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Author Topic: A case AGAINST merging Namecoin and Bitcoin mining [Converted to SUPPORT!]  (Read 8950 times)
casascius
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July 19, 2011, 10:19:32 PM
 #1

I would like to propose a case AGAINST the idea of shared Namecoin/Bitcoin mining.

The main reason I think Namecoin and Bitcoin should be kept apart, is perhaps to preserve the potential future value of Namecoin.  It has little to do with Bitcoin.

Merging the mining of Namecoin and Bitcoin is a bit of a marriage.  Namecoin perhaps has a better marriage candidate: Tor.

Why Tor?

Well, for one, the idea of a peer-to-peer DNS registry isn't something the world is asking for.  While recent domain name seizures have spooked many of us, they haven't really created any serious practical problems that need solving.  Very few websites are candidates to get their domain names seized, and those that are can protect themselves simply by registering themselves in other top level domains.  (This is something that they'd have to do under the Namecoin plan anyway).

On the other hand, Tor lacks a working DNS system, and forces people to use cryptic URLs to access its hidden services.  Just look at the Silk Road - their address is nonsense characters, and so they suffer from attacks like people hijacking links to them and sending people to phishing lookalikes, in the hopes that random characters XXX will look close enough to YYY that few will notice the difference.  On the other hand, if Tor had a cryptographically sound DNS system, it could offer addresses like "silkroad.onion".

The Tor project itself says about domain names: that you can pick any two of the following: decentralized, secure, memorable.  And goes on to explain why enjoying all three is likely impossible, referring to "Zooko's conjecture".  Namecoin could just give the Tor project all three.  Tor project even invites it to happen: at the same link, it says: "Perhaps one day somebody will implement a Petname design for hidden service names?"

As a separate project, Namecoin has a fighting chance of actually being proposed, adopted, and integrated into the Tor infrastructure, as well as any other anonymizing project.  If it were married to the Bitcoin block chain, I just don't see how such an integration would be as attractive.

tl;dr - The world isn't demanding a .bit domain just to get access to Wikileaks when Google gets them there just fine.  Tor could really use a good DNS system, but marrying it to the Bitcoin blockchain will serve to make it unsuitable.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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July 19, 2011, 11:03:58 PM
 #2

An extended specification for the Namecoin DNS namespace is being worked on which will include support for Tor, I2P and Freenet.

http://dot-bit.org/Domain_names
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July 19, 2011, 11:27:38 PM
 #3

I would like to propose a case AGAINST the idea of shared Namecoin/Bitcoin mining.

The main reason I think Namecoin and Bitcoin should be kept apart, is perhaps to preserve the potential future value of Namecoin.  It has little to do with Bitcoin.

Mining BTC and NMC together strengthens the NMC network. Any bitcoin style blockchain is only as strong as it's difficulty. If you can find a method to increase the difficulty (= hash rate) this is something you should do and that increases the value of this "currency" (=block chain).

Tor has nothing to do with mining, Namecoins can still be used for what you proposed - the only difference if they can be mined at the same time with Bitcoins would be that they can be use in a more secure way.

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July 19, 2011, 11:37:02 PM
 #4

I would like to propose a case AGAINST the idea of shared Namecoin/Bitcoin mining.

The main reason I think Namecoin and Bitcoin should be kept apart, is perhaps to preserve the potential future value of Namecoin.  It has little to do with Bitcoin.

Mining BTC and NMC together strengthens the NMC network. Any bitcoin style blockchain is only as strong as it's difficulty. If you can find a method to increase the difficulty (= hash rate) this is something you should do and that increases the value of this "currency" (=block chain).

Tor has nothing to do with mining, Namecoins can still be used for what you proposed - the only difference if they can be mined at the same time with Bitcoins would be that they can be use in a more secure way.

Tell me if I'm wrong - mining BTC and NMC together creates a dependency on the BTC block chain for NMC.  If that's true, then if Tor were to include full support for NMC, then in order to cryptographically validate the NMC block chain, suddenly Tor must acquire and care about the enormous and exponentially growing Bitcoin block chain... a huge expense for a purely theoretical benefit.  Not to mention what could happen if Bitcoin makes fundamental changes to the way it works to support growth, such as pruning unneeded records off the Bitcoin block chain (which could certainly include records stuffed there for the sake of NMC).

The NMC doesn't need hash strength the same way Bitcoin does.  If NMC isn't intended for use as money, then the possibility of double spending is less of a concern and less attractive to an attacker.  The extent of disruption in the event of a >50% CPU attack would mainly concern the ability to register new names.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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July 19, 2011, 11:51:33 PM
 #5

While I like the idea of 2 for 1 mining, I think merging the 2 projects is a mistake. The only argument I can make in favor of this merge is greed. Bitcoin is something special and starting to gain mainstream acceptance. Don't pollute the project by merging it with anything that will make an extra buck. It will most likely only destroy both projects, or at least devalue them to the point where they're basically worthless. Not to mention, what about when pussycoins come to the market, or nutsackcoins? Who decides what can/can't be merged? It's starting to make bitcoin sound a whole lot less attractive to me. Don't go down that rabbit hole.

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July 20, 2011, 12:02:43 AM
 #6

I would like to propose a case AGAINST the idea of shared Namecoin/Bitcoin mining.

The main reason I think Namecoin and Bitcoin should be kept apart, is perhaps to preserve the potential future value of Namecoin.  It has little to do with Bitcoin.

Mining BTC and NMC together strengthens the NMC network. Any bitcoin style blockchain is only as strong as it's difficulty. If you can find a method to increase the difficulty (= hash rate) this is something you should do and that increases the value of this "currency" (=block chain).

Tor has nothing to do with mining, Namecoins can still be used for what you proposed - the only difference if they can be mined at the same time with Bitcoins would be that they can be use in a more secure way.

Tell me if I'm wrong - mining BTC and NMC together creates a dependency on the BTC block chain for NMC.  If that's true, then if Tor were to include full support for NMC, then in order to cryptographically validate the NMC block chain, suddenly Tor must acquire and care about the enormous and exponentially growing Bitcoin block chain... a huge expense for a purely theoretical benefit.  Not to mention what could happen if Bitcoin makes fundamental changes to the way it works to support growth, such as pruning unneeded records off the Bitcoin block chain (which could certainly include records stuffed there for the sake of NMC).

The NMC doesn't need hash strength the same way Bitcoin does.  If NMC isn't intended for use as money, then the possibility of double spending is less of a concern and less attractive to an attacker.  The extent of disruption in the event of a >50% CPU attack would mainly concern the ability to register new names.

As far as I understood it (and the wiki points out) You can mine only NMC or only BTC just fine, so you do NOT need both blockchains complete if merged mining is possible.
NMC can be double spent just like BTC - if you want a domain name, just re-mine everything since that block and claim it. One of the bigger BTC pools could even do that, considering NMC difficulty is so low.

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July 20, 2011, 12:07:30 AM
 #7

Tell me if I'm wrong - mining BTC and NMC together creates a dependency on the BTC block chain for NMC. If that's true, then if Tor were to include full support for NMC, then in order to cryptographically validate the NMC block chain, suddenly Tor must acquire and care about the enormous and exponentially growing Bitcoin block chain... a huge expense for a purely theoretical benefit. 

No, you can mine NMC by itself if you desire. Plus there's no way for Tor to support Namecoin, Namecoin will support Tor instead. The Tor project doesn't have to do anything, unless by "full support" you mean buying a Namecoin domain for every hidden service that asks for one.

The NMC doesn't need hash strength the same way Bitcoin does.  If NMC isn't intended for use as money, then the possibility of double spending is less of a concern and less attractive to an attacker.  The extent of disruption in the event of a >50% CPU attack would mainly concern the ability to register new names.

Namecoin is intended as a currency as well so it has the same security needs of Bitcoin.
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July 20, 2011, 12:12:56 AM
 #8

Don't pollute the project by merging it with anything that will make an extra buck. It will most likely only destroy both projects, or at least devalue them to the point where they're basically worthless.

Bitcoin is not getting polluted. You can mine BTC by itself if you don't care about mining NMC.

Not to mention, what about when pussycoins come to the market, or nutsackcoins? Who decides what can/can't be merged? It's starting to make bitcoin sound a whole lot less attractive to me. Don't go down that rabbit hole.

The miners will decide if they mergemine pussycoins or nutsackcoins depending on profitability. If nobody cares about those chains then nobody will mine them.
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July 20, 2011, 12:27:04 AM
 #9

The miners will decide if they mergemine pussycoins or nutsackcoins depending on profitability. If nobody cares about those chains then nobody will mine them.

It is the pool who decides, not the miners... My understanding of the proposal is that this could be done by the pool without the miner's knowledge.

To take that a step further, it's the programers that would be merging the blockchains that decides... It sounds like you don't really understand what is being proposed? Sorry if I'm incorrect.

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July 20, 2011, 12:44:39 AM
 #10

It is the pool who decides, not the miners... My understanding of the proposal is that this could be done by the pool without the miner's knowledge.

To take that a step further, it's the programers that would be merging the blockchains that decides... It sounds like you don't really understand what is being proposed? Sorry if I'm incorrect.

You are incorrect. What do you understand by merged mining exactly? (looks like we should have gone with the term cross mining instead of merged mining)

A chain designer can decide to make it possible to merge mine with Bitcoin, but that doesn't mean Bitcoin miners will bother merge mining with a worthless chain.

Anyway, you are not affected in any way by merged mining so I don't see what you are whining about. Actually you are affected positively, since more profitable mining will lead to more hashing power and thus better network security.
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July 20, 2011, 12:52:07 AM
 #11

I think merging them is a mistake.  Keeping them separate will allow for more flexibility with both.   Namecoin's block chain will become secure enough as it gets used for more and more important things. 

One of the FEW drawbacks of BitCoin is the size of the block chain.  It already interferes (though I know there are workarounds) with mobile applications.   Why would you want to make it bigger? 

Merging the two block chains does not add as much value as it takes away from both projects.


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July 20, 2011, 12:58:57 AM
 #12

I think merging them is a mistake.  Keeping them separate will allow for more flexibility with both.   Namecoin's block chain will become secure enough as it gets used for more and more important things. 

One of the FEW drawbacks of BitCoin is the size of the block chain.  It already interferes (though I know there are workarounds) with mobile applications.   Why would you want to make it bigger? 

Merging the two block chains does not add as much value as it takes away from both projects.



From what I understand, the two block chains is not being merged together. This is the consenus by Satoshi and others long ago in the BitDNS thread.

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July 20, 2011, 01:19:02 AM
 #13

I think merging them is a mistake.  Keeping them separate will allow for more flexibility with both.   Namecoin's block chain will become secure enough as it gets used for more and more important things. 

One of the FEW drawbacks of BitCoin is the size of the block chain.  It already interferes (though I know there are workarounds) with mobile applications.   Why would you want to make it bigger? 

Merging the two block chains does not add as much value as it takes away from both projects.



The size of the Bitcoin blockchain is not getting bigger. Educate yourselves before giving opinions guys.

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July 20, 2011, 01:21:16 AM
 #14

My vote is against merged mining. If a pool wants to offer a service to allow their users to mine NMC or BTC that is fine but anything where the two block chains are inter-weaved or inter-dependent or whatever-dependent word I can use is similar to pegging the Yuan to the Dollar.

I would rather namecoin grow on its own and become successful on its own without depending upon bitcoin aside from the basic principles built into the code that are alike.

The other thing I don't see is what problem(s) does merged mining solve that need to be solved for BOTH block chains? So far I don't see any problems with bitcoin's network or blockchain. I do see a need for the namecoin network to grow, but not at the reliance on bitcoin's resources, information, or anything for that matter.


After the recent revelation of the explanation of what merged mining really is. I do support it.

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July 20, 2011, 01:23:13 AM
 #15

I think merging them is a mistake.  Keeping them separate will allow for more flexibility with both.   Namecoin's block chain will become secure enough as it gets used for more and more important things. 

One of the FEW drawbacks of BitCoin is the size of the block chain.  It already interferes (though I know there are workarounds) with mobile applications.   Why would you want to make it bigger? 

Merging the two block chains does not add as much value as it takes away from both projects.



The size of the Bitcoin blockchain is not getting bigger. Educate yourselves before giving opinions guys.



Then tell me how it is not getting bigger if the number of blocks in the bitcoin blockchain increases every 10 minutes or so?

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July 20, 2011, 01:29:14 AM
 #16

My vote is against merged mining. If a pool wants to offer a service to allow their users to mine NMC or BTC that is fine but anything where the two block chains are inter-weaved or inter-dependent or whatever-dependent word I can use is similar to pegging the Yuan to the Dollar.

I would rather namecoin grow on its own and become successful on its own without depending upon bitcoin aside from the basic principles built into the code that are alike.

The other thing I don't see is what problem(s) does merged mining solve that need to be solved for BOTH block chains? So far I don't see any problems with bitcoin's network or blockchain. I do see a need for the namecoin network to grow, but not at the reliance on bitcoin's resources, information, or anything for that matter.

Bitcoin's resources aren't being diverted. From what I understand, miners are just using the same resource against the two chains.

We are not talking about devoting half of the mining to resource to bitcoin or to namecoin.. We are talking about improving mining efficency.

Merge mining add value, rather than slicing the pie. Rather than earning bitcoins, you earn the same amount of bitcoin while also earning namecoin.

Think of your car getting an increase in fuel efficency on a single gallon of gas, rather than the gas of gallon being divided up between two cars.

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July 20, 2011, 01:36:37 AM
 #17

Auxilliary blockchains are endless in number, the parent blockchain they look to will have more and more and more such blockchains's data in its coinbase transactions.

So it would probably be better to make a blockchain specifically for the purpose of being the parent of a potentially quite large number of auxilliary blockchains. Then bitcoin can decide whether it wants to be an auxilliary to such a thing itself or continue on its own even when possibly this metachain might become even larger in hash power than bitcoin (theoretically, as more and more chains, some possibly of some actual usefulness or value, are added to it).

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July 20, 2011, 01:39:58 AM
 #18

My vote is against merged mining. If a pool wants to offer a service to allow their users to mine NMC or BTC that is fine but anything where the two block chains are inter-weaved or inter-dependent or whatever-dependent word I can use is similar to pegging the Yuan to the Dollar.

The chains will not be connected in any way. Merged mining will combine the power used to find hashes needed for creating blocks, regardless of which chain they belong to. Also, the value of the coins in the chains will not be linked. Namecoins will become worthless because name registration will become free, thus adding nothing new over bitcoins.

The other thing I don't see is what problem(s) does merged mining solve that need to be solved for BOTH block chains? So far I don't see any problems with bitcoin's network or blockchain.

More hashing power increases security. I'd say that's a rather good thing.
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July 20, 2011, 01:52:25 AM
 #19

Then tell me how it is not getting bigger if the number of blocks in the bitcoin blockchain increases every 10 minutes or so?

Obviously I was referring to the belief that the Bitcoin chain will get bloated with Namecoin data.
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July 20, 2011, 02:09:49 AM
 #20

Then tell me how it is not getting bigger if the number of blocks in the bitcoin blockchain increases every 10 minutes or so?

Obviously I was referring to the belief that the Bitcoin chain will get bloated with Namecoin data.

That's because you don't understand the concept of merged mining that's being discussed.   Wink

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