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Author Topic: Bitcoin in "silent mode"  (Read 2205 times)
grondilu
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December 30, 2010, 02:24:22 AM
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I was talking about bitcoin on some forum and at some point I was explaining that all transactions are public.  I gave bitcoinexplorer.com as an example of a website where people could have details about any transaction.

At this point there was a misunderstanding, for one of the guys I was talking to thought bitcoinexplorer.com was part of the system, that during a transaction, both parties had to refer to this website in order to perform the transaction.  Of course, I had to explain that this is not the way bitcoin works,  that bitcoin doesn't need any website to function properly.

However, this made me think of something.

Right now there are a few websites that are very useful to the bitcoin project.   bitcoin.org and its forum of course, Bitcoinexplorer.com, bitcoinwatch.com and others.

Would the use of bitcoin be really the same without those websites ?  Isn't bitcoinwatch.com quite reassuring for instance, since it allows a user to check that "everything is right" by comparing his block number to bitcoinwatch's block number ?

So, if governments decided to shut down all bitcoin related websites and forums, then bitcoin would need to work in "silent mode".  People would have to trust their client only.  They would communicate via encrypted email about their chain length, making sure it is more or less the same.  It would be the same system, but I guess it would surely "feel" different.

I'm pretty sure it would work fine, but we should be mentally prepared to use bitcoin in such a "silent mode".
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kiba
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December 30, 2010, 02:28:45 AM
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Mirror those sites across the net. Problem solved.

bober182
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December 30, 2010, 04:12:46 AM
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All data is lost no source code just having a blog about bitcoins and you go to a labor camp.
Think falun gung and china.

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Hal
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December 30, 2010, 09:54:55 PM
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Doesn't the client check with multiple connected peers to make sure it has the latest block? Maybe there could be a window that displays all connected peers and the latest info from each. Then you could check that they all agree about chain length, etc.

Hal Finney
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January 05, 2011, 01:44:44 AM
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There could be a standalone program to display the same information as Block Explorer does. It's all being pulled from a client via RPC.
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January 05, 2011, 02:42:47 AM
 #6

What if the client is not doing the authentication and the network itself provides this feature? Autonomous networks can monitor dropped nodes and report new connections. Any new connection shakes hands with client and produces "last know state" which the network agrees or disagrees with. The handshake could include an inspection feature that determines if client is valid or compromised, also the client can insure that the network has not been compromised through theft or misdirection.

ptd
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January 05, 2011, 11:42:43 AM
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In theory if we connected to the network by "addr" messages (as opposed to IRC), the client it connected to could lie to it and not tell it about the biggest block chain, but rather a small one it controls. This fraudulent client would only send addresses of clients running the fraudulent block chain. This breaks down if the victim client connects to a node that knows about the real block chain though.
Mike Hearn
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January 06, 2011, 02:06:16 PM
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The blocks contain the difficulty transitions. Unless the attacker was able to keep up with the network, you'd receive either blocks of the wrong difficulty (rejected) or nowhere near enough blocks to be reasonable (average would be much higher than 10 minutes). Either case can be detected, though of course if you can't connect to the real BitCoin network then you're not going to get much done anyway ....
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