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notig
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February 19, 2013, 06:41:07 PM
 #61

As I understand it, Satoshi DID intend to increase the block size, and he intended to do it without a fork.

I think its worth remembering that Satoshi's view ought to get a certain amount of respect just because, he is Satoshi.

Various complex ways of adjusting the blocksize dynamically have been discussed, but mostly these sound too raw to me, and need a much longer period of discussion. The blocksize will likely need to be increased THIS YEAR, or some of the properties of Bitcoin may start to be eroded. Thats the current situation.

I say a moderate hard coded increase should be planned for now (this is not a fork) and more complex proposals FULLY evaluated over the next year or so.



OOC if you can increase the blocksize limit without a fork what advantage does a hard fork bring? What would necessitate a hard fork?

EDIT: NM, DannyHamilton answered this  "increasing from 250kB to 1MB is not a fork because 250kB is a self imposed limitation used by a subset of miners on the creation (not the acceptance or relay) of a block.

Increasing above 1MB and/or changing to a dynamic algorithm for choosing the maximum blocksize of any particular block would be a fork inducing change if 100% of the users and miners did not accept the change before it was triggered."
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February 19, 2013, 06:43:46 PM
 #62

As I understand it, Satoshi DID intend to increase the block size, and he intended to do it without a fork.

I think its worth remembering that Satoshi's view ought to get a certain amount of respect just because, he is Satoshi.

Various complex ways of adjusting the blocksize dynamically have been discussed, but mostly these sound too raw to me, and need a much longer period of discussion. The blocksize will likely need to be increased THIS YEAR, or some of the properties of Bitcoin may start to be eroded. Thats the current situation.

I say a moderate hard coded increase should be planned for now (this is not a fork) and more complex proposals FULLY evaluated over the next year or so.



by properties of bitcoin being eroded you mean people will not be able to get their transactions included in a block with out paying a fee right? This is actually desirable because in the future transaction fees will have to replace block rewards.

I don't have a great understanding of mining yet........... but if you can include more transactions in a block then doesn't that mean you could just easily get as many if not more in transaction fees from there being more transactions?
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February 19, 2013, 06:47:24 PM
 #63

As an example of the stereotypical statist concern, what retep was worried about in https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=144895.0 sounds very similar to the statist belief that without the government we'd all be exploited by monopoly robber barons. Leftists worry about centralization just as much as libertarians, but the difference is that leftists believe the solution is to have government break up the monopolies or otherwise institute regulations that prevent monopolies from forming. Libertarians do not fear such natural monopolies, because they understand how these things take care of themselves (I don't intend to make the libertarian argument here; just pointing out the apparent similarities).

Is it just me or did the debate between retep and Gavin/Mike, et al. have this undercurrent running through it?

In this cursory view, and I emphasize again that I am not familiar with this issue in detail, the concern about centralization sounds more like the kinds of concerns a socialist would have rather than a libertarian. A libertarian would usually argue that central planning to prevent centralization is inherently self-defeating, and that as long as we don't deliberately support a centralized institution (the state) we won't have any problems with centralization, as the profit motive is not there.

The analog might be that it is inherently self-defeating to exert centralized control over the blocksize in an effort to keep a situation of centralized control from arising.
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February 19, 2013, 06:59:30 PM
 #64

My general impression on this issue is that it's socialists vs. libertarians, or central planners vs. people who believe in spontaneous order. Is there more to it? Because I get that familiar feeling of watching people who are generally bamboozled by the free market getting all worried about how stuff will pan out without some kind of hard control in place. This is just a cursory impression, though. Any statists or anti-statists care to comment on that angle?

This is kind of confusing, though, because I know for example hazek is probably a voluntarist, but he seems to take the opposition position from what I'd expect due to centralization concerns. Perhaps the debate is more about what really constitutes centralization, or a kind of centralization to be feared or that inhibits natural order. Generally centralization is "always bad," but we may need a clearer definition of centralization to get to the bottom of this.

You don't understand. I use Bitcoin because it is built upon certain principles and built in such a way that those principles can't be "legislated" away with a rule change. If this isn't the case I have no use for Bitcoin.

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February 19, 2013, 07:13:46 PM
 #65

My general impression on this issue is that it's socialists vs. libertarians, or central planners vs. people who believe in spontaneous order. Is there more to it? Because I get that familiar feeling of watching people who are generally bamboozled by the free market getting all worried about how stuff will pan out without some kind of hard control in place. This is just a cursory impression, though. Any statists or anti-statists care to comment on that angle?

This is kind of confusing, though, because I know for example hazek is probably a voluntarist, but he seems to take the opposition position from what I'd expect due to centralization concerns. Perhaps the debate is more about what really constitutes centralization, or a kind of centralization to be feared or that inhibits natural order. Generally centralization is "always bad," but we may need a clearer definition of centralization to get to the bottom of this.

You don't understand. I use Bitcoin because it is built upon certain principles and built in such a way that those principles can't be "legislated" away with a rule change. If this isn't the case I have no use for Bitcoin.

a democracy is tyranny of the majority aha. But wouldn't the growth of bitcoin itself translate into a greater amount of miners. And with a greater amount of miners than what we have, wouldn't a fork be less likely if not impossible to achieve? Actually what I mean is a consensus. If bitcoin was to fork is it better to do it as early as possible before there are many users or no?
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February 19, 2013, 07:17:52 PM
Last edit: February 19, 2013, 07:49:39 PM by Zangelbert Bingledack
 #66

I'm kind of wondering if there isn't some word fetishism going on here.

"Bitcoin" can be defined as the original protocol. "Bitcoin" can also be defined as the system (all the nodes and people, exchanges, users, etc.) we hope will change the world. Right now those two things so close to the same that there is often little point in distinguishing them here. However, if a hard fork happened and the Bitcoin-the-system stopped using Bitcoin-the-original-protocol, we'd need to be more careful with our words or else we'd risk getting confused.

So when you say, "I like Bitcoin," do you mean - must you mean - the original protocol, or could you mean the entire system with all wills of all the people that constitute it? I feel like I'm for the latter.

Besides, Satoshi just created Bitcoin with the original "legislated" rules, and people adopted it because they liked the rules. People didn't adopt other systems that had different rules. I don't see why there is a reason to fear new "legislation" (not legislation, since it's voluntary) but not to fear the original Satoshi legislation.
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February 19, 2013, 07:19:20 PM
 #67

As I understand it, Satoshi DID intend to increase the block size, and he intended to do it without a fork.

I think its worth remembering that Satoshi's view ought to get a certain amount of respect just because, he is Satoshi.

Various complex ways of adjusting the blocksize dynamically have been discussed, but mostly these sound too raw to me, and need a much longer period of discussion. The blocksize will likely need to be increased THIS YEAR, or some of the properties of Bitcoin may start to be eroded. Thats the current situation.

I say a moderate hard coded increase should be planned for now (this is not a fork) and more complex proposals FULLY evaluated over the next year or so.



by properties of bitcoin being eroded you mean people will not be able to get their transactions included in a block with out paying a fee right? This is actually desirable because in the future transaction fees will have to replace block rewards.

I don't have a great understanding of mining yet........... but if you can include more transactions in a block then doesn't that mean you could just easily get as many if not more in transaction fees from there being more transactions?

yes that is why it is in the interest of the miner to make blocks very large but this isnt necessarily in the interest of the network as a whole. If blocks became too large miners with a slower internet connection would be at a serious disadvantage, the block chain would take up more room on peoples hard drives, and it would require more bandwith for nodes to operate. If the blocks became large enough it would become imposable for people with slower connections to operate nodes or mine.

Rep Thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=381041
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February 19, 2013, 07:24:05 PM
 #68

I'm kind of wondering if there isn't some word fetishism going on here.

"Bitcoin" can be defined as the original protocol. "Bitcoin" can also be defined as the system (all the nodes and people, exchanges, users, etc.) we hope will change the world. Right now those two things so close to the same that there is often little point in distinguishing them here. However, if a hard fork happened and the Bitcoin-the-system stopped using Bitcoin-the-original-protocol, we'd need to be more careful with our words or else we'd risk getting confused.

So when you say, "I like Bitcoin," do you mean - must you mean - the original protocol, or could you mean the entire system with all wills of all the people that constitute it? I feel like I'm for the latter.

Besides, Satoshi just created Bitcoin with the original "legislated" rules, and people adopted it because they liked the rules. People didn't adopt other systems that had different rules. I don't see why there is a reason to feel new "legislation" (not legislation, since it's voluntary) but not to fear the original Satoshi legislation.

I look at the original rules as a contract I gave my consent to enter into and I don't want my contract to change without my consent nor was I lead to believe it could change and it can't. That's all there is too it.

I may consent to a change of the contract by downloading a new version of the client but it cannot be a change that would jeopardize one of the principles I have identified Bitcoin is built upon. But that's me. You do with your "contract" as you will.

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February 19, 2013, 07:27:08 PM
 #69

Basically it seems to me that no cap on block size simply creates a new avenue of attack, akin to the 51% hash-power attack.

It is a "X% bandwidth" attack maybe, which does not even require 51% hashing power to pull it off.

A few actors on the scale of Google, Microsoft, the NSA, CIA etc could bypass all our vaunted largest hashing power in the world defenses with just a fraction of the hashing power we have simply by pumping out maximum sized blocks themselves whenever they do happen to find a block, so if there is no max size that would mean unlimited size, which in turn might mean whatever size such actors can manage to transmit to each other inside of ten minutes, or heck maybe within five minutes since doubling their cartel-member to cartel-member direct transfer rate is probably easy for them. Look at how high frequency traders sped up their communications with stock exchanges for example. Move all your mining to the mining capital of the world, pump out multi-terrabyte blocks and anyone who cannot verify them inside of ten minutes cannot even tell whether they are valid so are irrelevant to "consensus" as they aren't even able to make an informed judgement of validity.

I see two extremes possible at least: one is a high value high fee currency for the elite, implemented at a grass roots level so the non-elite can earn by running the elite's network just as it can earn by mowing their lawns, washing their dishes and so on, or a low value aka micropayments system only the elite can afford to run, providing them with micropayment ability so they can nickel and dime every last nickel and dime from the masses by selling them stuff so worthless that it isn't even worth sending by UPS or FedEx, stuff which therefore is so darn cheap it could probably be paid for by displaying ads instead of charging the consumers anything for it at all. (Stuff cheap enough to use as "loss leaders" to get to show people stuff worth real money as in enough money to maybe be worth recording the sale in the blockchain.)

Those two extremes amount to "everyone can easily run a full node but fees are too high to allow trivial transactions" and "only massive players can run a full node but every peasant's every cup of chicken-feed can be recorded in the global public ledger".

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February 19, 2013, 07:37:40 PM
 #70


yes that is why it is in the interest of the miner to make blocks very large but this isnt necessarily in the interest of the network as a whole. If blocks became too large miners with a slower internet connection would be at a serious disadvantage, the block chain would take up more room on peoples hard drives, and it would require more bandwith for nodes to operate. If the blocks became large enough it would become imposable for people with slower connections to operate nodes or mine.


Although it is my nature to prefer 'tight' solutions and ones with a theoretical upper bound enforced by design, one of the biggest concerns I have vis-a-vis growth is that higher quality bandwidth and clustered hardware starts to constrain the system to operate in environments which are more easily attacked.  That is to say, if one basically needs datacenter facilities to run a viable node, the Bitcoin solution will be limited to operation in environments which are fairly easily identified and attacked through standard legal and financial means.

Bitcoin has, I believe, the potential to experience very rapid growth due to the demand side of the equation.  I would feel more comforted to be well ahead of such an event and have it be anticipated from an architectural point of view whether or not such an event comes to pass.  I do expect that any significant attacks would coincide with rapid growth.


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February 19, 2013, 07:52:51 PM
 #71

so from what I understand... and correct me if I am wrong... this is the situation: Miners run the bitcoin network basically. They essentially have the greatest voting power. A portion of the community wants to keep the entire bitcoin network slow to compensate for miners(voters) with slow internet connections. By keeping the block size low we can retain this portion of the voters and thereby have a more decentralized system because we can include more people who can "vote" rather than exclude them. There is fear that if bandwidth can exclude miners then bandwidth can eventually cause the bitcoin system to become more centralized, giving the most voting power to those who have the most bandwidth.

My question: Is that really true? Doesn't technological progress actually work the opposite way than this fear? Over time.... won't more people have faster internet connections inevitably?

Can we get an approximation of how many miners will be cut off if we raise the block size limit above 1 MB through a hard fork?
Can we get an approximation of how many potential future miners will be cut off if we account for technological progress(projected increase in internet connections)?
Is it really possible that if bitcoin was popular it would require such massive amounts of hardware and bandwidth that it would oust regular folk? If that is true then wouldn't the network have already failed due to it's own popularity from using a smaller block size?



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February 19, 2013, 07:56:05 PM
 #72

They essentially have the greatest voting power.

You are wrong. There is no voting in Bitcoin. Miners validate.

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February 19, 2013, 07:57:12 PM
Last edit: February 19, 2013, 08:07:21 PM by acoindr
 #73

I think it's nearly time for a Bitcoin Clearing House (BCH).

I've long suggested a majority of Bitcoin transactions will not take place on the core network. There are many reasons. The core network, while ingeniously designed to allow Bitcoin to be viable, is not ideal for transacting coins. Close, but not ideal.

The first and most obvious problem with the core network is a delay in coin transfer, and the verification of this. Bitcoin is built upon technology, and modern technology allows near instantaneous transfer of information between most any points of the globe. Transferring coins instantly should be available too.

The second problem is fee dependency. Bitcoin depends, to some extent, on fees to operate smoothly and avoid low quality transactions. Again, modern technology makes worldwide instantaneous information transfer possible, but also free. It should be free to transfer coins too.

The third problem is scalability. Scalability was less obvious a problem because Bitcoin is still in its infancy, but lately it's becoming noticeable, e.g. long block chain syncs, and this thread topic on block size.

For these reasons, and other smaller ones, I concluded a majority of coin transactions might eventually happen off the core network, and it's entirely possible.

A Bitcoin Clearing House is a centralized server maintained by a trusted entity. For example, BitInstant, MtGox, the Bitcoin Foundation, or maybe Blockchain.info, etc. might be good candidates to establish such a server.

There is a public facing web site through which people can sign up for simple accounts to deposit or withdraw coins. Those transfers take place using the core network. However, because of the visibility of the BCH many other users and businesses could also maintain accounts there. Now if you want to send coins to Mt.Gox, or BTC-e, other exchanges, or maybe a service like pizzaforcoins.com to order pizza your coins would transfer instantly and for free.

This also works for person to person transfers. For example, because users sign up for accounts at the BCH with an email address you can send or request coins to/from them using only their email address, similar to PayPal, and eschewing ugly wallet addresses. If a person doesn't have a BCH account they receive an email saying they can retrieve the coins (with or without signing up).

Last, the BCH also provides an API which allows other services/eWallets, like Walletbit, Mt.Gox etc. to make API calls that transfer coins in or out. That means all coin users don't have to have a BCH account. Their existing eWallet service may already be linked which gives them the same access.

There is no real limit to the number and speed with which transactions could occur with this system, and core Bitcoin network transactions are drastically reduced to ones which for whatever reason require it, like SatoshiDice bets.

Anytime users suspected their coins or their value might be in jeapordy at the BCH they could withdraw them to their locally hosted wallet.

Many problems solved.
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February 19, 2013, 07:58:29 PM
Last edit: February 19, 2013, 08:24:39 PM by markm
 #74

I expect that to a lot of people bitcoin being a "person to person" (p2p) currency is a major part of the "contract" they feel they entered into when choosing it rather than, say, Paypal or Visa or whatever alternative type of system for transferring value online.

So maybe we need to move to a DIstributed Hash Table (DHT) based system or something of that kind, that lets these ordinary people running nodes of a p2p financial network connecting them directly with various friends and family and other participants in the network do it without needing the whole blockchain?

Maybe we could even move the work into buckets grouping transactions into hash-bucket groups to form one block per hash-bucket or something if one cannot actually divvy up all the blockchain DHT style or RAID style effectively?

Otherwise the basic plan seem to be to pull a bait-and-switch, selling people on a purportedly person to person grassroots currency then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to business-to-business then to megacorp-to-megacorp...

For it to be a p2p network, I think we need to do something like look at the median, mode or mean home computer on the median, mode or mean home internet connection and ensure our limits keep it reasonable for folks to run full nodes on such systems without sacrificing their ability to run their accounting software and their word processor and their browser at the same time...

(Notice I do not say also stream a movie or even also listen to internet radio; I am content that they use their television and/or radio for that stuff. Heck let them use a telephone for voice chat too.)

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February 19, 2013, 08:01:25 PM
 #75

They essentially have the greatest voting power.

You are wrong. There is no voting in Bitcoin. Miners validate.

If mining is not voting essentially then what's to fear from the centralization of miners?
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February 19, 2013, 08:07:23 PM
 #76

They essentially have the greatest voting power.

You are wrong. There is no voting in Bitcoin. Miners validate.

If mining is not voting essentially then what's to fear from the centralization of miners?

Regular users by downloading the blockcain validate what miners validated. I'm sure you can imagine how losing the ability to validating what miners validate could pose a problem..

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February 19, 2013, 08:15:52 PM
 #77

I expect that to a lot of people bitcoin being a "person to person" (p2p) currency is a major part of the "contract" they feel they entered into when choosing it rather than, say, Paypal or Visa or whatever alternative type of system for transferring value online.

So maybe we need to move to a DIstirbuted Hash Table (DHT) based system or something of that kind, that lets these ordinary people running nodes of a p2p financial network connecting them directly with various friends and family and other participants in the network do it without needing the whole blockchain?

Maybe we could even move the work into buckets grouping transactions into hash-bucket groups to form one block per hash-bucket or something if one cannot actually divvy up all the blockchain DHT style or RAID style effectively?

Otherwise the basic plan seem to be to pull a bait-and-switch, selling people on a purportedly person to person grassroots currency then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to business-to-business then to megacorp-to-megacorp...

For it to be a p2p network, I think we need to do something like look at the median, mode or mean home computer on the median, mode or mean home internet connection and ensure our limits keep it reasonable for folks to run full nodes on such systems without sacrificing their ability to run their accounting software and their word processor and their browser at the same time...

(Notice I do not say also stream a movie or even also listen to internet radio; I am content that they use their television and/or radio for that stuff. Heck let them use a telephone for voice chat too.)

-MarkM-


Nailed it.  Again.

'Sharding' is a time honored way of dealing with scaling issues.  It probably would have mitigated the concerns about centralization without unduly impacting the usability of the solution if it were implemented as a core design point.  It was not, and it's probably not worth crying over spilled milk at this point.


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February 19, 2013, 08:17:57 PM
 #78

Otherwise the basic plan seem to be to pull a bait-and-switch, selling people on a purportedly person to person grassroots currency then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to business-to-business then to megacorp-to-megacorp...

Well put.  Bank of America, Wells Fargo, et al. already provide me with an expensive and restrictive form of money transfer.  Their services come with perks too, like insurance and customer service.
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February 19, 2013, 08:30:11 PM
 #79

Otherwise the basic plan seem to be to pull a bait-and-switch, selling people on a purportedly person to person grassroots currency then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to business-to-business then to megacorp-to-megacorp...

Well put.  Bank of America, Wells Fargo, et al. already provide me with an expensive and restrictive form of money transfer.  Their services come with perks too, like insurance and customer service.

Yes, but, the alternative might have to be an expensive but not restricted (by KYC, privacy invasion, AML, what you are allowed to buy, who you are allowed to buy it from, which nationalities, races or creeds you can or cannot do business with etc etc etc) form of value transfer (bitcoin with block limits that keep it reasonable to run a full node at home), and/or a whole bunch of such forms so that each individual form fits easily on home computers and maybe even some home computers can merged-mine many of the forms at once like I still do right now.

(
Imagine: Pay with: BTC (highest fee), NMC (lower fee, popular with domain speculators), IXC (lower fee, lower security)...
or
Imagine: Pay with <greyed out>BTC: not applicable (cart's total is too low for high-value network), NMC (highest fee network handling such low value transactions), IXC (lower fee, lower security)..
etc
Or even  BTC: pay whole coin, change tendered in NMC or IXC, etc...
)

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February 19, 2013, 08:44:38 PM
 #80

Otherwise the basic plan seem to be to pull a bait-and-switch, selling people on a purportedly person to person grassroots currency then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to business-to-business then to megacorp-to-megacorp...

If the blocksize limit is lifted, and blocks continue to grow without bound, to me the plan seems to be a bait-and-switch, selling people a purportedly decentralized currency that anyone in the world can validate without having to rely on third parties, then pulling the rug out from under them by migrating it to a system where only big businesses able to invest the thousands of dollars required to purchase high-speed network connections and lots of harddrive space can validate blocks.

For it to be a p2p network, I think we need to do something like look at the median, mode or mean home computer on the median, mode or mean home internet connection and ensure our limits keep it reasonable for folks to run full nodes on such systems without sacrificing their ability to run their accounting software and their word processor and their browser at the same time...

...and a 1MiB blockchain limit does this. That's 55GiB/year, low enough that anyone will be able to afford the hard-drive space to store a full copy of the block chain for years to come. Anyone will be able to also afford an internet connection, nearly anywhere in the world, with the capacity needed to participate as a full, validating node.

Like it or not we can't have every transaction using Bitcoin on the block chain. We need to develop alternate solutions anyway for small-value transactions, and since we're doing that, why not use those solutions for day-to-day spending and keep the blocksize low enough to keep Bitcoin itself truly decentralized?

My biggest fear is these small-value transaction solutions won't be developed, and instead we'll see pressure to just keep raising the blocksize, losing decentralization each time until Bitcoin is just another PayPal.

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