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Author Topic: Could BTCGuild be cheating its miners?  (Read 5176 times)
RandyFolds
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August 09, 2011, 03:09:14 AM
 #41

A better analogy is this one:

A certain town has 500 people. You suspect that maybe some of them are psychic. So you ask each person to try to correctly identify the suits of some cards they cannot see. Of the 500 people, you find 3 that did extremely well in the test. So you say that you suspect those 3 are psychic.

But, of course, they could have succeeded merely by luck. So you decide to do a new study. You'll test those 3 people. But wait, someone already did that. So you'll just check the previous results. Lo and behold, the data shows that those 3 people succeed way beyond what you'd expect by mere chance, perhaps the chances were only 3 in 500 that they could do that well by chance.

You cannot use the same data both to decide which pool to accuse of cheating and to validate that same accusation. Some pool has to have the worst luck, so bad that it's hard to believe looking only at that pool that its luck was that bad due to mere chance.

That was the point I was bringing up with mentioning Ars. For every bad luck streak that someone is having, generally, someone else is killing it. Probability always works itself out in the end.

OP, you ever been to Vegas? Do you claim the casino is cheating when the guy next to you wins big while you lose the shirt off your back?

Come to Arsbitcoin; SMPPS and a super-legit and responsive pool op. That way you don't have to worry about the big bad BTCGuild breathing down your neck.

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Mad7Scientist
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August 09, 2011, 03:11:48 AM
 #42

Quote
Both Vladamir and Mad7 are conflating two calculations of odds:
finding this behavior in the next 5 days for btcguild
finding this behavior in any 5 day period for any pool

Vladimir correctly calculated the odds of finding this behavior in the next 5 days of btcguild. However, that is not relevant. We need to calculate the odds of searching every possible 5 day period for every pool (or even just the 3 biggest) and finding this sort of luck. The OP set out to find the luckiest pool to mine in and to find the unluckiest pool to accuse of cheating.

Yes and no. Vladimir did that but in my OP I clearly said the odds were for a single 5 day period. Then I said what it would be for a 30 day period which would be more useful information as you just mentioned.

If you have 144:1 odds for 5 days then you have the chance of that happening over 50 days it is 14.4:1.

But in addition to the 5 day period, there is the sudden positive luck, and now the pool seems to have gone quite negative again! So it's actually worse.

http://l0ss.net/

That shows the lucks of a few different pools. But it doesn't go back far enough to show the 5 day streak that has been the focus of attention. It does show the bad luck streak that is happening right now, and it looks like BTCGuild is worse off than the others.

Quote
A certain town has 500 people. You suspect that maybe some of them are psychic. So you ask each person to try to correctly identify the suits of some cards they cannot see. Of the 500 people, you find 3 that did extremely well in the test. So you say that you suspect those 3 are psychic.
Your experiment doesn't say what the odds of doing extremely well on the test by chance are!
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August 09, 2011, 03:26:45 AM
 #43

Quote
Both Vladamir and Mad7 are conflating two calculations of odds:
finding this behavior in the next 5 days for btcguild
finding this behavior in any 5 day period for any pool

Vladimir correctly calculated the odds of finding this behavior in the next 5 days of btcguild. However, that is not relevant. We need to calculate the odds of searching every possible 5 day period for every pool (or even just the 3 biggest) and finding this sort of luck. The OP set out to find the luckiest pool to mine in and to find the unluckiest pool to accuse of cheating.

Yes and no. Vladimir did that but in my OP I clearly said the odds were for a single 5 day period. Then I said what it would be for a 30 day period which would be more useful information as you just mentioned.

If you have 144:1 odds for 5 days then you have the chance of that happening over 50 days it is 14.4:1.

That is the odds of it happening again over the next 50 days. Since you went looking for bad luck in the history of pools, you need to account for all the days in all the pools for which you found none. You need to calculate the odds of finding that 5 day period in 4 months of data from 3 pools.

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August 09, 2011, 03:47:58 AM
 #44

That shows the lucks of a few different pools. But it doesn't go back far enough to show the 5 day streak that has been the focus of attention. It does show the bad luck streak that is happening right now, and it looks like BTCGuild is worse off than the others.
The answer to three questions would be extremely helpful:

1) Over the longest possible time period, how many blocks has this pool found?

2) Over that same time period, how many blocks would you have expected them to find?

3) What is the standard deviation for the expected number of blocks found?

I understand this is difficult to do because of the difficulty changes. Since the difficulty changes should be random with respect to the pool's luck, you might have to do the calculation separately for each difficulty range. That's just as good, since those time periods aren't vulnerable to selection bias.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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Xephan
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August 09, 2011, 06:49:05 AM
 #45

That shows the lucks of a few different pools. But it doesn't go back far enough to show the 5 day streak that has been the focus of attention. It does show the bad luck streak that is happening right now, and it looks like BTCGuild is worse off than the others.
The answer to three questions would be extremely helpful:

1) Over the longest possible time period, how many blocks has this pool found?

2) Over that same time period, how many blocks would you have expected them to find?

3) What is the standard deviation for the expected number of blocks found?

I understand this is difficult to do because of the difficulty changes. Since the difficulty changes should be random with respect to the pool's luck, you might have to do the calculation separately for each difficulty range. That's just as good, since those time periods aren't vulnerable to selection bias.

I suck at my stats so when somebody bought up possible irregularities, as well as the fact I seem to be getting less than expected returns per MHash, I started tracking instead of trying to rely on my dubious maths skills Cheesy

From the period starting at block 137872 to 139410, initially it looked like something was fishy because BTCG found less blocks than Slush despite having higher hashrate, but over the period, this slowly corrected and BTCG found more blocks than Slush, with Slush performing below par (all the top pools were getting about 5.5~6.5 BTC per GH/s while Slush was just below 5). So I figured there probably was nothing fishy going on but merely that the run of bad luck got everybody paranoid and left it at that.

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eleuthria
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August 09, 2011, 02:17:43 PM
 #46

I want to know if the pool is being bounced up and down on purpose (with the down days likely being a little more down than the up days are up) to try to make it more difficult to see what is going on.

So eleuthria says that during difficulty 1563027 there is a 90% chance the number of blocks found should have been higher so 10% chance they were this low by chance. That's because that +70% and other high luck days that followed the low days made up for a lot of it.

If some more positive luck days are added to the pool it could be made to look just fine without any missing blocks problems at all. But the low days and high days will remain there as evidence that manipulation -- such as stealing and then a cover up -- took place.

Not very many bitcoins were stolen over all so far. In fact the estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 in the future if more positive luck days are added to make up for it.

Alright, I'm done stating just hard data.  Now for facts.  You're either:  1)A troll, 2) a moron, 3) mentally handicapped, or a combination of the 3.  Let's find out:

1) After being banned from the channel you start saying I might be the same person as Tom Williams of MyBitcoin in #bitcoin-police.  So the troll part is definitely there.  
2) You think that the "estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 if more positive luck days are added", which certainly qualifies you as a moron.
3) You seem to think I can just "create" luck/blocks to hide theft, which definitely makes you mentally handicapped.

I took the time to get the total share counts for the difficulties BTC Guild has kept track of.  Over the recorded difficulties at BTC Guild, the chance of having our overall luck is about 1 in 5.  It sucks, its bad, but it could be worse, and certainly isn't some 0.6% chance.  Like JoelKatz said, you're cherry picking a set of blocks that were already known to have been bad luck.

For your "creating" blocks comment:  Want some proof its impossible?  Our blocks are claimed by block number.  It is easy to audit that we truly mined the blocks we're claiming.  Go to the block explorer link.  Look at the generation amount/wallet.  Every 24 hours our pool servers move the funds to 1MbSn15MZWNbkNWF72KopyQenCV2zdcWvr before they become available for payouts.  It is impossible for us to claim a block we didn't actually mine, meaning it is impossible to fake positive luck.  The audit trail is there for anybody who wants to look.


EDIT:  To everyone other than Mad7Scientist, sorry you had to read the rant, but after the crap he was spouting in our IRC channel I couldn't pass up the chance to put him in his place.

R.I.P. BTC Guild, 2011 - 2015.
BTC Guild Forum Thread
zerokwel
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August 09, 2011, 02:18:41 PM
 #47

I want to know if the pool is being bounced up and down on purpose (with the down days likely being a little more down than the up days are up) to try to make it more difficult to see what is going on.

So eleuthria says that during difficulty 1563027 there is a 90% chance the number of blocks found should have been higher so 10% chance they were this low by chance. That's because that +70% and other high luck days that followed the low days made up for a lot of it.

If some more positive luck days are added to the pool it could be made to look just fine without any missing blocks problems at all. But the low days and high days will remain there as evidence that manipulation -- such as stealing and then a cover up -- took place.

Not very many bitcoins were stolen over all so far. In fact the estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 in the future if more positive luck days are added to make up for it.

Alright, I'm done stating just hard data.  Now for facts.  You're either:  1)A troll, 2) a moron, 3) mentally handicapped, or a combination of the 3.  Let's find out:

1) After being banned from the channel you start calling me Tom Williams in #bitcoin-police.  So the troll part is definitely there.   
2) You think that the "estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 if more positive luck days are added", which certainly qualifies you as a moron.
3) You seem to think I can just "create" luck/blocks to hide theft, which definitely makes you mentally handicapped.

I took the time to get the total share counts for the difficulties BTC Guild has kept track of.  Over the recorded difficulties at BTC Guild, the odds of our overall luck for the past 1400+ blocks is slightly better than 1 in 5.  It sucks, its bad, but it could be worse, and certainly isn't some 0.6% chance.  Like JoelKatz said, you're cherry picking a set of blocks that were already known to have been bad luck.

For your "creating" blocks comment:  Want some proof its impossible?  Our blocks are claimed by block number.  It is easy to audit that we truly mined the blocks we're claiming.  Go to the block explorer link.  Look at the generation amount/wallet.  Every 24 hours our pool servers move the funds to 1MbSn15MZWNbkNWF72KopyQenCV2zdcWvr before they become available for payouts.  It is impossible for us to claim a block we didn't actually mine, meaning it is impossible to fake positive luck.  The audit trail is there for anybody who wants to look.

could not say it better myself +1
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August 09, 2011, 02:30:30 PM
 #48

I want to know if the pool is being bounced up and down on purpose (with the down days likely being a little more down than the up days are up) to try to make it more difficult to see what is going on.

So eleuthria says that during difficulty 1563027 there is a 90% chance the number of blocks found should have been higher so 10% chance they were this low by chance. That's because that +70% and other high luck days that followed the low days made up for a lot of it.

If some more positive luck days are added to the pool it could be made to look just fine without any missing blocks problems at all. But the low days and high days will remain there as evidence that manipulation -- such as stealing and then a cover up -- took place.

Not very many bitcoins were stolen over all so far. In fact the estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 in the future if more positive luck days are added to make up for it.

Alright, I'm done stating just hard data.  Now for facts.  You're either:  1)A troll, 2) a moron, 3) mentally handicapped, or a combination of the 3.  Let's find out:

1) After being banned from the channel you start saying I might be the same person as Tom Williams of MyBitcoin in #bitcoin-police.  So the troll part is definitely there.  
2) You think that the "estimated amount of bitcoins stolen could go to 0 if more positive luck days are added", which certainly qualifies you as a moron.
3) You seem to think I can just "create" luck/blocks to hide theft, which definitely makes you mentally handicapped.

I took the time to get the total share counts for the difficulties BTC Guild has kept track of.  Over the recorded difficulties at BTC Guild, the chance of having our overall luck is about 1 in 5.  It sucks, its bad, but it could be worse, and certainly isn't some 0.6% chance.  Like JoelKatz said, you're cherry picking a set of blocks that were already known to have been bad luck.

For your "creating" blocks comment:  Want some proof its impossible?  Our blocks are claimed by block number.  It is easy to audit that we truly mined the blocks we're claiming.  Go to the block explorer link.  Look at the generation amount/wallet.  Every 24 hours our pool servers move the funds to 1MbSn15MZWNbkNWF72KopyQenCV2zdcWvr before they become available for payouts.  It is impossible for us to claim a block we didn't actually mine, meaning it is impossible to fake positive luck.  The audit trail is there for anybody who wants to look.
/thread
k9quaint
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August 09, 2011, 04:55:36 PM
 #49

EDIT:  To everyone other than Mad7Scientist, sorry you had to read the rant, but after the crap he was spouting in our IRC channel I couldn't pass up the chance to put him in his place.

This was all a carefully crafted ruse to get you to fly off the handle. Happy Birthday!  Grin

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DiamondPlus
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August 09, 2011, 05:13:40 PM
 #50

If it goes to -100% one day then +100% the next day there is manipulation going on, even though in that particular case there is no indication of stealing. If there is manipulation going on, it's very important to know that.

If there is manipulation, then most likely there is also stealing going on. Why would there be manipulation of the luck in the pool without stealing? Can anyone explain this?

I'm trying to show that there is a high probability of manipulation of the pool going on, not that there is stealing going on. Once we determine that there is manipulation, it will be easy to conclude that there is stealing, unless the long term output of the pool is above the expected amount.

So having it shoot up to +70% increases the chance that there is manipulation going on, just as -40% would, although it is hard to figure out where the pool got those extra solved blocks from if it was manipulation. Why? maybe somebody is trying to divert attention away from the low luck days, and if so it worked fairly well because people on the forum who started talking about the bad luck quit talking about it when luck shot way up.

And the probability of the 5 day period is is 0.0036 (277:1) not 0.01.

If someone wants to find out what the expected(?) deviation for positive and negative luck is on the pool that would be nice. Those are the numbers you would get if you took all the positive and then negative values over a very long time on a normal non manipulated pool and averaged them.
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August 09, 2011, 06:15:51 PM
 #51

I'm trying to show that there is a high probability of manipulation of the pool going on, not that there is stealing going on.
I don't think you've shown that because:

1) Overall, chance seems a better explanation for the pool's long-term luck.

2) There is no known plausible mechanism that can produce better days than average.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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Nicksasa
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August 09, 2011, 06:16:47 PM
 #52

If it goes to -100% one day then +100% the next day there is manipulation going on, even though in that particular case there is no indication of stealing. If there is manipulation going on, it's very important to know that.

If there is manipulation, then most likely there is also stealing going on. Why would there be manipulation of the luck in the pool without stealing? Can anyone explain this?

I'm trying to show that there is a high probability of manipulation of the pool going on, not that there is stealing going on. Once we determine that there is manipulation, it will be easy to conclude that there is stealing, unless the long term output of the pool is above the expected amount.

So having it shoot up to +70% increases the chance that there is manipulation going on, just as -40% would, although it is hard to figure out where the pool got those extra solved blocks from if it was manipulation. Why? maybe somebody is trying to divert attention away from the low luck days, and if so it worked fairly well because people on the forum who started talking about the bad luck quit talking about it when luck shot way up.

And the probability of the 5 day period is is 0.0036 (277:1) not 0.01.

If someone wants to find out what the expected(?) deviation for positive and negative luck is on the pool that would be nice. Those are the numbers you would get if you took all the positive and then negative values over a very long time on a normal non manipulated pool and averaged them.
Why do people in this thread keep pulling numbers out of their ass ? Show me when it went to -100% and then +100% the next day.

Here is something for you, from the data my bot logs.
Code:
<Nicksasa> @btc blocks 720
<BlockAnnouncer> Average for the last 720 hour(s) (603 Blocks  30150 BTC  Duration: 0:59:33 - Shares: 1870306)
<Nicksasa> @btc difficulty
<BlockAnnouncer> Current difficulty 1888786.7053531  Estimated difficulty 1810246.5051295  -4.16 % increase in 855 blocks 6 days 6 hours 38 minutes 10 seconds
I would say that's pretty damn close. Ofcourse you need to make the average difficulty based on this one + previous and the one before that. That shows that we had positive luck last 30 days.

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August 09, 2011, 06:24:10 PM
 #53

Why do people in this thread keep pulling numbers out of their ass ? Show me when it went to -100% and then +100% the next day.

Here is something for you, from the data my bot logs.
Code:
<Nicksasa> @btc blocks 720
<BlockAnnouncer> Average for the last 720 hour(s) (603 Blocks  30150 BTC  Duration: 0:59:33 - Shares: 1870306)
<Nicksasa> @btc difficulty
<BlockAnnouncer> Current difficulty 1888786.7053531  Estimated difficulty 1810246.5051295  -4.16 % increase in 855 blocks 6 days 6 hours 38 minutes 10 seconds
I would say that's pretty damn close.

As much as I hate to hurt my own side:  The difficulty has only been that high for a small portion of the time frame you posted for the average, so it doesn't mean that much Sad.  Page 2 still has the best math for our current situation, it shows the probability of our luck over the past 4 difficulties (which is about 7 weeks give or take).

R.I.P. BTC Guild, 2011 - 2015.
BTC Guild Forum Thread
Mad7Scientist
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August 09, 2011, 06:31:43 PM
 #54

Isn't there a simple way to find out? How about a couple of supecting miners decide to use a slightly modded miner that would inform the user when it finds a block.

It'd be sufficient for this group to be able to present only 1 block that was stolen by the operator.

Of course they would have keep their identities secret, otherwise the pool operator can just always leave their blocks untouched and choose blocks of other miners for stealing.

This would at least create a lot of danger for the pool operator. The pool operator getting caught stealing would certainly destroy the pool, so even a slight danger of that happening should keep him from stealing, right?

Am I overlooking something?

That makes perfect sense. What I don't understand is why a mining client can't just keep the block and all 50 BTC for itself when it finds the block. Is there some protection against this happening that would also prevent a mining client from knowing when it finds a block?

Quote
From the period starting at block 137872 to 139410, initially it looked like something was fishy because BTCG found less blocks than Slush despite having higher hashrate, but over the period, this slowly corrected and BTCG found more blocks than Slush, with Slush performing below par (all the top pools were getting about 5.5~6.5 BTC per GH/s while Slush was just below 5). So I figured there probably was nothing fishy going on but merely that the run of bad luck got everybody paranoid and left it at that.

That would suggest that BTCGuild is working with at least one other mining pool to pull this off.

Here is what I think may be happening after thinking about it for a little while. BTCGuild and some other pools, such as Deepbit, or Slush or Ars Bitcoin are actually run by the same people.

The operator of BTCGuild is intentionally manipulating the luck in the pool making it drop very low and then jump up to unexpected highs. On low luck days, they would be doing this by having the pool capture some of the winning shares and sending them over to one of the other pools where that share would be sent out to one of the miners to win. On high luck days, some of the winning shares on the other pools would be captured and sent over to BTCGuild and sent out to the miners to have them win.

During this time, some of the winning shares may be sent off to a private pool where some of the loot is kept, or are sent off to a PPS pool like Ars Bitcoin and help build up that big 800 BTC buffer that they have. Then somebody gets to keep that buffer.

But the amount of actual stealing that takes place depends on weather or not people notice. By manipulating the pool and adding positive luck, it really a great way to make most people not notice that something is wrong. So right now there is probably very little stealing actually going on but there is still a high degree of manipulation!
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August 09, 2011, 06:33:20 PM
 #55

i'm using this pool for over 2 month now ...

give me best results compared with other ...

i'm happy with them
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August 09, 2011, 06:37:59 PM
 #56

Here is what I think may be happening after thinking about it for a little while. BTCGuild and some other pools, such as Deepbit, or Slush or Ars Bitcoin are actually run by the same people.

The operator of BTCGuild is intentionally manipulating the luck in the pool making it drop very low and then jump up to unexpected highs. On low luck days, they would be doing this by having the pool capture some of the winning shares and sending them over to one of the other pools where that share would be sent out to one of the miners to win. On high luck days, some of the winning shares on the other pools would be captured and sent over to BTCGuild and sent out to the miners to have them win.

During this time, some of the winning shares may be sent off to a private pool where some of the loot is kept, or are sent off to a PPS pool like Ars Bitcoin and help build up that big 800 BTC buffer that they have. Then somebody gets to keep that buffer.

But the amount of actual stealing that takes place depends on weather or not people notice. By manipulating the pool and adding positive luck, it really a great way to make most people not notice that something is wrong. So right now there is probably very little stealing actually going on but there is still a high degree of manipulation!
Let me guess, the masterminds are the same guys who faked the moon landings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, right?

I am an employee of Ripple.
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August 09, 2011, 06:39:25 PM
 #57

Sounds like you're getting desperate.
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August 09, 2011, 06:41:10 PM
 #58

Now we know why your username starts with "Mad". 7 would be the total number of times you visited a psychiatric hospital.

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August 09, 2011, 06:45:50 PM
 #59

Sounds like you're getting desperate.
Indeed, it sounds like your getting desperate with your theories that aren't based on the hard data.

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August 09, 2011, 06:47:54 PM
 #60

That makes perfect sense. What I don't understand is why a mining client can't just keep the block and all 50 BTC for itself when it finds the block. Is there some protection against this happening that would also prevent a mining client from knowing when it finds a block?
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