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Author Topic: Mike Hearn, Foundation's Law & Policy Chair, is pushing blacklists right now  (Read 83651 times)
acoindr
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November 14, 2013, 10:32:43 PM
 #121

Why on earth would he reply here? There's no way to have anything resembling an intelligent discussion in this thread. Well over half of the commenters have no idea what they're talking about.

Any reply from him would be like pouring oil in to the fire. It'd only spur more clueless people into writing more useless comments.

Clueless and useless comments... I suppose that's as opposed to your own?

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November 14, 2013, 10:33:00 PM
 #122

As others have said, this is a bad idea and an attack on the fungibility of Bitcoin.  

However, it brings up what I think is an even more important issue that ought to be addressed.

The Bitcoin foundation, which pays for and to some extent directs the development of the client and protocol, is manifestly failing to represent the interests and needs of Bitcoin's users.

The Bitcoin foundation consists of people who have paid money into a fund that pays for things, and is now paying for things that the users of Bitcoin would rather not have.  As individuals they have the right to spend their own money as they choose; the fact that their decisions are impacting the broader community is a side effect of what they're choosing to spend their money on and the fact that the Bitcoin Community is "accepting" their donations to the maintenance and development of the software.  

The word "accepting" is quotated here because the community of bitcoin users is at this time voiceless in all ways that matter; if we don't choose to pay for and direct the maintenance and development of the software, then those who maintain and develop the software do not have any motive to obey our wishes and we are not represented.
In a functioning democracy, people direct by voting and pay for the implementation of their collective directions by paying taxes.  In the absence of taxation and voting of any kind, the Bitcoin Community as such has abdicated the direction and implementation of its own future.  We are voiceless and if someone like the foundation chooses to "speak for us" we have no means that matters of contradicting them.  We may choose a different path for the future of the software, but the fact remains that the foundation is paying Gavin to develop its vision, not ours.

This is the systemic problem which results in proposals like this one, which are clearly foolish and against the interests of the Bitcoin Community even though they may be in the interests of the members of the Bitcoin Foundation.

Therefore I believe that we *as a community* need a mechanism for directing the future of bitcoin, which includes paying for exactly those agenda items that the community votes for.  This being the age of electronic communications, we can implement a direct decentralized argentocracy (a one-coin-one-vote system, as opposed to democracy which would be a one-person-one-vote system) with no persons holding any political office.  

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November 14, 2013, 10:33:55 PM
 #123

His urge to react to Dark Wallet thread(-d+t?) compared to his urge to defend his ideas here sure looks dubious.
I sure hope silence can be explained because he's preparing a sensitive plea.

And not because he's trying to find who, in holy BF, leaked this...
Why on earth would he reply here? There's no way to have anything resembling an intelligent discussion in this thread. Well over half of the commenters have no idea what they're talking about.

Any reply from him would be like pouring oil in to the fire. It'd only spur more clueless people into writing more useless comments.

Cause he owes us an explanation, if you haven't notice, the foundation is not the bitcoin community, we are the community. I know many people who aren't in the foundation and do a lot more to progress bitcoin to the point it is now.
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November 14, 2013, 10:34:19 PM
 #124

There has to be a balance between privacy and transparency.
We should want the ability to follow the money trail if necessary while also having the ability to remain pseudo-anonymous.

Stopped reading here because what you wish is what we already have today.

To a certain extent you're right we do have that today and I'm not pushing for big changes to what we have.

My opinion is that we should try our best to preserve the privacy and pseudo-anonymity that we have. We should also be trying to improve transparency and the ability to track the movement of money. The technical problem is how to adopt a balanced approach which can preserve or improve privacy while also giving investigators the tools they need to investigate and expose institutional corruption. I do not think its acceptable if we are asked to sacrifice one for the other. Our solutions should try to improve both privacy and transparency at the same time and I think it is possible.

If you move away from user registrations with passwords, names and addresses in account information and move toward digital signatures for example then there is no central database to hack. If you rely on a public key infrastructure then anyone who has your public key can ask you whatever they need to ask you in order to clear you from the investigation. If Coinbase has your public key and already knows your real name and bank information then you should be cleared. All you should have to do is give your public key to the operator and now the operator verifies that key is associated with Coinbase. If the Operator wants to communicate with you then it's encrypted by that public key and the communications can take place in a decentralized manner.

The operators should be limited in what they can access and in their power. The privacy of the user should be considered as important as transparency and the ability to investigate crime. I don't want to prevent authorities from investigating extortion or any of these crimes which could happen to any of us or people we care about. I just would like the ability to clear myself instantly without having to give out any personal identity information.

A digital signature can be pseudo-anonymous but be recognized as being owned by a verified user of Coinbase.
So I think that approach is the way to go. As far as trying to track every coin, these ideas need more thought and debate. There are pros and cons to everything and we must make sure that we don't lose anything essential in terms of privacy.



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November 14, 2013, 10:40:07 PM
 #125

Mike is a smart guy, and has contributed numerous useful innovations to Bitcoin.

But he's still an idiot for advocating taintlists. These two facts are not mutually exclusive.

It hurts the value of Bitcoin, which is a currency with a free-floating value in relation to all other currencies, in case you didn't know. That relative value is impacted negatively by taintlists. That means your Bitcoins, along with everyone elses, cannot achieve as high a price. That means the purchasing power is hurt. We're not here for that.

Mike, being a smart guy, knows that there are technical solutions to theft, ransomware and user identity issues. He advocates each and every one of them. This makes his pursuit of eroding the monetary properties of Bitcoin all the more contradictory; what is the point in supporting the hardware wallet concept when everyone can rely on his redlists to scoop up stolen or ransom coins and return them to the victim? What is the point in paying for a hardware wallet in a world of redlists?


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November 14, 2013, 10:40:44 PM
 #126

As others have said, this is a bad idea and an attack on the fungibility of Bitcoin.  

This isn't just about politics. Bitcoin never was inherently fungible on a technical level. That much has always been true. I'm not sure it was designed to be fungible either but that is up for debate. The fact is that it was always possible to trace transactions and these ideas being presented would make it more possible.

The debate should be about the pros and cons of different solutions to a real problem. Extortion, scams, and corruption are real problems that we all have to deal with as a community. We can disagree on crime because not everyone agrees that Silk road should be illegal but there are some things that the community does agree on and has no tolerance for.

Scams for example which rob people of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins. Trojans which hack peoples coins from their wallets. All these sorts of attacks hurt the Bitcoin economy and Bitcoin community as a whole.

So if you do not like Mike Hearns solution then you should offer a better solution which does a better job preserving privacy. Just trying to remove Mike Hearn from power isn't going to solve the real problems which he highlighted. If tainting coins isn't the solution to the problem then we need to come up with a more creative and free solution. A solution has to be presented by both sides of the debate though.

You cannot have one side which is pro extortion, pro hacking, pro corruption and expect that side to be taken seriously. So if both sides are actually against all that then both sides have to come up with solutions to protect the community from that. Mike Hearn has a point with Cryptolocker and no one is presenting solutions to dealing with it. If Bitcoins are worth $1,000,000 a coin then every single computer will be hacked for even a small amount of Bitcoins.

Mike is a smart guy, and has contributed numerous useful innovations to Bitcoin.

But he's still an idiot for advocating taintlists. These two facts are not mutually exclusive.

It hurts the value of Bitcoin, which is a currency with a free-floating value in relation to all other currencies, in case you didn't know. That relative value is impacted negatively by taintlists. That means your Bitcoins, along with everyone elses, cannot achieve as high a price. That means the purchasing power is hurt. We're not here for that.

Mike, being a smart guy, knows that there are technical solutions to theft, ransomware and user identity issues. He advocates each and every one of them. This makes his pursuit of eroding the monetary properties of Bitcoin all the more contradictory; what is the point in supporting the hardware wallet concept when everyone can rely on his redlists to scoop up stolen or ransom coins and return them to the victim? What is the point in paying for a hardware wallet in a world of redlists?



Is there an alternative solution to dealing with these problems which do not involve a taint list?
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November 14, 2013, 10:46:16 PM
 #127

Just curious, but why is the foundations forum closed to non-paying public? I mean they could make their discussions read but not write for public surely? What are they discussing that requires an expensive fee to participate in?
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November 14, 2013, 10:50:05 PM
 #128

Redlist is a horribly bad idea. It only requires a small portion of Bitcoin users to start disliking redlisted coins and the fungibility we now enjoy is GONE. Redlisted coins will be less valuable than other coins, even if just slightly (depending on the amount of users/services that build blacklists based on that).

I would boycott each and every Bitcoin client that tries to add a feature such as this. If it's the reference client, the whole core dev team needs to quit. If this were to go through I would also be afraid if I was part of the core dev team. Afraid for my life. I'm not kidding here, this would be a game changer and would essentially kill Bitcoin as it is now. A lot of people would be quite unhappy.

I hope the Bitcoin community is smart and reacts to these propositions with never before seen hostility. Redlist is a pre-requirement for a blacklist and it's 100% sure that with a redlist feature some users would use it as a blacklist, thus destroying fungibility.

I know this was only a discussion starter from Mike Hearn but even proposing this deserves a very strong reaction.

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November 14, 2013, 10:55:54 PM
 #129

Redlist is a horribly bad idea. It only requires a small portion of Bitcoin users to start disliking redlisted coins and the fungibility we now enjoy is GONE. Redlisted coins will be less valuable than other coins, even if just slightly (depending on the amount of users/services that build blacklists based on that).

I would boycott each and every Bitcoin client that tries to add a feature such as this. If it's the reference client, the whole core dev team needs to quit. If this were to go through I would also be afraid if I was part of the core dev team. Afraid for my life. I'm not kidding here, this would be a game changer and would essentially kill Bitcoin as it is now. A lot of people would be quite unhappy.

I hope the Bitcoin community is smart and reacts to these propositions with never before seen hostility. Redlist is a pre-requirement for a blacklist and it's 100% sure that with a redlist feature some users would use it as a blacklist, thus destroying fungibility.

I know this was only a discussion starter from Mike Hearn but even proposing this deserves a very strong reaction.
+1
I could not agree more.

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November 14, 2013, 11:00:08 PM
 #130

You can see the whole thread here:

https://jumpshare.com/v/FCGnW40vMhG8ETE8i57h?b=rJU3YwFcBYWUD5X0bbqR
https://jumpshare.com/v/vhfhpMIGKpxnbREHf3kS?b=rJU3YwFcBYWUD5X0bbqR

In my opinion, if Mike keeps pushing this, he should not be in the board anymore.  I've also seen him make some remarks that give me the shivers.


Thanks so much. What a scary thread, there are a suprising number of foundation members in support of this idea. They are clearly out of touch with reality; it seems the power is getting to their heads. Like somehow it is up to them to decide.

It's moments like these when I remember that it only takes one bad decision to make the value of Bitcoin plummet forever. People thought Bitcoin was THE cryptocurrency... looks like that won't be the case. We need something with absolute fungibility, blind sigs and homomorphic encryption really is the only way forward now....
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November 14, 2013, 11:01:03 PM
 #131


Is there an alternative solution to dealing with these problems which do not involve a taint list?

Well, education in good practices using computers and the internet is the best solution to ransomware. It's never happened to me.

Stolen funds can be very effectively dealt with by encouraging a culture of well designed hardware wallets. This increases the required sophistication of an effective attack enormously, a talented hacker would have to work hard, and any successful efforts would only be useful against a single hardware wallet firmware (which should be update capable to fix any exploitable bugs).

Merchants that choose to insist on linking purchases to an identity can use the future Bitcoin Identity Protocol to do so. These ID's could be the most powerful identity information tool conceived, and when I say that, I mean powerful to the user, not to those that want to track your identity. Whole other topic, but I am impressed by the proposed scheme.

Mike Hearn knows and explicitly advocates for all these approaches, apart possibly from the solution to ransomware, but who could honestly say don't endorse that.

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November 14, 2013, 11:05:22 PM
 #132

Have we heard from Mr. Hearn today?

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November 14, 2013, 11:05:33 PM
 #133

If the foundation chooses to support this idea, it will be the day when Bitcoin splits. In one way or another, there will be two different Bitcoin protocols, be it in the form of an altcoin or as a hard fork. I hope they make the right decision, which is obvious in my mind.

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November 14, 2013, 11:06:58 PM
 #134

I can't believe what I am reading. All respect that I had for Mike Hearn has just been lost...

I just discovered this crap. I feel the same way. Is he being threatened?

I had trouble before, but I think I can now feel Amirs, Codys and the other guys anger.

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November 14, 2013, 11:07:09 PM
 #135

I would boycott each and every Bitcoin client that tries to add a feature such as this. If it's the reference client, the whole core dev team needs to quit. If this were to go through I would also be afraid if I was part of the core dev team.


NOT proposed as an addition to the client/wallet software and to the protocol.

That's what makes this very backdoor and insidious in it's approach, the idea is to start a third party database of various coloured lists, and not to add this information to the blockchain, or make it interact with the client through an API.

If you send dirty money to someone who checks the lists, they can notify the listing agency, and legitimately refuse to furnish whatever good, service or debt absolution you were seeking from them.

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November 14, 2013, 11:07:57 PM
 #136

How stupid are these people?  Don't they know that every dollar bill has traces of cocaine on it?  They've ALL been used for illegal activity, and yet we trade them around every day.

Didn't you read what he proposed: you can wash your bills clean by registering your identity.

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November 14, 2013, 11:10:46 PM
 #137

Gregory Maxwell gets it the Foundation should be nothing more than a privately funded public lobby and leave development to the community.
I don't see any problem with the "privately funded public lobby" kicking some funding to development. ... even if, because various political pressures, they can only fund work which is "boring" in certain respects. There is a lot of boring work to get done. All that means that the question of supporting development is not answered by just the foundation.

I think Bitcoin is and must be a big tent that calls to people of all sorts of motivations and politics. We should welcome the confused people who think that privacy is bad to also use our money, but at the same time we should take care of our own values and make sure that their use of Bitcoin doesn't take away the freedom of others who do not share their politics.

The essence of crypto-anarchism is that one does not generally need to fight oppressive systems of social organization directly, instead we use technology to make those modes of organization obsolete. Regulation serves a useful purpose, but it often comes with very high (often indirect) costs: The crypto-anarchist says: One does not need to regulate a bank which cannot steal, and in that statement we side-step a bunch of political mess... we don't need to debate the harms proposed regulation creates when we can use technology to provide the benefits without it.  If too much of the Bitcoin ecosystem continues to rely on trusted systems we will be unable to resist being reshaped in the mold of the centralized systems which came before.

We need something with absolute fungibility, blind sigs and homomorphic encryption really is the only way forward now....
I'm not sure I agree, in two respects:

First, systems with absolute fungiblilty have significant technical costs— including the risk that the bleeding edge crypto behind them is inescure— which probably remove their viability for the time being. Heck. Until two weeks ago we were down to under 4000 reliably reachable bitcoin full nodes (we're up to maybe 5500 now), from over 40k at the peak people have moved to web-wallets and thin clients: It's not clear that _Bitcoin_ is technically viable in the long run, some system with substantially higher operating costs probably isn't.

Second, I don't think we need absolute fungibility to thoroughly break efforts to destroy Bitcoin's fungiblity. We just need enough of it embedded in the common practices to make efforts to break the fungibility swimming up stream every step of the way.  Some regulation paranoid bitcoin business will willingly lose 10% of their customers to some stupid blacklisting, but they won't tolerate 95% loss. From things like coinjoin and miners depriortizing address reuse we can make things substantially more private and harder to blacklist/whitelist without scraping the system and replacing it with a much more operationally expensive one.
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November 14, 2013, 11:12:18 PM
 #138

Well, education in good practices using computers and the internet is the best solution to ransomware.

I'm sorry to insist, but could anyone explain to dumb Kouye how redlisting coins, as Mike presented it, could help against ransomwares?

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November 14, 2013, 11:12:39 PM
 #139

My question: Is Mike really this naive?

He can't be. He's a smart guy. I think maybe...


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November 14, 2013, 11:13:12 PM
 #140

I don't have the background so I ask - what if we use a Mastercoin Exodus like concept so we can migrate in another coin with desirable features? Anyone who wants can send his coins so he will not lose anything and we start from ground zero.

Not sure about the mining issue here (maybe use PoW?) and if the pseudonymous/tainted coins send to the 'Exodus' address will continue to haunt you.

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