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Author Topic: If Bitcoin at protocol level is Great Firewalled, what are the options?  (Read 956 times)
gentlemand
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September 18, 2017, 06:36:32 PM
 #1

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it? Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?

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September 18, 2017, 08:33:16 PM
 #2

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.
The blockchain is a data structure, not something that people access over a network. The Great Firewall can block nodes from connecting to each other over the internet but that does not prevent nodes from accessing their own local blockchains. They are blocking access to other nodes, not to the blockchain.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there
How so? AFAIK TOR is fairly reliable and can easily get around the Great Firewall. Bitcoin Core (and anything based off of it) has support for connecting over TOR and even allowing incoming connections over TOR with automatic hidden service creation.

and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction
I don't think the Great Firewall can kill all VPNs. New ones will constantly be made.

what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it?
They can get the blockchain data and send and receive transactions through non-internet related methods. They could use the blockstream satellite protocol with just normal radio stations on the ground and use that to broadcast out of China. Data could be transmitted over websites and other non-Bitcoin protocol things. The problem is not about China blocking the Bitcoin network; there are always ways around that block even though they will have higher latency. The problem is China banning Bitcoin mining as that will essentially shut down all mining operations in China which consists of a majority of mining on the Bitcoin network.

Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?
Blockstream satellite is currently only one way. You can only receive blocks from it. They are working on expanding it so that more of the world is covered and more stations are set up. What could happen is that an uplink station in China is set up and the Chinese miners can send their blocks to that station to be broadcast to the rest of the world. And maybe you could then send transactions to that station to also be broadcast to the rest of the world.

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September 18, 2017, 09:56:41 PM
 #3

...
The problem is China banning Bitcoin mining as that will essentially shut down all mining operations in China which consists of a majority of mining on the Bitcoin network.
...

I bet the authorities wouldn't ban the sale of asics (at least initially) so many miners would dump them overseas if there was a hint of a ban - or an actual ban. While it wouldn't be a pretty process, over time the mining would spread out across the world. And as is probably obvious, that would be good to geographic diversity.
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September 19, 2017, 07:38:21 AM
 #4

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it? Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?
Chinese cannot block the UDP relay network satellites or any other satellites. Plenty of Chinese use satellites and do not go through the great firewall. Yes; TCP is latent over LEO SATS.

https://blockstream.com/satellite/satellite/
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September 19, 2017, 07:08:37 PM
 #5

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it? Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?
Chinese cannot block the UDP relay network satellites or any other satellites. Plenty of Chinese use satellites and do not go through the great firewall. Yes; TCP is latent over LEO SATS.

https://blockstream.com/satellite/satellite/
We are working with Bitcoin Satellites and the relay network; everything you say is true.
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September 20, 2017, 07:55:32 PM
 #6

Quote from: achow101 link=topic=2188884.msg21975729#msg21975729 date=
The problem is not about China blocking the Bitcoin network; there are always ways around that block even though they will have higher latency. The problem is China banning Bitcoin mining as that will essentially shut down all mining operations in China which consists of a majority of mining on the Bitcoin network.

Any way around that?

Perhaps better not to openly discuss.

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September 20, 2017, 07:58:30 PM
 #7

Any way around that?

Perhaps better not to openly discuss.

If that happens then it won't be the end of the world by any means. The most common estimates are that Chinese mining makes up 60-70% of hash rate.

A vast amount of mining machines will be sold or moved from China to other countries. I really don't believe someone like Bitmain hasn't planned for that eventuality.

In the meantime there are many miners elsewhere who'd be salivating at the idea of China disappearing.

Bitcoin might be sluggish for a while but a month or two down the line it would pick up speed again.

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September 20, 2017, 08:30:28 PM
 #8

Alright, that doesn't sound so bad. Although I can imagine that will cause ...  a buying opportunity, to say nicely.

I was thinking in a different direction, like camouflaging the ASICs.

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September 21, 2017, 05:11:29 AM
 #9

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it? Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?

1. Blockchain is a separate meshnet so you cannot block it.
2. TOR is suppose to be hit and miss to preserve your anonymity.
3. Blockstream satelite is just another mining farm. No relation to evasion against the Great Firewall fiasco.

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October 03, 2017, 06:24:33 AM
 #10

If it was so easy to block something in internet, much of it would be blocked.
VPNs are working ok. I have one that allows streaming and pings are good.
TOR is very much working.
Bitcoin is just file sharing protocol if you think of it. Transport does not matter. Its just more convenient to use P2P. Data can be meshed and transferred using other methods.

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October 03, 2017, 09:09:53 AM
 #11

It may of course be utter rubbish, but let's say the Chinese government does block internet access to the blockchain itself.
The blockchain is a data structure, not something that people access over a network. The Great Firewall can block nodes from connecting to each other over the internet but that does not prevent nodes from accessing their own local blockchains. They are blocking access to other nodes, not to the blockchain.

As TOR seems very hit and miss there
How so? AFAIK TOR is fairly reliable and can easily get around the Great Firewall. Bitcoin Core (and anything based off of it) has support for connecting over TOR and even allowing incoming connections over TOR with automatic hidden service creation.

and VPNs are slowly being hunted to extinction
I don't think the Great Firewall can kill all VPNs. New ones will constantly be made.

what would be the options for a Chinese person who wanted to interact with it?
They can get the blockchain data and send and receive transactions through non-internet related methods. They could use the blockstream satellite protocol with just normal radio stations on the ground and use that to broadcast out of China. Data could be transmitted over websites and other non-Bitcoin protocol things. The problem is not about China blocking the Bitcoin network; there are always ways around that block even though they will have higher latency. The problem is China banning Bitcoin mining as that will essentially shut down all mining operations in China which consists of a majority of mining on the Bitcoin network.

Does the Blockstream satellite thing work?
Blockstream satellite is currently only one way. You can only receive blocks from it. They are working on expanding it so that more of the world is covered and more stations are set up. What could happen is that an uplink station in China is set up and the Chinese miners can send their blocks to that station to be broadcast to the rest of the world. And maybe you could then send transactions to that station to also be broadcast to the rest of the world.


"What could happen is that an uplink station in China is set up"

Wondering how easy it would be to establish uplink stations in China. Aren't they going to be easily detected by the authorities.
 Hope those satellite pars become small and easily hidden from view in the future.


Something like this from Blockstream would be fantastic:  http://www.google.com/search?biw=320&bih=436&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=Portable+satellites+for+Internet+&oq=Portable+satellites+for+inte+&aqs=mobile-gws-lite..


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October 03, 2017, 11:10:28 AM
 #12

If they succeed in cutting all Bitcoin-connections at the Chinese border, it would mean a network split! Everybody inside China goes on their own, and everybody outside China does the same.

There's always ways around it, when desperation strikes, you could even email a private key. And if they disconnect the entire country from the rest of the internet, a phone will suffice.

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October 03, 2017, 11:48:30 AM
 #13

If they succeed in cutting all Bitcoin-connections at the Chinese border, it would mean a network split! Everybody inside China goes on their own, and everybody outside China does the same.

There's always ways around it, when desperation strikes, you could even email a private key.
And if they disconnect the entire country from the rest of the internet, a phone will suffice.


More like what this poster stated here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2183740.new#new    
He/she provided a detailed alternatives incase internet is "switched off".  His list are extremely important that I had to archive and bookmark somewhere for future reference.


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October 04, 2017, 11:36:13 AM
 #14

In terms of just getting it across, I'm pretty sure we've got this. (obviously I'm not going to post all the details because that would needlessly escalate the cat and mouse.)  I'm aware of at least three radically different bypass mechanisms that are already in place (none of which involve anything as pedestrian as VPNs or Tor, though both these things exists and will also help bridge Bitcoin and and out of china).  Fortunately, Bitcoin's ongoing bandwidth requirements are relatively low and this opens many options.

But getting around a firewall is only one problem... if Bitcoin is banned in china it will be much harder for people to use it there even if they technically can.  This would be unfortunate.  Especially on top of the already near total absence of nodes in china. (last I checked there were only about 50 externally reachable actual nodes).

Bitcoin will not be compromised
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October 04, 2017, 12:43:41 PM
 #15

Blockstream should do
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