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Author Topic: Intriguing question about old addresses?  (Read 1957 times)
Bitman_Begins
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July 19, 2011, 06:40:26 PM
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Just thought I'd pose an intriguing question about old BTC addresses and what happens to them?
Supposing that someone, after a crash and losing their old BTC client and being unable to restore this goes and downloads another client, gets another address and starts sending to this client. Then one day, they accidentally send BTC to the old address and realise their mistake - where has their BTC just gone? i.e. down the drain or to another person? Is there someone somewhere profiteering somehow?
So what happens to the old address?
So somehow because the transaction has 'gone through', presumably there is only a record of it that can be accessed via block explorer and the client having failed to receive, the BTC has just 'disappeared' down a black hole?

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July 19, 2011, 06:42:58 PM
 #2

The sending will succeed, and indeed the coins will be lost forever, as no one has the private key needed to spend them anymore.

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July 19, 2011, 08:08:01 PM
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This is why BTC can never really succeed, because everyone has to be a tech geek just to know how to avoid this sort of thing; at least, with the resent (corrupt) financial system based on Dollars Pounds etc..your money is safe, because your money, is their money. Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day? Also, what would happen if small amounts even, were lost and the price were one day to reach the heights, of say, 100's of dollars per BTC? What would it take to make it more secure?
You need a better system, and I bet when they invent one, it won't be free!

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theymos
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July 19, 2011, 08:11:49 PM
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You can lose cash, too. If you don't want to worry about this, put your money in a bank.

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July 19, 2011, 08:53:29 PM
 #5

Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day?
Quite the reverse, if you lose bitcoins, everyone who holds bitcoins benefits. The fewer bitcoins in circulation, other things being equal, the more each bitcoin is worth.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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July 19, 2011, 09:47:26 PM
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Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day?
Quite the reverse, if you lose bitcoins, everyone who holds bitcoins benefits. The fewer bitcoins in circulation, other things being equal, the more each bitcoin is worth.
Benefits those who are holding wealth, and screws those who are using them! Yeah, I see...

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July 19, 2011, 09:50:57 PM
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This is why BTC can never really succeed, because everyone has to be a tech geek just to know how to avoid this sort of thing; at least, with the resent (corrupt) financial system based on Dollars Pounds etc..your money is safe, because your money, is their money. Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day? Also, what would happen if small amounts even, were lost and the price were one day to reach the heights, of say, 100's of dollars per BTC? What would it take to make it more secure?
You need a better system, and I bet when they invent one, it won't be free!

yay. Yet another fool who did not get it how banks create money for virtual transactions. PS: from one $ that FED pushes into the market, banks can make $400 out of thin air. And if someone deletes all the data on that bank, oh wonder, the money is gone as well...
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July 19, 2011, 09:57:02 PM
 #8

Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day?
Quite the reverse, if you lose bitcoins, everyone who holds bitcoins benefits. The fewer bitcoins in circulation, other things being equal, the more each bitcoin is worth.
Benefits those who are holding wealth, and screws those who are using them! Yeah, I see...
How does it screw those who are using them?

I am an employee of Ripple.
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July 19, 2011, 11:15:57 PM
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Maybe in this way of constantly losing coins, the world would become poorer on day?
Quite the reverse, if you lose bitcoins, everyone who holds bitcoins benefits. The fewer bitcoins in circulation, other things being equal, the more each bitcoin is worth.
Benefits those who are holding wealth, and screws those who are using them! Yeah, I see...
How does it screw those who are using them?

It doesn't. It benefits them too.

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July 20, 2011, 07:03:49 AM
 #10

This is why BTC can never really succeed, because everyone has to be a tech geek just to know how to avoid this sort of thing

This is always the case with new technology. At first you have to be a geek to use it, then as popularity grows it becomes more user friendly. If this means that Bitcoin can never succeed then computers would not have succeeded. Or the Internet.

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and screws those who are using them! Yeah, I see...

You mean those who are losing them.

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July 20, 2011, 07:36:14 AM
 #11

This is why BTC can never really succeed,
Oh man, consider me punished for trying to give an helpful answer. The ranting never stops, does it...

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 20, 2011, 10:41:33 AM
 #12

I tell friends that one of the coolest things about Bitcoin is, even if you don't use them yourself, is that it makes people as questions about all currencies.  Yes in a land where we use silver coins, you can get tipped over in a boat and loose your silver in the bay.  People loose a small amount of silver all the time and the holders and users of silver will have their silver go up microscopically in value.  There is no Bitcoin conspiracy, it works like digital cash.  There is nothing new here. 

BTW Other questions that get asked:
Q: Is bitcoin backed by gold or silver certificates?
A: No and virtually no other currency you use is.  Backed currencies have a high storage cost.

Q: Didn't someone hack into someones computer and steal their bitcoins?
A: I worked at a large bank in their engineering department. We were aware that hackers from Russia and other places were initially successful in stealing millions of USD from Citibank and other big banks, but these banks hushed it up in the press.  Bitcoin lacks a good public relations department.

Q: Can't (or hasn't) someone use it for buying illegal things like drugs?
A: Over a billion dollars in USD is used every year for buying illegal things.  Drug dealers on the corner in the bad part of down don't take Bitcoins, only USD.
 

Not as good as gold, BETTER.
XIU
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July 20, 2011, 10:46:52 AM
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I tell friends that one of the coolest things about Bitcoin is, even if you don't use them yourself, is that it makes people as questions about all currencies.  Yes in a land where we use silver coins, you can get tipped over in a boat and loose your silver in the bay.  People loose a small amount of silver all the time and the holders and users of silver will have their silver go up microscopically in value.  There is no Bitcoin conspiracy, it works like digital cash.  There is nothing new here. 

BTW Other questions that get asked:
Q: Is bitcoin backed by gold or silver certificates?
A: No and virtually no other currency you use is.  Backed currencies have a high storage cost.

Q: Didn't someone hack into someones computer and steal their bitcoins?
A: I worked at a large bank in their engineering department. We were aware that hackers from Russia and other places were initially successful in stealing millions of USD from Citibank and other big banks, but these banks hushed it up in the press.  Bitcoin lacks a good public relations department.

Q: Can't (or hasn't) someone use it for buying illegal things like drugs?
A: Over a billion dollars in USD is used every year for buying illegal things.  Drug dealers on the corner in the bad part of down don't take Bitcoins, only USD.
 

Nice list, will use is next time someone doesn't understands why I'm using bitcoins Cheesy

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Bitman_Begins
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July 22, 2011, 04:33:32 AM
 #14

This is why BTC can never really succeed,
Oh man, consider me punished for trying to give an helpful answer. The ranting never stops, does it...

Stop ranting then, I was never ranting...

I was merely trying to bring up some issues guys...I don't see how this can work. Just saying the banks are corrupt alone does not prove that what you have got is any better.

And the point I was making about the ones using them getting screwed simply refers to the fact you can lose them "in transit" so to speak. You can't lose your whole fortune in thin air very easily with the Banking System...Oh well, I guess there's just no point in trying to make one because the knee-jerks are at in again.

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Tasty Champa
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July 22, 2011, 05:51:35 AM
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@Bitman_Begins,
be nice, it works wonders.
Bitman_Begins
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July 22, 2011, 08:20:08 AM
 #16

Lovely. Same to you.  Grin

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BitMofo
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July 22, 2011, 10:22:01 AM
 #17

Just thought I'd pose an intriguing question about old BTC addresses and what happens to them?
Supposing that someone, after a crash and losing their old BTC client and being unable to restore this goes and downloads another client, gets another address and starts sending to this client. Then one day, they accidentally send BTC to the old address and realise their mistake - where has their BTC just gone? i.e. down the drain or to another person? Is there someone somewhere profiteering somehow?
So what happens to the old address?
So somehow because the transaction has 'gone through', presumably there is only a record of it that can be accessed via block explorer and the client having failed to receive, the BTC has just 'disappeared' down a black hole?

There may be a more fool proof user friendly system developed in the future. At least I would hope so, a tighter built in back up system, maybe it will all be cloud based. You can already use wallets online, it's just whether you trust them or not!

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July 22, 2011, 12:00:16 PM
 #18

Just thought I'd pose an intriguing question about old BTC addresses and what happens to them?
Supposing that someone, after a crash and losing their old BTC client and being unable to restore this goes and downloads another client, gets another address and starts sending to this client. Then one day, they accidentally send BTC to the old address and realise their mistake - where has their BTC just gone? i.e. down the drain or to another person? Is there someone somewhere profiteering somehow?
So what happens to the old address?
So somehow because the transaction has 'gone through', presumably there is only a record of it that can be accessed via block explorer and the client having failed to receive, the BTC has just 'disappeared' down a black hole?

There may be a more fool proof user friendly system developed in the future. At least I would hope so, a tighter built in back up system, maybe it will all be cloud based. You can already use wallets online, it's just whether you trust them or not!

If BTC is to be widely used, a user-friendly method is an absolute requirement.  Tech geeks live in a bubble where they don't even NOTICE that they're doing things the average user would take weeks/months to learn to be comfortable with.

Personally I think the concern over "trust", with respect to your wallet.dat backup, is somewhat overblown. Yes, it needs to be held secure. However, most security breaches occur not because of a super hacker who figures out all your private keys and takes over your life or somehow knows YOUR WALLET IS CONNECTED TO TEH INTERTUBES RIGHT NAO!!!!oneeleventyexclamation.  Most security breaches arise from users giving that information away (i.e. social engineering), or via physical access to the secured resource (someone gave away a URL or a password).

The same issue arises with banks, top secret information, etc. The solutions have not been to deny connected access to the data, it has been to put processes in place to ensure users don't give away information and to prevent physical access to it.  A bank can't protect you from someone finding the slip of paper where you wrote down your ATM pin and subsequently finding your ATM card.

What I'm getting at is - a user-friendly method of doing anything always sacrifices some measure of security.  I would contend that that is actually fine with respect to wallet.dat.  An encyrpted cloud storage model with a sufficiently complex password should be more than enough security for this and would be shockingly easy to implement.

Which gives me an idea...

Finally - with regard to losing physical money.  That's a different beast. Even if you drop a gold coin into the middle of the Nile, some enterprising individual could still scuba dive down there and retrieve it. It isn't lost forever.  When a wallet.dat is permanently lost, along with its private keys, the BTC are gone forever.  Most people have neither the expertise nor the inclination to attempt a HDD recovery and most users don't even keep meaningful backups.  While the rest of you cheer because your BTC's are suddenly worth a tiny fraction more, the person who lost them (read: average user) will forever hate the system and tell his friends to avoid it.  The success of BTC will depend on more than tech geeks using it.  If that is to happen, money can't be able to be "lost" in this way.
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July 22, 2011, 04:33:55 PM
 #19

What I'm getting at is - a user-friendly method of doing anything always sacrifices some measure of security.  I would contend that that is actually fine with respect to wallet.dat.  An encyrpted cloud storage model with a sufficiently complex password should be more than enough security for this and would be shockingly easy to implement.

And how do you stop people from writing down their password and taping it to their USB stick?

Finally - with regard to losing physical money.  That's a different beast. Even if you drop a gold coin into the middle of the Nile, some enterprising individual could still scuba dive down there and retrieve it. It isn't lost forever.  When a wallet.dat is permanently lost, along with its private keys, the BTC are gone forever.  Most people have neither the expertise nor the inclination to attempt a HDD recovery and most users don't even keep meaningful backups.  While the rest of you cheer because your BTC's are suddenly worth a tiny fraction more, the person who lost them (read: average user) will forever hate the system and tell his friends to avoid it.  The success of BTC will depend on more than tech geeks using it.  If that is to happen, money can't be able to be "lost" in this way.

Very few people cheer when people lose money. If you (dear reader) do, something is terribly wrong.

As for the person who lost money, why would he tell his friends not to use money simply because he lost some? Or are you trying to tell us that Bitcoin must be usable by the clinically insane?

Oh, and how can you prevent someone from losing money? The only way to do this is to store it on media embedded in the user's body somewhere. But then how do you prevent them from writing down the password....

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July 22, 2011, 04:42:44 PM
 #20

I tell friends that one of the coolest things about Bitcoin is, even if you don't use them yourself, is that it makes people as questions about all currencies.  Yes in a land where we use silver coins, you can get tipped over in a boat and loose your silver in the bay.  People loose a small amount of silver all the time and the holders and users of silver will have their silver go up microscopically in value.  There is no Bitcoin conspiracy, it works like digital cash.  There is nothing new here.  

BTW Other questions that get asked:
Q: Is bitcoin backed by gold or silver certificates?
A: No and virtually no other currency you use is.  Backed currencies have a high storage cost.

Q: Didn't someone hack into someones computer and steal their bitcoins?
A: I worked at a large bank in their engineering department. We were aware that hackers from Russia and other places were initially successful in stealing millions of USD from Citibank and other big banks, but these banks hushed it up in the press.  Bitcoin lacks a good public relations department.

Q: Can't (or hasn't) someone use it for buying illegal things like drugs?
A: Over a billion dollars in USD is used every year for buying illegal things.  Drug dealers on the corner in the bad part of down don't take Bitcoins, only USD.
 
+1, maybe add these to the FAQ on the Wiki Smiley

Quote
An encyrpted cloud storage model with a sufficiently complex password should be more than enough security for this and would be shockingly easy to implement.
Yes, these kind of services already exist even.

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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