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Author Topic: Block creation will eventually become more stable and predictable  (Read 2095 times)
Atheros
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July 12, 2011, 04:07:25 AM
 #1



I was sitting waiting patiently, a whole hour, for a new block to be found and watching this chart when it occurred to me that the irregular creation of blocks will eventually become much more regular.

Right now, miners are motivated by the 50 bitcoin reward and hardly at all by the fees, although those are nice too. In the future when there is little reward and high fee income, it will not be worth the electricity cost to mine shortly after a block is found because the number of transactions will be low and will take time to accumulate. After several minutes (less than ten) it would become worth the cost to mine for the fees. The result is that almost all miners individually, acting rationally, would stop mining after a block is found and simply go about routing and keeping track of transactions until enough fees accumulate to warrant the electricity to search for a block. Then they would all start again.

So after a block is found, mining would stop for several minutes and then quickly start back up again 3 to 6 minutes later.1 The difficulty would take this behavior into account so that finding a block after those couple minutes will be easier and the ten minute average would remain. No more would we get 2 blocks right next to each other2 which would mean fewer times, like pictured above, when an hour goes by without a confirmation.

And the best part is that we don't have to do anything to make it happen! Yay!


1: 3 to 6 minutes is a guess but it would definitely be less than ten.
2: And if there is, it would only be because other miners weren't aware of the new block which means that the block chain is split. One of the two blocks will be orphaned which means that it effectively was never found in the first place.

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July 12, 2011, 04:14:53 AM
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There are plenty of miners out there that don't pay for power and hence won't care about whether the block is full or not.

That's beyond the fact that I don't see transaction fees funding things very well at all, unless the network forces higher fees or the price of bitcoin goes up a lot.

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July 12, 2011, 04:29:08 AM
 #3

I have a book for you to read. Fooled by Randomness. It is aout trading ,but it is about how people have no clue about statistics.

> So after a block is found, mining would stop for several minutes and then quickly start back up again 3 to 6 minutes later.

Yes. Like thousands of miners are on the computer turnin thigns off aftera block is found.

Here is what goes on:

* It takes time for a block and work to go through the network, and miners to pick up new work. not everyone uses long poll, but even then there is a lot of communication - so once a block is found, a lot of miners still work on outdated data and get no shares.
* Block creation will never stabilize and  be predictable because it is RANDOM. One block per 6 minutes is AVERAGE. The variance is quite high.
* And yes, you have fluctuations of hashing power, but it is not because a block is found, more because of weather and people tuning off stuff at certain times, people not able to sleep with a mining rig running in their room, but mining during the day. THIS will no change, although at one point other people may be more dominant running data centers.
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July 12, 2011, 04:30:45 AM
 #4

I think it would be easier to lower the target time to like 5 or 3 minutes.

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July 12, 2011, 04:32:52 AM
 #5

The effect will exist, but its strength will be less than you describe because:

1. Depending on the mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure inclusion in a block is a scarce resource, even after a block is found there will still be plenty of fees in the next.
2. Unless there's something else to compute, the decrease in profitability will have to be significant to pause mining, to avoid thermal cycles.
3. Some people just won't care enough about this to pause mining.
4. Even if the numbers are as you describe, instead of exp(10) we'll have 5+exp(5), which still leaves plenty of room for longer than average blocks.


That's beyond the fact that I don't see transaction fees funding things very well at all
They had better. But it's possible that in the future proof-of-work will be augmented with things like proof-of-stake so not a lot of mining will be necessary.

, unless the network forces higher fees
Yes.

or the price of bitcoin goes up a lot.
We're hoping Bitcoin will succeed, which will inevitably cause its price to increase.


> So after a block is found, mining would stop for several minutes and then quickly start back up again 3 to 6 minutes later.
Yes. Like thousands of miners are on the computer turnin thigns off aftera block is found.
These days there are things called "computers" which can automatically halt the mining when a new block is found.

It takes time for a block and work to go through the network, and miners to pick up new work. not everyone uses long poll, but even then there is a lot of communication - so once a block is found, a lot of miners still work on outdated data and get no shares.
Propagating a block is supposed to take a minute tops. And this is completely irrelevant to the OP's point - people will mine on the old block, but if they find something their block will be invalid. Thus the finding of valid blocks will slow down.

Block creation will never stabilize and  be predictable because it is RANDOM. One block per 6 minutes is AVERAGE. The variance is quite high.
He didn't say it will be completely predictable, only that it will be more predictable because it will no longer be a homogenous Poisson process.

And yes, you have fluctuations of hashing power, but it is not because a block is found, more because of weather and people tuning off stuff at certain times, people not able to sleep with a mining rig running in their room, but mining during the day. THIS will no change, although at one point other people may be more dominant running data centers.
Did you read the post? He explained exactly why this will change.

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Atheros
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July 12, 2011, 04:38:36 AM
 #6

Yes. Like thousands of miners are on the computer turnin thigns off aftera block is found.

They obviously won't do it manually. Their mining software will do it.

Nothing in your post refutes what I have said.

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Atheros
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July 12, 2011, 04:54:40 AM
 #7

4. Even if the numbers are as you describe, instead of exp(10) we'll have 5+exp(5), which still leaves plenty of room for longer than average blocks.

That's true. They will happen. I am happier about many fewer occasions.

1. Depending on the mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure inclusion in a block is a scarce resource, even after a block is found there will still be plenty of fees in the next.

This statement makes this kind of assumption for example: 'It is worth it to mine after one minute of the previous block being found.' If this assumption is true, then it will be twice as 'worth it' after an additional minute. After ten minutes, finding a block would then be worth ten times as much as the effort put in. This is not a stable situation- many more people would start mining and the benefit of mining would drop until your assumption becomes not true.

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July 12, 2011, 04:56:07 AM
 #8

This is great. I got chills back when I first realized. I think we'll start to notice it to a small degree in 10 years when 6.25 is the base reward. The free electricity people won't stop, but a good number of people will and we'll be able to see it in slightly more even times between blocks.

Actually, it probably depends on what it does to hardware to change the load on it constantly. If that's bad for hardware then we probably won't notice it for longer.

Secondary uses for hashing power will influence things too. Even if you have free electricity you might switch between bitcoin and namecoin based on the accumulated fees waiting on each.

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July 12, 2011, 05:14:03 AM
 #9

There is no "acting rationally" in social behavior driven by individual greed of each participant.  You may stop, guy next to you will be in the race trying to get ahead of you.
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July 12, 2011, 05:28:00 AM
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There is no "acting rationally" in social behavior driven by individual greed of each participant.  You may stop, guy next to you will be in the race trying to get ahead of you.

By "acting rationally" I did indeed mean acting selfish and greedy and making rational decisions to increase your own profits.

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Jaime Frontero
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July 12, 2011, 05:32:44 AM
 #11

block creation is perfectly stable and predictable.  it was designed that way.

but it was designed by someone with a long-term vision, and you simply can't look at it in the short term.
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July 12, 2011, 05:43:54 AM
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block creation is perfectly stable and predictable.  it was designed that way.

but it was designed by someone with a long-term vision, and you simply can't look at it in the short term.

Um, it is not perfectly stable and anyone reasonable looks both short and long term. Are you missing the point of the original post?

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July 12, 2011, 05:49:46 AM
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There is no "acting rationally" in social behavior driven by individual greed of each participant.  You may stop, guy next to you will be in the race trying to get ahead of you.

By "acting rationally" I did indeed mean acting selfish and greedy and making rational decisions to increase your own profits.

it simply will not happen how you describe it.  we don't have to go far in history for examples. take current political and economic systems in the world. are our countries (governments) acting rationally and in the best interests of their citizens or hugely driven by special interest lobbying groups looking after their corporate sponsors? is news media presenting real news or rationalizing and dramatizing  everything to point that it isn't objective news anymore but a show to pump ratings?  I tend to think we live in the age of idiocracy especially here in the US  and the reason for all of this is human greed. I seen whole industry destroying itself driven by individual greed, if any one wonders, I'm talking about online porn industry. There is no acting rational in mass driven by greed and profits, can't see it working like that.
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July 12, 2011, 05:56:54 AM
 #14

block creation is perfectly stable and predictable.  it was designed that way.

but it was designed by someone with a long-term vision, and you simply can't look at it in the short term.

Um, it is not perfectly stable and anyone reasonable looks both short and long term. Are you missing the point of the original post?

you mean this:

Quote
The result is that almost all miners individually, acting rationally, would stop mining after a block is found and simply go about routing and keeping track of transactions until enough fees accumulate to warrant the electricity to search for a block.

?

no.  i don't think i'm missing it - i just don't think it's valid.

on a practical level, no miner does this.  it's a ridiculous amount of effort.

and on a strictly financial level, i suspect it's more expensive (in terms of both electrical power and wear on equipment [starting and stopping fans, etc.]) to do this.  do you turn off the engine of your car, waiting at a stoplight (some new hybrids - which are designed for that - excepted)?  no.  you use more gas starting an engine than you use in 30-60 seconds of idle.

i just can't see starting and stopping my miners six times an hour as a particularly efficient strategy.  even if i were to write a script to automate it, it would still - i offer - use more power and degrade the equipment more than would be offset by any tiny, theoretical profit.
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July 12, 2011, 06:02:32 AM
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as long as you don't have more than a dozen, it would probably not waste much electricity at all.a fan does not have much mass so starting it would would not be too much burden.

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July 12, 2011, 06:03:46 AM
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Google "Poisson distribution". Get educated.
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July 12, 2011, 06:05:12 AM
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as long as you don't have more than a dozen, it would probably not waste much electricity at all.a fan does not have much mass so starting it would would not be too much burden.

it's not just the fans on the GPUs.

put a Kill-A-Watt on a miner sometime, and compare the power draw in the first five minutes of operation to the draw at steady-state.
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July 12, 2011, 06:09:21 AM
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as long as you don't have more than a dozen, it would probably not waste much electricity at all.a fan does not have much mass so starting it would would not be too much burden.

it's not just the fans on the GPUs.

put a Kill-A-Watt on a miner sometime, and compare the power draw in the first five minutes of operation to the draw at steady-state.

write up a lab report for me and ill belive you. you fail to state the state the "miner" was in before you started the meter. stopping and starting a mining operation, as long as all the data stays in ram, and the gpu just stops doing numbers, hardly any energy would be wasted by not mining, other than keeping all the equipment idle. with 3-5 gpus the savings would be great because you only have 1 set of ram, cpu and mobo and 3-5 gpus that won't be working. with only 1 or 2 gpus on a mobo i could see it as being a waste, but with 3-5+ i could see it working assuming the original assumption was correct.

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July 12, 2011, 06:14:25 AM
 #19

block creation is perfectly stable and predictable.  it was designed that way.

but it was designed by someone with a long-term vision, and you simply can't look at it in the short term.

Um, it is not perfectly stable and anyone reasonable looks both short and long term. Are you missing the point of the original post?

you mean this:

Quote
The result is that almost all miners individually, acting rationally, would stop mining after a block is found and simply go about routing and keeping track of transactions until enough fees accumulate to warrant the electricity to search for a block.

?

no.  i don't think i'm missing it - i just don't think it's valid.

on a practical level, no miner does this.  it's a ridiculous amount of effort.

and on a strictly financial level, i suspect it's more expensive (in terms of both electrical power and wear on equipment [starting and stopping fans, etc.]) to do this.  do you turn off the engine of your car, waiting at a stoplight (some new hybrids - which are designed for that - excepted)?  no.  you use more gas starting an engine than you use in 30-60 seconds of idle.

i just can't see starting and stopping my miners six times an hour as a particularly efficient strategy.  even if i were to write a script to automate it, it would still - i offer - use more power and degrade the equipment more than would be offset by any tiny, theoretical profit.

How about in 140 years? Do you think people will mine if they get 0BTC for finding a block? Or maybe they'll wait until there is a fee offered causing the effect the Atheros is talking about.

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July 12, 2011, 06:17:37 AM
 #20

Another cool effect is that you'll actually be able to get faster service with a higher fee even once the fee you were going to pay guarantees inclusion. If you pay .001 you'll get in for sure, but if you pay .1 maybe you'll make the difference for 10000 miners and decrease your expected wait by 30 seconds. There probably will be some roughly known point at which all available hashing power is on and extra won't help or at least give greatly diminishing returns. So watching the basket of fees will be part of excellent fee strategy.

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