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Author Topic: Why Run the Bitcoin Client?  (Read 3322 times)
EuSouBitcoin
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August 18, 2011, 08:47:50 PM
 #1

I have the Bitcoin client version 0.3.24 installed on my computer. The only reason I see to have it running is if I am sending or receiving BTC to the wallet on my computer. Correct me if I'm wrong but transaction fees only go to miners. Am I missing something here?
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Gabi
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August 18, 2011, 08:59:07 PM
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Well by running it you are an active node that relay the blocks and the transactions
evoorhees
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August 18, 2011, 09:53:31 PM
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By running it, the only advantage to you is that your blockchain stays updated. If you hadn't opened it in a couple weeks, then it might take a while to catch back up, delaying your payments, etc.

Also, by running it, you're benefiting the network as a whole, by adding another "node" which processes and relays transaction.
nmat
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August 18, 2011, 10:04:58 PM
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Also, by running it, you're benefiting the network as a whole, by adding another "node" which processes and relays transaction.

I thought miners did this
Garrett Burgwardt
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August 18, 2011, 10:40:42 PM
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Miners in the end filter out transactions and process them in the final step of a transaction, but nodes that relay transactions are important too. This provides redundancy and filters out some of the obvious spam transactions so that there is less load on the miners (though at the moment, that's not a huge problem now- further along when bitcoin is more popular it could be a real concern).
elggawf
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August 18, 2011, 10:41:51 PM
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Also, by running it, you're benefiting the network as a whole, by adding another "node" which processes and relays transaction.

I thought miners did this

Peers are the ones that relay and make up the network, giving you a more diverse mesh and lessening the chance someone with a bunch of malicious nodes can nail a transaction to a particular IP address (see Kaminsky et al)... but of course that only really 100% applies if you're allowing incoming connections.

^_^
evoorhees
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August 19, 2011, 01:48:57 AM
 #7

Also, by running it, you're benefiting the network as a whole, by adding another "node" which processes and relays transaction.

I thought miners did this

Sorry, I shouldn't have used the word "processes."  Miners process transactions in the new block. Nodes simply relay new blocks to each other. Miners are doing the auditing and verification... nodes are distributing the results of that work. I think I got this right Smiley
EuSouBitcoin
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November 16, 2011, 01:31:06 PM
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If running the client provides a valuable service to the network, shouldn't that be rewarded?
chickenado
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November 16, 2011, 02:06:51 PM
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If running the client provides a valuable service to the network, shouldn't that be rewarded?

The reward scheme is not optimal in Bitcoin. It relies on charity in order to produce some "public goods", thus they are underproduced.

This doesn't make Bitcoin unviable though. Bittorrent also works in practice even though seeding is pure charity.

Note that the reward scheme for mining isn't optimal either.  Once the block reward approaches zero, miners get rewarded for faster transaction processing, but they don't get rewarded for securing the network, which is their main purpose.  Securing the network is just a positive externality.   

The initial block reward is a direct reward for securing the network, however it is somewhat arbitrary and it ignores how much security consumers want and how much they are willing to pay for it.  It could be too high or it could be too low.

You can't give a direct reward for relaying because that would be too easy to abuse. Someone could just set up 1,000,000 clients on 1,000,000 IP addresses relaying among themselves, with a few outward connections, yet that wouldn't contribute much to the resilience  of the bitcoin network.

The topology and connectedness of running clients needs to be rewarded as well.
Gabi
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November 16, 2011, 02:43:39 PM
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If running the client provides a valuable service to the network, shouldn't that be rewarded?
What expenses there are to keep running the client? Almost none. Everyone can keep the client in background and ignore it.
BitcoinBug
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November 16, 2011, 03:08:23 PM
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What expenses there are to keep running the client? Almost none. Everyone can keep the client in background and ignore it.

For now... What if/when we reach VISA volume of transactions.
Gabi
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November 16, 2011, 03:12:02 PM
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Call me when this happens ok?
kyotoku
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November 16, 2011, 03:12:58 PM
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I suppose you brought this up because of the microsoft paper. A more in depth discussion can be found here. Link to the microsoft paper within.
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=51712.0
nmat
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November 16, 2011, 03:15:37 PM
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For now... What if/when we reach VISA volume of transactions.

There are much more important scalability problems that must be solved before that happens.
DeathAndTaxes
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November 16, 2011, 04:07:09 PM
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Note that the reward scheme for mining isn't optimal either.  Once the block reward approaches zero, miners get rewarded for faster transaction processing, but they don't get rewarded for securing the network, which is their main purpose.  Securing the network is just a positive externality.   

Care to explain that.  More transaction fees = more miners = stronger network.
chickenado
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November 16, 2011, 04:36:53 PM
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Note that the reward scheme for mining isn't optimal either.  Once the block reward approaches zero, miners get rewarded for faster transaction processing, but they don't get rewarded for securing the network, which is their main purpose.  Securing the network is just a positive externality.   

Care to explain that.  More transaction fees = more miners = stronger network.

stronger network is a side effect, but it's not what the individual user is buying from the individual miner.

If a user doubles his fees, he is not going to double his security. 
DeathAndTaxes
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Gerald Davis


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November 16, 2011, 04:41:25 PM
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Note that the reward scheme for mining isn't optimal either.  Once the block reward approaches zero, miners get rewarded for faster transaction processing, but they don't get rewarded for securing the network, which is their main purpose.  Securing the network is just a positive externality.   

Care to explain that.  More transaction fees = more miners = stronger network.

stronger network is a side effect, but it's not what the individual user is buying from the individual miner.

If a user doubles his fees, he is not going to double his security. 

There is no way for a user to pay to increase security under any transaction fee system.  There is only one level of security.  However setting min transaction fees could ensure that min level of security is provided based on transaction volume.
FreeMoney
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November 16, 2011, 06:21:25 PM
 #18

Note that the reward scheme for mining isn't optimal either.  Once the block reward approaches zero, miners get rewarded for faster transaction processing, but they don't get rewarded for securing the network, which is their main purpose.  Securing the network is just a positive externality.   

Care to explain that.  More transaction fees = more miners = stronger network.

stronger network is a side effect, but it's not what the individual user is buying from the individual miner.

If a user doubles his fees, he is not going to double his security. 

There is no way for a user to pay to increase security under any transaction fee system.  There is only one level of security.  However setting min transaction fees could ensure that min level of security is provided based on transaction volume.


The security of a transaction after X time is already determined in a rough way by tx fee. It's pretty binary right now, but when there are lots of miners with different schedules your chance of getting in by any certain block will depend on fee.

In the far future a large fee could actually have -some- impact on the speed of the next block too.

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tvbcof
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November 16, 2011, 06:40:51 PM
 #19

I run one because it is the only worthwhile contribution to the network that I can easily make at this time (other than trying to soak up some of the currency inflation.)

---

BTW, I am making a bunch of very low power machines (several watts) which I hope to be viable full nodes, and could reasonably remain operational on solar/battery for a long time, and potentially on long distance wifi.

I bought some 6G microdrives to serve as the data storage for these hosts.  Just recently I looked at the node I run on my router and was alarmed to see the data size much bigger than I expected (at around 4G iirc...I'll do more analysis later, but my initial impression was that the block chain would be less size at this time.)  I do hope that the development team puts some focus on keeping things tight and efficient so that it is realistic to help support the network with minimal hardware.


dooglus
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November 16, 2011, 07:17:58 PM
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Just recently I looked at the node I run on my router and was alarmed to see the data size much bigger than I expected (at around 4G iirc...I'll do more analysis later, but my initial impression was that the block chain would be less size at this time.)

I've been running the bitcoin client for almost a year, and my .bitcoin folder is only just over 1G in size.

The 'database' folder is 10M, and the only files of significant size in .bitcoin are:

Code:
-rw------- 1 chris chris  32K Nov 16 11:13 __db.002
-rw------- 1 chris chris 264K Nov 16 11:13 __db.003
-rw------- 1 chris chris 780K Nov 16 11:07 wallet.dat
-rw------- 1 chris chris 904K Nov 16 11:13 __db.001
-rw------- 1 chris chris 2.4M Nov 16 11:14 debug.log
-rw-r----- 1 chris chris  10M Oct  6 21:06 log.0000000001
-rw------- 1 chris chris  45M Nov 16 11:12 addr.dat
-rw------- 1 chris chris 292M Nov 16 11:12 blkindex.dat
-rw------- 1 chris chris 719M Nov 16 11:07 blk0001.dat

Do you have several copies of the blockchain in your 4G folder?

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