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thefiniteidea
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January 25, 2013, 06:06:42 AM
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Looking ahead to potential market competition between current and future cryptocurrencies, an adapting traditional payment-processing market, internal and external security threats, and legal issues regarding Bitcoin, an in-depth analysis would be beneficial to potential adopters when determining strength, stability, and other risks of investment. If someone could direct me to conclusive research, that would be awesome.

Some Discussion...

Competition of Alternate Cryptocurrencies:

From what I understand, which is technically very little, Bitcoin's hashing algorithm was not chosen with CPU processing in mind, but instead for security. That being said, Litecoin's hashing algorithm (scrypt?) WAS chosen for having CPU-friendly qualities? Which leads me to ask: Having been developed for traditional CPU processing and thus not using the most secure form of cryptography, is Litecoin not as robust and secure as Bitcoin? I would imagine, if true, this would make it considerably less competitive.

So... In this new open source market where ideas lack ownership, will Bitcoin maintain a monopoly on the market, having the right and capability of integrating all of the best aspects of current and future cryptocurrencies? Will Bitcoin, being the first and current best, continue to adapt and evolve to keep ahead, leaving competition to act as a foundation for further implementations?

If not, does anyone else believe that there are other cryptocurrencies which are fundamentally better than Bitcoin?

Traditional Markets:

Certain payment processors are running transactions cheaper than say, BitPays 2.69%. Sure their costs against fraud are huge, and global-transfer limitations allow for a negligible threat of competition in this regard, but cheap innovative services like squareup.com can be very competitive in local markets. I'm not entirely worried about this threat though, but am curious if anyone else believes this area could be competitive still. I'm sure you guys have a lot more to say than I do about this.

On the other hand, I believe this what-could-be-massive transfer of wealth we are pulling here will not go down unnoticed, and without some fighting from the existing powers that be. I'm not exactly sure how Bitcoin would face threats against this front, so maybe you guys have some thoughts on this as well.

Internal/External Security Issues:

"Difficulty is intended as an automatic stabilizer allowing mining for bitcoins to remain only minimally profitable in the long run for the most efficient miners, independently of the fluctuations in demand of bitcoin in relation to other currencies." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin#Mining_difficulty

I'm not worried about a 51% take-over. I'm worried about double-spend issues hindering the growth and adoption of Bitcoin, when transaction verification should be trending towards instantaneous, opposed to every 10 minutes, and a general slow-down in the network hash-rate creeps in as a growing divergence between Difficulty and Mining Revenues increases; possibly as coin-rewards drop and mining revenues are increasingly derived from fee's.

Can the Bitcoin network really sustain trillions billions of transactions per day?

http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/12058-payments-volumes-worldwide.html#axzz2IxBZysD7

I would imagine, at the very least, the internal trading of emerging Bitcoin financial institutions (private companies, banks, institutions, exchanges, the Paypal's of bitcoin, etc) will develop as they are implemented, relieving much of the burden upon the public mining network, and reducing many double-spend issues as lump-sum inter-bank transactions make up a larger portion of the Bitcoin network's transactions. Effectively, these new private networks will help to reduce mining fee's in the future, which I believe will rise, by bulking their internal-transactions up before sending them off to the what-will-be-massive mining network, who's main responsibilities will become more similar to today's clearing houses. This overall development would help to sustain hash-rates, keep transactions fast, and transaction fee's competitive.

http://blog.bitpay.com/2013/01/bitpay-surpasses-10000-bitcoin-merchant.html?m=1

You guys most likely have better visions of Bitcoin than this, theories of the future that actually have futuristic technologies - that I have no idea about. I'd like to hear 'em.

Either way, why is it every 10 minutes for a block? Why not every 5 minutes? Why every 2016 blocks for Difficulty (I know its two weeks at 10 min)? Why not every 1008 blocks? Maybe evaluating the change in Difficulty at a weekly rate would be a better idea economically? Or how about a self-regulating algorithm to determine the best timing of Difficulty adjustments? Perhaps an automatic adjustment if the hash-rate deviates by 1.6180% from a moving average? Who knows, in the future, little things like this may be important.

Legal threats:

Currently, Bitcoin does not have any legal status in most jurisdictions, as they say. Therefore, it has no legal threats in any direct way. Bitcoin related ventures being a different beast - which governments seem to enjoy poking at.

I'm curious what you guys have to say on this one too. Think we'll face issues in the future? I think I read somewhere that England may have already stated that Bitcoin was perfectly legal. Regardless, do you guys think they may come to regret that statement? I have a feeling the Bank of England might...

Grin Ahhhhhhhhh!

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January 26, 2013, 02:30:33 AM
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There are a lot of crazy geek projects out there. Yet the surprising thing with Bitcoin is that it grew into something tangible.
A lot of new and surprising ideas get hyped by the media, and then returned to oblivion. Bitcoin was also hyped by the media at some point, but, maybe, ironically, the fact that drug dealers and other "dark forces" started to use it might have turned Bitcoin into real world stuff.

So, right now, not the specific technological parameters are what counts. These parameters might have been set to slightly different values, while still retaining the basic idea -- but what counts right now is that the relevant economical parameters are fixed for eternity. There is wide consent in the community that the moment someone succeeds in changing those parameters to suit this and that purpose, the idea behind bitcoin has been betrayed and abandoned and the system will be doomed.

There are secondary parameters though, which can and will be adjusted to allow further growth. For example, to what extent do clients need to retain the blockchain, or how to set some limits on the size of individual blocks. Maybe even the frequency of difficulty adjustments. But in any case, the fundamental mechanisms governing the Bitcoin system need to remain simple and transparent.

There are some novel ideas, which could be of increased importance in case the system needs to scale to way more transactions. For example, the possibility to interweave several different blockchains, using special protocols involving multisignature. This would allow to build applications and systems on top of the Bitcoin network, offloading some traffic into dedicated alt-chain networks. The beauty of such an approach would be that the semi-anonymous and decentralised nature of Bitcoin would be retained. Another line of development is also conceivable: Bitcoin might evolve just into something like a better SWIFT network, allowing transactions between bank like supernodes, while forcing the majority of the users back into a individual business relationship with a classical service provider. Such a scenario would be somewhat like the revenge of the olde world, one of the numerous surprising turns of history.
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January 26, 2013, 03:50:25 AM
 #3

On the trillions of transactions problem. This is very helpful:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability

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January 26, 2013, 04:45:52 AM
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fundamentally better than Bitcoin?
For security Bitcoin is currently the dominate World Champion.

For convenience and usability?
I am currently updating a wallet/blockchain that had not been used in quite a while, and progress is insanely slow even on a modern connection. "We" have a looooooooooooooooooong ways to go before being ready for the mainstream users, IMO.

thefiniteidea
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January 26, 2013, 06:28:40 AM
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There are a lot of crazy geek projects out there. Yet the surprising thing with Bitcoin is that it grew into something tangible.
A lot of new and surprising ideas get hyped by the media, and then returned to oblivion. Bitcoin was also hyped by the media at some point, but, maybe, ironically, the fact that drug dealers and other "dark forces" started to use it might have turned Bitcoin into real world stuff.

Lol it seems that every lasting technology truly establishes itself with a niche core of dedicated users, allowing it to develop slowly in a nurturing environment: Facebook had its exclusive Ivy League nerds, ARPANET with their small group of research universities, and now Bitcoin -- sustained by the solid enthusiasm of Heisenbergs, psychonauts, and other system D misfits Tongue

There are some novel ideas, which could be of increased importance in case the system needs to scale to way more transactions. For example, the possibility to interweave several different blockchains, using special protocols involving multisignature. This would allow to build applications and systems on top of the Bitcoin network, offloading some traffic into dedicated alt-chain networks.

This is a really cool thought! I continue to be amazed, realizing how endless the possibilities are and how great the potential is for this type of money...

Awesome.  Cool

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January 26, 2013, 06:47:49 AM
 #6

On the trillions of transactions problem. This is very helpful:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability

I don't understand why bitcoin hasn't moved to one of the solutions on that page. Why wait? If we really believe that bitcoin is the future, why delay the inevitable?

FAP Turbo 2.0, the FOREX trading robot which also trades bitcoin!

I had to link it because I love the name. Seriously, that is the real name.
thefiniteidea
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January 26, 2013, 06:51:12 AM
 #7

On the trillions of transactions problem. This is very helpful:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability

Perfect. Thank you for this!

Maybe someone can explain to me what the incentive and consequences are of "ballooning the size of the block chain", and how restrictions would be easily released in the future without any issues. Not to mention, who makes that call?

First I've read on the matter, thanks!

On the trillions of transactions problem. This is very helpful:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability

I don't understand why bitcoin hasn't moved to one of the solutions on that page. Why wait? If we really believe that bitcoin is the future, why delay the inevitable?

+1

solex
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January 26, 2013, 07:15:02 AM
 #8

The discussion page is well worth a read too..
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Talk:Scalability

I note that the trillions in the OP should be per year not per day. It seems that 10 billion global payments per day is nearer the current mark.
Many of these do not have to be handled on the block chain (which also solves the 10+ minute confirmation problem) because they can be handled by trusted intermediaries (e.g. banks, credit card companies) who would support instant confirms. Netting down transactions reduces blockchain payment entries.

Fraud by double-spending would remain a risk and is a cost of doing business, recouped by the intermediaries through fees, just as the credit card system operates today.

XxionxX
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January 26, 2013, 10:41:29 AM
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The discussion page is well worth a read too..
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Talk:Scalability

I note that the trillions in the OP should be per year not per day. It seems that 10 billion global payments per day is nearer the current mark.
Many of these do not have to be handled on the block chain (which also solves the 10+ minute confirmation problem) because they can be handled by trusted intermediaries (e.g. banks, credit card companies) who would support instant confirms. Netting down transactions reduces blockchain payment entries.

Fraud by double-spending would remain a risk and is a cost of doing business, recouped by the intermediaries through fees, just as the credit card system operates today.

While those are all perfectly valid points about scalability, I still don't understand why we should not make the system as resilient as possible. I get that we can extend the system to be more flexible, but why not make bitcoin tough as nails? I find all of these arguments to be lacking when it comes to the idea that bitcoin is meant to be a world currency.

I am willing to donate money to make bitcoin even better. Why not? It is my money we are talking about here, I want it to be all it can be. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I want bitcoin to be the Chuck Norris of currencies.

FAP Turbo 2.0, the FOREX trading robot which also trades bitcoin!

I had to link it because I love the name. Seriously, that is the real name.
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January 26, 2013, 03:13:32 PM
 #10

I don't understand why bitcoin hasn't moved to one of the solutions on that page. Why wait?
Because it takes time to get right.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88208.0
XxionxX
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January 26, 2013, 08:18:59 PM
 #11

I don't understand why bitcoin hasn't moved to one of the solutions on that page. Why wait?
Because it takes time to get right.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88208.0

Two things,

#1 The discussion on that thread makes me feel much better this issue.

#2 Is there any way I can help? I am not a programmer but I can donate to a bounty pool.

FAP Turbo 2.0, the FOREX trading robot which also trades bitcoin!

I had to link it because I love the name. Seriously, that is the real name.
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February 02, 2013, 09:56:21 PM
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#2 Is there any way I can help? I am not a programmer but I can donate to a bounty pool.
I don't know if this still active or not, but you might want to check here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=93606.20
ArticMine
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February 03, 2013, 12:33:36 AM
 #13

Looking ahead to potential market competition between current and future cryptocurrencies, an adapting traditional payment-processing market, internal and external security threats, and legal issues regarding Bitcoin, an in-depth analysis would be beneficial to potential adopters when determining strength, stability, and other risks of investment. If someone could direct me to conclusive research, that would be awesome.

Some Discussion...

Competition of Alternate Cryptocurrencies:

From what I understand, which is technically very little, Bitcoin's hashing algorithm was not chosen with CPU processing in mind, but instead for security. That being said, Litecoin's hashing algorithm (scrypt?) WAS chosen for having CPU-friendly qualities? Which leads me to ask: Having been developed for traditional CPU processing and thus not using the most secure form of cryptography, is Litecoin not as robust and secure as Bitcoin? I would imagine, if true, this would make it considerably less competitive.

So... In this new open source market where ideas lack ownership, will Bitcoin maintain a monopoly on the market, having the right and capability of integrating all of the best aspects of current and future cryptocurrencies? Will Bitcoin, being the first and current best, continue to adapt and evolve to keep ahead, leaving competition to act as a foundation for further implementations?

If not, does anyone else believe that there are other cryptocurrencies which are fundamentally better than Bitcoin?

Traditional Markets:

Certain payment processors are running transactions cheaper than say, BitPays 2.69%. Sure their costs against fraud are huge, and global-transfer limitations allow for a negligible threat of competition in this regard, but cheap innovative services like squareup.com can be very competitive in local markets. I'm not entirely worried about this threat though, but am curious if anyone else believes this area could be competitive still. I'm sure you guys have a lot more to say than I do about this.

On the other hand, I believe this what-could-be-massive transfer of wealth we are pulling here will not go down unnoticed, and without some fighting from the existing powers that be. I'm not exactly sure how Bitcoin would face threats against this front, so maybe you guys have some thoughts on this as well.

Internal/External Security Issues:

"Difficulty is intended as an automatic stabilizer allowing mining for bitcoins to remain only minimally profitable in the long run for the most efficient miners, independently of the fluctuations in demand of bitcoin in relation to other currencies." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin#Mining_difficulty

I'm not worried about a 51% take-over. I'm worried about double-spend issues hindering the growth and adoption of Bitcoin, when transaction verification should be trending towards instantaneous, opposed to every 10 minutes, and a general slow-down in the network hash-rate creeps in as a growing divergence between Difficulty and Mining Revenues increases; possibly as coin-rewards drop and mining revenues are increasingly derived from fee's.

Can the Bitcoin network really sustain trillions billions of transactions per day?

http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/12058-payments-volumes-worldwide.html#axzz2IxBZysD7

I would imagine, at the very least, the internal trading of emerging Bitcoin financial institutions (private companies, banks, institutions, exchanges, the Paypal's of bitcoin, etc) will develop as they are implemented, relieving much of the burden upon the public mining network, and reducing many double-spend issues as lump-sum inter-bank transactions make up a larger portion of the Bitcoin network's transactions. Effectively, these new private networks will help to reduce mining fee's in the future, which I believe will rise, by bulking their internal-transactions up before sending them off to the what-will-be-massive mining network, who's main responsibilities will become more similar to today's clearing houses. This overall development would help to sustain hash-rates, keep transactions fast, and transaction fee's competitive.

http://blog.bitpay.com/2013/01/bitpay-surpasses-10000-bitcoin-merchant.html?m=1

You guys most likely have better visions of Bitcoin than this, theories of the future that actually have futuristic technologies - that I have no idea about. I'd like to hear 'em.

Either way, why is it every 10 minutes for a block? Why not every 5 minutes? Why every 2016 blocks for Difficulty (I know its two weeks at 10 min)? Why not every 1008 blocks? Maybe evaluating the change in Difficulty at a weekly rate would be a better idea economically? Or how about a self-regulating algorithm to determine the best timing of Difficulty adjustments? Perhaps an automatic adjustment if the hash-rate deviates by 1.6180% from a moving average? Who knows, in the future, little things like this may be important.

Legal threats:

Currently, Bitcoin does not have any legal status in most jurisdictions, as they say. Therefore, it has no legal threats in any direct way. Bitcoin related ventures being a different beast - which governments seem to enjoy poking at.

I'm curious what you guys have to say on this one too. Think we'll face issues in the future? I think I read somewhere that England may have already stated that Bitcoin was perfectly legal. Regardless, do you guys think they may come to regret that statement? I have a feeling the Bank of England might...

Grin Ahhhhhhhhh!

I will comment on the first two.


Competition of Alternate Cryptocurrencies:

The key here is that Bitcoin does not even have to be the best by some objective criteria, but rather just good enough. Why because it was first and already has a huge lead by several orders of magnitude in the form of the network effect.

Traditional Markets:

The reality is that Bitcoin has a hugh potential for growth without taking a single customer, or taking unprofitable customers from the credit card companies or payment processors such as PayPal. Competing on merchant fees for a low risk retail purchase is not the issue here, but rather focus on those transactions that are not serviced at all or are services very poorly by the traditional providers. Here are some examples:

1) Purchaser is too young, has no credit or poor credit and cannot get a credit card or debit card that acts as a credit card.
2) 1 above but purchaser can obtain a prepaid card. Cost is high and inefficient.
3) Transaction is of high risk of chargeback because the purchaser and vendor are in different countries.
4) Transaction is intrinsically of very high risk of chargebacks because the product or service can easily be converted to cash. Gold bullion coins, gambling are excellent examples.
5) Transaction is intrinsically of very high risk of chargebacks because of the nature of the product or service. Adult products or services are a very good example here.
6) The recipient of the funds cannot get a merchant account and the alternatives are not very cost effective. Examples: Small international payments to individuals, perfectly legal payments to controversial organizations such as Wikileaks, or something as simple as an alternative to cash to pay that teenager who just shovelled the snow from the driveway or mowed the grass.

I find it very interesting to observe Bitpay move from paying with Bitcoin at restaurants and bars, a complete waste of time in my opinion, to focusing on card not present transactions over the Internet where huge a significant market lies because of 1-3 above.

Concerned that blockchain bloat will lead to centralization? Storing less than 4 GB of data once required the budget of a superpower and a warehouse full of punched cards. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/IBM_card_storage.NARA.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card
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