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Author Topic: Rethinking Bitcoins  (Read 7086 times)
theymos
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November 14, 2010, 05:14:13 AM
 #21

Well, bitcoin forks will have to use different names, at least in order to differentiate themselves from the others.  I think it wouldn't make much sense to use "bitcoin" for any cryptocurrency other than the one where the total amount is 21 millions, for it has been the name of the original one.

I was referring to the original Bitcoin. If Satoshi removes the halving of block rewards (eliminating the 21 million limit), and everyone switches to that version, then that network is still the real Bitcoin network.

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grondilu
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November 14, 2010, 05:21:43 AM
 #22

Well, bitcoin forks will have to use different names, at least in order to differentiate themselves from the others.  I think it wouldn't make much sense to use "bitcoin" for any cryptocurrency other than the one where the total amount is 21 millions, for it has been the name of the original one.

I was referring to the original Bitcoin. If Satoshi removes the halving of block rewards (eliminating the 21 million limit), and everyone switches to that version, then that network is still the real Bitcoin network.

That's one of the reason why I won't sell all my gold for bitcoins.  I mean, scarcity of gold is due to a physical reality.  Scarcity of bitcoin is only due to a form of consensus.  If for some reason most people decided to increase the number,  I'm not sure there is much I could do, apart from selling my bitcoins and buy some gold.

I don't see any way to prevent that from happening, though.
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November 14, 2010, 05:29:43 AM
 #23

Well, bitcoin forks will have to use different names, at least in order to differentiate themselves from the others.  I think it wouldn't make much sense to use "bitcoin" for any cryptocurrency other than the one where the total amount is 21 millions, for it has been the name of the original one.

I was referring to the original Bitcoin. If Satoshi removes the halving of block rewards (eliminating the 21 million limit), and everyone switches to that version, then that network is still the real Bitcoin network.

It doesn't even have to be everybody that switches.  All that has to happen is that a majority of the CPU power which decides what the next work unit will be will reject mined coins that don't follow the network.

Note, this already happened where for awhile the pre-0.3.9 network was producing one chain and the post 0.3.10 network was producing a completely different chain.  That is one of the reasons for the upgrade notice, as those people mining coins and even trying to process transactions won't be recognized when that happens by the main line network.  At the moment, you could stick with the pre-0.3.9 clients, but work units produced by them have the potential of not being incorporated into the main chain right now.

I know you get this Theymos, but I think it is an important point to note here.  Unlike some protocol situations, it doesn't have to be 100% agreement for a switch but rather a more "democratic" method.  The majority processing power runs the network and determines its fate.

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theymos
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November 14, 2010, 05:38:42 AM
 #24

It doesn't even have to be everybody that switches.  All that has to happen is that a majority of the CPU power which decides what the next work unit will be will reject mined coins that don't follow the network.

Changing anything that grondilu mentioned ("core parameters") would always split the network. Pre-change peers would never accept post-change blocks or transactions, even if post-change peers have 99% of the network.

There would be two networks, though likely both of them would consider themselves to be "the real Bitcoin network".

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ribuck
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November 14, 2010, 09:10:11 AM
 #25

There would be two networks, though likely both of them would consider themselves to be "the real Bitcoin network".

That's why the core principles of Bitcoin should be documented now, to avoid this kind of semantic war in the future. Sure, the networks can split, but there should be no doubt that the one issuing unlimited coins is not Bitcoin.

Obviously there's no legal force behind this; no trademark protection. But an "enshrined" document carries huge moral weight and influence, as has been found with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, the OSI Open Source definition, and the FSF Free Software definition.
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November 15, 2010, 12:09:38 AM
 #26

In your initial post RHorning you raised a number of interesting issues and I did not give them an adequate response in my immediate reply.

You think that people should be rewarded for participating in the network by providing network bandwidth for example. This is a perfectly reasonable position and I agree with you. Unfortunately there's no way that I can think of to implement this in the current Bitcoin system without being scammed or having some other negative consequences. If you were to think of a way to implement it and specify it in some detail then I'm sure the proposal would be examined in considerable detail.

It's hard to imagine how network participation would be rewarded because Bitcoin is not good at micropayments. Every payment is sent to each client and gets recorded in the block chain on each client's hard disk. The number of fee free payments per block is relatively low. Let's say you can get 50k of transaction data in a block before you have to pay. Let's say the minimum size of a transaction is 100 bytes (it's actually more) so that's 500 transactions in about 10 minutes or less than one transaction per second and everyone's hard disk fills up at 2.628G bytes per year. Even if one lets the micropayments accumulate on account and you settle it relatively infrequently, it's still going to be a significant proportion of transactions.

The second problem is that any reward that creates coins from thin air has to be mutually agreeable and verifiable. It would be hard to verify that all this network participation was not just falsified to get the money.

The third issue is satoshi's de-facto control over all aspects of Bitcoin. I don't have an opinion about whether this is good or bad, it just is and has to be taken into account. In another thread, gavinandresen opined that it's way too early to start asking for commitments to adhere to a particular interface or functionality. Upon reflection I believe he is right. If you look at the amount of generally useful code written to further the project, essentially all of it has been written and tested by satoshi. Note that I'm not counting GPU miners as useful! Thanks to him, we all have a nice reference implementation of Bitcoin that we can examine and play with and a wonderful forum to share our thoughts. If he discontinued development for whatever reason the project would rapidly grind to a halt. People disagree on what exactly Bitcoin is and how much would have to change before it wasn't Bitcoin anymore. The real answer is that Bitcoin is whatever satoshi implements for the forseeable future. At the moment and for the forseeable future there are a lot of features of the current system that need to be discovered and addressed before an improved system can be designed intelligently. If the current scheme were substantially changed then a lot of the momentum would be lost and it would take quite a while for the new system to reach even the current low level of maturity.

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November 15, 2010, 11:00:44 AM
 #27

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice, but to drop 21M limit
and will also force him to accept a lot of other stupid misimprovements to bitcoin's core?
And don't you see, bitcoin will become totally unusable and will die it's natural death that way,
without proper PR, public opinion management, endless education, everything, that today also
happens with any other democracy?

ribuck
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November 15, 2010, 11:37:56 AM
 #28

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice, but to drop 21M limit
and will also force him to accept a lot of other stupid misimprovements to bitcoin's core?

Satoshi has never shown any sign of diverging from his principles for the sake of expediency, or to satisfy peer pressure, etc.

Anyway, I wonder how many "core principles" there actually are? Perhaps "Only 21 million bitcoins" and "Greatest proof of work wins" are all, with the rest being relatively minor details?
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November 15, 2010, 11:47:53 AM
 #29

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice, but to drop 21M limit
and will also force him to accept a lot of other stupid misimprovements to bitcoin's core?
And don't you see, bitcoin will become totally unusable and will die it's natural death that way,
without proper PR, public opinion management, endless education, everything, that today also
happens with any other democracy?


Nobody should have to force anyone.

If some people want to make their crappy inflationned, socialistic distributed crypto-currency, then be it !  All they have to do is TO FORK BITCOIN.  That's what is good with free-software :  there is room for all ideas, even for stupid ones !

All I want is a name for a sound crypto-currency, so that I can buy it without having to check every single line of the source code.

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November 15, 2010, 12:29:35 PM
 #30

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice, but to drop 21M limit
and will also force him to accept a lot of other stupid misimprovements to bitcoin's core?
And don't you see, bitcoin will become totally unusable and will die it's natural death that way,
without proper PR, public opinion management, endless education, everything, that today also
happens with any other democracy?




I highly doubt that.
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November 15, 2010, 03:29:19 PM
 #31

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice, but to drop 21M limit
and will also force him to accept a lot of other stupid misimprovements to bitcoin's core?
And don't you see, bitcoin will become totally unusable and will die it's natural death that way,
without proper PR, public opinion management, endless education, everything, that today also
happens with any other democracy?


Nobody should have to force anyone.

If some people want to make their crappy inflationned, socialistic distributed crypto-currency, then be it !  All they have to do is TO FORK BITCOIN.  That's what is good with free-software :  there is room for all ideas, even for stupid ones !

All I want is a name for a sound crypto-currency, so that I can buy it without having to check every single line of the source code.



This.

There is no voting or convincing or anything like that needed. When some fools want a new inflatable currency they'll do it like they have for 1000s of years, I relay doubt they'll bother with bitcoin type infrastructure when printers work just fine.

But it doesn't matter what they do, I use the good chain.


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MoonShadow
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November 15, 2010, 07:02:03 PM
 #32

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice,

No, I don't.  The current client exists only because Satoshi wrote it, if you don't like it, write your own and start your own blockchain.  If you can get others to join you, that is democracy.  Any attempt to compel Satoshi to change his code against his will is not democracy and is not an acceptable form of advocacy.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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November 15, 2010, 08:35:46 PM
 #33

I suppose that is the reason to continue to "mine" coins even if the value earned from the mining activity is zero.  Under the current system, the value "earned" from mining work units is eventually going to get to zero.

There are transaction fees which were designed for that.

And no, there is just no way I'll buy a currency whose total amount is constantly growing, no matter how slow is this growing rate.  I don't want to spend days and days watching a total amount number on my computer, wondering if I should or not sell the corresponding currency.
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November 16, 2010, 06:05:35 AM
 #34

I suppose that is the reason to continue to "mine" coins even if the value earned from the mining activity is zero.  Under the current system, the value "earned" from mining work units is eventually going to get to zero.

There are transaction fees which were designed for that.

And no, there is just no way I'll buy a currency whose total amount is constantly growing, no matter how slow is this growing rate.  I don't want to spend days and days watching a total amount number on my computer, wondering if I should or not sell the corresponding currency.


"Total amount" is either a known finite number or it is not. If "total amount" changes it never was and still isn't the "total amount".

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throughput
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November 16, 2010, 11:39:36 AM
 #35

Hmm, it seems, that you understood well the reasons behind bitcoin principles and you can defend them yourself from
your's greed and evil temptations. But look, how useful bitcoin itself is with only you using it?

Hey, you can even trade it for USD!!! Wow!

Honestly, that trade volumes frighten me, they are too low to buy into the system.
Ofcourse, yes, you can play with a new thing, bragging, something new happened!

But everyone here agree, that bitcoin have no choice, but to expand it's userbase to a wider public.
Do you understand, that most of you are quite different from the rest of the public?
Not every human is capable of bying into a bright new idea, not everyone have the ability
to recognize the future, believe me, my psychologist told me exactly that.
Look at the description, maybe it is about you too, other people are best at using the
good old verified ideas and methods, not at inventing or accepting them, since they feel that too risky/stupid.

The rest of people, ignorant of details and concepts, will outweight you, who understand and care about the root concepts, the idea of Truth.
Due to greed and ignorance they will be manipulated with ease and will accept an idea of prolonging the generation phase as a good idea.
They will be a majority of users, and no one is prohibited to modify the source, to fork, etc, to serve the 'evil temptations' of the majority.
It is not that hard to update the code to change the limit, AFAIK, and then to distribute the binaries.
So, eventually, they will become 'the Bitcoin' and you, or we, will become a private fork.
And their bitcoin will be of more use, than our's, simply because of the network effect.

So, I'm sure, looking at how satoshi is concerned by the mediocre new users' needs,
he will not vote for splitting the network, he will accept whatever the majority dictates to him.

That's the evil face of democracy, the power of majority.
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November 16, 2010, 12:50:33 PM
 #36

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice,

No, I don't.  The current client exists only because Satoshi wrote it, if you don't like it, write your own and start your own blockchain.  If you can get others to join you, that is democracy.  Any attempt to compel Satoshi to change his code against his will is not democracy and is not an acceptable form of advocacy.

Im not a fan of democracy. That ends up being two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner. If 51% decide there should be more than 21 million coins what will happen to the 49% who disagree? You cant do anything because you have to follow the block chain the majority decides ?
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November 16, 2010, 02:51:28 PM
 #37

No, I don't.  The current client exists only because Satoshi wrote it, if you don't like it, write your own and start your own blockchain.  If you can get others to join you, that is democracy.  Any attempt to compel Satoshi to change his code against his will is not democracy and is not an acceptable form of advocacy.

Im not a fan of democracy. That ends up being two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner. If 51% decide there should be more than 21 million coins what will happen to the 49% who disagree? You cant do anything because you have to follow the block chain the majority decides ?

Democracy is certainly not the best system in cyberspace, where scarcity doesn't exist.

In real life democracy, the minority has to comply to the decision of the majority.  But in cyberspace, there is room for everyone.  Any minority which doesn't agree with majority can build its own "kingdom".  Sessessionism and autocratism are better fit in cyberspace.

For instance, Satoshi is bitcoin's autocrat, as Linus Torwalds is for linux, Marc Shuttleworth for Ubuntu, and so on.  And there is nothing wrond with that.
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November 16, 2010, 05:06:25 PM
 #38

For instance, Satoshi is bitcoin's autocrat, as Linus Torwalds is for linux, Marc Shuttleworth for Ubuntu, and so on.  And there is nothing wrond with that.


Nope.

Sorry, you are wrong.

No Linux kernel will stop working, if it get abandoned by the majority of users.

Bitcoin have attached Network Effect, and is unique in that
it depends on it not only for propagation and popularity, but also on everyday usability for the rest of the old users.

Linux kernel have no such feature, it will not drop value for me if you stop using it. Whoever may stop using it,
it will still be useable for me. It may only become unuseful, if it get dropped by the maintainers.

Bitcoin is not only a software project, it is also a P2P network - a set of peers, that operate Bitcoin, you should not forget that.
You may not successfully fork the network, you may only split it. Linux is very different on it, it allows you to fork itself infinitely
and with no harm to the public.

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November 16, 2010, 07:56:28 PM
 #39

Don't you think, that kind of democracy will leave satoshi no choice,

No, I don't.  The current client exists only because Satoshi wrote it, if you don't like it, write your own and start your own blockchain.  If you can get others to join you, that is democracy.  Any attempt to compel Satoshi to change his code against his will is not democracy and is not an acceptable form of advocacy.

Im not a fan of democracy.


Neither am I, but I used the term for expediency.  Most people don't really know that no government in the world is actually a democracy.  Most are parlimentary republics, and the US is a federated republic.  Democracy only functions on a very local scale, such as the Baptist church business meeting, and results in mob rule or gridlock on scales beyond that.

Quote

That ends up being two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner.


Ben Franklin did have some memorable one-liners.  Another that I like is, "Beer is living proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy."

Quote

If 51% decide there should be more than 21 million coins what will happen to the 49% who disagree? You cant do anything because you have to follow the block chain the majority decides ?

It's actually not 51% of users, but 51% of total proof-of-work.  The practical result being that established users, particularly those with a relatively high Bitcoin net worth, have both the motivation and the means to maintain the status quo, as major changes would be harmful to their future buying power.  So it's not really even a democracy, since it's not one opinion one vote, but one clock-cycle one vote.  More like a plutocracy, perhaps?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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November 17, 2010, 06:03:52 AM
 #40

Unless I'm badly mistaken there is no reason 95% of people agreeing to accept generates of 50BTC forever requires the remaining 5% to do so. Smart merchants will insist on the limited chain and those finite coins will hold value while the others will decay. Some people will change their mind and use the limited gen chain and as the value diverges the new chain people will probably decide they aren't generating fast enough and increase to 1000/block and beyond. And this fireball of stupidity will probably last less than a month since there won't be an army and swat teams to enforce acceptance of the dummy chain.

If this happens, which it likely won't, it'll look like the collapse of any fiat currency played out in extreme speed.

edit: I'm not say the bad chain is fiat, only that their collapses will look similar. I think it would happen faster because it isn't fiat, it's just straight inferior with no force propping it up.

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