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Question: Miner cartel, bankster cartel, or an altcoin? Your choice?
miner cartel (aka Bitcoin Unlimited fork) - 22 (16.9%)
bankster cartel (aka Bitcoin Core fork) - 50 (38.5%)
an altcoin (not Dash cartel) - 54 (41.5%)
Evan Inc cartel (aka Dash aka RogerCoin) - 4 (3.1%)
Total Voters: 130

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Author Topic: Miner cartel, Bankster cartel, or an altcoin? Your choice?  (Read 33138 times)
dinofelis
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March 23, 2017, 04:29:34 PM
 #81

I'm still of that opinion, UNLESS regular hard forks are part of the protocol.

Scripting interacting with the unbounded nondeterminism of the environment creates an indeterminate protocol.

For example, how do you prove that different implementations of the Bitcoin nodes all implement the same protocol?

There is normally one well-defined protocol: this protocol is like any other protocol reference, a piece of paper (a book, most probably).  It explains all aspects of the protocol in a meaningful and technically detailed way.  This unique "bible" is the protocol.  Different software packages may implement this.  There can be a reference implementation, which can be used practically, but which is mainly used as a reference.  That reference implementation, with largely sufficient test bench software, should be "frozen", just as the protocol text is.

As a participant, you refer to that protocol to know what is the contract.  If you observe that in reality the protocol is not followed, well, you know that this system is now not a decentralized, immutable system any more and that you've been had ; that the system was not in an immutability dynamics, and hence, that anything and its opposite can happen in that system.  That's about it.  If you like to continue in that arbitrary system, your choice.

For instance, if I read about a cryptographic protocol, there is reference documents, reference code, reference test benches.  This is maybe not the most useful and practical implementation, but the reference text and the reference code define the cryptographic protocol.  If someone claims to use this protocol, but I check it against this reference, and it doesn't work, I know that that person is not following that protocol.  I can still continue to interact with that person, but I know that he's not using the protocol he claims he is using.  If I HAVE TO deal with that guy, I have no choice but to adapt.  If I have a choice, I get out and consider being scammed.

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If you tell me the scripting code is the law, then I will say your law is random and undefined. We can't prove a negative in an unbounded universe.

No, the law is exactly well defined.  But it is changed.  That's something else than undefined.  If someone claims he's using AES-256, but I can see that he doesn't, well then he is not using AES-256, even if he claims so.  It is not that AES-256 is undefined.  It is that he changed the rules and calls it erroneously still AES-256.

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Vitalik is part of the environment. The hacker was part of the environment.

I can say that too about fiat, and paper contracts.  What's different ?

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I think what you are driving at is that you would prefer a design that has proven itself over time to be resilient against any large unexpected outcomes in the widely held and/or documented expectations of for the protocol. But the problem in this case was that the widely held expectations were mutually conflicting. All those who invested in the DAO presumed the protocol would meet their expectations and they also thought this was consistent with fuzzy concepts of immutable protocols which can't be defined.

Well, *ethereum* was well defined and running as expected.  The fact that the hacker "found out" meant that this vision is correct.  He didn't just do something random and then "this happened".  He studied the system and saw that that was the way it was designed to function.  So in fact EVERYTHING WAS well documented and defined.  It was simply not understood, and one took the "prospectus" for real, and not the code.  That is perfectly all right, if in the end, you count on human judgement.  But then, you cannot use a self-running crypto system.  So if you accept that, you also accept the impossibility of the notion of smart contract.


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So I think what you are really promoting is not just immutable protocols (in those cases where they can be suitable documented and defined), but rather realism about the extent of what we don't know and can't define. But the greater fool derbs are always harvested by the more clever actors.

Indeed.  I think smart contracts of that kind of complexity are stupid.

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Ethereum seems to be a system for experimentation on what types of blockchain apps could provide utility to society. So it seems that well defined/refined protocols are lower on the priority list. Highly creative experimentation is necessarily chaotic.

Seen that way, I agree.  It is a toy system to play with.  But then you should ALSO require immutability, because in a toy system, failure is not a problem, and part of the outcome you are looking after.  "repairing failure" is not the way to experiment.

In the following, I'm on toknormal's line.

I would agree with correcting if *ethereum itself* had a serious ambiguity.  But that wasn't the case. Ethereum was running perfectly as documented.

You do not redefined the C language to correct a bug in an important application so that next time you compile the same (buggy) code, the bug is removed by language re-definition.


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Comments such as the following during the DAO aftermath ignored the above realization that I've had since then:

P.S. In crypto, there are no "rightful owners".

Contrary to the banking credit world where posession and ownership are distinct, in crypto, ownership is unambiguously defined by possession. That is a cardinal quality of the blockchain that asserts its role as "bearer instrument".

If the mining community acts to disaffirm this principle - albeit in a meta currency layer - it will create an ambiguity that will haunt Ethereum for the rest of its existence IMO.

The lesson to be learned here is that Ethereum blockchain and Ethereum (Solidity) applications are distinct entities with distinct levels of reliability. If I write a piece of code in solidity (say to develop a coin) and I f*ck it up and loose my investors money does that mean I can get the Ethereum foundation to do a rollback and cover my a*ss ?

If not, why not ?

@toknormal was describing Bitcoin with most of the opcodes removed. Some very well defined, closed ecosystem thing. That is a different set of priorities than Ethereum's.
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March 23, 2017, 04:58:00 PM
Last edit: March 23, 2017, 06:05:10 PM by iamnotback
 #82

There is normally one well-defined protocol: this protocol is like any other protocol reference, a piece of paper (a book, most probably).  It explains all aspects of the protocol in a meaningful and technically detailed way.  This unique "bible" is the protocol.

I know. I know. Did you forget I've been programming for 38 years. Surely you realized the DAO didn't have this. With that in mind, you may re-read my prior post.

That reference implementation, with largely sufficient test bench software, should be "frozen", just as the protocol text is.

And if the test bench has a bug that was not found? (Starting to realize your error by now I hope)

If you tell me the scripting code is the law, then I will say your law is random and undefined. We can't prove a negative in an unbounded universe.

No, the law is exactly well defined.

You don't seem to understand unbounded nondeterminism and for example the Halting and incompleteness theorems.

You are waaaay off course.

Vitalik is part of the environment. The hacker was part of the environment.

I can say that too about fiat, and paper contracts.  What's different ?

The hacker pursued one avenue in the undocumented protocol and Vitalik pursued another. Your definitions are arbitrary and ambiguous.

I think what you are driving at is that you would prefer a design that has proven itself over time to be resilient against any large unexpected outcomes in the widely held and/or documented expectations of for the protocol. But the problem in this case was that the widely held expectations were mutually conflicting. All those who invested in the DAO presumed the protocol would meet their expectations and they also thought this was consistent with fuzzy concepts of immutable protocols which can't be defined.

Well, *ethereum* was well defined and running as expected.

That is if you presume that the protocol does not include the protocol of the smart contract code. Again you are trying to say the source code is a protocol, but it is not. You do not seem to understand computer science on a very high theoretical plane.


So I think what you are really promoting is not just immutable protocols (in those cases where they can be suitable documented and defined), but rather realism about the extent of what we don't know and can't define. But the greater fool derbs are always harvested by the more clever actors.

Indeed.  I think smart contracts of that kind of complexity are stupid.

You have different priorities than the Ethereum community. So you have no role in deciding what their protocol actually is (well you do as you are part of the environment and can potentially influence public and legal action). The COMPLETE protocol was certainly not written down (nor could it be!).

Blockchains don't come with a prospectus. User beware. The user must ascertain the protocol. It's open source software.

Ethereum seems to be a system for experimentation on what types of blockchain apps could provide utility to society. So it seems that well defined/refined protocols are lower on the priority list. Highly creative experimentation is necessarily chaotic.

Seen that way, I agree.  It is a toy system to play with.

One person's permutation toy, is another man's erector set.

Look at the massive level of innovation being unleashed on Ethereum (and Raiden is bringing payment channels to Ethereum very soon, well before Bitcoin will have LN):

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1839699.0

Bitcoin is mucking around while Rome burns. Meanwhile Ethereum might just land on a killer app and leave Bitcoin in the dust. We'll see...
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March 23, 2017, 08:35:47 PM
Last edit: March 23, 2017, 08:46:34 PM by dinofelis
 #83

There is normally one well-defined protocol: this protocol is like any other protocol reference, a piece of paper (a book, most probably).  It explains all aspects of the protocol in a meaningful and technically detailed way.  This unique "bible" is the protocol.

I know. I know. Did you forget I've been programming for 38 years. Surely you realized the DAO didn't have this. With that in mind, you may re-read my prior post.

That reference implementation, with largely sufficient test bench software, should be "frozen", just as the protocol text is.

And if the test bench has a bug that was not found? (Starting to realize your error by now I hope)


I think you don't get the gist of what I try to say.  If you start a decentralized and hopefully immutable system, you need an "axiomatic basis".  There are two ways to do this: the "code" way, or the "reference book" way.  As this immutable system is supposed to be based upon INTEND, it seems normal to me to use the "reference book" approach, where, in human language, every aspect is sufficiently explained in detail that there is no doubt over its *intended* functioning.

If you then provide "reference code", that is for illustrative purposes only, with the idea to mutually clarify things.  However, code is more prone to errors than a human readable reference text, except in rare cases where there are typos in the reference text and that the code implements something that fits more with the overall intend than the reference text with a typo.

In any case, this is something that should be thoroughly peer reviewed, studied etc...  

If there are fundamental errors in this, then the system should be simply abandoned if discovered later - nothing stops you from building a new system with "corrected" aspects, but that is nothing but a hard fork / imitation.

There is absolutely no reason to abandon the system if it is working correctly according to both the reference code and the reference description.  This is why there shouldn't be a "lead dev team" once the system is launched.  It is what it is, and it will continue that way, or it has a serious flaw, and it should be abandoned.   But there's no reason to make it evolve.

Yes, different code implementations can have the code evolve, but the reference protocol should be adhered to without modification.

Nothing stops other dev teams from forking, copying, altering whatever they want of course, but there shouldn't be any "leadership" or anything of that kind of a running crypto system, because it should remain as it was laid down the first day.

Yes, it will get old, yes there are ideas of improvement and so on, but these should be side forks, copies, etc... made by "outsiders".

Bitcoin shouldn't have Core ; ethereum shouldn't have the Foundation and Vitalik, .... These people can invent new systems, can invent forks from their previous creations, all you want.  But a running crypto system should be considered as "frozen protocol and no gouvernance or leadership".  Until it wears off and dies.

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If you tell me the scripting code is the law, then I will say your law is random and undefined. We can't prove a negative in an unbounded universe.

No, the law is exactly well defined.

You don't seem to understand unbounded nondeterminism and for example the Halting and incompleteness theorems.

The law can be: "we throw a dice and if it is even, we chop your head off."  That's still a very clear law.  

I agree with you, though, that a Turing complete system can never be "law".   That said, Ethereum made a very ugly cut off to render every Turing complete code non-Turing complete (to escape the halting problem): the gas limit !  To me, that must be a HUGE source of unexpected behaviour and hence exploits Smiley  You have to be totally out of your mind to invent such a rule.  But it is the rule.  And a clear rule that is Smiley

Mind you that "the law is well defined" does not mean "we know in advance what the outcome will be !".  (it should, if "code = law" is to be taken seriously by other people than reckless idiots, signing up to undetermined state trees : you should have to be able to explore all states of a contract, which is impossible in a Turing complete system which is why I think Ethereum is fundamentally flawed).  It only means: "there's a clearly defined procedure to get to the outcome, using all then valid environmental influences, random entries and so on, when the moment has come to find the outcome."

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The hacker pursued one avenue in the undocumented protocol and Vitalik pursued another. Your definitions are arbitrary and ambiguous.

The protocol never stated that one would stop an unstoppable contract, no ?

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That is if you presume that the protocol does not include the protocol of the smart contract code. Again you are trying to say the source code is a protocol, but it is not. You do not seem to understand computer science on a very high theoretical plane.

It is a multi-layered system.  Ethereum's *interpretation* of a smart contract was well-defined as far as I understand.  So ethereum's protocol was more than well-defined enough for it not to be an issue in this affair.  If there was an issue with exactly how the ethereum virtual machine handled contract source code, there may have been a point.  That is, if the ethereum virtual machine behaved differently *in practice* than how it was DOCUMENTED (in paper) by the ethereum protocol description, then there was something to say about this.  But as far as I understood, even the subtlety used by the hacker was documented (paper documented) usage of the virtual machine, that worked as described.  So the *ethereum protocol* was perfectly in agreement with the running code of the ethereum virtual machine.  The compiler too.  As such, Solidity, which is part of the paper description of the Ethereum protocol, was correctly coded in the ethereum nodes.

As such, the "source code of the contract" was, well, the full contract, based upon the paper description of the Solidity language.  That is the whole idea of "code is law".  In as far as there is a *paper* description of the intend of the ethereum protocol, the whole idea of a smart contract is that the source code is the contract for any thing on top of it.

This is the very specificity of "smart contracts", namely that the code and nothing but the code is the contract.  That intend is obliterated, and that smart contracts never contain bugs.  

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You have different priorities than the Ethereum community. So you have no role in deciding what their protocol actually is (well you do as you are part of the environment and can potentially influence public and legal action). The COMPLETE protocol was certainly not written down (nor could it be!).

I know.  From the moment that there is leadership, there is no immutability (you don't need a leader to hold status quo).  But then this can be a fun system, like Play Station is a fun system, but it is not a decentralized, immutable thing.  There are many interesting things out there which are successful, work well, are useful, and are not decentralized immutable systems.  Ethereum is one of them.  Facebook another.  Google another.  Very similar systems in fact.

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One person's permutation toy, is another man's erector set.

LMAO  Grin

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Look at the massive level of innovation being unleashed on Ethereum (and Raiden is bringing payment channels to Ethereum very soon, well before Bitcoin will have LN):

Ethereum may be very successful.  Google is, too.   Fun systems.  But not decentralized and immutable.  Just fun coding platforms, and experimenting systems.  If it has leadership, it is corruptible, has a single point of failure, and is not what I'm interested in as a system that can go underground as a resistance tool to survive and eventually as a means for subversive action (although I think it is futile).

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March 24, 2017, 01:36:51 AM
Last edit: March 24, 2017, 03:48:16 AM by iamnotback
 #84

The protocol never stated that one would stop an unstoppable contract, no ?

This is like a Monty Python dialogue.  Cheesy I mean who decides whether the contract stopped. Some argued that the implicit consumer protection contract was cardinal to that of the ambiguous (non-rigorously documented) protocol of executable EVM code. So it continues to this day.   Undecided

I mean when you make a technology for the n00bs (apps for geekcool widgets and socialcidalnetworking), then you also have to lower the bar of expectations about self-responsibility.

the gas limit !  To me, that must be a HUGE source of unexpected behaviour and hence exploits Smiley  You have to be totally out of your mind to invent such a rule.

The indeterminacy of unhandled exceptions is analogous to the indeterminancy of letting it run on in unbounded nondeterminism.

I haven't studied what they did in detail, but why don't they run the contract in sandbox then revert all changes if it halts due to gas limit. That doesn't remove all possible indeterminacy though if there are external synchrony assumptions.

Would be much better if it is possible to prove some bounds on computation time. In theory it can done if the interaction with the environment is bounded nondeterminism (which might be too limiting for their intended generality). Haven't researched this much yet.

Or use some technology similar to the zk-snarks tech in Zcash to prove computation was performed offline, with the proof verification being bounded. Afaik, that technology isn't robust enough yet though.

I lean intuitively that once they find out what sort of contracts are really worth doing on a blockchain, they'll be able to take out some of the generality and tailor the scripting language better.

So I think Ethereum might have some value as an experimentation right now (perhaps enough to make the price go up faster than BTC as it has been), and maybe later it transitions into something more bulletproof.

I don't have the utility-test problem investing in ETH temporarily that I would have investing in DASH or PRIVX. The masternode concept of those latter two is nonsense and their R&D is imbecilic.

Bitcoin shouldn't have Core ; ethereum shouldn't have the Foundation and Vitalik, .... These people can invent new systems, can invent forks from their previous creations, all you want.  But a running crypto system should be considered as "frozen protocol and no gouvernance or leadership".  Until it wears off and dies.

Well the token holders decide (if there is no 50+% mining controller). It is their software. They can run the software that they please. There was nothing stopping ETH hodlers from forking. And they did to ETH. Then the original ETH software kept running as ETC.

So actually they did exactly what you suggest.

If you think about it, what you want is totalitarianism. You don't want token hodlers to have control over their own open source software.

Immutability is a red-herring. Immutability violates decentralization. Every token hodler is free to fork their copy of their software. That is a fundamental property of blockchains. I can create my own fork of Bitcoin and spend my tokens on it if I want to (and more securely if I don't choose PoW for the consensus algorithm).

Again I don't like if that slippery slope means democracy of voting for redistribution and taxes. I wouldn't stay invested with a community which had that attitude.

In the case of Bitcoin, PoW devolves to centralization. So there has to be this power struggle. It was inevitable. So the lack of a BDFL in Bitcoin could be its big flaw. But I hope we can invent something that can sustain decentralization on auto-pilot. As you said, it is healthy to be very skeptical about the possibility of achieving that.
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March 24, 2017, 02:11:27 AM
 #85

Altcoin is beginning to look like a good choice if the scaling debate cannot be solved until the end of this year. I am willing to transfer half to altcoins and hold the other half for the blockchain split.

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March 24, 2017, 04:38:47 AM
Last edit: March 26, 2017, 04:55:02 AM by iamnotback
 #86

Re: Why Bitcoin won’t hardfork like Ethereum

Some people spread rumors around, saying that the mining industry will control Bitcoin if BU wins. This is obviously a fallacy, no one can fight against the market unless he possess more money than the market.

As if the market will have any other choice. That was a convenient lie.

Now that Bitcoin is at least 51% mined from China, prepare for future regulations to be enforced on all transactions. The reference to Taiwan a subliminal warning to Westerners of their future ass kicking humiliation.

The BU mining cartel admitted it can and will 51% attack when required to.

I warned you all last year. And you all said I was spreading FUD.

When you guys are serious about decapitating the centralized power of the miners, come talk to me.
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March 24, 2017, 04:51:41 AM
 #87

Altcoin is beginning to look like a good choice if the scaling debate cannot be solved until the end of this year. I am willing to transfer half to altcoins and hold the other half for the blockchain split.
Sad truth, but advised to save investments. ETH beeing a forking joke, DASH a premine and Ripple not even worth mentioning but they can provide a save hedge from this BU/Core madness.
Maybe we should reevaluate DOGE even?

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March 24, 2017, 10:31:14 AM
 #88

So you think adaptation and improving is a joke. Okay, then you must like stagnation. This will definitely make you feel better about bitcoin: ethereum will fork atleast 2 more times, one for metro, one for serenity, and possibly 1-2 more times if needed to make transitions and smoother.
Idiots will never understand that ethereum is not bitcoin or dogecoin. It aims so high this couldn't be done without hardforks.

Humanity didn't conquer space without it's own share of spilled blood. The opposite of that are the tribes that can still be found hidden in jungles that still live like 2000 years ago. And they're looked at as a curiosity, if we could we'd put them in a museum. This is bitcoin's fate.
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March 24, 2017, 11:39:40 AM
 #89

If you think about it, what you want is totalitarianism. You don't want token hodlers to have control over their own open source software.

I don't "want" anything.  I only observe that a system with a leader is not a decentralized system.

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Immutability is a red-herring. Immutability violates decentralization. Every token hodler is free to fork their copy of their software. That is a fundamental property of blockchains. I can create my own fork of Bitcoin and spend my tokens on it if I want to (and more securely if I don't choose PoW for the consensus algorithm).

*that* is the right way to go forward.  Make new coins.  Don't "pretend" that the old coin "evolved".  

Immutability is supposed to be an emergent property, so that "forking off" is the only way to "evolve".  You will answer that if everybody ends up forking off, you're fine with your immutability, but you're left alone on your immutable chain.  True.  However, the whole idea of decentralized systems is that we have so many antagonists in the system that no significant collusion can be formed over any change.   This would mean that forking off is always done by small colluding minorities ; not by a collective move, indicated by a leader.

In other words, if a "majority fork" is near, the system is already centralized to a point.    

I'm not against centralized systems.  But one shouldn't have the illusion that it is decentralized, if there is leadership, and if majorities can form to fork off.  That's all.  If a majority can form about just anything, the system lost its decentralized nature.

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In the case of Bitcoin, PoW devolves to centralization. So there has to be this power struggle. It was inevitable. So the lack of a BDFL in Bitcoin could be its big flaw. But I hope we can invent something that can sustain decentralization on auto-pilot. As you said, it is healthy to be very skeptical about the possibility of achieving that.

If there is a BDFL, there's no danger for centralization, it is already centralized.  Most alt coins are centralized because there's one dev team.  You can say that it is "beta phase", but they will not leave in "production", like Satoshi did. 

Something is only truly decentralized when there's no leadership that can give change, because change by leadership is corruption.  But there are many systems that have certain decentralized aspects within limited scope.    One of the important aspects is obfuscation.   It is much more difficult for leadership to become corrupt if it doesn't know its users and cannot know them.  This is also one of the reasons why I like anonymous systems: they protect the user against targeted corruption from the BDFL if there's one (and usually, there is one).

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March 24, 2017, 11:45:28 AM
 #90

So you think adaptation and improving is a joke. Okay, then you must like stagnation.

Yes.  Improving and adaption is done by dying and new births.  Not by modifying an existent system.  Think of it in a Darwinistic way: no living creature "evolves" its DNA: it forks off to offspring, and dies.

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Idiots will never understand that ethereum is not bitcoin or dogecoin. It aims so high this couldn't be done without hardforks.

This is why ethereum is a good, centralized system.

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Humanity didn't conquer space without it's own share of spilled blood. The opposite of that are the tribes that can still be found hidden in jungles that still live like 2000 years ago. And they're looked at as a curiosity, if we could we'd put them in a museum. This is bitcoin's fate.

Of course.  But bitcoin should find a niche, or die.  That's the point.  If it is to be decentralized, it could, as the first mover, become an eternal reserve currency, or simply die. 

Ethereum is to decentralized crypto, what Google  (or Yahoo ?) is to open software.  A centralized version of it.
It is a good system (well, no, it is fundamentally flawed with Turing completeness, but that will be discovered only after many many exploits DAO style, so ethereum has a bright mid life time for it before dying).

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March 24, 2017, 11:55:02 AM
 #91

So you think adaptation and improving is a joke. Okay, then you must like stagnation.

Yes.  Improving and adaption is done by dying and new births.  Not by modifying an existent system.  Think of it in a Darwinistic way: no living creature "evolves" its DNA: it forks off to offspring, and dies.


Then why are you still alive ? Why did you go to school ? Why are you learning new things every day ? If you didn't do them right from the start then why didn't you die and let someone else replace you ?

But bitcoin should find a niche, or die.  That's the point.  If it is to be decentralized, it could, as the first mover, become an eternal reserve currency, or simply die.  

Bitcoin found it's niche. Speculation, greater fool, and small part hedge against fiat and exporting of wealth while avoiding chinese government. It won't and didn't die because it didn't do things right from the start, but it will die because of stangation eventually. And that is closer than i thought.
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March 24, 2017, 12:04:11 PM
 #92

Then why are you still alive ? Why did you go to school ? Why are you learning new things every day ? If you didn't do them right from the start then why didn't you die and let someone else replace you ?

I'm not a decentralized system.  My head is in command.  As the BDFL.  Literally.  My toes will never take over.

Quote
Bitcoin found it's niche. Speculation, greater fool, and small part hedge against fiat and exporting of wealth while avoiding chinese government. It won't and didn't die because it didn't do things right from the start, but it will die because of stangation eventually. And that is closer than i thought.

And that would be a good thing.  Although bitcoin reserve currency would be a better thing.
Uh, and greater fool: ALL crypto as of this day is more than 99% greater fool.  If the expectation of greater fool (that is "price increase) wouldn't exist, the whole market cap of crypto would most probably be divided by 100.

If you think that the 4 billions of ETH are "usage value" you are wrong: people are hedging with ETH against the fall of bitcoin.
(bitcoin's market share has never been lower: 68% !)
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March 24, 2017, 12:08:37 PM
 #93

We were talking about improving and adapting. You seem to believe decentralized systems shouldn't be allowed to do that. But who decides that, the system itself or the decentralized governance ? United nations, academics around the world and tens of corporations work on implementing or adapting ethereum both as public or private chain to their needs. You can't stop them doing that in a decentralized system, because no one is actually in control. Probably no one knew United Nations work on ethereum and that it was a success and that they plan to implement it at a large scale. They haven't even mentioned it's name. But that pic is worth 1000000 words.

This is how evolution works. Eventually some people, groups, become leaders. The systems won't stop being decentralized because natural selection works.

Edit: Bitcoin is the best example. It started leaderless because it's creator let it alone in the wild. People jumped on it, eventually some groups, for whatever reasons which don't really matter, stood up and became leaders. Same for Andreas Ant., people listen to him. Because he is a leader and a survivor. Which now wants to talk at devcon 3 in cancun.

Same for ethereum. If somehow it fails because of dev incompetence, someone else will stand up and the command of the ship. Something like what ETC tried, difference is EF didn't fail which means ETC would have been a regression not an evolution. See, constant battle to survive and evolve. Survival of the fittest.
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March 24, 2017, 12:18:18 PM
 #94

We were talking about improving and adapting. You seem to believe decentralized systems shouldn't be allowed to do that. But who decides that, the system itself or the decentralized governance ?

I tell you that a decentralized system CANNOT "improve and adapt", because to "improve and adapt" you need leadership, and if there is leadership, it is not decentralized any more.  The whole point of decentralization is that there is NEVER a colluding majority over ANYTHING ELSE than the protocol and the consensus history.  From the moment that you DO FIND a colluding majority, you can:
- adapt the consensus history
- change the rules in the advantage of some, and exclude others
- introduce mechanisms that give the power to this specific majority over the minority for the rest of the time
- favour certain groups over others after they got in
....

Decentralisation is the basic idea that NO MAJORITY CAN BE FOUND that can act upon anything in the system.

The simplest version is the 51% attack in bitcoin, just modifying consensus history.  But it extends to ALL ASPECTS of the system.  From the moment a majority can be found over anything else than the (growing) consensus history and the existing protocol, the system is not decentralized any more (and hence loses its immutability).

I'm not saying that this is to be "forbidden" or so.  I'm just saying that if this happens, the system has lost (for ever) its decentralized aspect and that the decentralized dynamics it was supposed to have, on the basis of sufficient antagony and lack of collusion, broke down.

Quote
United nations, academics around the world and tens of corporations work on implementing or adapting ethereum both as public or private chain to their needs. You can't stop them doing that in a decentralized system, because no one is actually in control. Probably no one knew United Nations work on ethereum and that it was a success and that they plan to implement it at a large scale. They haven't even mentioned it's name. But that pic is worth 1000000 words.

Ethereum can be a good system, like Google or Apple is.  But it is not decentralized.  I don't hate Google because it is not decentralized.  But I don't count on Google to be secure when there is a world dictatorship.  A true decentralized system can withstand such things.  Things that can change with leadership, not, because leadership will receive offers it cannot refuse.

Quote
This is how evolution works. Eventually some people, groups, become leaders. The systems won't stop being decentralized because natural selection works.

What you are saying is simply that most decentralized systems become eventually corrupted and centralize.  Yes.  But some never were decentralized in fact.
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March 24, 2017, 12:23:37 PM
 #95

Let me say it more bluntly:

The ultimate test of decentralized systems:

if you cannot use the system, as a small group, to finance and organize world-wide terrorism, if you cannot use the system to do the most horrible crimes without any possibility in the system to stop you, then the system is not decentralized.

It is only if you can use the system to finance and organize terrorism, with all states against you, it is only if you are able to commit the most horrible crimes using the system, if you can use the system to destroy humanity and not having to have the slightest worries that the system will stop you, that the system passed the test of true decentralization.

I'm not saying that the system will not give you away, will not identify you or whatever ; I'm not talking about anonymity.  I'm talking about the system not stopping you doing what you are doing.  Armies and police can come and kill you.  That's not what I'm talking about.  But the system will function without hindering you as a system.  Then you have a truly decentralized system.
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March 24, 2017, 12:25:12 PM
 #96

Your understanding of decentralization simply will never exist because it can't work. You aim for perfection which can never be achieved.

Blockchains are made to evolve because
That is a fundamental property of blockchains
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March 24, 2017, 02:17:00 PM
Last edit: March 24, 2017, 02:58:57 PM by iamnotback
 #97

In the case of Bitcoin, PoW devolves to centralization. So there has to be this power struggle. It was inevitable. So the lack of a BDFL in Bitcoin could be its big flaw. But I hope we can invent something that can sustain decentralization on auto-pilot. As you said, it is healthy to be very skeptical about the possibility of achieving that.

If there is a BDFL, there's no danger for centralization, it is already centralized.

And my point is that BDFL might be superior than the case of Bitcoin where instead there must be a fight which can cause uncertainty for a significant period of time (e.g. the ETH vs. ETC regression) and could even possibly permanently fracture or diminish the community.

Given that the token hodlers can decide which open source software they use, that BDFL must remain benevolent, else the community can hypothetically banish him/them. However, of course there are the collectivized effects which I lamented upthread, but we must hope that the community-at-large will not choose evils such as on-the-chain enforced mandatory taxation, KYC, etc... In other words, in the interest of avoiding fracturing, the community would likely side with the BDFL (e.g. how Bitcoin's community sided with Core to large extent), but if that BDFL proposes the obscene acts then the community will fracture and fight (e.g. Core proposing to not allow an immediate blocksize increase with some technical arguments about HFs are too dangerous ... yet the likely motive is they fear/surmise they won't get all the features they want in SegWit if the community majority get what we need first).

I do agree with you that to the extent possible/reasonable/effective, for the blockchain code (or more precisely the protocol) to become ossified (and pleonastically "cast in stone") in order to minimize opportunities for disagreement and harmful effects of mutability of protocol, and for the ongoing development work to proceed instead more in the ecosystem code. The Ethereum EVM smart contract language is an attempt to achieve that wherein ongoing code changes are orthogonal to the blockchain code. Of course we agree there are (at least currently) technical quagmires in that concept.

In short, we can't entirely remove the human (organization) component (and that should be instructive as to why Kurzweil's Singularity is nonsense propaganda but we'll delay that debate to a future time when I am not rushing to code something).

I'm advocating idealism but pragmatically so. The "WoW", "Woof", and "World Computer" are too hyperbolic, sensationalism, utility-delusioned. Whilst the "immutability" of what can't be defined is dogmatic, religious, zealotry (unfalsiable beliefs).
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March 24, 2017, 03:01:58 PM
 #98

The ultimate test of decentralized systems:

That test is vacuous (i.e. measures nothing) because a) it can't be measured and b) it requires the Butterfly effect not to exist which would require a static universe.
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March 24, 2017, 03:24:28 PM
Last edit: March 24, 2017, 03:42:52 PM by iamnotback
 #99

If you think about it, what you want is totalitarianism. You don't want token hodlers to have control over their own open source software.

I don't "want" anything.  I only observe that a system with a leader is not a decentralized system.

Depends on whether that leader is fungibly replaceable. The Apaches practiced leaderless organization in which new leaders spontaneously sprouted when current leaders were killed.

Organization is impossible without leaders. In the absence of organization there is information loss due to randomness. I quoted the math upthread, also @CoinCube had showed an example from evolutionary biology in his threads.

Yet I agree with you that "leaderless" organization can be aided by decentralized, immutable protocols such as some of those that provide us the Internet.

Immutability is a red-herring. Immutability violates decentralization. Every token hodler is free to fork their copy of their software. That is a fundamental property of blockchains. I can create my own fork of Bitcoin and spend my tokens on it if I want to (and more securely if I don't choose PoW for the consensus algorithm).

*that* is the right way to go forward.  Make new coins.  Don't "pretend" that the old coin "evolved".

Humans will decide in each circumstance whether they evolve the existing tokens or create a new token.

In Bitcoin's circumstance, to move away from PoW would be I think impossible at this point, so therefor Bitcoin can't evolve away from PoW.  Someone who wants to make a non-PoW system, must make a new token.

Immutability is supposed to be an emergent property, so that "forking off" is the only way to "evolve".  You will answer that if everybody ends up forking off, you're fine with your immutability, but you're left alone on your immutable chain.  True.  However, the whole idea of decentralized systems is that we have so many antagonists in the system that no significant collusion can be formed over any change.   This would mean that forking off is always done by small colluding minorities ; not by a collective move, indicated by a leader.

In other words, if a "majority fork" is near, the system is already centralized to a point.

I like that summary.

I retort that something can be simultaneously centralized over agreement and decentralized over disagreement, which is the more precise form of desirable decentralization.

Something is only truly decentralized when there's no leadership that can give change, because change by leadership is corruption.

Corruption doesn't necessarily correlate with the leadership to effect change over shared ("standard") protocols, when change is exceedingly difficult to make and only can be made via widespread, well-informed agreement. The latter requirement is best met via open source participation, wherein competence is rewarded and incompetence is ignored.

The debacle of democracy is due to the cost of voting being too expensive (in the abstract concept), i.e. voting can be manipulated by special interests who promise everything to everyone and buy off those who vote. The lack of a decentralized replacement for fiat money has been one of the impediments to the imminent death of democracy.

But there are many systems that have certain decentralized aspects within limited scope.    One of the important aspects is obfuscation.   It is much more difficult for leadership to become corrupt if it doesn't know its users and cannot know them.  This is also one of the reasons why I like anonymous systems: they protect the user against targeted corruption from the BDFL if there's one (and usually, there is one).

Agreed. And the level of anonymity assurance is somewhat relative to how much resources applied to obfuscation (from either direction) and thus may scale to the threat level. Most users need only privacy from each other, not against the NSA.

But a token made only to add the feature of anonymity is IMO not a sufficient evolution for dethroning Bitcoin.
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March 24, 2017, 03:57:07 PM
Last edit: March 24, 2017, 04:20:50 PM by iamnotback
 #100

Idiots will never understand that ethereum is not bitcoin or dogecoin. It aims so high this couldn't be done without hardforks.

This is why ethereum is a good, centralized system.

And Bitcoin is a bad, centralized system  Huh

Humanity didn't conquer space without it's own share of spilled blood. The opposite of that are the tribes that can still be found hidden in jungles that still live like 2000 years ago. And they're looked at as a curiosity, if we could we'd put them in a museum. This is bitcoin's fate.

Of course.  But bitcoin should find a niche, or die.  That's the point.  If it is to be decentralized, it could, as the first mover, become an eternal reserve currency, or simply die.

No Bitcoin can't remain Satoshi's 1MB without SegWit because I already explained that "no change" is not an option.

The miners want to maximize revenue thus increase block size. That is maybe not a bad thing, but China Inc. being able to 51% attack the protocol at-will without widespread agreement of the token hodlers (i.e. holding us hostage to the lack of a better alternative to Bitcoin) is a bad thing.

I believe it will kill the network effects of the ecosystem, because who wants to invest in an ecosystem where your competitors can pay a bribe to the mining cartel, China's politics become intertwined with the control of Bitcoin, or more generally where no one can be sure the system is a known a priori level playing field. Investments are often multi-year long-term bets, so adding risk to the long-term future should have a dampening effect on real capital invested. Note at this juncture of peak debt, peak socialism, peak stupidity, and peak corruption, there is often an obfuscation of the distinction between real capital and fiat debt driven stupidity and corruption masquerading as capital.

Ethereum is to decentralized crypto, what Google  (or Yahoo ?) is to open software.  A centralized version of it.

Then a miner cartelized Bitcoin is what Steve Balmer's Microsoft was to Google. A "my way or fuck you" totalitarian version of centralization. Yet they tell us we are in control and they serve us.
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