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Author Topic: The Creator vs. Evolutionary Innovation  (Read 2254 times)
cunicula
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July 15, 2011, 04:53:23 AM
 #1

I don't believe in the long-term survival of an entity that refuses to change with the times out of deference to 'The Creator'. The forum appears to be full of fanatics who cite 'The Creator's' wishes as if they provided sure protection from obsolescence. Do you think 'The Creator' can peer in to the future?

People in this thread are right to point out that changes to the block chain should protect the wealth holdings of existing users. I don't think wealth protection is consistent with preserving the protocol unchanged. I interpret wealth-protection to mean a) don't take incumbents coins b) do not allow more than 21 million coins to be generated c) allow users to vote on protocol changes by creating forks in the blockchain.

Without a workable process for c), which would let the technology evolve, I don't think bitcoin can succeed. Without success, any talk about preserving the bitcoin-denominated wealth of existing holders is moot. Another technology, with a less cumbersome innovation process (likely a centralized one), will take over. Currently, Bitcoin has major defects. New, superior blockchains will be created and obviously desirable modifications have even been proposed in the forum. Committing to a faithful interpretation of "The Creator's" wishes will consign bitcoin to the future's rubbish bin.

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July 15, 2011, 05:00:41 AM
 #2

the c) is arbitrarily integrated into protocol. we cast our votes by deciding whether we want to install updated client with specific changes or not.
cunicula
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July 15, 2011, 05:32:44 AM
 #3

the c) is arbitrarily integrated into protocol. we cast our votes by deciding whether we want to install updated client with specific changes or not.

Yes, but afaik this system has never been tested. If the system is effective that should be demonstrated by putting it in use. Without a demonstration it seems like cheap talk to me.

Also, a voting system that assigned votes in proportion to bitcoin holdings would be much better. Why should the interests of people with no wealth be dramatically overrepresented in the voting process.
Of course people can use their money to game the process (creating additional nodes), but this is an exceptionally cumbersome way of giving the wealthy a voice.



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July 15, 2011, 05:38:44 AM
 #4

Many imperfect technologies have become the market standard. The switching cost of adopting a new protocol is often more than the cost of the inefficiencies. As far as standards go, I think bitcoin is a pretty good one. It's very well made for a first try at decentralized currency in my opinion.

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July 15, 2011, 05:45:51 AM
 #5

Yes, but afaik this system has never been tested. If the system is effective that should be demonstrated by putting it in use. Without a demonstration it seems like cheap talk to me.
It is already tested and working - updates introduced and we either install them or not. Are you suggesting to implement some extreme radical changes and see how people react to it?


Quote from: cunicula
Also, a voting system that assigned votes in proportion to bitcoin holdings would be much better. Why should the interests of people with no wealth be dramatically overrepresented in the voting process.
Of course people can use their money to game the process (creating additional nodes), but this is an exceptionally cumbersome way of giving the wealthy a voice.
With this thinking you probably should be fine with current fiat systems. After all these wealthy elites know what's better for you and everyone else.
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July 15, 2011, 05:51:47 AM
 #6

Missed that little point on the first read-through.

People should be represented by how much wealth they have? Hello, welcome to U.S. Politics. Just call your favorite lobbyist or give to your favorite corporation to proceed.


fortitudinem multis - catenum regit omnia
cunicula
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July 15, 2011, 06:30:19 AM
 #7

Yes, but afaik this system has never been tested. If the system is effective that should be demonstrated by putting it in use. Without a demonstration it seems like cheap talk to me.
It is already working fine. Or are you suggesting to implement some extreme radical changes and see how people will react to it?

About switching costs. Yes, of course this is correct in principle. Either bitcoin's combination of quality and network effects are already sufficient to discourage entry from competitors, or they are not yet sufficient. I vote for not yet sufficient. The protocol has serious deficiencies in the areas of i) incentives for adoption ii) provision of insurance against price changes iii) wallet security. The network is still small. Adjusting the merchant infrastructure is costly, but the existing merchant infrastructure is extremely small.  Demand for coins is larger, but this comes from speculators and they can switch to a new speculative investment at very low cost. Thus, I don't see the argument for large switching costs. A judgement call is involved here. I can understand your POV, but disagree with it.

About wealth. I think that bitcoin should be set-up like a joint-stock company one coin, one vote. Coin holders, not client downloaders, have the best incentives to maintain the value of the bitcoin economy. There are theoretical problems with the expropriation of minority shareholders. I'm sceptical that bitcoin would encounter these problems, however, because minority shareholders also make up the user base. You can't expropriate them without destroying the value of bitcoin assets. I will not be discussing US politics with anyone in this thread.

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July 15, 2011, 06:31:11 AM
 #8

Many imperfect technologies have become the market standard. The switching cost of adopting a new protocol is often more than the cost of the inefficiencies. As far as standards go, I think bitcoin is a pretty good one. It's very well made for a first try at decentralized currency in my opinion.



+1!!!!

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July 15, 2011, 06:39:56 AM
 #9

Quote
About switching costs. Yes, of course this is correct in principle. Either bitcoin's combination of quality and network effects are already sufficient to discourage entry from competitors, or they are not yet sufficient.

I vote for not yet sufficient.


I think bitcoin has not only a significant percentage of the most likely early adopters in the tech community involved in it, but also brand recognition that by itself is enormously important and difficult for a new entrant to compete against.

Quote
The protocol has serious deficiencies in the areas of i) incentives for adoption ii) provision of insurance against price changes iii) wallet security.

i) That's the bootstrapping problem that any new currency will have, and I think bitcoin has managed well. Unless you're referring to some other aspect of bitcoin that could be improved in a new variant..?
ii) I haven't thought a lot about this, but I don't see any major problems in using options markets to reduce volatility. That is what all other currencies use. Every thing doesn't have to be part of the peer-to-peer protocol to work.
iii) That's not part of the protocol. Security can be added to the wallet without any changes to bitcoin.

Quote
About wealth. I think that bitcoin should be set-up like a joint-stock company one coin, one vote. Coin holders, not client downloaders, have the best incentives to maintain the value of the bitcoin economy.

I agree that this would be good. It's comparable to voting power being proportional to how much taxes one pays. It would quickly eliminate special interest politics, like welfare, corporate subsidies and bank bailouts.

 
cunicula
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July 15, 2011, 06:45:26 AM
 #10

Yes, but afaik this system has never been tested. If the system is effective that should be demonstrated by putting it in use. Without a demonstration it seems like cheap talk to me.
It is already tested and working - updates introduced and we either install them or not. Are you suggesting to implement some extreme radical changes and see how people react to it?

Yes, my sense is that there is no real test unless opinion is really divided about an update. How will the system handle real competition between two ideas about the blockchain? If the process for resolving conflict turns out to be extremely dysfunctional and chaotic, then I would like to know that in advance. At this point, I'm not sure whether trusting bitcoin is equivalent to believing that there will never be a divisive conflict among the user base, or if I can trust bitcoin even in the event of such  conflict. I would feel a lot better if I knew the system had a proven track record of handling conflict through a transparent process. I don't know this yet and won't take the word of developers at face value.

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July 15, 2011, 06:55:38 AM
 #11

I don't believe in the long-term survival of an entity that refuses to change with the times out of deference to 'The Creator'. The forum appears to be full of fanatics who cite 'The Creator's' wishes as if they provided sure protection from obsolescence. Do you think 'The Creator' can peer in to the future?
Who is this "entity" that refuses to change and worships "the creator"? A few crackpot forum members? Bitcoin is an active project with an active dev team, and if you have good ideas for improvements you're welcome on the mailing list.

Apart from the basic assumptions (coin generation rate, max number of coins) everything is open to discussion, including protocol improvements (if backwards/forwards compatible). Big changes have been made before. It's not like it's set in stone and the only thing that happens there is worshipping Satoshi's code...

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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July 15, 2011, 07:08:55 AM
 #12


i) That's the bootstrapping problem that any new currency will have, and I think bitcoin has managed well. Unless you're referring to some other aspect of bitcoin that could be improved in a new variant..?
ii) I haven't thought a lot about this, but I don't see any major problems in using options markets to reduce volatility. That is what all other currencies use. Every thing doesn't have to be part of the peer-to-peer protocol to work.
iii) That's not part of the protocol. Security can be added to the wallet without any changes to bitcoin.

I have some suggestions on the issues (i) and (ii), see http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=19130.0
The specifics of the suggestions can be discussed there. The discussion here is intended to be more general.

The suggestion for (iii) is much simpler so I'll just write it here. I'm sceptical that a good security outcome can be achieved without introducing some blockchain rules governing transactions.
If someone steals my atm card, they can't take that much of my money because fraud prevention will prevent them.
I would like to be able to opt into having the blockchain work like fraud prevention. I don't see why I should have to pay a Bitcoin bank to perform this service.


ii) Every thing doesn't have to be part of the peer-to-peer protocol to work.

"To work" is a meaningless phrase. Paypal works. Unlike with bitcoin, I can buy goods with paypal that I can't find for a lower price elsewhere.
Does this mean that improving upon Paypal is a useless endeavor?

Transactions that can be conducted within p2p protocols at exceptionally low cost should be part of p2p protocols. Conventional banking and insurance today is quite costly. For a microcurrency, it will be even more costly. The point should be to make as efficient a financial and monetary system as possible.

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cunicula
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July 15, 2011, 07:14:45 AM
 #13

Who is this "entity" that refuses to change and worships "the creator"? A few crackpot forum members? Bitcoin is an active project with an active dev team, and if you have good ideas for improvements you're welcome on the mailing list.

Apart from the basic assumptions (coin generation rate, max number of coins) everything is open to discussion, including protocol improvements (if backwards/forwards compatible). Big changes have been made before. It's not like it's set in stone and the only thing that happens there is worshipping Satoshi's code...


I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.

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July 15, 2011, 07:23:23 AM
 #14

Who is this "entity" that refuses to change and worships "the creator"? A few crackpot forum members? Bitcoin is an active project with an active dev team, and if you have good ideas for improvements you're welcome on the mailing list.

Apart from the basic assumptions (coin generation rate, max number of coins) everything is open to discussion, including protocol improvements (if backwards/forwards compatible). Big changes have been made before. It's not like it's set in stone and the only thing that happens there is worshipping Satoshi's code...


I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.

don't pay attention to the ones who sit on the forums all day night long, they are doing nothing.
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July 15, 2011, 07:27:22 AM
 #15

Who is this "entity" that refuses to change and worships "the creator"? A few crackpot forum members? Bitcoin is an active project with an active dev team, and if you have good ideas for improvements you're welcome on the mailing list.

Apart from the basic assumptions (coin generation rate, max number of coins) everything is open to discussion, including protocol improvements (if backwards/forwards compatible). Big changes have been made before. It's not like it's set in stone and the only thing that happens there is worshipping Satoshi's code...


I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.

don't pay attention to the ones who sit on the forums all day night long, they are doing nothing.

I'm compiling code and running tests. That involves lots of waiting on the computer. I may as well read the forum while doing so. Tongue

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July 15, 2011, 07:29:26 AM
 #16

I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.
Hint: if you're serious with bitcoin, ignore the forum (almost) completely. The set of people that visit the forums , except for a few people, is completely distinct from the set of people that actively work on the code.

I think it's some kind of troll trap Smiley

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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July 18, 2011, 07:57:27 AM
 #17

Who is this "entity" that refuses to change and worships "the creator"? A few crackpot forum members? Bitcoin is an active project with an active dev team, and if you have good ideas for improvements you're welcome on the mailing list.

Apart from the basic assumptions (coin generation rate, max number of coins) everything is open to discussion, including protocol improvements (if backwards/forwards compatible). Big changes have been made before. It's not like it's set in stone and the only thing that happens there is worshipping Satoshi's code...


I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.

don't pay attention to the ones who sit on the forums all day night long, they are doing nothing.

I'm compiling code and running tests. That involves lots of waiting on the computer. I may as well read the forum while doing so. Tongue

Since you are a moderator, I think you get the exception. Smiley
It was more or a rule of thumb I guess.
Tasty /made asinine general statement.
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July 18, 2011, 08:13:11 AM
 #18

I don't know the Dev team personally. As a poster and reader of the forum, it often seems like "the few crackpot forum members" are actually the majority.
Hint: if you're serious with bitcoin, ignore the forum (almost) completely. The set of people that visit the forums , except for a few people, is completely distinct from the set of people that actively work on the code.

I think it's some kind of troll trap Smiley


Cunicula is a known troll. This was his lame attempt at starting a "class war". He is always very insulting and puts other peole down.
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July 18, 2011, 08:28:54 AM
 #19

I don't believe in the long-term survival of an entity that refuses to change with the times out of deference to 'The Creator'. The forum appears to be full of fanatics who cite 'The Creator's' wishes as if they provided sure protection from obsolescence. Do you think 'The Creator' can peer in to the future?

People in this thread are right to point out that changes to the block chain should protect the wealth holdings of existing users. I don't think wealth protection is consistent with preserving the protocol unchanged. I interpret wealth-protection to mean a) don't take incumbents coins b) do not allow more than 21 million coins to be generated c) allow users to vote on protocol changes by creating forks in the blockchain.

Without a workable process for c), which would let the technology evolve, I don't think bitcoin can succeed. Without success, any talk about preserving the bitcoin-denominated wealth of existing holders is moot. Another technology, with a less cumbersome innovation process (likely a centralized one), will take over. Currently, Bitcoin has major defects. New, superior blockchains will be created and obviously desirable modifications have even been proposed in the forum. Committing to a faithful interpretation of "The Creator's" wishes will consign bitcoin to the future's rubbish bin.

For the Creator so loved the Bitcoin that he will send his only Son, so that whoever hashes by his algorithm shall not meet obsolescence but shall become future proof.


or something like that
patvarilly
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July 18, 2011, 08:45:40 AM
 #20

Cunicula is a known troll. This was his lame attempt at starting a "class war". He is always very insulting and puts other peole down.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, hugolp!  This is simply insulting.  "Troll" doesn't mean "person who disagrees with hugolp".  Cunicula has consistently posted insightful and interesting comments, observations, suggestions and proposals.  He is clearly capable of thinking outside of the Bitcoin religious sect mentality and contributes far more to the discussions than most other members of the forum.  The only time I've ever seen him lose his temper is when replying to Atlas' and your own grandiose verbal diarrhea, which almost everyone who has a neuron can agree is a net positive contribution to the forum.  I challenge you to back up your statement with evidence of Cunicula ever being "very insulting" to anyone that isn't you or Atlas.  It's absolute insanity that this "troll" nonsense is coming out of a "Hero Member" and "Global Moderator".  If anything, Bitcoin needs more thinking people like cunicula and fewer dogmatic people like you.
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