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Author Topic: Isn't bitcoin too SLOW to be called "instantaneous"?  (Read 3657 times)
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April 08, 2013, 02:47:19 PM
 #41

It is because I find bitcoin interesting that I am here.

A bit of auto-critic won't hurt the community, but the absolute lack of it may...



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josvazg
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April 08, 2013, 02:57:24 PM
 #42

My credit/debit card isn't instantaneous.

In fact it takes 2-3 days to post.

I'd say bitcoin kicks the shit out of it.

Yeah right, try to buy in a supermarket or a restaurant. You can't wait 1h in a queue!

It won't happen, even if bitcoin success grows those use cases will still be out of its reach...unless it updates itself.

I was trying to discuss a fix, nobody discuses my design proposal, instead only say they don't need it...
ok fine!

It wouldn't so strange that tomorrow a new cryptocurrency arrives that gives you all that bitcoin does (it may start as a clone) and also gives you instant assured decentralized payments and your bitcoin suddenly is not the best available option.

Think a mixtere of ripple and bitcoin. That can happen inside bitcoin or ouside of it.
Which one do you prefer?

I personally think it's better inside than having to change cryptocurrency all over again.
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April 08, 2013, 03:04:34 PM
 #43

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?


Yes, definitely...I also noticed if you want your btc faster there's always more fees involved--not good as our incomes already gets taxed.  Its double taxation and dont even get me started on the rigged stock market! LOL 
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April 08, 2013, 04:11:07 PM
 #44

My credit/debit card isn't instantaneous.

In fact it takes 2-3 days to post.

I'd say bitcoin kicks the shit out of it.

Yeah right, try to buy in a supermarket or a restaurant. You can't wait 1h in a queue!

It won't happen, even if bitcoin success grows those use cases will still be out of its reach...unless it updates itself.

I was trying to discuss a fix, nobody discuses my design proposal, instead only say they don't need it...
ok fine!

It wouldn't so strange that tomorrow a new cryptocurrency arrives that gives you all that bitcoin does (it may start as a clone) and also gives you instant assured decentralized payments and your bitcoin suddenly is not the best available option.

Think a mixtere of ripple and bitcoin. That can happen inside bitcoin or ouside of it.
Which one do you prefer?

I personally think it's better inside than having to change cryptocurrency all over again.

Bitcoin is still in its infancy. As of TODAY, it is too slow for retail transactions like a grocery store. But if Bitcoin continues to gain acceptance, there will soon be a whole ecosystem built around Bitcoin. I can see merchant processing companies that will step in and fill the gap, to help process retail transactions instantly... and these companies will carry some burden of liability & insurance on their shoulders. It's really too early to tell what the Bitcoin landscape is going to look like in 5 years. Remember that when credit cards first started, merchants had to carry a printed, physical book that was updated every few weeks, that listed all the credit card numbers that shouldn't be accepted! Crazy, right? But that's how it was at the beginning. Of course, the credit card companies would honor the transaction for the merchant as long as the number wasn't listed in the book, so that was the merchant's protection. Someone will come along and offer the same sort of merchant protection for Bitcoin. That's assuming that Bitcoin becomes viewed as a legitimate form of currency by the mainstream, and not just a hoarding mechanism for speculative investors.

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April 08, 2013, 04:14:17 PM
 #45

Aren't credit cards too slow to be considered instaneous?  Merchant isn't sent funds for 48 hours and funds can be taken back up to 180 days.
Both BTC and CC provide notification of a transaction within a few seconds.  BTC are confirmed in ~1 hour, CC are confirmed in 2 to 180 days.  Trying to execute a double spend in person in an environment where one can't guarantee execution time (like grocery store checkout line) is incredibly difficult.  Stolen credit cards can easily be bought online for far less trouble.

Still Bitcoin is a low level protocol.  It is highly likely that as long as Bitcoin continues to grow higher level services will be built on top of them including off blockchain transactions which can be guaranteed within seconds. 
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April 08, 2013, 04:14:43 PM
 #46

"BitInstant". Everything is relative.

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April 08, 2013, 04:17:29 PM
 #47

Aren't credit cards too slow to be considered instaneous?  Merchant isn't sent funds for 48 hours and funds can be taken back up to 180 days.
Both BTC and CC provide notification of a transaction within a few seconds.  BTC are confirmed in ~1 hour, CC are confirmed in 2 to 180 days.  Trying to execute a double spend in person in an environment where one can't guarantee execution time (like grocery store checkout line) is incredibly difficult.  Stolen credit cards can easily be bought online for far less trouble.

This is the point I was trying to make.
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April 08, 2013, 06:06:25 PM
 #48

Still Bitcoin is a low level protocol.  It is highly likely that as long as Bitcoin continues to grow higher level services will be built on top of them including off blockchain transactions which can be guaranteed within seconds.  

Thank you, that's what I was thinking to post while reading along the whole thread... I know that many Bitcoin fans have a different opinion about this, but I think we should really see Bitcoin as virtual cash or gold. It has the same characteristics as cash or gold (if you disregard that fiat money is being printed by central banks continuously) -- except that it is virtual and thus very easy to transfer and not completely instantaneous.

But the important thing is that just like cash, Bitcoin is low-level -- nobody is preventing anyone from providing higher-level services on top of Bitcoin, i.e. instant payment services. And these services don't have to become a centralized system -- just less decentralized than a real peer-to-peer network: there can be many instant payment providers without any central organization controlling them.

Btw, I also believe that Bitcoin has to become a bit less decentralized: if Bitcoin continues to grow that dramatically there is no other way than establishing Bitcoin provider businesses/services (like online wallets). A typical end-user won't be able to handle the traffic and resource usage of the Bitcoin network -- these tasks have to be transferred to providers. The no-trust system doesn't work in this big world -- it will be always necessary to trust some companies to provide some services. And as long the system is not fully centralized this is no problem at all.
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April 08, 2013, 06:14:26 PM
 #49

It woul'd technically be possible. Look at litecoin which uses 3 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

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April 08, 2013, 09:22:23 PM
 #50

It woul'd technically be possible. Look at litecoin which uses 3 minutes instead of 10 minutes.
That just means you get less valuable confirmations. The value of a confirmation lies in the number of hashes behind it. If you produce confirmations three times as often, they each represent only one-third as many hashes, so you need three times as many of them. It does, however, reduce the time to the first confirmation. So it can speed up low value transactions.

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April 08, 2013, 09:59:43 PM
 #51

It is because I find bitcoin interesting that I am here.

A bit of auto-critic won't hurt the community, but the absolute lack of it may...

You say that as if you're the first to bring it up...

Here, some other stuff that people have brought up: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Myths

Really, you're treating this as if nobody's ever thought critically about it in their lives.
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November 26, 2013, 09:38:58 PM
 #52

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.

Litecoin is 15 mins.   Bitcoin is an hour.   We need something even lighter... a cryptocurrency with migh lighter-weight block targets in seconds.   I'm not certain chain length is the right way to gain consensus either.   The algorith ceph uses for consensus could probably e modified.   I think it's possible to get much more rapid peer confirmation, and I agree.... the first cryptocurrency that boasts rapid confirm times will be the one to win. 
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November 26, 2013, 10:00:01 PM
 #53

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.

Litecoin is 15 mins.   Bitcoin is an hour.   We need something even lighter... a cryptocurrency with migh lighter-weight block targets in seconds.   I'm not certain chain length is the right way to gain consensus either.   The algorith ceph uses for consensus could probably e modified.   I think it's possible to get much more rapid peer confirmation, and I agree.... the first cryptocurrency that boasts rapid confirm times will be the one to win. 

Did you guy actually use Bitcoin only once to purchase something?

Go in an online shop and use it. It is instant. (There is no need to wait for that confirmations)

Next Friday might be a good opportunity to try it out.  Wink

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November 26, 2013, 10:03:12 PM
 #54

If double spend risk is low enough, and it is, zero-confirmation transactions are fine. So..... instant. If you need to send considerable money.... wait it out. Then try sending the equivalent via bank wire, or similar, and see which was faster.
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November 26, 2013, 10:04:03 PM
 #55

Buying online won't be a problem, buying in a pub or even a small shop might be.
I heard about a bitcoin accepting pub in London that had problems with iPhone users because the default setting was to send coins without a transaction fee, resulting in people waiting hours for their drinks...

Credit cards aren't instantaneous but are treated as such, but the get to the equivilent of 1 confirmation faster than bitcoin does.


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November 27, 2013, 09:49:05 PM
 #56

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.

Litecoin is 15 mins.   Bitcoin is an hour.   We need something even lighter... a cryptocurrency with migh lighter-weight block targets in seconds.   I'm not certain chain length is the right way to gain consensus either.   The algorith ceph uses for consensus could probably e modified.   I think it's possible to get much more rapid peer confirmation, and I agree.... the first cryptocurrency that boasts rapid confirm times will be the one to win.  

What's done is done and you've already revived the thread. New users are reminded to please check the timestamp of the post they are replying to, to avoid necro'ing old topics. Nevertheless, welcome.

This is a topic that has been discussed endlessly, and will continue to be. Things to remember:

(1) With pure proof-of-work based systems like Bitcoin and Litecoin, it is confirmation TIME that ensures security, not the confirmations themselves. The 2.5 minute-average blocks of Litecoin are nice for providing network granularity, getting us to the initial confirmation faster, and for providing a higher capacity for transactions in the blockchain per unit time, but they come at a downside of increased odds of other things like orphaned blocks and other overhead. Decreasing the block interval further is not a good idea with a pure proof-of-work system.

(2) The thing people struggle with, presumably because it is math, is that, for a given network hashing power, 1 Bitcoin confirmation has the same security as 4 Litecoin confirmations. This can be calculated in the same way that Satoshi discusses it in his Security section (section 11) in the whitepaper. The only difference is the granularity, and increased overhead.

tl;dr - Faster block intervals is not the answer or we would have done it already. It just doesn't work that way with proof-of-work systems. I realize you technically are proposing someone create a faster one, not modify or fork an existing crypto, but I just want to emphasize the level of difficulty and where it exists, which is not in the domain of simply making a clone or a POW system with arbitrarily faster block intervals.

Uberlurker. Been here since the Finney transaction. Please consider this before replying; there is a good chance I've heard it before.

-Citizenfive
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November 27, 2013, 09:51:57 PM
 #57

This is why bitcoin should be used for online shopping but supermarket shopping should fall to an alt coin like Zetacoin

zetacoin really is lightning fast... confirmations in seconds
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November 27, 2013, 09:55:04 PM
 #58

This is where coinpayments comes in.. use fast alt coin that is stable to do small transactions and bitcoin with safer network to do large transactions.. why do u think alts are going nuts? it makes sense..

In the end an insurer can com along and grant you payments based on collateral which is your insurance premium. You pay and if it doesnt go thru insurance company hunts u down like credit card debt etc

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November 27, 2013, 10:01:15 PM
 #59

Buying online won't be a problem, buying in a pub or even a small shop might be.
I heard about a bitcoin accepting pub in London that had problems with iPhone users because the default setting was to send coins without a transaction fee, resulting in people waiting hours for their drinks...

Credit cards aren't instantaneous but are treated as such, but the get to the equivilent of 1 confirmation faster than bitcoin does.

That's not true.  As far as the transfer of funds, Bitcoin can do it within 5 seconds anywhere in the world.  It's the settlement part that takes confirmations.  Credit cards often take 30 to 60 days to properly settle a transaction.  It's possible for a meatspace vendor to accept zero comfirmation transactions at face value without much risk, due to the fact that a double spend attack while one is sitting inside a pub is very difficult, and that competing transactions on the network can be detected.  Timing is everything with a double spend attack, if the attacker sends the competing transaction too early, the vendor's client is likely to see it before the purchase has been made.  If the attacker sends it more than 5 seconds after the vendor's client does, it doesn't even matter that the double spend was even attempted, as no one will ever see it.  Also, if a double spend attempt is detected, the vendor could simply tell the customer his bitcoins have been denied in very much the same way that a credit card can be denied. 

While no one would be willing to accept anything less than several confirmations for something like a car, it's not unreasonable for in person purchase values of less than $100 at a time be accepted zero confirmations at face value, if the transaction is valid and no competing transactions (double spend attempts) are detected in the first several seconds.

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November 27, 2013, 10:07:44 PM
 #60

This is why bitcoin should be used for online shopping but supermarket shopping should fall to an alt coin like Zetacoin

zetacoin really is lightning fast... confirmations in seconds

Nope. Near-valueless confirmations in seconds. The probability of executing a doublespend with "Zetacoin" is the same per unit time as Bitcoin or Litecoin at a given hashrate. If you were buying a sandwich, Zetacoin would suffice (if it had the hashrate and therefore security of a mature currency). But one confirmation means nothing to me. I'd have given you the sandwich upon seeing the transaction at zero-conf on Bitcoin. One "Zetacoin" confirmation (target=30 seconds) means the same thing to me, probabilistically and from a merchant perspective, as this: 30 seconds pass by after you paid in Bitcoin, without me seeing a duplicate transaction sent to another address. We're 1/20th the way to a Bitcoin block, but from a security perspective, it is the same thing. At a given hashrate, the probability of faking 20 "Zetacoin" blocks is the same as the probability of faking one Bitcoin block.

Though since it has perpetual inflation built in, and is pure P-O-W, "Zetacoin" is more like the economics of PPC without all the other good and/or unique things Sunny put into it.

Sorry, Zetacoin has no technical merits, and many downsides (beyond just having no market share).

Uberlurker. Been here since the Finney transaction. Please consider this before replying; there is a good chance I've heard it before.

-Citizenfive
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