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Author Topic: Restoring Lost Bitcoins  (Read 2335 times)
johnj
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October 18, 2011, 04:27:38 PM
 #21

The problem is that we are still thinking of bitcoin as not being serious money.

I'm not aware of any 'serious money' that just disappears after Xyrs of inactivity, only to be redistributed to others

I agree that it's somewhat of a problem discerning which bitcoins are 'lost' vs which ones are 'stored'.  But that's up to the market.  

Money just disappearing is quite common: just put U$ 10,000.00 under your pillow and let ten years pass to see a good deal of money disappear.

Regarding the problem of discerning which bitcoins are 'lost' vs which ones are 'stored', it's more then a bit of a problem: it is impossible, which leads to the money supply being continuously eroded, hence to a higher level of deflation than is necessary. The idea is to preserve the monetary system, making it more resilient.

The fiat in my mattress may devalue, but it doesn't disappear.

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October 18, 2011, 04:29:40 PM
 #22

I don't like expiration idea because:

  • Bitbills, coins, savings nuggets and whatnot. Those can be in circulation for god knows how long. (e.g. I shouldn't need to keep track of the expiration dates of my coins stored in a physical safe I don't have direct physical access to.)
  • Bitcoin is not similar to bank notes accounts, it is supposed to be analogous to gold.
  • Lost coins isn't a bad enough threat.
  • Bitcoin will eventually move to a different algorithm and decades old addresses will one day be easily crackable. Natural expiration. Wink
  • Coma patient argument is convincing.
Gabi
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October 18, 2011, 04:32:29 PM
 #23

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.
mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 04:40:14 PM
 #24

The problem is that we are still thinking of bitcoin as not being serious money.

I'm not aware of any 'serious money' that just disappears after Xyrs of inactivity, only to be redistributed to others

I agree that it's somewhat of a problem discerning which bitcoins are 'lost' vs which ones are 'stored'.  But that's up to the market.  

Money just disappearing is quite common: just put U$ 10,000.00 under your pillow and let ten years pass to see a good deal of money disappear.

Regarding the problem of discerning which bitcoins are 'lost' vs which ones are 'stored', it's more then a bit of a problem: it is impossible, which leads to the money supply being continuously eroded, hence to a higher level of deflation than is necessary. The idea is to preserve the monetary system, making it more resilient.

The fiat in my mattress may devalue, but it doesn't disappear.


The difference between worthless money and nonexistent money would not bother me that much: what matters is that neither one allows me to buy anything.
mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 04:41:23 PM
 #25

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.

Here is why lost bitcoins can be a problem: they will not be a problem as the loss of large 'savings' wallets. They will rather become a problem when Bitcoin is used by billions of people, each losing an "irrelevant" amount of bitcoins: these billions of "irrelevant" losses can have a big impact on the money supply. As for the 'savings' wallet, it will either be accessing some investment system, or stored in some periodically self-connected gadget or even in a long-term storage device that we will check periodically since it has an important amount of money that we cannot aford to lose.
johnj
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October 18, 2011, 04:45:48 PM
 #26

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.

Here is why lost bitcoins are a problem: they will not be a problem as the loss of large 'savings' wallets. They will rather become a problem when Bitcoin is used by billions of people, each losing an "irrelevant" amount of bitcoins: these billions of "irrelevant" losses can have a big impact on the money supply. As for the 'savings' wallet, it will either be accessing some investment system, or stored in some periodically self-connected gadget or even in a long-term storage device that we will check periodically since it has an important amount of money that we cannot aford to lose. The problem is rather in the small losses, once bitcoin becomes our society's money (that's what we want, right?).

Bitcoins are divisible into 8 decimal places.  Even if 1m bitcoins are 'lost', the money supply won't be affected, as there are many many 'units' of bitcoins available.

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mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 05:00:18 PM
 #27

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.

Here is why lost bitcoins are a problem: they will not be a problem as the loss of large 'savings' wallets. They will rather become a problem when Bitcoin is used by billions of people, each losing an "irrelevant" amount of bitcoins: these billions of "irrelevant" losses can have a big impact on the money supply. As for the 'savings' wallet, it will either be accessing some investment system, or stored in some periodically self-connected gadget or even in a long-term storage device that we will check periodically since it has an important amount of money that we cannot aford to lose. The problem is rather in the small losses, once bitcoin becomes our society's money (that's what we want, right?).

Bitcoins are divisible into 8 decimal places.  Even if 1m bitcoins are 'lost', the money supply won't be affected, as there are many many 'units' of bitcoins available.

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.
johnj
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October 18, 2011, 05:03:02 PM
 #28

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.

AFAIK, one can only 'lose bitcoins' by losing the private key of your wallet.  I somehow doubt that 5b people are going to lose their wallet once a year, and have 0 backups.

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mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 05:07:35 PM
 #29

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.

AFAIK, one can only 'lose bitcoins' by losing the private key of your wallet.  I somehow doubt that 5b people are going to lose their wallet once a year, and have 0 backups.

That's not quite true: I can lose one bitcoin by restoring a slightly older backup than I thought. Or by trusting an online wallet that gets hacked (then I could lose much more bitcoins). Or by having many wallets and lose one of them (quite probable if I try to maintain lots of wallets and are slightly disorganized). The scenarios are endless.

I would prefer to believe that this is not really a problem, since Bitcoin is so beautifully designed.
johnj
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October 18, 2011, 05:09:51 PM
 #30

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.

AFAIK, one can only 'lose bitcoins' by losing the private key of your wallet.  I somehow doubt that 5b people are going to lose their wallet once a year, and have 0 backups.

That's not quite true: I can lose one bitcoin by restoring a slightly older backup than I thought. Or by trusting an online wallet that gets hacked (then I could lose much more bitcoins). Or by having many wallets and lose one of them (quite probable if I try to maintain lots of wallets and are slightly disorganized). The scenarios are endless.

Hacked wallets aren't 'lost', they're 'stolen'.  Big difference.

Plus, your backup wallet gives you access to the blockchain where your coins are 'held'.  AFAIK, if you create a backup, recieve 20m coins, destroy the current wallet and restore the backup, you still have access to your 20m coins because the coins aren't in the wallet, they're in the blockchain.

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mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 05:18:29 PM
 #31

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.

AFAIK, one can only 'lose bitcoins' by losing the private key of your wallet.  I somehow doubt that 5b people are going to lose their wallet once a year, and have 0 backups.

That's not quite true: I can lose one bitcoin by restoring a slightly older backup than I thought. Or by trusting an online wallet that gets hacked (then I could lose much more bitcoins). Or by having many wallets and lose one of them (quite probable if I try to maintain lots of wallets and are slightly disorganized). The scenarios are endless.

Hacked wallets aren't 'lost', they're 'stolen'.  Big difference.

Plus, your backup wallet gives you access to the blockchain where your coins are 'held'.  AFAIK, if you create a backup, recieve 20m coins, destroy the current wallet and restore the backup, you still have access to your 20m coins because the coins aren't in the wallet, they're in the blockchain.

If I backup my wallet before generating a new private key, then receive a new amount of bitcoins under that new private key and restore my backup, then I have lost the new amount, since my backup didn't contain my new private key.

As for online wallets, I agree that we are not sure that, say, MyBitcoin didn't stole that wallet, but this does not make us sure they did.

Likewise, we are not sure that bitcoin losses will have no impact whatsoever on the money supply, so we'd better counteract it, especially because bitcoin is already deflationary by design.
Gabi
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October 18, 2011, 05:39:02 PM
 #32

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.

Here is why lost bitcoins are a problem: they will not be a problem as the loss of large 'savings' wallets. They will rather become a problem when Bitcoin is used by billions of people, each losing an "irrelevant" amount of bitcoins: these billions of "irrelevant" losses can have a big impact on the money supply. As for the 'savings' wallet, it will either be accessing some investment system, or stored in some periodically self-connected gadget or even in a long-term storage device that we will check periodically since it has an important amount of money that we cannot aford to lose. The problem is rather in the small losses, once bitcoin becomes our society's money (that's what we want, right?).

Bitcoins are divisible into 8 decimal places.  Even if 1m bitcoins are 'lost', the money supply won't be affected, as there are many many 'units' of bitcoins available.

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.
What about nothing happens? The impact is on who lost the wallet, but that's their problem. Same when a ship full of gold sink. Other bitcoins will slightly increase in value. That's all.
And definitely do NOT justify deleting bitcoins cause...uhm... cause you want it.

And bitcoin are divisible as much as you wish. This 8 decimal thing is just a thing of the client, you can change it to how many decimal you want.
mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 05:49:50 PM
 #33

Quote
The solution is to define an expiration period for bitcoins
NO

Quote
The expiration interval could be a very comfortable one, say, 10 years.
NO




No? Why?

Since there is no way of telling idle bitcoins from lost ones, the only way I see to tell them apart is forcing the idle ones to "show up" before some "deadline," and if they don't, then expire them. If not, then please let me (and the others) know why not.
Hello, wake up. Read what i bolded. We DO NOT WANT to lose bitcoins. THERE IS NO NEED to tell "lost bitcoins" from idle ones. There is NO NEED to make them show up. NO NEED to set a deadline and let them EXPIRE!

Seriously, do GOLD expire? NO! Why my BITCOIN should expire? Cause a noob so decided in the noob forum? Nah.

Here is why lost bitcoins are a problem: they will not be a problem as the loss of large 'savings' wallets. They will rather become a problem when Bitcoin is used by billions of people, each losing an "irrelevant" amount of bitcoins: these billions of "irrelevant" losses can have a big impact on the money supply. As for the 'savings' wallet, it will either be accessing some investment system, or stored in some periodically self-connected gadget or even in a long-term storage device that we will check periodically since it has an important amount of money that we cannot aford to lose. The problem is rather in the small losses, once bitcoin becomes our society's money (that's what we want, right?).

Bitcoins are divisible into 8 decimal places.  Even if 1m bitcoins are 'lost', the money supply won't be affected, as there are many many 'units' of bitcoins available.

Let's do the math. There are 2,100,000,000,000,000 bitcoin units approximately. Let's assume there are 5 billion people using bitcoins and each one loses 1 bitcoin every year. Then, in ten years, the money supply will drop to 2,099,950,000,000,000, which is a significant economic impact.
What about nothing happens? The impact is on who lost the wallet, but that's their problem. Same when a ship full of gold sink. Other bitcoins will slightly increase in value. That's all.
And definitely do NOT justify deleting bitcoins cause...uhm... cause you want it.

And bitcoin are divisible as much as you wish. This 8 decimal thing is just a thing of the client, you can change it to how many decimal you want.

Great! I didn't go that far into Bitcoin's implementation, but if you assure me that we can easily change its decimal precision, then I will drop all my concerns and stop bothering you. Do you?
Gabi
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October 18, 2011, 05:52:08 PM
 #34

You can have infinite decimals if you want.

Or change name, for example use 1 bitcent instead of 0.01 bitcoins. As you wish, just easy changes in the client
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October 18, 2011, 05:53:09 PM
 #35

And bitcoin are divisible as much as you wish. This 8 decimal thing is just a thing of the client, you can change it to how many decimal you want.
WRONG!

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 05:56:20 PM
 #36

And bitcoin are divisible as much as you wish. This 8 decimal thing is just a thing of the client, you can change it to how many decimal you want.
WRONG!

After all, is it possible to change the number of decimal places just changing the client or not? If it is, then the loss of bitcoins indeed represents no problem...
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October 18, 2011, 05:58:11 PM
 #37

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=8657.0

Quote
The current software only allows division up to 8 decimal places. That's not a hard limit.

Quote
First, we can change from 64 bit to 128 bit at any time.  My guess is that we will do it for technical reasons LONG before economic reasons show up.
kokjo
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October 18, 2011, 06:07:41 PM
 #38

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=8657.0

Quote
The current software only allows division up to 8 decimal places. That's not a hard limit.

Quote
First, we can change from 64 bit to 128 bit at any time.  My guess is that we will do it for technical reasons LONG before economic reasons show up.
they are wrong, the 8 decimal point, is a hard limit. of cource we could get hackie, and make a new transaction structure.
and all (new) clients would have to support both formats for a long long time, for backwards.

but currently its a hard limit, because the coin base tx are of are 5000000000 satoshi/units(is the "0"'s right?).

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
mirelo
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October 18, 2011, 07:05:27 PM
 #39

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=8657.0

Quote
The current software only allows division up to 8 decimal places. That's not a hard limit.

Quote
First, we can change from 64 bit to 128 bit at any time.  My guess is that we will do it for technical reasons LONG before economic reasons show up.
they are wrong, the 8 decimal point, is a hard limit. of cource we could get hackie, and make a new transaction structure.
and all (new) clients would have to support both formats for a long long time, for backwards.

but currently its a hard limit, because the coin base tx are of are 5000000000 satoshi/units(is the "0"'s right?).

Anyways, it seems to me that increasing precision, if possible, is a better approach than creating an expiration period, so I am definitely dropping that one. I did a little research and there was an incident regarding the CTxOut member structure, which created a value of 92233720368.54275808 bitcoins by sum overflow (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Incidents#Value_overflow). It is obvious to me that the block format would have to change to accommodate more than 8 decimal places, but the fact that the network remained operating with this absurd value indicates that it would not be that difficult for it to accommodate two different formats. Is that impression correct?
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October 18, 2011, 07:13:57 PM
 #40

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=8657.0

Quote
The current software only allows division up to 8 decimal places. That's not a hard limit.

Quote
First, we can change from 64 bit to 128 bit at any time.  My guess is that we will do it for technical reasons LONG before economic reasons show up.
they are wrong, the 8 decimal point, is a hard limit. of cource we could get hackie, and make a new transaction structure.
and all (new) clients would have to support both formats for a long long time, for backwards.

but currently its a hard limit, because the coin base tx are of are 5000000000 satoshi/units(is the "0"'s right?).

Anyways, it seems to me that increasing precision, if possible, is a better approach than creating an expiration period, so I am definitely dropping that one. I did a little research and there was an incident regarding the CTxOut member structure, which created a value of 92233720368.54275808 bitcoins by sum overflow (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Incidents#Value_overflow). It is obvious to me that the block format would have to change to accommodate more than 8 decimal places, but the fact that the network remained operating with this absurd value indicates that it would not be that difficult for it to accommodate two different formats. Is that impression correct?
not the block format the tx format. and no two formats are just wrong, but it may be necessary in the FAR FAR future. and its only passibol after a long long time with the two formats running in parallel

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
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