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Question: Remove "generate bitcoins" from standard client? Too many people expecting it to generate coins.
Remove it - 61 (45.5%)
Leave it - 11 (8.2%)
Add a clear warning that you probably won't generate a coin in years - 62 (46.3%)
Total Voters: 133

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Author Topic: Remove "generate bitcoins" from standard client?  (Read 16975 times)
theymos
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March 23, 2011, 05:36:27 PM
 #21

We should remove the option, but not the miner.

If we remove the CPU miner from bitcoin, then people starting alternative block chains will not have a self-sustaining system.

Just disable it from the GUI, so that new users won't find "Generate coins?"

People starting alternative block chains can download the official getwork miner.

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March 23, 2011, 05:46:52 PM
 #22

We should remove the option, but not the miner.

If we remove the CPU miner from bitcoin, then people starting alternative block chains will not have a self-sustaining system.

Just disable it from the GUI, so that new users won't find "Generate coins?"

People starting alternative block chains can download the official getwork miner.

Yes -- that's what they're doing right now.  So why add an extra step.


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March 23, 2011, 06:03:49 PM
 #23

I was thinking about that too but won't someone who essentially never solves a block have a near 0 effect on the network?
I'd guess that if you solve a block every 6 months on average (or worse) you won't speed it up / affect other miners you'll just waste energy. Is there any benefit to it at all? Assuming you're not in a pool of course.

If the idea spreads that mining helps the Bitcoin network, then tens of thousands of people might turn on generation. Many of these people won't ever win a block, but if some do, then the network will be affected. Every time an unprofitable miner wins a block (or whenever they contribute to a pool), the difficulty will go up.

When the difficulty goes up, the least efficient miners are pushed out of the market unless they are volunteers. Volunteers therefore take up a greater and greater portion of the network's total CPU. This is bad for at least two reasons:
  • The network becomes less efficient, using more energy than it needs to.
  • "Amateur" miners are not able to respond to threats as quickly as professional miners. They're probably not running the most recent version of Bitcoin, and even if they are, professional miners can make changes to Bitcoin without a new release. The situation is better when the amateur miner is part of a pool, but if the pool goes rogue, the amateur miner will probably not know about it.

It's also really going to irritate me if I see propaganda saying, "Do your part: mine Bitcoins!" or something like that, when the network is perfectly capable of running without volunteers.

I don't mine at all myself as I don't like the extra noise from my GPU fan.. not worth it for the profits I could receive from mining. If anyone asks I'd tell them not to bother too.. however,

I do find your position troubling. You seem to be making up bogus reasons to justify taking an action that *is* detrimental to the integrity of the network for the sake of protecting the profits of professional miners. If not profits.. you at least want to concentrate control over the network in the hands of a smaller subset of the participants.. I'm not sure that's a good thing. It allows flexibility, but that cuts two ways.

A large number of unconnected and uninterested parties contributing to the network seems better as they would be much harder for somebody with an agenda to influence than a small (much much smaller - hundreds instead of thousands of participants) cabal of professional miners and mining pool bosses.
theymos
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March 23, 2011, 06:30:45 PM
 #24

A large number of unconnected and uninterested parties contributing to the network seems better as they would be much harder for somebody with an agenda to influence than a small (much much smaller - hundreds instead of thousands of participants) cabal of professional miners and mining pool bosses.

(I also don't mine.)

Bitcoin was always designed to be supported by a small backbone of powerful network nodes. Network/disk/CPU requirements will eventually limit the number of actual network nodes. The wiki article on scalability estimates a network connection of 8 gigabits per second will be required for full network nodes on a VISA-sized Bitcoin network.

Since there will be only a few hundred backbone network nodes, I would prefer them to be professional miners rather than pools supported by amateur volunteers. I want "regular users" to forget about mining now so there is no demand for pools in the future.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 06:44:05 PM
 #25

A large number of unconnected and uninterested parties contributing to the network seems better as they would be much harder for somebody with an agenda to influence than a small (much much smaller - hundreds instead of thousands of participants) cabal of professional miners and mining pool bosses.

(I also don't mine.)

Bitcoin was always designed to be supported by a small backbone of powerful network nodes. Network/disk/CPU requirements will eventually limit the number of actual network nodes. The wiki article on scalability estimates a network connection of 8 gigabits per second will be required for full network nodes on a VISA-sized Bitcoin network.

Since there will be only a few hundred backbone network nodes, I would prefer them to be professional miners rather than pools supported by amateur volunteers. I want "regular users" to forget about mining now so there is no demand for pools in the future.

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

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theymos
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March 23, 2011, 06:48:02 PM
 #26

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

People who are mining for profit.

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barbarousrelic
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March 23, 2011, 06:57:42 PM
 #27

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

People who are mining for profit.
Doesn't everybody, big or small, mine with the hope that they will profit?

Do not waste your time debating whether Bitcoin can work. It does work.

"Early adopters will profit" is not a sufficient condition to classify something as a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. If it was, Apple and Microsoft stock are Ponzi schemes.

There is no such thing as "market manipulation." There is only buying and selling.
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March 23, 2011, 06:57:58 PM
 #28

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

People who are mining for profit.
Then I'd say you mean by "professional" something else than most people. I mine for profit, but I certainly am not a professional miner. As long as mining can be done at home, scalable professional mining will have less profit margin than amateurs who leverage existing infrastructure.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 07:05:16 PM
 #29

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

People who are mining for profit.
Then I'd say you mean by "professional" something else than most people. I mine for profit, but I certainly am not a professional miner. As long as mining can be done at home, scalable professional mining will have less profit margin than amateurs who leverage existing infrastructure.

Maybe as a business sounds better than for profit.

existing infrastructure won't be more profitable if it comes down to electricity costs and your GPU gets x hashes for 1watt and the other guy who bought more efficient hardware gets x hashes for .7watts

I don't see how the amatures are going to beat the professionals unless they are using their parent's electricity etc and then they're not really winning just being subsidized, you get what I'm saying. Of course if you somehow get free or super cheap electricity another way then maybe but if you're putting that much effort in then I'd call you professional.

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Meni Rosenfeld
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March 23, 2011, 07:34:38 PM
 #30

How do you define professional vs amateur in regards to bitcoin mining at this point and in the future? You could explain it in rigs or hash per second or eficiency or acountability or whatever works for you

People who are mining for profit.
Then I'd say you mean by "professional" something else than most people. I mine for profit, but I certainly am not a professional miner. As long as mining can be done at home, scalable professional mining will have less profit margin than amateurs who leverage existing infrastructure.

Maybe as a business sounds better than for profit.

existing infrastructure won't be more profitable if it comes down to electricity costs and your GPU gets x hashes for 1watt and the other guy who bought more efficient hardware gets x hashes for .7watts

I don't see how the amatures are going to beat the professionals unless they are using their parent's electricity etc and then they're not really winning just being subsidized, you get what I'm saying. Of course if you somehow get free or super cheap electricity another way then maybe but if you're putting that much effort in then I'd call you professional.
Electricity is far from being the only cost of mining. There's depreciation of hardware + interest on the capital to acquire it, rent for the physical location of the servers, making sure that physical location has a wide enough connection to the power grid (a typical apartment has much more room for mining rigs than electrical capacity to power them), salaries for technicians, insurance, "businessy" expenses like accounting and legal, and so on.
I'm not assuming an amateur has free electricity, but I am assuming they have existing hardware or at least a computer for which they buy a dedicated GPU, a place to put it, some extra electrical capacity, and are willing to put in some maintenance time as a hobby activity. I don't think even a x2 per-watt performance will allow professionals to compete, and they won't have that because they'll probably use the same GPU/dedicated hashing device as the amateur.
Don't get me wrong, mining probably will be dominated by professionals, because amateur mining is not scalable.

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gohan
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March 23, 2011, 07:44:55 PM
 #31

I'm also divided. One side of me says:
  • Rename "Generate Coins" to "Help Network" and don't even write about a reward in the pop-up.
  • Put a pop-up warning saying that it's better to use a more efficient miner (power-consumption-wise) to help the network if the user has a graphic card.
  • Improve miner (at least add SSE2 support, etc.).

I think having this option in the default client is a good thing for the network.

The other side of me says the on-board miner won't ever be as efficient as standalone miners and it will be a waste of resources. Plus, I'm guessing none of the alternative clients does/will have a built-in miner. I still voted for "keep it with a warning" option.
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 07:50:44 PM
 #32

I'm also divided. One side of me says:
  • Rename "Generate Coins" to "Help Network" and don't even write about a reward in the pop-up.
  • Put a pop-up warning saying that it's better to use a more efficient miner (power-consumption-wise) to help the network if the user has a graphic card.
  • Improve miner (at least add SSE2 support, etc.).

I think having this option in the default client is a good thing for the network.

The other side of me says the on-board miner won't ever be as efficient as standalone miners and it will be a waste of resources. Plus, I'm guessing none of the alternative clients does/will have a built-in miner. I still voted for "keep it with a warning" option.


As it is there is such a significant difference between the two. I imagine as 5970 and then 6990 prices fall the gap will be even larger and with increased mining / difficulty CPU mining will be even less efficient. There will be a point when it's beyond pointless to CPU mine. I would guess as it stands now you could spend enough on electricity to buy an ok GPU before you get a block. In 3 or 6 months it will be even worse.


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March 23, 2011, 11:28:36 PM
 #33

It should be in an "advanced"  tab  with clear warnings about expected returns.

Its almost false advertising.
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March 24, 2011, 12:24:21 AM
 #34

I think and voted that there should be a clear warning that you will not generate a block for years.
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March 24, 2011, 12:38:00 AM
 #35

I think and voted that there should be a clear warning that you will not generate a block for years.
I still think that not even mentioning block generation is much better, if the option will stay. It should be like running Seti@Home, purely to support the network.

Though as stonetz said, it will become pointless at some point, if it isn't already, so maybe we can advertise some easy to use GUI GPU miner in the download pages or the client itself, so that the clueless user can run the miner without any hassle together with the client (then server mode would need to be on by default or be able to be configured through GUI).
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March 24, 2011, 06:56:48 AM
 #36

I think and voted that there should be a clear warning that you will not generate a block for years.
I still think that not even mentioning block generation is much better, if the option will stay. It should be like running Seti@Home, purely to support the network.

Though as stonetz said, it will become pointless at some point, if it isn't already, so maybe we can advertise some easy to use GUI GPU miner in the download pages or the client itself, so that the clueless user can run the miner without any hassle together with the client (then server mode would need to be on by default or be able to be configured through GUI).

It's already pretty much pointless. There's no sense in deluding newcomers into thinking that by taking the effort to waste power on this they are supporting the network in a non-negligible way. Humans' incentive structure is weird, if you tell them something will "contribute" they won't bother to ask "how much does it contribute?".
On the other hand, when a person contributes something insignificant (or believes he does) it causes him to be more responsive to making substantial contributions later on. This is an argument in favor of including the "feel good" button, but not strong enough in my opinion.

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March 24, 2011, 07:15:31 AM
 #37

yeah I left it on a few times before (running on CPU) for battle hardening the network. Like seeding torrents to give to charity.
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March 24, 2011, 07:32:36 AM
 #38

yeah I left it on a few times before (running on CPU) for battle hardening the network. Like seeding torrents to give to charity.

What would be better is to remove mining from the Bitcoin Client, and create a super user friendly mining software that automatically takes advantage of the CPU or GPU (if available).  Create a API so that this mining program so users can get statistics about the rate of Bitcoin being generated directly from their favourite pool.

One off NP-Hard.
gohan
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March 24, 2011, 12:08:54 PM
 #39

Create a API so that this mining program so users can get statistics about the rate of Bitcoin being generated directly from their favourite pool.
Don't mind me if I am overthinking this but I don't think pooled mining should be encouraged officially. The only advantage of regular users not "forgetting" (as theymos put it) about mining, is to make the network more resilient by having fewer weak spots. Eventually the number of network nodes will have to be limited to powerful operators, but until we have a multitude of such operators, solo mining can be encouraged. Though maybe if it's made easy as a click for the regular user, there will be many more pools and my argument would become invalid.
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March 25, 2011, 12:20:05 AM
 #40

If we remove the CPU miner from bitcoin, then people starting alternative block chains will not have a self-sustaining system.
Wait, what? Alternative block chains?

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