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Author Topic: Bitcoin is based on entropy reduction?  (Read 1453 times)
bitanarchy
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January 12, 2011, 05:17:04 PM
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I just listened to the interview with Bruce Wagner on Thinking Liberty. There were also some other guests in the show with bitcoin knowledge. Here is the link:
http://thinkingliberty.net/tag/bruce-wagner/

One of them said that bitcoin was based on wealth destruction. I cannot agree with that... Bitcoin just needs energy to operate just like any other currency system.

But another another guy said (at 50:30) that "bitcoin is based on a very specific decrease in entropy of the community tree". This sounds interesting to me, and I like to know more about it. What is the relation between bitcoin and entropy reduction? And why is this important?
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bosco
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January 12, 2011, 07:12:58 PM
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Programming is reducing entropy, so is cleaning your room.  When you make things less random and more structured you decrease entropy.  Over time the laws of thermodynamics kick your butt and entropy is increased again.  Think of what happens if you didn't clean your room for 200 yrs.  The block chain is a very specific decrease in entropy (ordered bunch of bits) that BitCoin clients agree upon.

To be honest I don't think it's that important of a statement or particularly profound.
Cryptoman
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January 12, 2011, 08:21:40 PM
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The energy required to perform the computation increases entropy and the resultant computation decreases entropy.  It's a net increase in entropy, as is everything else in the universe (no machine is 100% efficient).

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." --Gandhi
bitcool
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January 12, 2011, 09:06:40 PM
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Not unlike gold mining. Gold as its pure form represents less entropy than it's in the ore, but the mining process massively increases entropy.
grondilu
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January 12, 2011, 09:23:31 PM
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To be honest I don't think it's that important of a statement or particularly profound.

+1

But when you put the word "entropy" in a sentence, you make it sound much more clever.   Just compare "I'm cleaning my room" to "I'm reducing the entropy of my room".
bitanarchy
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January 13, 2011, 12:15:43 PM
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I was hoping for something like a justification for the amount of electrical energy spent on operating the bitcoin network to achieve a certain amount of security. Security must then be defined. Maybe there is a proof that it cannot be done more efficient than a certain limit?
ElectricGoat
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January 13, 2011, 02:48:53 PM
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There is no useful proof. The security of bitcoin relies on computationally difficult problems; the electricity cost depends on the difficulty of those problems. However, there is no proof that these problems are difficult, it's just that we don't know any easy way to solve them. Without a proof that the problems are really difficult, you can't find an interesting limit on energy consumption.

Please note that the problems used in that kind of cryptography are likely to either be difficult or stay difficult for a long time. It's just that there is no proof of difficulty.

Art experiment with bitcoins: http://greta.electricgoat.net
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