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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 16991 times)
Jim Hyslop
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March 25, 2011, 12:29:09 AM
 #41

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.
So what kind of processing power do you see a professional miner having? I saw someone (I can envision his picture, but I can't find it right now to mention him by name) talking about setting up 20 or more GPU units. Is that the level you're talking about?

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March 25, 2011, 12:37:31 AM
 #42

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?

You didn't think The Chain would be the only one, did you?  Smiley

Competition is practically inevitable in this space.


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March 25, 2011, 01:24:47 AM
 #43

So what kind of processing power do you see a professional miner having? I saw someone (I can envision his picture, but I can't find it right now to mention him by name) talking about setting up 20 or more GPU units. Is that the level you're talking about?

ArtForz is the model for Bitcoin mining companies of the future. He designed his own structured ASIC mining chips, and he somehow gets free electricity. With a few more people like ArtForz, even GPUs will become unprofitable. Then the distinction between professional and amateur miners will be more clear.

Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.

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stakhanov
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March 25, 2011, 08:34:32 AM
 #44


Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.

What if they decide to stop playing nicely? For example, they could start requesting very high fees, and since they would be generating almost all the blocks, you'd pretty much have to pay unless you want to wait for weeks.
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March 25, 2011, 08:37:19 AM
 #45

What if they decide to stop playing nicely? For example, they could start requesting very high fees, and since they would be generating almost all the blocks, you'd pretty much have to pay unless you want to wait for weeks.

The fees of the skipped transactions will accumulate until someone invests enough money to put the transactions in a block and collect the fees. I doubt this will take weeks.

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Meni Rosenfeld
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March 25, 2011, 08:41:11 AM
 #46


Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.

What if they decide to stop playing nicely? For example, they could start requesting very high fees, and since they would be generating almost all the blocks, you'd pretty much have to pay unless you want to wait for weeks.
Collusion is difficult with hundreds of competitors.

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March 25, 2011, 09:06:16 AM
 #47

So what kind of processing power do you see a professional miner having? I saw someone (I can envision his picture, but I can't find it right now to mention him by name) talking about setting up 20 or more GPU units. Is that the level you're talking about?

ArtForz is the model for Bitcoin mining companies of the future. He designed his own structured ASIC mining chips, and he somehow gets free electricity. With a few more people like ArtForz, even GPUs will become unprofitable. Then the distinction between professional and amateur miners will be more clear.

Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.
Surely there will be companies selling PCI-e dedicated hashing devices to amateurs?

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 25, 2011, 12:05:38 PM
 #48

So what kind of processing power do you see a professional miner having? I saw someone (I can envision his picture, but I can't find it right now to mention him by name) talking about setting up 20 or more GPU units. Is that the level you're talking about?

ArtForz is the model for Bitcoin mining companies of the future. He designed his own structured ASIC mining chips, and he somehow gets free electricity. With a few more people like ArtForz, even GPUs will become unprofitable. Then the distinction between professional and amateur miners will be more clear.

Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.
Surely there will be companies selling PCI-e dedicated hashing devices to amateurs?

If the market exists they will and if the pro competition is so fierce then it will create that market.

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Jim Hyslop
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March 27, 2011, 05:40:57 AM
 #49

So what kind of processing power do you see a professional miner having? I saw someone (I can envision his picture, but I can't find it right now to mention him by name) talking about setting up 20 or more GPU units. Is that the level you're talking about?

ArtForz is the model for Bitcoin mining companies of the future. He designed his own structured ASIC mining chips, and he somehow gets free electricity. With a few more people like ArtForz, even GPUs will become unprofitable. Then the distinction between professional and amateur miners will be more clear.

Mining companies will have state-of-the-art custom mining hardware. They will have an incredible amount of processing power. I believe they will end up having so much power that even the largest botnets will be unable to compete.
Interesting. I had been wondering about designing an FPGA to do the work, but haven't pursued that route to see if it's workable or cost-effective.

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Jim Hyslop
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March 27, 2011, 05:44:26 AM
 #50

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?

You didn't think The Chain would be the only one, did you?  Smiley

Competition is practically inevitable in this space.

Well, I figured there would eventually be competitors, but I didn't think they'd have emerged this early. Although, I don't know why I was surprised - it is, as you say, inevitable.

Are there many alternative block chains, and do they call themselves Bitcoin?

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MoonShadow
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March 27, 2011, 09:35:33 PM
 #51

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?

You didn't think The Chain would be the only one, did you?  Smiley

Competition is practically inevitable in this space.

Well, I figured there would eventually be competitors, but I didn't think they'd have emerged this early. Although, I don't know why I was surprised - it is, as you say, inevitable.

Are there many alternative block chains, and do they call themselves Bitcoin?

The only alternative beyond a theoretical stage is 'testnet', which is almost exactly like the main blockchain except it exists to get hammered.  I believe that you can join the testnet with the regular client by way of a command line switch, but if it isn't -testnet I wouldn't hazard a guess.

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March 27, 2011, 10:10:44 PM
 #52

So, uh, running away from the philosophical question of alternative blockchains, what if we were to simply have the client do a calculation to estimate how long it'll take a person to generate 50btc on their machine and show that in addition to the hashes per second. That would take care of the "why haven't I gotten any bitcoins yet" posts on the forum.
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 28, 2011, 12:19:20 AM
 #53

So, uh, running away from the philosophical question of alternative blockchains, what if we were to simply have the client do a calculation to estimate how long it'll take a person to generate 50btc on their machine and show that in addition to the hashes per second. That would take care of the "why haven't I gotten any bitcoins yet" posts on the forum.

I'm not a programmer but that doesn't seem that hard. I'm guessing it would be easy to check current difficulty and compare that vs hash speed. I've heard (and agree with) that the simpler the more secure and better it is though. Still if it popped up and said "with your CPU you will generate your first set of coins in 800days do you wish to continue? click here to find out why"



Of course the warning could just put examples or estimates too.

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Meni Rosenfeld
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March 28, 2011, 03:55:33 AM
 #54

So, uh, running away from the philosophical question of alternative blockchains, what if we were to simply have the client do a calculation to estimate how long it'll take a person to generate 50btc on their machine and show that in addition to the hashes per second. That would take care of the "why haven't I gotten any bitcoins yet" posts on the forum.

I'm not a programmer but that doesn't seem that hard. I'm guessing it would be easy to check current difficulty and compare that vs hash speed. I've heard (and agree with) that the simpler the more secure and better it is though. Still if it popped up and said "with your CPU you will generate your first set of coins in 800days do you wish to continue? click here to find out why"

Of course the warning could just put examples or estimates too.
Most people will think that when 800 days elapse they are guaranteed to find a block. This will only lead to frustration. Even if we tell them it's random they'll underestimate its variance. And there's no point in this, CPU mining with a pool is worthless enough, no one in their right mind would want to do it solo.

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March 28, 2011, 03:58:34 AM
 #55

So, uh, running away from the philosophical question of alternative blockchains, what if we were to simply have the client do a calculation to estimate how long it'll take a person to generate 50btc on their machine and show that in addition to the hashes per second. That would take care of the "why haven't I gotten any bitcoins yet" posts on the forum.

I'm not a programmer but that doesn't seem that hard. I'm guessing it would be easy to check current difficulty and compare that vs hash speed. I've heard (and agree with) that the simpler the more secure and better it is though. Still if it popped up and said "with your CPU you will generate your first set of coins in 800days do you wish to continue? click here to find out why"

Of course the warning could just put examples or estimates too.
Most people will think that when 800 days elapse they are guaranteed to find a block. This will only lead to frustration. Even if we tell them it's random they'll underestimate its variance. And there's no point in this, CPU mining with a pool is worthless enough, no one in their right mind would want to do it solo.

Well, I do it solo.  So your probably right that no one in their right mind would do it.

Of course, I do it (in part) to heat my study.  And no, I have never solved a block.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

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Garrett Burgwardt
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March 28, 2011, 03:59:30 AM
 #56

So, uh, running away from the philosophical question of alternative blockchains, what if we were to simply have the client do a calculation to estimate how long it'll take a person to generate 50btc on their machine and show that in addition to the hashes per second. That would take care of the "why haven't I gotten any bitcoins yet" posts on the forum.

I'm not a programmer but that doesn't seem that hard. I'm guessing it would be easy to check current difficulty and compare that vs hash speed. I've heard (and agree with) that the simpler the more secure and better it is though. Still if it popped up and said "with your CPU you will generate your first set of coins in 800days do you wish to continue? click here to find out why"

Of course the warning could just put examples or estimates too.
Most people will think that when 800 days elapse they are guaranteed to find a block. This will only lead to frustration. Even if we tell them it's random they'll underestimate its variance. And there's no point in this, CPU mining with a pool is worthless enough, no one in their right mind would want to do it solo.

Well, I do it solo.  So your probably right that no one in their right mind would do it.

Of course, I do it (in part) to heat my study.  And no, I have never solved a block.


You'll find one eventually, and be really confused Tongue
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March 28, 2011, 05:41:21 AM
 #57

I'd be fine removing it from the GUI, and having a proper installer that offers to install separate mining software as well.

Either that, or renaming it something like "Help process transactions" and not even indicating that this might be profitable somehow. Folks who know about things like fold@home might be interested just out of charity.

Edited to add: The first option is probably better from a conservationist standpoint. When we already have plenty of nodes processing cheaply on GPUs, adding CPUs to the mix mostly serves to waste energy.

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Garrett Burgwardt
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March 28, 2011, 10:37:29 AM
 #58

Either that, or renaming it something like "Help process transactions" and not even indicating that this might be profitable somehow. Folks who know about things like fold@home might be interested just out of charity.


The thing is, they won't be helping. Unless you can solve a block you're literally just wasting power. And given how long it would take a CPU to find a block, you're really just not helping at all.
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March 28, 2011, 10:55:28 AM
 #59

A priori you are helping even with the smallest amount of hashing power, since on average your expected number of blocks found is higher than zero (even though it may be 0.001/year).

A posteriori, if you haven't found anything (the most likely case), you have wasted your power. That doesn't mean it was meaningless, since you always had a chance to find something.

I'm just trying to debunk that it isn't true that having a very large chance for not finding anything necessarily implies completely wasted power.

Concerning the real topic of the discussion however, I believe we shouldn't give people false hope that they can generate coins in any serious amount without investing in mining. I'm in favor of removing mining functionality from the main client, but providing a separate reference getwork-based CPU miner in the source distribution.

aka sipa, core dev team

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March 29, 2011, 03:30:28 AM
 #60

I'd normally be in favor of a large warning, but we are talking about preparing for an onslaught of average clueless users here.  The average user is not going to read a warning of the length that would be required to sufficiently describe why it's a bad idea, so they'll click OK and still get angry when they don't generate anything.  Thus, keep the text of the menu option but make it pop up a very short message.  Something like "You are unlikely to generate a block in any realistic amount of time on a standard CPU.  If you do still wish to enable generation, download the separate mining client at www.example.com"

Personally I've mostly stopped mining entirely.  The difficulty is so high that even with a pool, using my GPU and both CPU cores, it would take multiple days to earn 0.20 BTC.  Even when my electricity is free, that's not worth the additional strain on my computer's components.
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