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Author Topic: Are you depending on firstbits.com?  (Read 593 times)
KenJackson
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July 07, 2011, 05:06:13 PM
 #1

All you can see at firstbits is a notice, part of which says:
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We have taken the site offline until we fix and verify our database, this may take 2 days. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. The best thing about the firstbits rule is that anyone can implement a site or app that follows the same rule to make consistant firstbits conversions. Unfortunately, there is no other service to refer you to yet.

I've been very skeptical about this site from the start.  Now as far as I know, they're totally on the up and up, but I don't know who's running it, what motives they have, how honorable they are or what financial pressures they may be enduring now or in the future.  So why would I give out an address that depends on them to convert it before I can get paid? 

And how do we know they won't make an error?
There seems to be some error somewhere right now, whether theirs or someone else's.
And how do we know they won't be tempted to give out their own address occasionally to scoop up a little irretrievable illicit gain?

The only reason I'm bringing this up is that since we are purposely stepping away from government control (good!) we are also stepping away from some government protection.  Therefore we must be ever vigilant against the possibility of deceit and theft. 

I'm not saying it's happening.  I'm saying always beware.
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FreeMoney
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July 10, 2011, 04:30:02 AM
 #2

I am responsible for FirstBits.com, sorry I didn't know about this thread until now.

Firstbits addresses are just an idea. The site is a sample implementation of the rule. The details of the rule can be found at firstbits.com/about.php

There are already plenty of good Bitcoin address shorteners if you want to trust someone to maintain their database and server. What I am hoping to provide is a way to have shorter addresses without a central point of failure. Right now we are the first and only place to do firstbits look ups, but I hope that won't be true for long. We are going to release the code really soon so it will be a snap to see that we do look ups correctly and even to make your own copy of the site. Hopefully this alleviates any worry that we would maliciously give out incorrect conversions.

Unfortunately we recently discovered that our database (essentially a list of addresses and the block number in which they first appear) was missing part of several blocks. We took the site down to recheck the whole database and add some checks so that it can't happen again.

Given the number of missing addresses and the number of look ups we've done it's unlikely that even one address was given wrong firstbits. If wrong firstbits were given that would still not have resulted in a problem because we would have made the same mistake converting back. Now there is a warning to recheck your firstbits. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and any worry. 

Play Bitcoin Poker at sealswithclubs.eu. We're active and open to everyone.
hashmaker
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July 10, 2011, 04:42:19 AM
 #3

Unfortunately we recently discovered that our database (essentially a list of addresses and the block number in which they first appear) was missing part of several blocks. We took the site down to recheck the whole database and add some checks so that it can't happen again.

Does this mean our firstbits are no longer valid?

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July 10, 2011, 05:32:16 AM
 #4

Unfortunately we recently discovered that our database (essentially a list of addresses and the block number in which they first appear) was missing part of several blocks. We took the site down to recheck the whole database and add some checks so that it can't happen again.

Does this mean our firstbits are no longer valid?

The vast majority and likely all that have been looked up are fine. If you happened to have an address that was very similar to one that was left out and your address was newer than the one left out then it could have given you a wrong firstbits.

I would be surprised if even one was given out incorrectly, but I recommend everyone recheck because it's not something you want to have wrong.

Play Bitcoin Poker at sealswithclubs.eu. We're active and open to everyone.
vv01f
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August 22, 2011, 09:02:16 PM
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very unlikely, but nevertheless I am still searching for some very neat addy .. I love regexp *waiting*

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malagant1979
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August 22, 2011, 09:56:29 PM
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Seems like it would be a good idea to release the database, to remove any risk of centralisation.
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September 09, 2011, 09:38:18 AM
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Seems like it would be a good idea to release the database, to remove any risk of centralisation.

The database is the block chain. It is rumored to be roaming the wild.

Play Bitcoin Poker at sealswithclubs.eu. We're active and open to everyone.
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