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Author Topic: 3 unanswered Bitcoin questions  (Read 1443 times)
cgcardona
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January 29, 2014, 04:54:18 AM
 #1

1. Bitcoin days destroyed on Coinbase

On initially thinking it through you would think that the growth of the Bitcoin network could be judged by looking at the number of transactions per day. The problem however is that someone could just send a single satoshi back and forth between 2 wallets an increasing number of times each day and it would artificially make the network appear that the number of transactions per day was increasing.

To handle this situation more accurately Bitcoin has the metric Bitcoin Days Destroyed https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_Days_Destroyed

Quote
Bitcoin days destroyed for any given transaction is calculated by taking the number of Bitcoins in a transaction and multiplying it by the number of days it has been since those coins were last spent.

So an appropriate pseudo-algorithm would be:

Code:
bitcoin_days_destroyed = number_of_bitcoins_in_transaction * number_of_days_since_those_coins_were_spent

Example

So a simple example is a user who has 10 bitcoins. This user leaves the bitcoin in their wallet for a complete week and then spend them all buying a brand new DW drum set.

According to our algorithm above how many Bitcoin Days were destroyed?

Code:
number_of_bitcoins_in_transaction = 10
number_of_days_since_those_coins_were_spent = 7
bitcoin_days_destroyed = number_of_bitcoins_in_transaction * number_of_days_since_those_coins_were_spent
# 7 Bitcoin Days Destroyed

Regarding Coinbase off-blockchain transactions

Coinbase recently announced http://blog.coinbase.com/post/57483182558/you-can-now-send-micro-transactions-with-zero-fees that you can send micro-transactions between Coinbase wallets that have 0 fees and are confirmed instantly.

This makes micro-transactions truly feasible by overcoming the bitcoin dust https://code.google.com/p/bitcoin-wallet/wiki/DustTransactions problem

My question is how do Bitcoin Days destroyed work with regards to off-blockchain transactions?

If Coinbase (and other off-blockchain transaction vendors) doesn't accurately reflect the number of bitcoin days destroyed in off-blockchain transactions then as a community are we getting an accurate view of how quickly the Bitcoin economy and transactions are growing?

2. Harder or easier to launch alt-coins in the future
Each day we hear about a new alt coin being created. This is the combination of a couple of factors. The first is that it's getting easier and easier to create an alt-coin. Many have now paved the way and there are even pay services http://coingen.io/ which let you just pay some cash, plug in some values, and it creates the alt coin for you.

Now with the emergence of the so called 'bitcoin 2.0' and projects like mastercoin and colored coins we are going to see even more alt coins built on top of the blockchain.

The second reason that we're seeing so many alt coins is that as the difficulty level to mine a bitcoin block becomes ever more difficult all of the outdated mining hardware begins mining a different coin.

My question is will it be easier to launch an alt coin in the future due to the proliferation of tools and open source code or will it be harder because of the chance that your alt coin's blockchain could be 51%ed by all of the mining power sitting out on the web.

3. Do off blockchain zero fee transactions ultimately hurt the network in any way.

The Bitcoin Coinbase is the number of coins that get released to the wallet of the computer which mines the latest block about each 10 minutes. Every 4 years the value of the coinbase gets cut in half.

It started at 50 coins every block then it got cut to 25 coins per block and in the future it will continue to get cut in half until the year 2140 when all (nearly) 21,000,000 bitcoins will have been mined.

The way that the miners continue to pay for mining gear as the coinbase drops to zero is that they are rewarded all of the transaction fees that accrue since the mining of the last block.

However in off-blockchain zero fee transactions there are literally zero fees accrued for the miners to benefit from.

My question is as the number of transactions that are happening in off-blockchain zero fee transactions services increases does it somehow hurt the network because it's not generating the fees which the miners are going to come to rely on as the coinbase drops.
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hilariousandco
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January 29, 2014, 11:30:22 AM
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2. Harder or easier to launch alt-coins in the future
Each day we hear about a new alt coin being created. This is the combination of a couple of factors. The first is that it's getting easier and easier to create an alt-coin. Many have now paved the way and there are even pay services http://coingen.io/ which let you just pay some cash, plug in some values, and it creates the alt coin for you.

My question is will it be easier to launch an alt coin in the future due to the proliferation of tools and open source code or will it be harder because of the chance that your alt coin's blockchain could be 51%ed by all of the mining power sitting out on the web.

It's already incredibly easy to launch an altcoin, but the problem will eventually be the market is going to become so saturated at one point that people won't even bother mining most of them and they'll be dead on arrival.

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January 30, 2014, 07:19:45 AM
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2. Harder or easier to launch alt-coins in the future
Each day we hear about a new alt coin being created. This is the combination of a couple of factors. The first is that it's getting easier and easier to create an alt-coin. Many have now paved the way and there are even pay services http://coingen.io/ which let you just pay some cash, plug in some values, and it creates the alt coin for you.

My question is will it be easier to launch an alt coin in the future due to the proliferation of tools and open source code or will it be harder because of the chance that your alt coin's blockchain could be 51%ed by all of the mining power sitting out on the web.

It's already incredibly easy to launch an altcoin, but the problem will eventually be the market is going to become so saturated at one point that people won't even bother mining most of them and they'll be dead on arrival.

It is definitely easier to launch, you don't even need know anything about programming.
Just pay 0.05btc to coingen, and think of a fancy name and icon. Wink

But I think it will be more difficulty for those real innovative coins to get success, due to the flood of scamcoins.
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January 30, 2014, 07:55:25 AM
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My question is how do Bitcoin Days destroyed work with regards to off-blockchain transactions?

They don't, it is only a measure of on-chain transactions.

Quote
If Coinbase (and other off-blockchain transaction vendors) doesn't accurately reflect the number of bitcoin days destroyed in off-blockchain transactions then as a community are we getting an accurate view of how quickly the Bitcoin economy and transactions are growing?

Bitcoin days destroyed is not an end-all be-all metric, just like every single other metric of anything relating to economics ever. Tongue What it can be useful for is comparing year-over-year values, but even then if the bitcoin value increases or decreases this will have to be accounted for.

Quote
My question is will it be easier to launch an alt coin in the future due to the proliferation of tools and open source code or will it be harder because of the chance that your alt coin's blockchain could be 51%ed by all of the mining power sitting out on the web.

Most non-bitcoin clones seem to be going the route of network security being provided by something other than hashing power. It makes sense in more ways than one.

Quote
My question is as the number of transactions that are happening in off-blockchain zero fee transactions services increases does it somehow hurt the network because it's not generating the fees which the miners are going to come to rely on as the coinbase drops.

Difficult to say at this point. The tune of the block chain's utility seems to have changed from "free and cheap microtransactions for all!" to "a decentralized clearing house for large value transactions" as the scalability problems of bitcoin have reared their ugly heads more recently. It will be hard for the block chain to compete when it has to spend millions or potentially billions annually to secure the network when, as you have pointed out, coinbase will let you do it for free on their network.

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