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Author Topic: Price stability, difficulty changes, fairness. infnite coins is NOT inflation  (Read 5248 times)
hashcoin
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July 01, 2011, 03:22:23 AM
 #1

Since the other thread got locked and some of the ideas below may not be obvious to all, I'll write them out here.
I've spent a bit of time thinking out how to design a currency like bitcoin that would fix some problems, namely
 
- price instability
- the ponzi-scheme like result of the current way difficulty does not affect generation

My schemes fall into two categories.  The first are unbacked, fiat like bitcoin is now.  The others would be backed by something like
CPU shares in a big grid,  or space in a massively replicated filesystem.  This post will purely discuss the former.  I am a computer scientist, not an economist and recognize it's debatable which is superior.  It does seem clear though that the power to arbitrarily control interest rates and inflation is a very good one when used responsibly.  So here is how that can be done democratically.

Summary
Build a new currency, call it hashcoins that are exactly like bitcoins except for one fundamental difference:
The number of coins issued per block is not fixed at 50 and on a decreasing timescale, but rather completely determined by vote.
Votes are determined by current CPU share.   Every N blocks (perhaps 2016), there would be a meta-block where miners would
indicate their vote on the coins-issued-per-block by including it in the meta-block header and hashing on it.  The coins-issued-per-block for the next N block epoch is then fixed to be the median over votes from the 10,000 vote-shares submitted with smallest SHA2 hash.

edit note: better scheme than voting proposed in post #10

Discussion

1)  But wait!! Then there could be infinitely many coins! they will be worthless due to inflation!.  Wrong, they cost money to produce.  If there are 1 million coins that each cost $1 to produce, and I generate a new coin at a cost of $1, that is not inflation, but rather a transfer of $1 from the USD economy to the coin economy.

Look at a corporation raising capital, say they get a pre-money valuation of $4 million from a VC for their 1M shares, so each share is worth $4.   The VC wants to buy 500k shares.  The corporation issues 500k brand new shares out of thin air and sells them to the VC for $2M, which then become the assets of the corporation.  So the corporation now has 1.5M shares.  OMG INFLATION right? No.  The corporation just got $2M in assets, and so has a post-money valuation of $6M, so it is still worth $4/share.  That is not inflation.

2) For stable prices, and elimination of the "ponzi-scheme" feeling, coins should cost the same to produce.  As it is now, the reward for a block is the same 50BTC it was in 2009, but requires 1M times as much work.  This is the fundamental reason for gross price instability, and the reason bitcoin is perceived as a ponzi scheme.  In other words, it's obvious that prices are instable now, because different coins cost different amounts of money to produce.  So it's easy to stabilize prices: make all coins cost the same to produce.   Say what you want about early adopters deserving it.  The fact is most people, when they hear this, will immediately think ponzi/pyramid scheme and want no part in it.  In fact, every time I've discussed bitcoin with others, the fact that coins made now require 1M times as much work as coins made in 2009 is the single fact that made them dismiss bitcoin entirely.

3) There is a problem with a fixed "50 BTC per difficulty" rule due to Moore's law: the same computational work a year from now will cost about 0.7 of what it does now.  Thus if coins truly represented a fixed difficulty, they would depreciate in value rather quickly.  The purpose of the voting is to allow for this to be accounted for in a fair and reasonable way, to protect against depreciation but not to grossly enrich early adopters.  A reasonable rate would be say, enough to counteract Moore's law plus perhaps a 5 or 10% appreciation for early adopters, but NOT a ridiculous 10,000% increase in 2 years; the current market participants would decide the exact rate.  Ofcourse, they could vote for a 10,000% increase and get it if they want.  The hope is that enough people will realize that is an extremely stupid idea and be detrimental to widespread adoption, and instead carefully vote in a way that gives them some kind of appreciation, but not so much to scare away future newcomers.  
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July 01, 2011, 03:33:08 AM
 #2

I do like the idea of having the wealth more distributed, so early-adopters can't hold ridiculously large fractions of the total share without putting for the equivalent in USD.

Also, I think the whole voting thing would work in an ideal world, but what's to stop a few supercomputers from banding together and drastically changing the price?

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July 01, 2011, 03:35:13 AM
 #3

Your argument about today's price instability and your proposal of a fixed difficulty certainly hold some weight; however, for maximum stability I would propse a scheme under which the number of coins is fixed in accordance with computational power increasing and making it easier to create blocks.


How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. A little girl asked her father, 'do all fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time"? The father replied, 'No, some begin with - If I am elected.' How come political leaders don't have all the answers until they write their memoirs?
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July 01, 2011, 03:38:51 AM
 #4

One more thing: Democracoin doesn't sound very catchy, rather just like a politically-charged ripoff of the original.

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July 01, 2011, 03:40:45 AM
 #5

I do like the idea of having the wealth more distributed, so early-adopters can't hold ridiculously large fractions of the total share without putting for the equivalent in USD.

Also, I think the whole voting thing would work in an ideal world, but what's to stop a few supercomputers from banding together and drastically changing the price?

unfortunately, absolutely nothing, that is the price of total anarchy.  At first I thought perhaps of "inalienable rights" like "difficulty will never decrease" (since decrease in difficulty would make old-adopters coins worth *less*.  But after some more thought I came to the following conclusion: any such fixed rule is "security through hoping everyone is too lazy to write another client".  If 51% of CPU power really wants difficulty to decrease, and you don't give them their way, they could also just decide to all band together and wreak havoc on your network.

Ultimately, in total anarchy, there is nothing you can do but hope 51% of people are far-sighted enough to see if they do these things in a system where everyone is promised that things may change, but all changes are recorded, then if they choose to manipulate things this way they are basically screwing themselves since people will bail.

In other words, I could respond to you with "what's to stop a few supercomputers from banding together and double spending on the current bitcoin network, or raising difficulty and then leaving?".  You just have to hope 51% of cpu power is controlled by people who want long-term success.
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July 01, 2011, 03:43:06 AM
 #6

Your argument about today's price instability and your proposal of a fixed difficulty certainly hold some weight; however, for maximum stability I would propse a scheme under which the number of coins is fixed in accordance with computational power increasing and making it easier to create blocks.



Again, realize any such limit put in place is only giving you security through hoping everyone else is too lazy to write a new client.  If 51% want unlimited coins, you have two options: you give it to them, or they fuck with your network nonstop wreaking havoc.

and re: democracoin name I pulled it out of my ass, I would not actually call it something like that Tongue.  I would call them hashcoins.
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July 01, 2011, 03:51:17 AM
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What is your incentive for early adopters of hashcoin?

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July 01, 2011, 04:00:46 AM
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Your argument about today's price instability and your proposal of a fixed difficulty certainly hold some weight; however, for maximum stability I would propse a scheme under which the number of coins is fixed in accordance with computational power increasing and making it easier to create blocks.



Again, realize any such limit put in place is only giving you security through hoping everyone else is too lazy to write a new client.  If 51% want unlimited coins, you have two options: you give it to them, or they fuck with your network nonstop wreaking havoc.

and re: democracoin name I pulled it out of my ass, I would not actually call it something like that Tongue.  I would call them hashcoins.

The idea of not having a deflationary currency which would not massively benefit early adopters is in my view better than the how Btc is set up. As you say, many people do not find Btc atractive at all due to this circumstance. But if the opposite is true, that if a constellation of very powerful computers wanted inflation and there is no possible way of stopping them from getting their will through - how is this scheme better as opposed to different from Btc. This is a genuine question - I have no programming skills whatsoever.

How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. A little girl asked her father, 'do all fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time"? The father replied, 'No, some begin with - If I am elected.' How come political leaders don't have all the answers until they write their memoirs?
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July 01, 2011, 04:10:34 AM
 #9

The biggest problem I see with this idea is that the VAST majority of voters will have no idea what they are doing. Even on these forums, where the topic is currency, there are A LOT of people with no financial or economic background. Uneducated votes at a time of crisis will likely (probably) make things much much worse.

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July 01, 2011, 04:14:48 AM
 #10

@blogospheroid:
That's actually a very good question.

Financially, only a reasonable appreciation rate (technically, if you're an early adopter, you CHOOSE the appreciation rate yourself and can make it as big as you want; but if you do that, the next round of adopters will probably say screw you and start their own.).  Everyone is different, but my threshold would be if something was appreciating more than 100% a year *above Moore's law*, I would say "screw that".  Thus why I see 1M-fold increase in bitcoin and am basically saying, "screw that".  Note I don't mean value relative to USD.  I strictly mean the "coins issued per difficulty" value, which I would expect to be moore's law + 10% or so.

Admittedly the distribution of bitcoin is quite clever from an "incentivise early adopters"  perspective.  The problem, from my discussion with others about bitcoin, is it totally scares away the crucial "mid-adopters" you need before mass use.  But perhaps I'm wrong and the price instability and difficulty increases won't scare too many away -- humans behave in all kinds of weird ways.

@dennis,
The point of this is to recognize that
1) As of right now, you could not stop such a group in bitcoin.  if 51% were unhappy with the current rules, they could band together and terrorize people, double spending, DDOS
2) We basically already have a voting system but it's terribly inefficient: if I don't like the rules now, I must write a new client, distribute it, and explain to other people why my rules are better.  The purpose of "hashcoin" would be to recognize this and streamline it, so that if people get unhappy or want changes, they can do so without starting from scratch again.  In hashcoin, if you are unhappy with the rules, you simply propose new ones, explain them to the community, and then they will be voted on.  In other words, the system can adapt rapidly to any change in how people feel/what they want.  The goal is to write a system with the goal in place of "how can I make it so that, if people don't like this system, they can propose changes that if most people agree are good ideas, can be incorporated immediately rather than everyone having to start over".

@Rassah
Unfortunately I agree, particularly after my realization that "inalienable rights" are meaningless where 51% can do whatever they want.  There is some hope though, in that the voters are miners/people with massive CPU power, not every random person using hashcoin.  Hopefully the miners/people who invested heavily will spend time to think clearly before voting.  But there is no solution to tyranny of the majority...


Edit
Actually, here is the closest thing you could do to "inalienable rights".  You could refuse to accept certain rule changes, and importantly, make everyone know that you will refuse to accept such changes.  To do this, instead of voting on the value, you vote on an upper and lower bound for the value (here the value is the BTC rewarded per difficulty, but its conceivable there are other parameters people could want to vote on, like TX fee per KB perhaps).

Thus now you vote on a range X-Y, and when you vote, you are basically saying this: I will not accept a block with parameters outside these ranges.  If you send me one, I will ignore it, and will fork the blockchain and stick with whoever else doesn't like your change..  Now the goal of the miner is, given the votes he's seen, to set the parameter to the value that maximizes acceptance (i.e., pick a value that falls in as many people's acceptable ranges as possible).  This is by definition -- a miner wants his block to be accepted by as many people as possible, to guarantee he gets his reward in the generally accepted blockchain.  Thus infact, no voting is needed at all and the miner can do whatever he wants.  However, if he wants his block to be accepted, he better respect others' wishes.  Now if 51% come online they can't force you to accept rules you don't like, but they can wreak havoc/terrorize the blockchain as they can now.
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July 01, 2011, 05:00:06 AM
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@blogospheroid:
That's actually a very good question.

Financially, only a reasonable appreciation rate (technically, if you're an early adopter, you CHOOSE the appreciation rate yourself and can make it as big as you want; but if you do that, the next round of adopters will probably say screw you and start their own.).  Everyone is different, but my threshold would be if something was appreciating more than 100% a year *above Moore's law*, I would say "screw that".  Thus why I see 1M-fold increase in bitcoin and am basically saying, "screw that".  Note I don't mean value relative to USD.  I strictly mean the "coins issued per difficulty" value, which I would expect to be moore's law + 10% or so.

Admittedly the distribution of bitcoin is quite clever from an "incentivise early adopters"  perspective.  The problem, from my discussion with others about bitcoin, is it totally scares away the crucial "mid-adopters" you need before mass use.  But perhaps I'm wrong and the price instability and difficulty increases won't scare too many away -- humans behave in all kinds of weird ways.

Would it not be in the interest of subsequent miners to increase appreciation. Say early adopters have mined 1M in one year. Secondary adopters with twice as much computational power decide on an appreciation rate of 500%. So after year two there would be 5M (early adopters) + 10M (secondary adopters) + 1M, and the secondary adopters clearly have more Hashcoins/power etc.

With the "inalienable rights" scheme the "tyranny of the majority" (in above example, or otherwise) would render Hashcoins impossible to function as "their" blocks would be accepted by the "majority", whereas "the minority" may not want to continue on those terms - or am I missing something?

How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. A little girl asked her father, 'do all fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time"? The father replied, 'No, some begin with - If I am elected.' How come political leaders don't have all the answers until they write their memoirs?
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July 01, 2011, 05:16:28 AM
 #12

[
Would it not be in the interest of subsequent miners to increase appreciation. Say early adopters have mined 1M in one year. Secondary adopters with twice as much computational power decide on an appreciation rate of 500%. So after year two there would be 5M (early adopters) + 10M (secondary adopters) + 1M, and the secondary adopters clearly have more Hashcoins/power etc.

With the "inalienable rights" scheme the "tyranny of the majority" (in above example, or otherwise) would render Hashcoins impossible to function as "their" blocks would be accepted by the "majority", whereas "the minority" may not want to continue on those terms - or am I missing something?

I wrote the edit after the first part so there may have been inconsistency.  In the edited scheme, the blockchain would basically fork at that point.  Basically the blockchain is a state of all transactions and generations up until some point in time.  Say we're at block number 100, and I see a new block 101 just made that gives a ridiculous amt of BTC to the generator.  If I find that unreasonable, I just pretend I never saw it: I go on continuing to try to build block 101 from block 100.  On the other hand, if someone else gives me block 101 that is agreeable, I shift work to continuing on block 102 ontop of that.

Now things get a bit weird: some transactions (like transfers of old coins) will be valid in both chains, while some will be valid in one and invalid in the other (e.g. spends of those new coins).  Now we can do business together even if we don't agree on everything: as long as all the money involved respects both of our rules, any tx between us will be valid in both chains, and so both of us is happy (actually, I guess all that matters is the person receiving the money wants it to be valid in their chain).  But I will not do any business involving coins I didn't accept (i.e., txs that would be invalid in my chain).

Ofcourse, it would be a headache to keep track of these things and the goal would be for this to never, or rarely happen.  A fork should be like a "revolution", not a common occurence, and people would draw their lines in the sand and stick to their chains.

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July 01, 2011, 06:53:00 AM
 #13

The first are unbacked, fiat like bitcoin is now.

Bitcoin is not a fiat currency. Fiat means imposed using force, usually by governments. Bitcoin is a voluntary currency.

Quote
The others would be backed by something like CPU shares in a big grid,  or space in a massively replicated filesystem.

Since both those thing are not scarce, why would you back a currency with them? For example, do you thing anyone woul trust a currency backed by leafs? No, because leafs are very abundant.

Quote
This post will purely discuss the former.  I am a computer scientist, not an economist and recognize it's debatable which is superior.  It does seem clear though that the power to arbitrarily control interest rates and inflation is a very good one when used responsibly.

Clearly you need to give it more though. How do interest rates affect the economy? Is is possible for one person (or a group) to centrally plan interest rates? Its not a problem of corruption, it is a problem of limited information.

Quote
So here is how that can be done democratically.

And what would be the result of "democratically" selected interest rates in the economy? How would peple know with their limited information and their personal incentives what are the interest rates needed?

Quote
Look at a corporation raising capital, say they get a pre-money valuation of $4 million from a VC for their 1M shares, so each share is worth $4.   The VC wants to buy 500k shares.  The corporation issues 500k brand new shares out of thin air and sells them to the VC for $2M, which then become the assets of the corporation.  So the corporation now has 1.5M shares.  OMG INFLATION right? No.  The corporation just got $2M in assets, and so has a post-money valuation of $6M, so it is still worth $4/share.  That is not inflation.

That is not price inflation indeed, but if that were to happen with money that would be monetary inflation. Why is that bad? Because it creates bubbles. Check the 20's. There was almost no price inflation, Irving Fisher said the Fed was doing a great job at managing the monety supply and creating the correct monetary inflation to keep prices stable. But hiding behind the price index there was a bubble forming in the stock market due to the monetary inflation that popped in the crash of 1929.

Having some price index constant is not a good monetary objective and does not matain a healthy economy.

Quote
2) For stable prices, and elimination of the "ponzi-scheme" feeling, coins should cost the same to produce.  As it is now, the reward for a block is the same 50BTC it was in 2009, but requires 1M times as much work.  This is the fundamental reason for gross price instability, and the reason bitcoin is perceived as a ponzi scheme.  In other words, it's obvious that prices are instable now, because different coins cost different amounts of money to produce.  So it's easy to stabilize prices: make all coins cost the same to produce.

This is very wrong. Bitcoin is inestable because its a small market and when new money comes in it has a big influence. If you start your new hashcoin it will be unstable as well, no matter how much does it "cost" to produce.

Also, let me predict that your hashcoin would be accused as well of being a ponzi scheme, because those acusations come from not liking Bitcoin and wanting to attack it some way and from envy, not from really thinking that it is a ponzi scheme.
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July 01, 2011, 11:27:48 AM
 #14

Voting will make the number of generated coins highly unpredictable. You are setting up a system prone to positive feedback loops that could create even more price instability.

I don't think that most people will vote altruistically or in the name of economic stability. A lot of miners will just vote for a very high number hoping to bring the weighted median up so they can make a few more coins. Once people get used to the fact that the block award keeps rising, they will vote for even bigger increases hoping to make up for the loss of value of their coins.  Hyperinflation could result.

Even your idea of "vetoing" for upper and lower bounds will be "abused" for selfish means: Many miners will set lower bounds (that they keep raising) simply to make sure other voters don't bring the median down again.


Here is a much less corruptible scheme that addresses your concerns:

Number of coins awarded per block = Difficulty

Simple, predictable, easy to understand by everybody, and likely to lead to (more or less) stable prices because difficulty is roughly proportional to the size of the economy.

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July 01, 2011, 11:37:52 AM
 #15

The hope is that enough people will realize that is an extremely stupid idea and be detrimental to widespread adoption, and instead carefully vote in a way that gives them some kind of appreciation, but not so much to scare away future newcomers.  

And here lies the problem. A system that relies on hope.

The current bitcoin implementation, despite all its flaws, has one feature the gives it a huge amount of resilience:  A decision that is in the selfish interest of an individual user is usually also in the interest of the bitcoin network as a whole.  It doesn't matter who the user is or what his motivations are. Bitcoin is agnostic to things like hope and ideology.

In the system you're suggesting, a decision that is in the selfish interest of an individual user is  detrimental to the network as whole. It's a tragedy of the commons of sorts.

I'm not saying such a system can't work, but it's a lot more vulnerable than the current bitcoin implementation.

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July 01, 2011, 11:49:45 AM
 #16

This is an argument to keep newbies locked in the playpen longer. I wouldn't buy a single coin you produced.  The limited supply is the only reason there is any long-term future for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin works. It has a track record. You are [mod edit: No insults allowed] and I don't have time to set you straight, assuming you even wanted to learn. I am just going to keep buying coins now while they are cheap.

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July 01, 2011, 12:40:53 PM
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Since both those thing are not scarce, why would you back a currency with them? For example, do you thing anyone woul trust a currency backed by leafs? No, because leafs are very abundant.
Scarcity is relative.  There is clearly a limit on the # of processors or # of hard drives that will fit on earth.  The only difference is things like gold have nearly already been exhausted, while silicon/hard drives have not.
Quote
Clearly you need to give it more though. How do interest rates affect the economy? Is is possible for one person (or a group) to centrally plan interest rates? Its not a problem of corruption, it is a problem of limited information.

And what would be the result of "democratically" selected interest rates in the economy? How would peple know with their limited information and their personal incentives what are the interest rates needed?
Good point and I agree there are problems.  All I am doing is proposing the best I can think of.  How would you do it?  Bitcoin now is basically Satoshi wrote the rules and everyone follows them.  All I'm proposing is a system where people can easily "dissent", make their own rules, and if enough people follow, actually change things.

Quote
That is not price inflation indeed, but if that were to happen with money that would be monetary inflation. Why is that bad? Because it creates bubbles. Check the 20's. There was almost no price inflation, Irving Fisher said the Fed was doing a great job at managing the monety supply and creating the correct monetary inflation to keep prices stable. But hiding behind the price index there was a bubble forming in the stock market due to the monetary inflation that popped in the crash of 1929.

Having some price index constant is not a good monetary objective and does not matain a healthy economy.
I don't understand this part but I want to.  Could you link me to something that explains this further?
Quote
This is very wrong. Bitcoin is inestable because its a small market and when new money comes in it has a big influence. If you start your new hashcoin it will be unstable as well, no matter how much does it "cost" to produce.

Also, let me predict that your hashcoin would be accused as well of being a ponzi scheme, because those acusations come from not liking Bitcoin and wanting to attack it some way and from envy, not from really thinking that it is a ponzi scheme.

I disagree with both points.  I think both of these problems are caused by the following fact:  The price per CPU cycle on average is fairly consistent to people.  But bitcoin is priced so 1 BTC generation costs not 1 cycle, but rather proportional to total cycles in bitcoin network.  The latter quantity is quite inconsistent.  You can see this in the markets: as collective power has stabilized, price has stabilized.  When difficulty went from < 100k to > 1M was when the massive price swing took place.  Pricing a bitcoin now essentially involves conjecturing the future network size, which is what makes it extremely difficulty to do.

Second, people are not thinking this way out of dislike for anything bitcoin like.  It is indeed because they feel it is unfair that the coins they make now that cost 1M times as much to generate are worth the same as those who generated years ago.




Voting will make the number of generated coins highly unpredictable. You are setting up a system prone to positive feedback loops that could create even more price instability.

I don't think that most people will vote altruistically or in the name of economic stability. A lot of miners will just vote for a very high number hoping to bring the weighted median up so they can make a few more coins. Once people get used to the fact that the block award keeps rising, they will vote for even bigger increases hoping to make up for the loss of value of their coins.  Hyperinflation could result.

Even your idea of "vetoing" for upper and lower bounds will be "abused" for selfish means: Many miners will set lower bounds (that they keep raising) simply to make sure other voters don't bring the median down again.


If this is true, then if I wrote a bitcoin client that colluded to give miners more coins, they would use it.  I don't think that's the case.  I think people can understand that if they do these things, the coins they are generating become totally worthless because noone has faith in them anymore.

Here is a much less corruptible scheme that addresses your concerns:

Number of coins awarded per block = Difficulty

Simple, predictable, easy to understand by everybody, and likely to lead to (more or less) stable prices because difficulty is roughly proportional to the size of the economy.

See point (3).  The problem is inflation due to Moore's law.  The purpose of changing difficulty is to counteract the fact that computation depreciates.


And here lies the problem. A system that relies on hope.

The current bitcoin implementation, despite all its flaws, has one feature the gives it a huge amount of resilience:  A decision that is in the selfish interest of an individual user is usually also in the interest of the bitcoin network as a whole.  It doesn't matter who the user is or what his motivations are. Bitcoin is agnostic to things like hope and ideology.

In the system you're suggesting, a decision that is in the selfish interest of an individual user is  detrimental to the network as whole. It's a tragedy of the commons of sorts.

I'm not saying such a system can't work, but it's a lot more vulnerable than the current bitcoin implementation.

No, a single selfish individual decision is not bad.  51% of people making them is.  I agree with you this is somewhat troubling, and personally I worry that there may be miners who are not smart enough to see why voting to raise issuance is a bad idea.  Fortunately the upper/lower bd gets around that.  

Anyway thanks those who have replied so far for constructive feedback, but it looks like unhelpful persons are starting to show up.  Before this thread gets worse, I just want to reiterate the following point.

We basically already have this system in place, but just implemented in a very inefficient way.  If I don't like the rules, I must (a) write a new client, (b) distribute it, (c) explain/debate with other people why my rules are better (d) get them to them switch.  The purpose of "hashcoin" would be to recognize this and streamline it, making it very easy for people who are unhappy with the current rules to find each other and fork the chain.  In other words, what I'm really proposing is not philosophical or economic at all, but purely practical: writing a client that has built-in-support for doing steps (a) and (b) automatically.  Thus, if you are unhappy, you need only do (c) and (d).  The goal is to write a system with the goal in place of "how can I make it so that, if people don't like this system, they can very easily change it themselves without having to write any code or forcing everyone to start over".

Indeed, I suspect there are people with economic backgrounds that have much better ideas for parameter settings than I do as a CS.  All I am proposing is essentially a system where such people can put their parameter settings into place without writing any code.
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July 01, 2011, 02:17:46 PM
 #18

Personally, I like the system just the way it is. it has all of the characteristics of a great medium of exchange:

http://economicsandliberty.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/further-observations-on-bitcoin-digital-currencies-privacy-and-liberty/

We just need to now make it user friendly so grandma can do it Smiley
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July 01, 2011, 02:28:03 PM
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If this is true, then if I wrote a bitcoin client that colluded to give miners more coins, they would use it.  I don't think that's the case.  I think people can understand that if they do these things, the coins they are generating become totally worthless because noone has faith in them anymore.

They wouldn't use it because it's not compatible with the existing clients on the network, and most people would reject their forked chain.

In your system, collusion to award yourself more coins is compatible with the existing clients on the network.  

Your system allows a gradual, creeping corruption.  It's a bit like a badly enforced law that initially gets broken by only a few opportunists, but after a while even "nice" people who (in principle) agree with the law start breaking it because they feel cheated by the opportunists.

The current bitcoin implementation is highly resilient because of network effects.  A gradual corruption is not possible. You can't go from a situation where only 1% of miners use the corrupt client, then a week later 2%, then 10%, then 50%... no, network effects will very quickly drive the number down from 1% to 0%.

Corruption in the current implementation can only be revolutionary, ie. >50% of users (not just miners!) updating to the corrupt client simultaneously.  That is extremely unlinkely.



Also, 50% inflation a year as a result of Moore's Law is still a lot better than allowing people to vote themselves richer, causing hyperinflation.


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July 01, 2011, 02:33:58 PM
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Good point and I agree there are problems.  All I am doing is proposing the best I can think of.  How would you do it?  Bitcoin now is basically Satoshi wrote the rules and everyone follows them.  All I'm proposing is a system where people can easily "dissent", make their own rules, and if enough people follow, actually change things.

How would I do it? I like how Bitcoin is now.

And you are wrong when you say that people just follow what Satoshi wrote. People like what Satoshi wrote or otherwise Bitcoin would not have the success it has had. If a big part of the people liked another way they would have already started a competing currency. There is nothing stopping you from creating your hashcoin. Satoshi even gave you the open source code so you only need to change a few lines of code and you are ready to go.

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I don't understand this part but I want to.  Could you link me to something that explains this further?

I really dont know how can I explained more clearly, but Ill try. I am saying that having a price index (no matter what you decide to include or how to calculate that index) does not guarantee you that the monetary system is not creating distortions in the economy. As an example I signaled the roaring 20's. So saying that as long as some price index that you deem appropiate will remain stable is not a guarantee that a monetary system you propose will ensure economic stability.

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I disagree with both points.  I think both of these problems are caused by the following fact:  The price per CPU cycle on average is fairly consistent to people.  But bitcoin is priced so 1 BTC generation costs not 1 cycle, but rather proportional to total cycles in bitcoin network.  The latter quantity is quite inconsistent.  You can see this in the markets: as collective power has stabilized, price has stabilized.  When difficulty went from < 100k to > 1M was when the massive price swing took place.  Pricing a bitcoin now essentially involves conjecturing the future network size, which is what makes it extremely difficulty to do.

The problem with your hyphothesis is that price has been stable way before the hashing power stabilized. In fact, hashing power is starting to rise again since yesterday.

Even if you took the time to analize it econometrically (which I believe you havent) I dont think you will find a clear pattern relating hasing power and price, because basically hashing power does not change almost the supply of coins (big increases accelerate very slightly the supply until difficulty adjusts again) and does not affect the demand. This is why we see in reality that increases in price always leads to increases in difficulty (because hashing power has increased).

Both theoretical analisys and empirical data are against your hypothesis. Its important to keep in mind that supply and demand of bitcoins, and thus price, are not affected by hashing power (supply slightly). Instead the incentive to mine it is indeed affected by the purchasing power of bitcoins.

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Second, people are not thinking this way out of dislike for anything bitcoin like.  It is indeed because they feel it is unfair that the coins they make now that cost 1M times as much to generate are worth the same as those who generated years ago.

Well, Bitcoin is not a system to get rich, its a currency. Its meant to be used to trade. People should understand that mining is a market with a very low barrier of entry, almost anyone can do it, and will be, more and more as time pases, a very low yielding activity due to competition. If you want to prosper in the Bitcoin economy you will have a lot more success trying to create a business than going the miner route. This is also a good incentive.
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