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Author Topic: Does bitcoin really has no central authority?  (Read 1310 times)
zy02264
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August 16, 2013, 08:14:59 AM
 #1

I tried to search about this really hard but haven't got anything valuable. Look forward to hearing opinions from you. Thx!

The question is that I wondering if Satoshi himself or organizations e.g.  Bitcoin Foundation have higher authority over ordinary bitcoiners.

I have noticed that a few days ago a weird 0.015BTC transaction (https://blockchain.info/tx/77822fd6663c665104119cb7635352756dfc50da76a92d417ec1a12c518fad69) distorted part of the whole network. I don't know anything about codes, but I guess that it couldn't be done by ordinary folks.

Also, according to Bitcoin Foundation's websites, it could standardize Bitcoin by changing codes. What if one day they start to play evil?

Does anyone concern about this? I mean, many people devoted to Bitcoin because they hate traditional "central bank" system. Is there any possibilities that some people/organization could become a "central bank" in Bitcoin world by having authority to change Bitcoin's codes? Thanks a lot!
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August 16, 2013, 08:44:30 AM
Last edit: August 16, 2013, 08:40:35 PM by Stephen Gornick
 #2

Also, according to Bitcoin Foundation's websites, it could standardize Bitcoin by changing codes. What if one day they start to play evil?

There are many Bitcoin clients. Any change that implements a change that "breaks" the Bitcoin protocol will not be accepted by older clients.  This is called a hard fork.  So unless people upgrade to a client that understands the change, that change made will have no impact.

There is the argument that the power to accept changes comes from those who hold bitcoins and those who will buy the mined coins.  These people are referred to as the "economic majority":
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Economic_majority

The economic majority's power is what played out this way with the accidental hard fork in March.  There was a change to the v0.8 client that those using v0.7.2 and prior didn't use.   Even though there were more v0.8 clients running at the time, the "economic majority" were using v0.7 and thus that's the side of the fork that mining capacity jumped to once it became obvious coins mined on v0.8 were going to become worthless.

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August 16, 2013, 08:46:06 AM
 #3

I have noticed that a few days ago a weird 0.015BTC transaction (https://blockchain.info/tx/77822fd6663c665104119cb7635352756dfc50da76a92d417ec1a12c518fad69) distorted part of the whole network. I don't know anything about codes, but I guess that it couldn't be done by ordinary folks.

It can be made by anyone. If one wants to add messages to blocks, one needs to mine that block. Currently it's super hard for individuals to mine blocks themselves (without a pool). But a transaction like that can be made by anyone, yeah. Though I don't know do you need to mine a block to include this kind of tx or do nodes relay these normally.

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August 16, 2013, 09:12:12 AM
 #4

None whatsoever what is has is lean.
faiza1990
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August 16, 2013, 10:59:17 AM
 #5

No but who cares all is going without Central Authority

zy02264
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August 16, 2013, 11:31:39 AM
 #6

Also, according to Bitcoin Foundation's websites, it could standardize Bitcoin by changing codes. What if one day they start to play evil?

There are many Bitcoin clients. Any change that implements a change that "breaks" the Bitcoin protocol will not be accepted by older clients.  This is called a hard fork.  So unless people upgrade to a client that understands the change, that change made will have no impact.

There is the argument that the power to accepts changes comes from those who hold bitcoins and those who will buy the mined coins.  They are referred to as the "economic majority":
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Economic_majority

This played out this way with the accidental hard fork in March.  There was a change to the v0.8 client that those using v0.7.2 and prior didn't use.   Even though there were more v0.8 clients running at the time, the "economic majority" were using v0.7 and thus that's the side of the fork that mining capacity jumped to once it became obvious coins mined on v0.8 were going to become worthless.

Thank you! The resource is great! So changes would be made as long as "economic majority" accept the new change. How it work is like by sort of democracy process.

Just in case, if one day "economically majority" believe that keeping the total number of Bitcoins at 21 million is stupid and they'd like to add by, say 1 million. Could the total number increase to 22 million if "economically majority" accept and change and update their clients?
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August 16, 2013, 11:35:19 AM
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I have noticed that a few days ago a weird 0.015BTC transaction (https://blockchain.info/tx/77822fd6663c665104119cb7635352756dfc50da76a92d417ec1a12c518fad69) distorted part of the whole network. I don't know anything about codes, but I guess that it couldn't be done by ordinary folks.

It can be made by anyone. If one wants to add messages to blocks, one needs to mine that block. Currently it's super hard for individuals to mine blocks themselves (without a pool). But a transaction like that can be made by anyone, yeah. Though I don't know do you need to mine a block to include this kind of tx or do nodes relay these normally.

Yeah that makes 100% sense. I saw some posts which guess this transaction was made by Satoshi himself Wink
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August 16, 2013, 11:57:48 AM
 #8

I have noticed that a few days ago a weird 0.015BTC transaction (https://blockchain.info/tx/77822fd6663c665104119cb7635352756dfc50da76a92d417ec1a12c518fad69) distorted part of the whole network. I don't know anything about codes, but I guess that it couldn't be done by ordinary folks.

It can be made by anyone. If one wants to add messages to blocks, one needs to mine that block. Currently it's super hard for individuals to mine blocks themselves (without a pool). But a transaction like that can be made by anyone, yeah. Though I don't know do you need to mine a block to include this kind of tx or do nodes relay these normally.

Yeah that makes 100% sense. I saw some posts which guess this transaction was made by Satoshi himself Wink

its mean something going wrong in this way or they are doing by own

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August 16, 2013, 03:32:53 PM
 #9

aren't premiminers kind of like a central authority?

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August 16, 2013, 03:36:23 PM
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Even though there were more v0.8 clients running at the time, the "economic majority" were using v0.7 and thus that's the side of the fork that mining capacity jumped to once it became obvious coins mined on v0.8 were going to become worthless.
Nit: There was _far_ more <0.8 nodes at the time than >=0.8. What there was more 0.8 of is hashpower. This disagreement between what everyone else runs and what mining runs can easily happen because ~3 people control the operation of >50% of the hashpower, and miners in general had updated to 0.8 quite quickly.

I don't know anything about codes, but I guess that it couldn't be done by ordinary folks.
I have no clue who made that transaction, but it was an "ordinary folk", no special privileged was required.  Electrum's server reimplementation of the Bitcoin protocol was fatally incorrect in a way which that transaction was structured to trigger, thus isolating them from the network. Fortunately (?), the transaction also included a fix.

aren't premiminers kind of like a central authority?
Perhaps you've mistaken Bitcoin for one of the whole cloth pump and dumps in the altcoin forums?  The public had access to Bitcoin from the start.
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August 16, 2013, 04:28:26 PM
 #11

Any man made thing eventually falls prey to a group of powerful people. Hell even the prices of naturally rare things like gold can be manipulated if you are powerful enough. So yes bitcoin will eventually become centralized. Even now we are vulnerable because of Mt. Gox's troubles.
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August 16, 2013, 06:15:00 PM
 #12

Any man made thing eventually falls prey to a group of powerful people. Hell even the prices of naturally rare things like gold can be manipulated if you are powerful enough. So yes bitcoin will eventually become centralized. Even now we are vulnerable because of Mt. Gox's troubles.

Very true

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August 16, 2013, 07:41:09 PM
 #13

There are many Bitcoin clients. Any change that implements a change that "breaks" the Bitcoin protocol will not be accepted by older clients.  This is called a hard fork.  So unless people upgrade to a client that understands the change, that change made will have no impact.
Not only that, there now exists a second complete implementation (Bits of Proof) and a third on the way (btcd).

It would be great if the nodes in the network were evenly split into about half a dozen independent implementations.
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August 16, 2013, 11:33:43 PM
 #14

Is there any possibilities that some people/organization could become a "central bank" in Bitcoin world by having authority to change Bitcoin's codes?

Not long ago, Gavin decided that dust transactions should be eliminated and nothing with an output smaller than 5340 satoshi should be relayed over the network. Regardless of whether or not this was a good idea (in hindsight, I think it was), a lot of people hated the idea and were quite vocal about it. In spite of the opposition, Gavin went ahead and added the dust transaction limit (along with lower fees) to 0.8.2 and released it. So far this sounds like "central authority" right?

Now let's fast-forward to yesterday. 0.8.3 is the current version, most (if not all) full nodes are running bitcoin-qt or bitcoind. You'd think dust transactions are a thing of the past, right? If that were the case, if there was a "central authority" controlling Bitcoin, I couldn't have possibly received a 500 satoshi transaction yesterday (which, at the time of this writing, has 219 confirmations) because that transaction would never have been relayed to miners.

The developers (and maybe the foundation) do have the power to make certain high-level decisions, but it's up to the people using Bitcoin and especially those who run full nodes and/or mining pools to decide whether to accept those decisions.

edit: The first paragraph is, of course, an oversimplification. Gavin did include a way for you (as a user of bitcoind or bitcoin-qt) to change those default limtis and fees for your own node, with a warning that nonstandard transactions might not be relayed.. but it wasn't expected (especially with the warning) that many people would lower them. The fact still remains that such nonstandard transactions are still being relayed, meaning some percentage of the network including at least one mining pool either lowered that default limit or never upgraded to 0.8.2, either because they opposed the change or because they just haven't been keeping up with the latest release. Considering the 0.8 hardfork issue I doubt many mining pools aren't keeping up with the latest release.

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August 17, 2013, 10:33:46 AM
 #15

Any man made thing eventually falls prey to a group of powerful people. Hell even the prices of naturally rare things like gold can be manipulated if you are powerful enough. So yes bitcoin will eventually become centralized. Even now we are vulnerable because of Mt. Gox's troubles.

Very true

agree

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