it can't tolerate a temporary partitioning of the network due to connectivity outages.

P.S. By coin-days-destroyed, I assume you mean coin value x days, otherwise you would motivate proliferation of dust.

The most significant flaw of any proof-of-stake system and any system that diminishes coin rewards, is it can't distribute currency from the hoarders to the users of the currency, thus it will end up with the hoarders (the banksters) accumulating all the coin and the currency usage dying.

This is because the wealthy spend a much lower % of their net worth than the masses do.

[snip]

Whereas those who actually mine are proactively using their time, ingenuity, initiative and capital to secure the network, thus it seems more capitalistic they should receive the redistribution from the hoarders. Besides it may beis the only viableplausible way to secure the public ledger.

The other attacks you describe all derive from the fundamental reason I declared all non-proof-of-work systems to be insecure back in April.

My logic was mathematically fundamental. The input entropy set is quite deterministic and well known and thus can be preimaged. For example, accumulating a lot of coin-days-destroyed and then targeting them in clever ways to subvert the security.

The randomness (entropy) of each proof-of-work is fundamental and mathematical and it can not be preimaged. It can only be surely defeated with > 50% of the network hash rate. Note I recently offered what I believe to a solution to the selfish-mining attack (the one at hackingdistributed.com that claims 25 - 35% attack).

I am skeptical that you can characterize all possible attack vectors of proof-of-stake in one coherent mathematical proof. Thus you will not know formally what the security is; instead a list of adhoc attacks and counter-measures.

[snip]

Edit: Perhaps coin-days-destroyed in some attack vectors motivates not transacting for long periods of time.



The bottom line is that no proof-of-stake system can ever remain decentralized.

They all will require some sort of delegation of reputation to achieve consensus. I would have to go through a laundry list of examples to cover all the cases. For example, in Transactions as Proof-of-Stake it is required to delegate trust of propagation to the other nodes as I explained above. Thus there needs to be some reputation system to enforce this, e.g. blacklisting, whitelisting, etc.. All the other proof-of-stake systems have a requirement for some form of delegated reputation.

I have many times explained to bytemaster and others the fundamental problem is that any system that attempts to replace proof-of-work will rely on some form of reputation, and reputation is centralization. And centralization is precisely what decentralized crypto-currency is not supposed to be because centralization will always end up control and manipulated (i.e. it is a fiat system).

Trust is orthogonal to reputation and centralization. I can trust Proof-of-Work, which is decentralized trust without reputation. Reputation isn't needed in Proof-of-Work, because the input entropy is fresh (can't be preimaged) on every new TB.

You can 75% attack it if you like, but your nodes wont have any trust, so that block chain will just be ignored.

(In any non-Proof-of-Work design, ) It is mathematically impossible for there to be external consensus trust of the honest chain if the dishonest chain is controlled by more than 51% of the peers. We've covered some of the scenarios upthread, and it always boils down to that the external viewers can not know who to trust except by trusting the majority of peers.

The only mathematical way around this is to centralize the network, by placing more trust in some peers than others over time.

Indeed long-term reputation is a mathematically viable alternative to Proof-of-Work. This is centralization. There are tradeoffs.

So this is not "7 billion individually watching the network", but rather a fewer # of peers with reputation being trusted. This is just the political power vacuum all over again with its contingent problems of vested interests Olsen power scramble:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=226033 (No Money Exists Without the Majority)

Notwithstanding the above, any non-Proof-of-Work system can be attacked with much less than 51% of the peers, due to the fact that the input entropy is preimageable, as I explained upthread. Again the only way to work around this is to trust some established peers to guard against this.

Financial transactions must be recorded in a public or private ledger trusted by both the spender and the recipient, otherwise funds could be unspent or double-spent to a plurality of recipients. To provide a ledger that can't be captured, Satoshi described a proof-of-work (PoW) scheme where transaction peers communicating over the network compete to be the first to solve a computational puzzle which is unique for each block of transactions added to a public ledger. The security of this ledger against double-spends has three (3) essential requirements.

1. The computational puzzle can't be preimaged, i.e. nothing can be known about solving the puzzle until the prior block's puzzle is solved.

2. Without at least 50% of the aggregate computational power of all transaction peers, it is not possible to create a modified chain of blocks starting from any present or past block, which would contain more blocks than the block chain controlled by the remaining cooperating peers. Thus the longer chain is trusted.

3. The block chain is cryptographically linked in forward order, such that the historical proof-of-work and transactions can be independently verified at any time in the future. Thus the transaction peers may leave and rejoin the network at will without need for a trusted centralized storage.

Note security point #1 eliminates from consideration PoW schemes in which the puzzle is some real-world computational work because the puzzles are known a priori and are thus pre-imageable. Non-PoW voting and membership schemes disqualify because the ordering of designation of authority (to decide which transactions are in each block) to transaction peers is pre-imageable, or requires peers trusted by reputation which is centralizing on a slippery slope towards Olsen capture.

You must also consider the negative impacts of design features when you state the positive impacts.

Reputation has many downsides:

a. It can be stolen, e.g. threaten first to extort private key, then kill, and keep key.
b. Censorship based on metadata which doesn't always correlate rationally.
c. Discriminate against early adopters out of jealously, i.e. retribution for #b.
d. Regulatory authorities can require the BitName same as they now do Social Security # and Id. They can now establish the BitName is real, because it has (duration) reputation.

The high cost to transfer or revoke a name also has many downsides, e.g. see #d.

I thinking the pool operator (server) does so little relative to work of the pool miners that it doesn't need to charge a very high fee. Thus there isn't much ability (incentive for pool miners) to undercut competitors based on fee.

So there just needs to be a slightest incentive to encourage pool miners to seek out another pool as a pool grows large. This will encourage a poliferation of pools.

How do pool miners know that a pool server isn't cheating them by paying some of the earnings to themselves pretending to be a pool miner?

Go down that line of thought and you will discover what I am thinking.

The only way you can prove a pool isn't cheating is by estimating the hash rate of the pool and comparing it to the number of blocks found.  Unfortunately, you could probably still skim a couple of a percent this way.

Modern protocols (GBT & Stratum) both have the full coinbase transaction visible to the miners, meaning you can verify that the block being built will be paid to a certain address or has a certain message encoded in the block that identifies the pool.  This allows you to audit if the pool is trying to skim blocks if certain users start seeing work without a coinbase message that identifies the pool.  In the case of BTC Guild, it's both, they always pay to the same address and always include "Mined by BTC Guild" in the coinbase message.

It's not no-trust, but all it would take is a few % of users monitoring this to determine if a pool was trying to skim blocks by sending a certain % of work that doesn't include identifying marks.

How could anything less than 100% of the pool miners know if some of the coinbase transactions were to addresses not owned by pool miners who contributed shares?

Since you can never know if you are the 100% (because mining pool shares* are not recorded in the block chain), thus seems to me there is no way to verify if there is skimming or not, as bytemaster and I wrote.

*For those who don't know the terminology, a pool share is a proof-of-work hash below some threshold that is easier than the current network difficulty. It might also be a block solution.

Why don't you just use P2Pool? Is there any reason?

I was waiting for bytemaster to answer because I wanted to know his thoughts. Seems to me that you have no way to stop the Share Withholding Attack since it is decentralized. And every peer has to run more of a full client if I am not mistake. And there is a lot more overhead I believe. And perhaps also much less resistance against denial-of-service flooding. Frankly I didn't analyze for long enough to be very sure of my initial intuition which is to stay away from it.

I know it is generally impossible to enforce reputation on a 100% decentralized system. So I am intuitively skeptical of P2Pool.

P.S. I won't have time to go back here and debate. I am technically qualified and I am 100% sure I am correct.

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September 12, 2015, 07:58:54 AM
 #16

yea, its true that team Graphene failed at producing a coin that would not lead to centralization when they were working on TAPOS,  and many were sad.  This is why they were forced to create DPOS which is fundamentally different because it codes a specific amount of decentralization into the coin itself.   This guarantees a level of decentralization that is adequate to the users who determine this level through voting.

That old debate never foresaw DPOS because it had yet to be invented.

lets take a step backwards and look at the big picture (for the noobs)

TPTB has the right perspective:  What 2 aspects can we all agree are most important to a cryptocurrency:

decentralization (security) and profitable mining (cost of mining)

who here doesn't want more security for their blockchain or more money?  OK, I think we have the first ever bitcointalk consensus.

"adequate decentralization" means different things to different people

Users only want to know that a successful 51% attack has never happened to their crypto, even when 51% of all blocks are produced by 3 entities:

https://blockchain.info/pools

Profitability, however, can be mathematically proven, and currently, solo btc mining is unprofitable.


Bitcoin is an experimental war game exercise.  War is the ultimate consensus mechanism where the winner takes all and the loser dies.  

"convergent evolution"?  This is what's used to describe how eyeballs form on different evolutionary paths that aren't related to one another.  The convergent evolution in this case would be deterministic block validators occurring in things like DPoS and Darkcoin independently, even though both are completely different systems.

bingo, it also explains why alien lifeforms on other planets similar to earth will posess similar bio-mechanical organic features (identical periodic table of ingredients, physics, etc)..

in China, it does not pay to stand out from the group - bitcoin miners have evolved to swarm or pool together like schools of fish (if they hope to survive in this world of increasing entropy)...strength in numbers like a flock or herd... it is a very powerful survival mechanism.  the lone wolf cannot beat a pack... in order to mine bitcoins successfully humans had to form a hive and serve a queen (mining pool)...

this is a basic law of nature, and why warring groups ally together to become more powerful than smaller groups.  

both btc and bts allow decentralization in different ways:

btc allows you to mine unprofitably in order to improve the decentralization (so it costs you money if you want to improve the decentralization of btc)(you have to do it yourself)(obviously nobody including Satoshi is going to waste his money just so that your coin can be more decentralized)(secure).

bts allows the users to choose miners from different countries (at no additional cost).  

bts users can just as easily choose to have 70% of all their delegates in one communist country, but btc owners cannot break up China gov's monopoly unless they copy bitshares style "mandatory delegation" (which means another 2 years of sifting through "bitcoin hard fork political gridlock and bad publicity" threads)

'delegated' means you must delegate, you cannot mine yourself.  That's the idea of trusted super node systems like bitshares.

correct, and is exactly why 70% of bts hashing power will never end up in China...mandatory decentralization is the only way to get decentralization in nature (because strength in numbers is a proven fact).  That rare old species of lone sheep (why do you think that its name is both singular and plural?) never appeared in the first place.  The proof is obviously as Darwinian as evolution.

btc can be considered : "optional delegation" because, yes, you are technically correct, you do have the "option" to donate your money to the cause (of decentralization) by mining at a loss if you are in to that sort of thing.  Your only other "option" (other than certain death) is to join the herd and survive.

So, of course, living is always optional, but how many here are actively trying to hurt yourself financially?


anyone?



Bueller?




Increasing entropy is inherent in nature ... a free market mining system like btc winds up evolving into ChinaCoin to compensate for the continuous entropy increase found in our dimension.  Decreasing entropy (or increasing order) is not a naturally occurring phenomenon and must be applied to the code of your coin if you want to avoid evolving into ChinaCoin.

bts applied this in the form of "mandatory delegation"

btc and ethereum did not, and they both are proof of this phenomenon.. Why do you think that Vitalik is already talking about governance, and of course POW?  Because he learned "what not to do" from bitcoin.  "What not to do" in this case is allowing your miners to gang up on solo miners and wipe them out to within an inch of extinction.  Vitalik, and most other crypto communities, are trying to protect the small time block producers.

Bitcoin is the only coin whose price goes down when the developers talk about releasing an improved version.  Every other community is screaming at their devs to get their new and improved versions out ASAP!!  What happened when Darkcoin released a new version?  What happened when BitShares announced the release date of their new version?  Do you think that the NXT guys get mad and dump when new features for their coin is being discussed?

mandatory delegation prevents the extinction of solo mining by requiring a certain set level of decentralization continuously voted on by the users, because without mandatory decentralization, you get bitcoin style decentralization (51% hashing power in at most 3 entities, and 70% blocks made in China).  Yes, you've heard this before, that btc is an "experiment"  and what do you get from "experiments"?

data...and conclusions....

what data and conclusions have you drawn from this "experiment" (because enough time has already passed to make several observations)...such as...free market mining leads to monopoly because nobody wants to be the only solo mining chump burning cash as a burnt offering to the god of Gavin  

r0ach's claim was that pooling of mining in practice makes the consensus system of Bitcoin inherently delegated, but that is false because miners need not pool, Thus this is different in structure from a system where delegation is required.

I could not have said it better myself.   BTS delegation is "required" BTC delegation is "optional" - weather or not every miner is choosing life (pool mining) over death (solo mining)

The difference here is that bts users control the amount of decentralization in their system, while the amount of btc decentralization is controlled by the miners (the btc users are powerless).  

btc and bts are not even competing for the same target audience

bts targets users by empowering them with control over the amount of system security that they feel is good enough to make them sleep well at night (centralization)

btc (inadvertently) targets miners by empowering them with control over the amount of system security (centralization).  The user is powerless to change the amount of centralization of the miners of his coin even when he is watching the centralization continually increase over time.

Why would a new crypto user (who will never mine a coin) choose ChinaCoin over EmpoweredUserCoin?  They would not.

Conversely, why would a new crypto miner ever join EmpoweredUserCoin?  They would not, because they are a miner and not a user. They can't even mine bts (directly)

Crypto community organizational structures evolve with respect to their incentives.  btc gives miners the best incentive (control which is power), bts gives the users the best incentive (control which is power)... complete apples and oranges here.

how many btc blocks did you mine all by yourself last month?

none?

ok so what percentage of btc block producers do it solo?

or how about this:

who here is solo mining BTC?

anyone?


(ok...besides the crickets)





how about a homework assignment:

Miners or delegates or validators or whatever will expend resources only to the extent justified by transaction processing profit margin, which delegates in DPoS will also do. In fact DPoS may well have high profit margins because the number of delegates is fixed, making it a closed market.

So perhaps less electricity, but if so then more resources expended on something else (politics most likely).

OK, so every pertinent argument has been resolved except this one.  I have to hand it to you.... you stumped me...

The last remaining complaint left against bts is something that even i do not know the answer to, but this is a good question.  So for extra credit, can somebody please tell me how long it will take the bts community to reach a conclusion to a political proposal from the moment it is first proposed.  For instance, say that a delegate proposes to make a change to the code such as:

"should the devs work on releasing the anonyminity feature next or the 2FA, or the bond market, or margin trading, OR INCREASING THE BLOCK SIZE (if that's even possible)?"

How much time, from the moment the proposal is handed to the community will it take to reach automated consensus.

a)1 - 3 seconds (one block)
b)10 minutes
c)24 hours
d)however long the proposal designates
e)however long bitcoin has been boring you to death with the XT discussion

"Hell is an endless BitcoinXT vs whatever the hell they're crying about thread"
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September 12, 2015, 08:25:04 AM
 #17

It consumes less electricity.

Miners or delegates or validators or whatever will expend resources only to the extent justified by transaction processing profit margin, which delegates in DPoS will also do. In fact DPoS may well have high profit margins because the number of delegates is fixed, making it a closed market.

So perhaps less electricity, but if so then more resources expended on something else (politics most likely).

(This assumes that the coin distribution phase of Bitcoin is over or insignificant, which must be done to meaningfully compare with DPoS since DPoS is incapable of distributing coins at all.)

Thus as I pointed out in 2013, a very high incentive exists to centralize mining, because transactions fees are a Tragedy of the Commons. We keep coming back to the research I did in 2013. I had already figured all this stuff out back then.

I had even pointed out the block size issue back in 2013, which is now the raging problem today with BitcoinXT alias GavinCoin.

Since I already argued that one can't mine with lower economies-of-scale without losing hash rate share over time

I don't agree with your argument that your argument is conclusive. You need to show that economies of scale are net positive at the economically relevant scale, which depends greatly on many undetermined factors.

I don't understand why you argue that economies-of-scale could be anything other than net positive at increasing scale? Afaics, the only way that wouldn't be true is if mining is not profitable any scale (which is what I hope to achieve in my design).

Also how will you compete as a miner against a increasingly globalized government cooperation which will spend up to 17-18% of the global economy perpetually (the Laffer limit for taxation) to insure it can tax the crypto-currency economy? The government can subsidize miners who comply with demands to censor transactions which do not have KYC, so that they government is not rendered extinct by tax avoidance.

Besides the government can leverage up that 17% homeostatic rate of healthy taxation by using regulation of ISPs.

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September 12, 2015, 10:25:37 AM
 #18

I had gone into elaborate analysis as to why proof-of-stake and reputation based systems are inherently centralizing.

Proof-of-work has the potential be an unbounded entropy (i.e. effectively random and not gameable) up to 25 - 51% (25 - 33% for selfish mining) concentrated control of the hash rate. That is where I agree with smooth's caveat, except if permission-less commerce is the goal even that caveat has another caveat which is you've still got to find sufficient hash rate to push your transaction through without KYC if 51% of the hash rate is regulated for KYC.

You can't push anything through period if 51% is regulated because that 51% will reject unapproved (not signed with a MSB license number) blocks. That's the 51% attack right there.

Without that issue, I contend that owning the hash rate yourself is not really necessary to push the transaction through yourself because as long as the system is permissionless you can always find someone to push it through for you for a fee. Anywhere you go in the world, even under the most authoritarian regimes, you can always find a black market if you look for it. Thus such oppression really becomes a question of how much it costs to push a transaction through, not whether you can do it at all.

Going back to the original case, Bitcoin's security model simply does not work at all if 51% (really >50%, or >25% or >33% or really even a moderately-large smaller share that could easily collude with some other moderately-large smaller share to form such a bloc) of the hash rate is attacking it. It can be a temporary condition though, where users can just sit on their keys and wait it out, like a hurricane. Whether that is effective is a complex political game theory question that you probably agree we can't really answer and is best avoided altogether if you want any kind of strong security model. That requires either a fundamentally different system or a much better distribution of mining than exists today.
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September 12, 2015, 01:54:02 PM
 #19

I had gone into elaborate analysis as to why proof-of-stake and reputation based systems are inherently centralizing.

Proof-of-work has the potential be an unbounded entropy (i.e. effectively random and not gameable) up to 25 - 51% (25 - 33% for selfish mining) concentrated control of the hash rate. That is where I agree with smooth's caveat, except if permission-less commerce is the goal even that caveat has another caveat which is you've still got to find sufficient hash rate to push your transaction through without KYC if 51% of the hash rate is regulated for KYC.

You can't push anything through period if 51% is regulated because that 51% will reject unapproved (not signed with a MSB license number) blocks. That's the 51% attack right there.

I wrote if that if the 51% is regulated to require KYC meaning on the transactions in the blocks those miners/pools create. I didn't write that the regulation forced them to also hard fork the chain protocol and reject blocks that don't have KYC along with transaction in the blocks produced by the other 49%. Indeed it is probably likely that if regulation requires the former, then it might require the latter, but as you like to always say "not necessarily so". You see a hard fork might be more difficult political quagmire, so I think my distinction was apropos.

Without that issue, I contend that owning the hash rate yourself is not really necessary to push the transaction through yourself because as long as the system is permissionless you can always find someone to push it through for you for a fee. Anywhere you go in the world, even under the most authoritarian regimes, you can always find a black market if you look for it. Thus such oppression really becomes a question of how much it costs to push a transaction through, not whether you can do it at all.

With that attitude I can see why Monero has gone no where fast. The velocity of money collapses in your solution.

I have a much more superior solution than that! I wouldn't tolerate a solution that forces people to enter the underworld just send a transaction.

Going back to the original case, Bitcoin's security model simply does not work at all if 51% (really >50%, or >25% or >33% or really even a moderately-large smaller share that could easily collude with some other moderately-large smaller share to form such a bloc) of the hash rate is attacking it.

Yeah Bitcoin is dead in the water. Any thing new to say?

It can be a temporary condition though, where users can just sit on their keys and wait it out, like a hurricane. Whether that is effective is a complex political game theory question that you probably agree we can't really answer and is best avoided altogether if you want any kind of strong security model. That requires either a fundamentally different system or a much better distribution of mining than exists today.

Yadayada.

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September 12, 2015, 02:02:30 PM
 #20

It was predicted in the early days by Satoshi that mining would end up somewhat centralized, he specifically mentioned "specialized" which basically means centralized. This is why keeping nodes decentralized is the way to go, and this is why we need to avoid things like Bitcoin XT like the plague. Dont want to end up with both centralized mining and centralized nodes, thats the end of Bitcoin basically.

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