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Author Topic: Isn't bitcoin too SLOW to be called "instantaneous"?  (Read 3655 times)
josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 08:04:57 AM
 #1

The first selling point of bitcoin at bitcoin.org is:

"Instant peer to peer transactions"

But "1hour" to get at least 6 confirmations doesn't seem instantaneous to me, does it?

VISA-like transactions, that is 5-15 seconds, is what people regard as "instantaneous".

I don't get it. So please explain.

Imagine bitcoin gets popular:

1) You go to the supermarket or the bakery and pay with bitcoins...

2) You wait 1hour before you can go home???!!
Conclusion, will you never be able to use bitcoins on physical shops or when payment needs to be REALLY instantaneous?

---
Another thing that is terribly slow is opening your wallet to take a look at it. If your wallet is on your pc, and you power it down every night at least, it takes 5-10minutes "to look what is inside your wallet".

That is TOO slow and also consumes too much disk space to be used on mobile phones!

---
I think those the problems comes from the block chain design and the mining.

Don't get me wrong, bitcoin chain mining incentives, its security design and all make a lot of sense and its what makes bitcoin appealing; totally decentralized, limited coin supply, etc.

BUT, at the same time it seems the 10minute cycle, which is perfect for mining, is TOO bad for transactions.

Transactions usually are:
- Lightweight.
- Really instantaneous (<20seconds in the worst case)
- Once confirmed, they should not be reversible.

I know that bitcoin claims that transactions are NOT reversible, but that is also a half truth: only when the transaction is "quite" re-confirmed, it can be trusted have actually happened.

Please, let me know what I am missing.
How is bitcoin handling or will handle this issues?
I think these are really important to get right, specially if bitcoin ever grows up to be widely used just like VISA or paypal.

Should bitcoin provide a separate non-mining (not awarded) block chain for instant transactions (probably with bigger fees, although much smaller than traditional paypal or visa ones)?

The idea is that you create bitcoins just as you do now. It is ok to wait some hours or days for a new bitcoin balance to be "assured", but then you can move that balance to an "instant payment account" that will make transactions on a separate block chain designed for instant payments.

That block chain is just like the mining one, but it is just not rewarded with mining, or it is rewarded with just a really small mining prize  with a very easy POW that can be solved in 2-3seconds by the current bitcoin network power. Transactions that go there are confirmed in 12 to18seconds... THAT is instant payments!

What problems do you see in this approach?
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bonker
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April 08, 2013, 08:20:48 AM
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Good post, the confirmation lag is one drawback of BTC.

For me BTC makes more sense paying online than paying in shops. Real cash is best in the real world IMO. Online stuff tends to get shipped, so there's a natural delay that can take care of confirmation lag.

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wopwop
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April 08, 2013, 08:22:11 AM
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You are making a mistake

Bitcoin isn't used for transacting, except for some occasional drugs

It's mainly used for hoarding and speculating that the price goes higher so rich miners can sell to poor suckers.

Ok, satoshi didn't mean that it would get used this way but it is, he can't stop it, muhahahahah
bonker
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April 08, 2013, 08:27:37 AM
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You are making a mistake

Bitcoin isn't used for transacting, except for some occasional drugs

It's mainly used for hoarding and speculating that the price goes higher so rich miners can sell to poor suckers.

Ok, satoshi didn't mean that it would get used this way but it is, he can't stop it, muhahahahah

I'm accepting bitcoin payments on all my websites... cheaper than Paypal, anonymous and no chargebacks

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wopwop
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April 08, 2013, 08:31:12 AM
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You are making a mistake

Bitcoin isn't used for transacting, except for some occasional drugs

It's mainly used for hoarding and speculating that the price goes higher so rich miners can sell to poor suckers.

Ok, satoshi didn't mean that it would get used this way but it is, he can't stop it, muhahahahah

I'm accepting bitcoin payments on all my websites... cheaper than Paypal, anonymous and no chargebacks
Good for you

No one's buying tho
VishwaJay
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April 08, 2013, 08:35:06 AM
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This would of course depend on why you want instantaneous confirmation.

The true nature of our impatience is that we live in a consumerism-based society which demands that we show everything we have now, Now, NOW!!!

If we slow things down a bit, we learn that the confirmation means that our funds are MORE secure, being difficult to steal or fraud, because there is no central authority which sits on its hands or issues a confirmation before it actually confirms anything (how fraud works in the fiat currency world). When we have a central authority which controls all of the money, it then also necessarily controls how that money may be used, and it creates opportunities for fraudsters.

To date, the only real issue with Bitcoin are the DDoS attacks on certain BTC-related web sites, which didn't succeed in taking any money, but instead cost the whole system some coins which may never be recoverable. It was the equivalent of trying to rob a bank, but accidentally setting the currency on fire. Overall, not a huge loss, financially, but it did cost the community a good resource.

Though I'm a newbie, I've been following Bitcoins for about the past 2 years, and I'm actually ready to invest a bit into the market.

And on my main website, I have a "donate bitcoins" button right next to the PayPal "donate" button (and since I live off of donations as a member of the clergy, in exchange for the work I've done, I'm happy to have a medium which is largely anonymous).
josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 08:41:02 AM
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Yes, bitcoin is "fine" for most online transactions. But it would ALSO be better to have instant web payment confirmation.

Bitcoin is attractive NOW cause it is:

- WAY better that government controlled fiat money for hoarding and protection against bad government public administration (eternal deficits, privileged banking system, booms and bust cycles due to "descalce de plazos" = lending for years money that the bank may need to pay in hours or days).

- Easier to trade and secure than gold.

- Cheaper that Paypal or Visa for payments.

- Faster  (but not instant) than bank transfers.

But I think it should aim for instant payments (as it sells itself) and that is nothing against its basic philosophy, just a small mistake of the initial design and implementation.

A mistake that I believe can be corrected.

If bitcoin aims to keep as it is today, they should be honest and remove the "instant" word when they talk about payment, because it is a LIE if they don't change the design.
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April 08, 2013, 08:44:16 AM
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You are making a mistake

Bitcoin isn't used for transacting, except for some occasional drugs

It's mainly used for hoarding and speculating that the price goes higher so rich miners can sell to poor suckers.

Ok, satoshi didn't mean that it would get used this way but it is, he can't stop it, muhahahahah

I'm accepting bitcoin payments on all my websites... cheaper than Paypal, anonymous and no chargebacks
Good for you

No one's buying tho

True, you've got to be mental to spend bitcoin in this bull market Cheesy

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Akka
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April 08, 2013, 08:48:55 AM
 #9

Making a double spend is not an really easy task. Have you tried doing one yet?

At some Point Nodes won't relay Transactions anymore, that they consider double spends (or do they already?). A protocol will be implemented to for miner to consider fees on transactions that where send with an unspent output that is itself unconfirmed. Adding ways for a business to make double spend attacks on them even harder.

IMO, accepting unconfirmed transactions is generally save enough for anything except really expensive stuff (like buying a house, car) and high volume transactions with repayment (like gambling).

All previous versions of currency will no longer be supported as of this update
panck4beer
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April 08, 2013, 08:57:22 AM
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Try sending money overseas to your family members not using bitcoin, and you will start understand how usefull bitcoin really is, and the confirmation time will start looking as super fast.

josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 08:58:07 AM
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This would of course depend on why you want instantaneous confirmation.

The true nature of our impatience is that we live in a consumerism-based society which demands that we show everything we have now, Now, NOW!!!

I am sorry??
So you can waste 1hour of your time to buy bread of several hours on the supermarket checkout queue?
Good for you, you probably don't have anything more interesting to do or maybe you just don't need to work for a living!
But most people can't wait that long and it is not consumerism, is just like money always worked, many transactions need to be instantaneous.
PERIOD

If we slow things down a bit, we learn that the confirmation means that our funds are MORE secure, being difficult to steal or fraud, because there is no central authority which sits on its hands or issues a confirmation before it actually confirms anything (how fraud works in the fiat currency world). When we have a central authority which controls all of the money, it then also necessarily controls how that money may be used, and it creates opportunities for fraudsters.

Are you saying that WE cannot have a decentralized system THAT confirms my transactions in 12-18seconds instead of 1hour.
Interesting...
Why is that?
Why is 10 minutes such a magical timeframe?

Why 10, and not 5 or 20?

To date, the only real issue with Bitcoin are the DDoS attacks on certain BTC-related web sites, which didn't succeed in taking any money, but instead cost the whole system some coins which may never be recoverable. It was the equivalent of trying to rob a bank, but accidentally setting the currency on fire. Overall, not a huge loss, financially, but it did cost the community a good resource.

Nobody complained about that in this thread. I did not question bitcoin's security.
I just challenged its speed.

Though I'm a newbie, I've been following Bitcoins for about the past 2 years, and I'm actually ready to invest a bit into the market.

Good for you, I am 1 week into trying to get some TBCs and it will probably take me a month more to be able to buy some. It is too difficult and SLOW and there are many untrustworthy and greedy intermediaries. Just like in the fiat world or even worse.

And on my main website, I have a "donate bitcoins" button right next to the PayPal "donate" button (and since I live off of donations as a member of the clergy, in exchange for the work I've done, I'm happy to have a medium which is largely anonymous).

Good for you again!
That use case is good for Bitcoin right now, and nobody here is trying to change those use cases.

What I am saying here is that either bitcoin should remove the word "instant" from their publicity or they should find a way to really allow "instant DECENTRALIZED payments" when they are needed.

I think that can be done with little redesign and cheap fees, more expensive than the traditional ones on the mining blockchain, but cheaper than those of Paypals, and VISAs.
josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 08:59:45 AM
 #12

Making a double spend is not an really easy task. Have you tried doing one yet?

At some Point Nodes won't relay Transactions anymore, that they consider double spends (or do they already?). A protocol will be implemented to for miner to consider fees on transactions that where send with an unspent output that is itself unconfirmed. Adding ways for a business to make double spend attacks on them even harder.

IMO, accepting unconfirmed transactions is generally save enough for anything except really expensive stuff (like buying a house, car) and high volume transactions with repayment (like gambling).

Still 10minutes is way too long for some transactions.
Akka
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April 08, 2013, 09:00:55 AM
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Making a double spend is not an really easy task. Have you tried doing one yet?

At some Point Nodes won't relay Transactions anymore, that they consider double spends (or do they already?). A protocol will be implemented to for miner to consider fees on transactions that where send with an unspent output that is itself unconfirmed. Adding ways for a business to make double spend attacks on them even harder.

IMO, accepting unconfirmed transactions is generally save enough for anything except really expensive stuff (like buying a house, car) and high volume transactions with repayment (like gambling).

Still 10minutes is way too long for some transactions.


A unconfirmed transaction is (nearly) instant.

All previous versions of currency will no longer be supported as of this update
Severian
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April 08, 2013, 09:04:43 AM
 #14

"Instant peer to peer transactions"

The transaction is instant. I see it in my client within seconds of it being sent.

Confirmation is a little slower. I don't mind waiting a few minutes. It's better than what we had before Bitcoin and whatever replaces it will most likely be quicker.

Or you could stick with Paypal and not have to worry about how slow and terrible Bitcoin is.
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April 08, 2013, 09:05:07 AM
 #15

Try sending money overseas to your family members not using bitcoin, and you will start understand how usefull bitcoin really is, and the confirmation time will start looking as super fast.

+1 ^^^^
It's simple observations like this that show you haw important Bitcoin will be

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Zaih
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April 08, 2013, 09:06:30 AM
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Keep in mind you don't ALWAYS have to wait for 6 confirmations.
josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 09:08:55 AM
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Try sending money overseas to your family members not using bitcoin, and you will start understand how usefull bitcoin really is, and the confirmation time will start looking as super fast.

Nobody is saying that Bitcoin isn't a VERY GOOD idea...

It really is!!

What I say is that it could be fixed to be an EVEN better idea without losing ANY of its current uses and properties.

What you have to understand is that for something to be "a good money" it needs to be able to be used ON ANY KIND of transactions, not just one or a few of them.

Instant transactions (meaning in seconds) are too important NOT to support!

Otherwise another currency that can do what BTC can and ALSO supports transacting in half a minute will replace bitcoin in many uses and will devaluate your BTCs.

It's just like food stamps, if they can ony buy food there are less liquid, less useful that those stinky dollars or euros that don't have that limitation.

I know many think of bitcoin just as a niche currency & payment system, but to succeed even in being that it has to be tackle the decentralised instant payment problem or at least be honest about it and concede defeat, saying it is not really that instantaneous, just faster than traditional fiat based payment payments.
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April 08, 2013, 09:09:47 AM
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Keep in mind you don't ALWAYS have to wait for 6 confirmations.
Right. for high value transactions, waiting an hour is no big deal. Everything else takes way longer than that. For low value transactions, you do not need 6 confirmation. Of course, faster wuld be better though.

Currently selling XRP for BTC. PM for details and quotes.
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=171505
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April 08, 2013, 09:13:49 AM
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Otherwise another currency that can do what BTC can and ALSO supports transacting in half a minute will replace bitcoin in many uses and will devaluate your BTCs.
Like Litecoin? It was released well over a year ago, I think.

Don't mix your coins someone said isn't legal
josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 09:14:57 AM
 #20

Please, reply to this:

Are you (all) saying that WE cannot have a decentralized system THAT confirms my transactions in 12-18 seconds instead of 1hour.
Interesting...
Why is that?
Why is 10 minutes such a magical timeframe?

Why 10, and not 5 or 20?
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