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Author Topic: A consensus network, or how to stop a big lose (fork it!)  (Read 4251 times)
pera
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March 01, 2014, 05:12:17 AM
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Mt.Gox claims that someone gained illegal access to their systems and stole 850,000btc. They filed for bankruptcy protection.
Three weeks ago Mt.Gox closed their withdrawals and reported that someone was using transaction malleability to steal their bitcoins. A couple of days before the public statement we had a new peak on days destroyed:



If, and only if, what Mt.Gox is claiming is true and those bitcoins were stolen three weeks ago, then we can assume that right now there is a single entity (could be one single person or a group) owning ~7% of all the btcs mined until now, and since many old wallets are lost forever this percentage could be much significant in relation to the current market cap. Which means that there is a new single entity with a lot of power over Bitcoin's economy.
Please check out the depth chart of the biggest exchanges to understand how bad is the current situation: if this entity drop all those coins in the open market the price would go close to 0, literally. And even when an event like that could last maybe just a couple of hours, I believe that most people would lose all their confidence and Bitcoin could die as a currency. Actually, the 850k could be divided in 3 parts and just use the first part to send the price to single digits, and keep the rest to make everyone scare. You could even write and sign some message to terrorize the community. I know that all this was already discussed, but now the thing is real...


Is there anything we can do? iff Mt.Gox still have their private keys then yes: Bitcoin is a consensus network and we can fork the blockchain whenever is necessary. We need Bitcoin to be useful as a currency, and sometimes we will need to take extreme measures. Specifically, what we can do is pay miners to double-spend the illegitimate transaction and recreate the last ~3000 blocks. There may be people affected by doing this (ie people who received coins from the thief), but if the amount is not something huge then Mt.Gox should be able to pay for their loses.

The only thing we need is consensus, we must analyze what is worse: a fork or a shady entity owning too many bitcoins.


tl;dr: to fork or not to fork, that is the question

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March 01, 2014, 06:40:47 AM
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This could be a solution for some coins. IF Gox immediately and completely releases information with respect to the stolen coins and the transactions. Then at least something could be investigated. Maybe there are some recently taken that could be recovered. Maybe a huge amount.

More likely the coins have mostly been taken for a long time and over a few years so by this time the theif is so good at tumbling botcoins that any recovery if completely beyond figuring out.

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March 01, 2014, 06:54:24 AM
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tl;dr: to fork or not to fork, that is the question


Fork at will and enjoy your nothing coins at your new fork.

Sorry for your pain but Bitcoin is Bitcoin, not Bailout coin. The latter would be the USD and such. Also there are many topics around suggesting this that you can re-use.

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March 01, 2014, 06:56:06 AM
 #4

miners to double-spend the illegitimate transaction
Explain why you think miners have this capability.

recreate the last ~3000 blocks
Thereby invalidating around BTC75,000 in block rewards. If you want to repay that, be my guest.

There may be people affected by doing this (ie people who received coins from the thief)
Don't forget everyone who received coins from the now invalid block rewards I was talking about. These are people who had no connection to the stolen coins whatsoever and are now BTC75,000 out of pocket all because you think punishing innocent people for events outside their control is a good idea.

The only thing we need is consensus, we must analyze what is worse: a fork or a shady entity owning too many bitcoins.
Considering that a fork means nobody really owns any bitcoins because they can be forcibly taken from innocent people for crimes they had nothing to do with, I say we go with the shady entity owning too many bitcoins. How many is "too many", anyway? Is it okay if a shady entity only has, say, BTC50,000? Does it depend on exactly how shady they are? Is there an acceptable shadiness/BTC ratio that we should be enforcing?

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pera
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March 01, 2014, 02:56:31 PM
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Ok, I'm not being a 100% serious with this thread, but only because 3 weeks may be too much for doing it... anyways:

Quote
Explain why you think miners have this capability.
Miners have the capability of creating new blocks Smiley that's how Bitcoin works. Actually something like what I described happens all time in a much smaller scale with orphan blocks, but it doesn't happen because someone is trying to double-spend but because mining is a competition.

Quote
Thereby invalidating around BTC75,000 in block rewards. If you want to repay that, be my guest.
It could be much more actually because rewards from the old chain will be lost, so they would want to be paid for the old chain and for the new one. We should track those new coins to know the impact, fortunately afaik the last BTC25,000 (from the last 1000 blocks) are not expendable yet.
Mt.Gox, with some help, could pay for this. They could actually use part of their 850k and give bonds to their users, and most of them would accept (right now people have 0). Actually, if what they claim is true, I think that from those 850k they own 150k and the rest are from their cold storage, which is 75k * 2 Wink but they should pay for those who may have bought the first 50,000 new coins from the old chain.

Finally I have a question for you Foxpup. This 7% could be actually 20% of all the expendable bitcoins. Explain to me how people will trust in a currency that could go to 0 any time because there is a thief owning much more than the current demand in all the exchanges together? this person could destroy the economy not one time, but three times. I think the current situation is critical. If you believes that this thief is not going to use those coins to manipulate the market you are being naive.

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March 01, 2014, 03:05:00 PM
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pera,

Please read this entire thread:  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=352734.0

Then come back and we will talk.

Our family was terrorized by Homeland Security.  Read all about it here:  http://www.jmwagner.com/ and http://www.burtw.com/  Any donations to help us recover from the $300,000 in legal fees and forced donations to the Federal Asset Forfeiture slush fund are greatly appreciated!
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March 01, 2014, 03:26:51 PM
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pera,

Please read this entire thread:  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=352734.0

Then come back and we will talk.


I believe you are describing a different situation: my suggestion is to recreate the whole blockchain except for the thief tx's, but this could happen only if most of us agree that it would be really bad for our economy to have a single bad actor owning a huge fraction of the current market cap.

but please go on Smiley

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March 01, 2014, 04:00:24 PM
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Do we have any idea where 800,000 BTC are located on the blockchain?

We know at least one transaction from June 2011 (with 42424.24 BTC or something like that).

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March 01, 2014, 04:39:05 PM
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the idea of dumping stolen 800k coins on exchanges especially all at ones doesn't make any sense. why would a thief go to all that trouble to identify himself in relation to electronic (read traceable) fiat transactions.
much less of why go though all the trouble in the first place to steal 800k coins to devalue it along with it's future spending power
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March 01, 2014, 04:41:35 PM
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pera,

Please read this entire thread:  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=352734.0

Then come back and we will talk.


I believe you are describing a different situation: my suggestion is to recreate the whole blockchain except for the thief tx's, but this could happen only if most of us agree that it would be really bad for our economy to have a single bad actor owning a huge fraction of the current market cap.

but please go on Smiley

while we at it lets include all other stolen, missing and lost coins. this is not going to fly, Bitcoin wouldn't be what it is today if it did what you are suggesting
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March 01, 2014, 04:42:06 PM
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Do we have any idea where 800,000 BTC are located on the blockchain?

We know at least one transaction from June 2011 (with 42424.24 BTC or something like that).

My thesis is that Mt.Gox lose 850,000btc three weeks ago.

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March 01, 2014, 04:48:48 PM
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What you are talking about is an altcoin. Please move to the altcoin forum

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March 01, 2014, 04:57:09 PM
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Do we have any idea where 800,000 BTC are located on the blockchain?

We know at least one transaction from June 2011 (with 42424.24 BTC or something like that).

My thesis is that Mt.Gox lose 850,000btc three weeks ago.

if they lost their BTC 3 weeks ago they sold me BTC they didnt have 1.5 weeks ago

bitcoin is a consensus network though, if people agree then it happens
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March 01, 2014, 04:58:13 PM
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I would very happily buy from that person at a near-zero price. I don't see a problem with that situation.

Furthermore, why would he sell off at low prices? He will not do that.
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March 01, 2014, 05:32:12 PM
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What you are talking about is an altcoin. Please move to the altcoin forum

No, I am not talking about modifying the protocol, nor maintaining a parallel blockchain. Please read my posts again.

I would very happily buy from that person at a near-zero price. I don't see a problem with that situation.

Furthermore, why would he sell off at low prices? He will not do that.

I think you don't understand the situation: the bad actor have a huge power over our economy, if only 1/3 of that amount is sold in the open market every exchange will go to near 0, and who will buy when there is another +500k awaiting?
Actually, the bad actor don't even need to use those coins, but only buy shorts and sign terror messages in Twitter like "In one hour I will dump 50k in BitStamp". Even more, the bad actor could have financial incentives outside Bitcoin's economy.

Mods: this topic goes much further than the latest events with Mt.Gox. Bitcoin's economy is based on centralized services that could get stolen from too.

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March 01, 2014, 05:42:19 PM
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Do we have any idea where 800,000 BTC are located on the blockchain?

We know at least one transaction from June 2011 (with 42424.24 BTC or something like that).

My thesis is that Mt.Gox lose 850,000btc three weeks ago.

No. Gox lost those years ago. They've been in deficit since.

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March 01, 2014, 06:04:02 PM
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Do we have any idea where 800,000 BTC are located on the blockchain?

We know at least one transaction from June 2011 (with 42424.24 BTC or something like that).

My thesis is that Mt.Gox lose 850,000btc three weeks ago.

No. Gox lost those years ago. They've been in deficit since.

How do you know that? I based my thesis on what they said in their last press conference.

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March 01, 2014, 08:01:11 PM
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What you are talking about is an altcoin. Please move to the altcoin forum

No, I am not talking about modifying the protocol, nor maintaining a parallel blockchain. Please read my posts again.


No, this is essentially an alt-coin called goxcoin. The real Bitcoin will go on and no one will ever mine or accept such a stupid coin. Well, maybe you can try to trade it on bitcoinbuilder

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March 01, 2014, 08:08:16 PM
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You do understand you will never convince miners to erase 3,000 blocks of the blockchain however if you did, then Bitcoin is done.  Remember over those 3,000 blocks, newly mined coins have been involved in transactions and this action would double spend all of those.  The coins originally minted would never exist and thus the coins spent wouldn't.  Merchants, other users, exchanges would all see the downstream transactions (which have 6 ro 3,000+ confirmations) suddenly go unconfirmed and invalid.

While this in theory could be done at any time it is generally accepted to be impossible.  If miners by decree can double spend transaction not 1 or 2 confirmations into the blockchain but 3,000 blocks deep then no receiver can ever be sure that the transaction is irreversible.  There is a certain level of faith in all currencies that create the perception of value, and Bitcoin is no exception.  Among those faiths, Bitcoin users believe that while it is possible in theory to 51% the network and undo transactions thousands of blocks deep, that it would have such an economic cost that it infeasible.  All users accept this faith or they wouldn't be using bitcoin (or would require 10,000+ confirmations before concluding the transaction).  Your proposed action (although I think it has no chance) if successful would break that faith.  Without faith in the irreversibility of transactions, there is no value or utility to Bitcoin.  Bitcoin would be dead.  I am not talking the exchange rate goes down a bit and recovers, I mean completely abandoned as a worthless experiment and development moves on to future systems which don't have the vulnerability (likely some floating checkpoint system which acts as a check to the proof of work).

How do you use a currency that at any time could simply be "undone" and erased from your wallet by the actions of a third party?  Would you use that currency?  I know I wouldn't.  I genuinely feel sorry for those who lost significant amounts of money by misplacing their trust in MtGox but this is a situation where the cure is worse than the disease.
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March 01, 2014, 08:14:24 PM
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You do understand you will never convince miners to erase 3,000 blocks of the blockchain however if you did, then Bitcoin is done.  Remember over those 3,000 blocks, newly mined coins have been involved in transactions and this action would double spend all of those.  The coins originally minted would never exist and thus the coins spent wouldn't.  Merchants, other users, exchanges would all see the downstream transactions (which have 6 ro 3,000+ confirmations) suddenly go unconfirmed and invalid.

While this in theory could be done at any time it is generally accepted to be impossible.  I mean if miners by decree can double spend transaction not 1 or 2 confirmations into the blockchain but 3,000 then no receiver can EVER be sure that the transaction is irreversible.  There is a certain level of faith in all currencies that create the perception of value, and Bitcoin is no exception.  Among those fauth, users of bitcoin believe that while it is possible in theory to 51% the network and undo transactions thousands of blocks deep, that it would have such an economic cost that it infeasible.  All users accept this faith or they wouldn't be using bitcoin.  Your proposed action (although I think it has no chance) if successful would break that faith.  Without faith in the irreversibility of transactions, there is no value or utility to Bitcoin.  Bitcoin would be dead.  I am not talking the exchange rate goes down a bit and recovers, I mean completely abandoned as a worthless experiment and development moves on to future systems which don't have the vulnerability (likely some floating checkpoint system which acts as a check to the proof of work).

Desperate goxcoin holders want a fork to get their coins back, and what they will get back are worthless coins.

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