Due to the newbie restrictions, I have to respond here to the following threadhttp://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=13545.0
Let me briefly recapitulate that thread. As many have noticed, a few days ago the deepbit pool posessed almost 50% of the network's hashing power. This would give Tycho, the founder of deepbit, the power to rewrite block chains and thus permit double spend attacks.
GuiltyBystander, who as a newbie must have been condemned to these lesser echelons as well, poses the question whether it would be possible to observe any attempted double spends.
Obviously, this should be possible in theory, but it would be nice to have an actual monitoring program.
As a matter of fact, I had been working on this for a few days before reading the post. Although my goal was somewhat more broad: I would like to observe how the network behaves. Specifically I am interested in the network topology and how information, in the form of new blocks and transactions, is propagated over the network.
On this matter I have two questions:
First, is anyone interested in collaborating on this? I have enough spare time, but too many ideas to work on. From experience I know that collaboration gives me the motivation and focus to move this forward quickly.
Secondly, a more technical question. In order to observe how the network behave, I would like to create a passive bitcoin client (or a network thereof), that opens open and maintains a large number of connections to the whole network. Evidently I would not try to connect to all nodes in the network, if only because it would affect the results, but a significant fraction. Would this be considered abuse? Certainly it would not pose any threat to the network, else it would be very vulnerable to a denial of service attack. But perhaps I am missing any adverse consequences it might have.
Thanks for any replies. I am very doubtful this will ever reach the intended audience in this grotto, but will hope for the best.