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Author Topic: Lottery guy bets entire BTC fortune and ... loses? :)  (Read 5801 times)
jerfelix
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June 16, 2011, 07:39:40 PM
 #1

Edit of my edit:  I think this is an entertaining thread.  It starts with a discussion of how a Bitcoin Lottery could be run. After several messages, in message #4, a user who runs a lottery claims that it is cheat-proof, and bets his entire BTC fortune that I can't think of a way that he can pay himself without everybody noticing.

I proceed to give a method of how he can do that.  Some people agree and others disagree. 
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not accusing him of any wrong-doing; I'm wondering what consensus opinion is.

But it does bring up an interesting dilemma.

If someone runs a betting site, and he loses a very public bet in a forum and fails to pay up, can you trust his betting site?



Lotteries need to be provably honest.
A provably honest lottery site could be one that bet on the hash of an upcoming Block.  The Hex value of the Block Hash (or the last few digits) could be bet upon.  If you can name the last hex digit of block 131300 (or some future block, 2 blocks into the future), you get a 15 to 1 payback on your bet.  Name the last 2 hex digits, and get a 250 to 1 payback.  Bet correctly that a certain 3-digit sequence will appear somewhere in the Block Hash, leading zeros excluded, and you get $250 (or whatever makes it a near fair bet).

People can see payments into the lottery in the BlockExplorer, and can see payments out (which should be predictable, odds-wise).

You could even make it provably honest as a para-mutual, growing bet (like Power Ball or MegaMillions).  You buy a "lottery ticket", and your lowest numerical payment address recorded in the transaction is your entry.  If your payment address, written in hex, has its last N hex digits matching the Block hash, you win.  Otherwise the jackpot grows.  Users can watch BlockExplorer to verify that previous payouts were made.  (Of course, you can never prove that the Lottery Company won't run off on this next bet....)


The only real issues that I see with this are if there's a chain split.  So maybe payouts are delayed by a day to help fight that case.



Somebody get to work on this!
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bitlotto
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June 17, 2011, 02:16:05 AM
 #2

EDIT:
"If someone runs a betting site, and he loses a very public bet in a forum and fails to pay up, can you trust his betting site?"
If that makes you wonder just read the whole thread. (I hate editing my posts but I feel forced because the initial post was edited to make it appear like I can't be trusted) Bet was not lost!  Wink


Lotteries need to be provably honest.
A provably honest lottery site could be one that bet on the hash of an upcoming Block.  The Hex value of the Block Hash (or the last few digits) could be bet upon.  If you can name the last hex digit of block 131300 (or some future block, 2 blocks into the future), you get a 15 to 1 payback on your bet.  Name the last 2 hex digits, and get a 250 to 1 payback.  Bet correctly that a certain 3-digit sequence will appear somewhere in the Block Hash, leading zeros excluded, and you get $250 (or whatever makes it a near fair bet).

People can see payments into the lottery in the BlockExplorer, and can see payments out (which should be predictable, odds-wise).

You could even make it provably honest as a para-mutual, growing bet (like Power Ball or MegaMillions).  You buy a "lottery ticket", and your lowest numerical payment address recorded in the transaction is your entry.  If your payment address, written in hex, has its last N hex digits matching the Block hash, you win.  Otherwise the jackpot grows.  Users can watch BlockExplorer to verify that previous payouts were made.  (Of course, you can never prove that the Lottery Company won't run off on this next bet....)


The only real issues that I see with this are if there's a chain split.  So maybe payouts are delayed by a day to help fight that case.



Somebody get to work on this!
Done. Have you seen bitlotto.com? TAABL also did something similar a while ago. There is also btclottery.com. The reason I didn't go with just block hashes are because a powerful miner could increase his odds a tiny bit by not submitting a block. Everything I do can be monitored with blockexplorer and it's impossible for me or any of the players to cheat. The winner is beyond my control.

Jackpot for July 6 will probably be worth over 1,000 USD.

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
jerfelix
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June 17, 2011, 03:53:25 AM
 #3


Done. Have you seen bitlotto.com? TAABL also did something similar a while ago. There is also btclottery.com. The reason I didn't go with just block hashes are because a powerful miner could increase his odds a tiny bit by not submitting a block. Everything I do can be monitored with blockexplorer and it's impossible for me or any of the players to cheat. The winner is beyond my control.

Jackpot for July 6 will probably be worth over 1,000 USD.
I looked at bitlotto.com, and it doesn't look anything like what I described.  Maybe I am missing something.

Tell me again how it's provably honest?
More specifically, tell me how I as a potential lottery ticket buyer can make sure that the lottery has paid out to a real lottery ticket holder, and not a shill?  (Maybe you bought a ticket under some other wallet, and simply paid yourself, for instance.)

Not trying to make a false accusation, but I failed to see that "provability" with a quick scan of the bitlotto.com page.
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June 17, 2011, 04:19:22 AM
 #4


Done. Have you seen bitlotto.com? TAABL also did something similar a while ago. There is also btclottery.com. The reason I didn't go with just block hashes are because a powerful miner could increase his odds a tiny bit by not submitting a block. Everything I do can be monitored with blockexplorer and it's impossible for me or any of the players to cheat. The winner is beyond my control.

Jackpot for July 6 will probably be worth over 1,000 USD.
I looked at bitlotto.com, and it doesn't look anything like what I described.  Maybe I am missing something.

Tell me again how it's provably honest?
More specifically, tell me how I as a potential lottery ticket buyer can make sure that the lottery has paid out to a real lottery ticket holder, and not a shill?  (Maybe you bought a ticket under some other wallet, and simply paid yourself, for instance.)

Not trying to make a false accusation, but I failed to see that "provability" with a quick scan of the bitlotto.com page.

-All payments go to the same address: eg. http://blockexplorer.com/address/1D9c6qLKRjxh7xbyv6MBUcBFJHDFeDQpsg
-all .25 payments can be verified (some bought for 1 btc before big BTC price changes - tickets still valid and .75 returned- check their addresses and you can see .75 payment from me)
-each transaction has a unique hash - can't change it as it's part of Bitcoin blockchain
-total jackpot size can be verified by adding .25 tickets or looking at received BTC in blockexplorer (accounting for a few who over paid)
-draw then ends - tickets are all set in stone in the block chain each with a unique hash
-winner is determined by a hash of block hash + mega millions numbers to prevent a miner trying to increase odds by not submitting a block if it doesn't work for them -the hash is totally unpredictable and impossible to manipulate unless you can manipulate the USA mega millions lottery (impossible)
-using a set algorithm the winner is determined based on their payment hash (method is set and can't change)
-payment can only go to the person who sent the ticket -look at blockexplorer and payment can only go to that address -that's why using Bitcoin on their own computer is so important. I can not send to any other address!!
-there is no way I can cheat!!!

It's cheat proof. If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
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June 17, 2011, 04:44:40 AM
 #5

Oh, and I was just checking your website. Interesting! Perhaps I may use your site as a alternate link for my lottery addresses! What kind of security do you use for the addresses? (I worry that someone would hack the link and change it so payments go somewhere else).

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
jerfelix
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June 17, 2011, 05:14:36 AM
 #6

It's cheat proof. If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!

Well, I feel stupid, because your lottery is pretty much exactly what I described! ha!

But, since you are offering me ALL of your BTC, I'll go ahead and claim those here.  Send them on over to me, or tell me why I am wrong:

Here's how I think you could cheat.

For every entry that you get, create 1000 entries of your own.  Entering the lottery essentially costs you nothing, as you are simply moving the money from one pocket to the other (and freezing it until the lottery date).

Now you have overwhelming odds of winning, at essentially zero cost.  As the jackpots get larger and larger, it gains attention and gets more entries.  And you make more money. And then you can afford to increase your investment, and increase your odds to near certainty.

And, if that 1 in a thousand case does eventually happen, then you just pack it up and disappear.  And open bitlotto2.


OK, send me all your Bitcoins.  Or tell me how I am wrong.
Judges?  Am I right here?  Did I just win all his Bitcoins?

(Really, I believe that you are honest, but for all I know, in the June 1 lottery, you had just 1 Bitcoin worth of real entrants, and ~130 fake entrants that you created.  You won (surprise), and the jackpot looks attractive for the next round of suckers.)

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June 17, 2011, 05:21:30 AM
 #7

Oh, and I was just checking your website. Interesting! Perhaps I may use your site as a alternate link for my lottery addresses! What kind of security do you use for the addresses? (I worry that someone would hack the link and change it so payments go somewhere else).
A valid concern.
I'm not aiming for bank level security at this time.   At Beta release, I was just aiming for being better and easier than putting your Bitcoin Address in to your signature.  (Anyone who puts their address in their signature is also running the same risk - that the Forum owners will change it.)

I have a lot of plans for this site.  If people begin to depend on it, I'll probably put in "locking" mechanisms so that in order to change the address, you have to unlock it via an email link.  And then put in monitoring mechanisms from a separate machine that would also need to be compromised.  Someone suggested a photo, so you could have a photo of you holding your Address.

Those are all ideas, but really the shortname idea is just sort of a precursor of another project that I am working on.
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June 17, 2011, 05:22:33 AM
 #8

It's cheat proof. If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!

Well, I feel stupid, because your lottery is pretty much exactly what I described! ha!

But, since you are offering me ALL of your BTC, I'll go ahead and claim those here.  Send them on over to me, or tell me why I am wrong:

Here's how I think you could cheat.

For every entry that you get, create 1000 entries of your own.  Entering the lottery essentially costs you nothing, as you are simply moving the money from one pocket to the other (and freezing it until the lottery date).

Now you have overwhelming odds of winning, at essentially zero cost.  As the jackpots get larger and larger, it gains attention and gets more entries.  And you make more money. And then you can afford to increase your investment, and increase your odds to near certainty.

And, if that 1 in a thousand case does eventually happen, then you just pack it up and disappear.  And open bitlotto2.


OK, send me all your Bitcoins.  Or tell me how I am wrong.
Judges?  Am I right here?  Did I just win all his Bitcoins?

(Really, I believe that you are honest, but for all I know, in the June 1 lottery, you had just 1 Bitcoin worth of real entrants, and ~130 fake entrants that you created.  You won (surprise), and the jackpot looks attractive for the next round of suckers.)
LOL. BUT the transactions would would show where the payment came from. I couldn't just pay from the pool back into the pool. I can't just move the money around. It would show up as me moving money out of the account for another reason other than payment of some winner. If I moved money to a certain address I would have to actually spend that money. I'd be on equal terms with everyone else.

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
jerfelix
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June 17, 2011, 05:37:22 AM
 #9

LOL. BUT the transactions would would show where the payment came from. I couldn't just pay from the pool back into the pool. I can't just move the money around. It would show up as me moving money out of the account for another reason other than payment of some winner. If I moved money to a certain address I would have to actually spend that money. I'd be on equal terms with everyone else.

yeah, that's why I said "freezing the money till the lottery date".
Edit:  Yes, you would have to "spend the money", but you are only paying yourself.  In reality, all you need to do is take some of your savings and "spend it" by moving it to the lottery account, knowing that you will get it all back on June 1.


Is there a way for me to be able to tell that you didn't buy 99% of the tickets in the June 1 raffle?
You are NOT on equal terms with everyone else, because a) you are holding the money (and could be a flight risk if you lose), and b) you get to keep 1%.

I stand by my claim that you owe me all your BTC.  Please tell me that it's $500K worth!   Wink
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June 17, 2011, 05:46:39 AM
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LOL. BUT the transactions would would show where the payment came from. I couldn't just pay from the pool back into the pool. I can't just move the money around. It would show up as me moving money out of the account for another reason other than payment of some winner. If I moved money to a certain address I would have to actually spend that money. I'd be on equal terms with everyone else.

yeah, that's why I said "freezing the money till the lottery date".

Is there a way for me to be able to tell that you didn't buy 99% of the tickets in the June 1 raffle?
You are NOT on equal terms with everyone else, because a) you are holding the money (and could be a flight risk if you lose), and b) you get to keep 1%.

I stand by my claim that you owe me all your BTC.  Please tell me that it's $500K worth!   Wink
"If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing"  - And I'm certain you understand -cheating!
If I paid 99% of tickets I'd have to use my own money. I'd be on the same terms as everyone else. I can't use the money in the pool as it would show up as me taking money out! The 1% is known and makes sense as per my details. Flight risk? Ok, I didn't mean steal but cheat. Yes I could not pay or pay the wrong person but everyone would know! It's in my best interest to run the most cheat proof honest system. I could take the money but I'd be better off running an honest lottery the rest of my life!!!

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
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June 17, 2011, 06:00:47 AM
 #11


"If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing"  - And I'm certain you understand -cheating!
If I paid 99% of tickets I'd have to use my own money. I'd be on the same terms as everyone else. I can't use the money in the pool as it would show up as me taking money out! The 1% is known and makes sense as per my details. Flight risk? Ok, I didn't mean steal but cheat. Yes I could not pay or pay the wrong person but everyone would know! It's in my best interest to run the most cheat proof honest system. I could take the money but I'd be better off running an honest lottery the rest of my life!!!

I repeat.  No you are NOT on the same terms as everyone else.

If all the money were held in a trusted independent escrow, THEN you'd be on the same terms as everybody else.

Somehow I feel that I am not going to collect on this.  I point out a valid security concern, and I am not going to get rewarded.  Sad

Your challenge was to think of a way you can pay yourself without everyone noticing, yet your own website brags that we can't tell who actually owns the ticket. 
Quote
Imagine a lottery where the exact number of tickets are known, as well as the what the ticket numbers are, without knowing who actually owns the ticket.
It could be you!

You probably shouldn't have bet me all of your BTC, or you'd be comfortable admitting that this is a hole that you should fill.  As I recently read on a website:
Quote
Know your limits. Play within them.


Sorry, I'm in a feisty mood tonight, but I think I have you on this one.
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June 17, 2011, 06:09:58 AM
 #12

Sure it could be me. My odds are the same as everyone else. When I said "If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!" I meant a way I could pay myself UNFAIRLY and be UNNOTICED. If I play I could win. My odds would be the same as everyone else. It wasn't if you could think of a scenario where I could win. A truly anonymous and un-cheatable lottery could be won be it's own creator. Escrow does nothing. You always have to rely on someone to sent the payment. That's why with time I hope the trust grows. The trust is needed for the payment not how the lottery runs. I'll always pay because it's in my own self interest.

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
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June 17, 2011, 06:16:05 AM
 #13

Come on, it's late, when I said:
If you can think of a way I can pay myself without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!
I was meaning:
If you can think of a way I can pay myself *UNFAIRLY* without everyone noticing I'll give you all the BTC I own!!

Of course I could play my own lottery. BUT I wouldn't be able to CHEAT!!

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
jerfelix
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June 17, 2011, 06:50:59 AM
 #14

Escrow does nothing.
Trusted escrow mitigates the flight risk.  Without it, you can stack the odds against all other participants, and nearly guarantee a victory with the only downside being that you have to go out of business if the highly improbable happens. 

With trusted escrow, you are in the same boat as the other participants, with the exception that your tickets only cost you 99 cents on the dollar.  In other words, you have better odds for the same amount of money.

Hey, I'm willing to "settle out of court" on this.  What do you think is fair for my security advice?   Smiley
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June 17, 2011, 07:06:26 AM
 #15

Trusted escrow mitigates the flight risk.  Without it, you can stack the odds against all other participants, and nearly guarantee a victory with the only downside being that you have to go out of business if the highly improbable happens. 

With trusted escrow, you are in the same boat as the other participants, with the exception that your tickets only cost you 99 cents on the dollar.  In other words, you have better odds for the same amount of money.

Hey, I'm willing to "settle out of court" on this.  What do you think is fair for my security advice?   Smiley

I'd be more than happy having some type of escrow but no matter what you always depend on someone to finalize the payment. I'd rather it be me than someone else I don't know. With time people will see I'm trustworthy. The games are public and can be verified! If I can set an escrow beyond my control I will. I'm open to suggestions! I just don't know how I'd do it without people who lose somehow locking the money up.

My whole point is: I can't CHEAT and make myself the winner more than anyone else. *IF* I cheat everyone would know!! That's the point. Not that I get 1% or that I finalize the payment. I can't CHANGE THE RESULTS TO MAKE MYSELF WIN!

*Next Draw Feb 1*  BitLotto: monthly raffle (0.25 BTC per ticket) Completely transparent and impossible to manipulate who wins. TOR
TOR2WEB
Donations to: 1JQdiQsjhV2uJ4Y8HFtdqteJsZhv835a8J are appreciated.
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June 17, 2011, 07:18:01 AM
 #16

I'd be more than happy having some type of escrow but no matter what you always depend on someone to finalize the payment. I'd rather it be me than someone else I don't know. With time people will see I'm trustworthy. The games are public and can be verified! If I can set an escrow beyond my control I will. I'm open to suggestions! I just don't know how I'd do it without people who lose somehow locking the money up.

My whole point is: I can't CHEAT and make myself the winner more than anyone else. *IF* I cheat everyone would know!! That's the point. Not that I get 1% or that I finalize the payment. I can't CHANGE THE RESULTS TO MAKE MYSELF WIN!

"I'd rather it be me than someone else I don't know."

You'd rather it be you, of course.  I'd rather it be someone who is trusted.  And I'd rather it be someone who doesn't have a stake in the game.  Gavin offers ClearCoin Escrow, and he seems to be someone that many people trust.

I'm really not trying to be a jerk here, but this whole thread is about running a trustworthy betting site, and you made a bet and lost, and are showing your level of trustworthiness.  You really have few options at this point, because you and your site's reputation is at stake.  If you make a very public bet, and lose (and if most people agree that you lost), and you don't pay, then why would they trust your site?

We can take this conversation offline if you prefer, but I think your reputation is at stake here.

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June 17, 2011, 07:45:46 AM
 #17

As an independent observer (who will probably regret posting in this thread):

jerfelix you did not win any bet. bitlotto was asking if there was a way he could undetectably cheat at the lottery. You did not provide a solution to this.

As for escrows why should bitlotto be any less reliable than any other escrow provider?

The solution is simple. If you don't trust bitlotto for whatever reason, don't play his lottery!










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June 17, 2011, 07:53:33 AM
 #18

As an independent observer (who will probably regret posting in this thread):

jerfelix you did not win any bet. bitlotto was asking if there was a way he could undetectably cheat at the lottery. You did not provide a solution to this.
Thanks for an independent opinion.

I believe that he could have undetectably cheated on the June 1 lotto, simply by the method that I described.  He could have stacked the odds in his favor, and came up the winner, and taken some small amount of Bitcoins from the betters.  And he could have been prepared to fold if he didn't win.

How can you prove that he didn't do that?  I know you can "produce the winner in person", but you can't prove that the winner wasn't a shill.

Therefore, I am not only claiming that he COULD undetectably cheat, but that he MAY HAVE ALREADY cheated.  If you can prove that he hasn't, you will make your case.  But so far no one has give me any way to prove that he hasn't.  And since (I believe) no one can absolutely prove that he hasn't, then clearly he CAN. and so I still claim to have won the bet.

Feel free to prove me wrong.  Don't regret participating in spirited conversation!  This is fun stuff!

PS. I'm not so greedy that I would demand a fortune in Bitcoins on a flip bet.  It's just an interesting dilemma.
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June 17, 2011, 07:54:22 AM
 #19

I will try to implement this hash thing on my small lottery site, too. I hope I will find some time at the weekend to set up the described method.

anyway I would like to say that my lottery uses standard rand(0,100) and I don't cheat. Maybe a look at the win loss list can prove that a little bit. -> http://bitcoin.dyndns.info/bt/
As you see I use instant payout, so all winners get their profit directly.

But I agree with you, I need that kind of system, too.

Kind regards!
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June 17, 2011, 08:05:11 AM
 #20

As for escrows why should bitlotto be any less reliable than any other escrow provider?
I suggested a TRUSTED escrow as a way to avoid the possibility of the lottery site cheating.  The reason this is important is because of exactly the scenario I posed.  The lottery site could have a very real stake in the game.  The whole lottery could be a scam.  By working with a trusted escrow, it would force a crooked lottery site who wants to take a heavy stake in the lottery to have to really put up the money.  It reduces the possibility that the scam lottery site will run off with all the money, in the unlikely event that he loses.


The solution is simple. If you don't trust bitlotto for whatever reason, don't play his lottery!
No, you are misunderstanding the problem.  The problem is, how do you set up a "provably honest" lottery?  The solution to that is to do a lot of the things that bitlotto did, plus add a trusted escrow.  And continue to ask people to shoot holes in the method of the lottery.

Actually I trust bitlotto, and I'm enjoying a spirited debate here.  But that doesn't mean that I didn't win the bet!

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