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Author Topic: Something vexes me .. transaction fee issue.  (Read 3735 times)
sortedmush
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March 27, 2011, 11:48:11 AM
 #1

First, let me say that I'm all for the transaction fees. I think they're great. It's obvious to me that they'll be required for speedy transactions.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it currently impossible to choose who'll be processing your transaction and collecting the fee? How can I boycott somebody who I know or suspect to be funding projects I disaprove of?

This is a very important issue to me.
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theymos
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March 27, 2011, 12:42:18 PM
 #2

It can't be done without major changes to the protocol.

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sortedmush
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March 27, 2011, 01:00:26 PM
 #3

It can't be done without major changes to the protocol.

Major changes that would or would not effect currently circulating coins?

I would definitely drop BitCoin for an identical alternative that had this feature. The power to withold my custom from providers I disaprove of, is extremely important to me.

Am I alone here?
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March 27, 2011, 01:08:23 PM
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You could claim the same moral issue with basically any currency.

When you buy something to someone, you can't know what this person is going to do with the money.  Maybe he's a ganster, a terrorist or a pedophile, and the business you're having with him is just a front or a money laudering scheme.
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March 27, 2011, 01:10:37 PM
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I'm not sure it can be done at all. Miners are anonymous. It's not even clear what standard you'd need in order to identify a miner .... business papers? Passports? How do you identify somebody you don't want to do business with in a global network anyway?

Today there is no way to prevent your fees going to miners you don't like, if they solve a block with your transaction in it. If that's a showstopper for you, don't use BitCoin.
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March 27, 2011, 01:14:17 PM
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It can't be done without major changes to the protocol.

Major changes that would or would not effect currently circulating coins?

I would definitely drop BitCoin for an identical alternative that had this feature. The power to withold my custom from providers I disaprove of, is extremely important to me.

Am I alone here?
AFFECT != EFFECT
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/affect.html

Everyone competes for the fees and whoever solves the block gets the fees.
Witholding fees from only a specific miner is technicaly impossible.

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sortedmush
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March 27, 2011, 02:26:20 PM
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You could claim the same moral issue with basically any currency.

When you buy something to someone, you can't know what this person is going to do with the money.  Maybe he's a ganster, a terrorist or a pedophile, and the business you're having with him is just a front or a money laudering scheme.

True. But if you knew for certain, wouldn't you rather not do business with them?

I'm not sure it can be done at all. Miners are anonymous. It's not even clear what standard you'd need in order to identify a miner .... business papers? Passports? How do you identify somebody you don't want to do business with in a global network anyway?

Today there is no way to prevent your fees going to miners you don't like, if they solve a block with your transaction in it. If that's a showstopper for you, don't use BitCoin.

I don't know the protocol yet (I'm quite new), although I have a good grasp of the overall system. Which is why I suspected this would be a complicated issue. I know I'm not pointing out a security flaw or anything of that nature. But BitCoin is a social tool, and I'm pointing out a concern of a social nature.

I'm not saying it's a showstopper. I'm saying I would ditch it for an viable alternative which catered for this concern.
 
AFFECT != EFFECT

OMG! Did you know what I was trying to say? .. Then job done! STFU!
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March 27, 2011, 03:15:36 PM
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OMG! Did you know what I was trying to say? .. Then job done! STFU!
  Grin near enough is good enough. don't try to better yourself on my account.  Grin

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March 27, 2011, 03:58:59 PM
 #9

Here are my thoughts. As long as both miners and users are concerned enough about this issue, it would actually be possible to do this without changing the protocol. Disclaimer: This runs a bit contrary to the philosophy of Bitcoin, I don't want to promote it, I just want to solve the OP's problem.

So let's say you only want to support miners who run a "green" data center or miners from Spain or whatever. There would have to be a certification authority who confirms the miner actually fulfills whatever the criterion is.

As a user you would have a Bitcoin client that supports adding a certification authority in the options.

When you actually send money to somebody, the client would create a transaction with no fee and instead add the fee as a normal transaction output to the certification authority's Bitcoin address.

Assuming most miners require fees the transaction would most likely be included by a miner who is a member of the certification authority. Those miners would treat the output to the certification authority the same as they would a fee. The authority would forward the fee to whatever miner solved the block that contained it. (The authority may keep a percentage for its own costs. Since the payouts would be micro-transactions, perhaps the miners who are members of that certification authority would agree to include them for free.)

If the block gets included by a miner who is not certified by the authority, he will not get anything for it. The fees would still go to the certification authority's address. It could then use some rule to spread those extra fees fairly among its members.

Miners could be members of as many certification authorities as they want as long as they meet the criteria. Users could pick whatever certification authority best represents their interests.

Note that as a user you would put yourself at a disadvantage if you discriminate in this way. Your transactions would take longer to get confirmed. But your money would go only to miners you approve of - that's the trade-off.

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March 27, 2011, 04:35:19 PM
 #10

Justmoon is right, it shouldn't be difficult to implement a sort of white-list discrimination. Actually it could be even easier than what you say, you could just send the transaction to the miners you know and trust, not to the entire network.

But this is quite limiting, and it's not exactly what the OP wanted. He wanted a blacklist - allowing everyone a priori, except a few he doesn't like. That I wouldn't know how to do, probably is not possible as others said.

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sortedmush
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March 27, 2011, 05:05:32 PM
 #11

Here are my thoughts. As long as both miners and users are concerned enough about this issue, it would actually be possible to do this without changing the protocol. Disclaimer: This runs a bit contrary to the philosophy of Bitcoin, I don't want to promote it, I just want to solve the OP's problem.

So let's say you only want to support miners who run a "green" data center or miners from Spain or whatever. There would have to be a certification authority who confirms the miner actually fulfills whatever the criterion is.

As a user you would have a Bitcoin client that supports adding a certification authority in the options.

When you actually send money to somebody, the client would create a transaction with no fee and instead add the fee as a normal transaction output to the certification authority's Bitcoin address.

Assuming most miners require fees the transaction would most likely be included by a miner who is a member of the certification authority. Those miners would treat the output to the certification authority the same as they would a fee. The authority would forward the fee to whatever miner solved the block that contained the fee. (The authority may keep a percentage for its own costs. Since the payouts would be micro-transactions, perhaps the miners who are members of that certification authority would agree to include them for free.)

If the block gets included by a miner who is not certified by the authority, he will not get anything for it. The fees would still go to the certification authority's address. It could then use some rule to spread those extra fees fairly among its members.

Miners could be members of as many certification authorities as they want as long as they meet the criteria. Users could pick whatever certification authority best represents their interests.

Note that as a user you would put yourself at a disadvantage if you discriminate in this way. Your transactions would take longer to get confirmed. But your money would go only to miners you approve of - that's the tradeoff.

Thanks ..

Yeah, not just for boycotting but for supporting green miners and such too. I think your idea is great, but I can see that it will burden the network with extra work. I don't fully comprehend how much work it would take to adopt the feature into the protocol. But considering that BitCoin is still in Beta, would it be totally out of the question? Obviously if I'm the only person who thinks this way then so be it. I'm also wondering what exactly are you saying runs contrary to the philosophy of BitCoin? My concern, or your particular suggestion? or ?

Justmoon is right, it shouldn't be difficult to implement a sort of white-list discrimination. Actually it could be even easier than what you say, you could just send the transaction to the miners you know and trust, not to the entire network.

But this is quite limiting, and it's not exactly what the OP wanted. He wanted a blacklist - allowing everyone a priori, except a few he doesn't like. That I wouldn't know how to do, probably is not possible as others said.

A whitelist would also be fine for me I think Cheesy

Does anyone else share my concern? Or see where I'm coming from?
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March 27, 2011, 05:15:18 PM
 #12

Even so, it depends in the due diligence of the certification authority... Any one of its members could also operate nodes, that are not a part of that system, for any purpose whatever.

Yes, but this applies to every certification, including the thousands of certifications we have today for all sorts of products. Generally the quality of the label will depend on the consumer demand for it. The more it's worth the more money the certification authority will have for auditing and detective work and the more miners who secretly violate it would have to lose.


Yeah, not just for boycotting but for supporting green miners and such too. I think your idea is great, but I can see that it will burden the network with extra work. I don't fully comprehend how much work it would take to adopt the feature into the protocol.

None. The protocol would be unaffected.

You would need:
1. Someone to start a certification authority, do the auditing and write the software necessary for handling the payouts.
2. An extension to the Bitcoin client that allows miners to treat outputs to certain addresses as if they were fees.
3. An option in the Bitcoin client GUI that allows users to specify an output address for an "addressed fee" instead of a standard "open fee".

(4. Transactions with an "addressed fee" would get relayed with the same low priority as transactions with no fee.. Perhaps users who have the same addressed fee set in their options could relay them with priority. Definitely some thought is needed on this issue, but I don't think it's insurmountable by any means.)


But considering that BitCoin is still in Beta, would it be totally out of the question? Obviously if I'm the only person who thinks this way then so be it.

If Bitcoin transaction fees were a million dollar business, I would be the first to help start a certification authority for carbon neutral miners. As of right now, Bitcoin is tiny and obscure and we have much more basic and immediate problems to solve than how to fairly allocate 15$/month in fees.


I'm also wondering what exactly are you saying runs contrary to the philosophy of BitCoin? My concern, or your particular suggestion? or ?

Well, the reason I said that was because certification authorities would be kind of centralized whereas Bitcoin is all about decentralization. However thinking about it more, there would be nothing to stop new authorities entering the market to compete with existing ones, so perhaps this not much of a problem after all.

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March 29, 2011, 12:49:23 PM
 #13

You can potentially choose a specific miner by sending the fee portion directly to their address. This requires miners merge the myFreeTx branch, and may be a reason to reconsider merging it into mainline. It doesn't help create a multi-miner whitelist, though.

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March 29, 2011, 03:08:28 PM
 #14

Thanks for everyones input.

I'm no longer vexed.  Grin
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March 31, 2011, 02:55:01 AM
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You can potentially choose a specific miner by sending the fee portion directly to their address. This requires miners merge the myFreeTx branch, and may be a reason to reconsider merging it into mainline. It doesn't help create a multi-miner whitelist, though.
Luke, stop pushing the myFreeTx patch. As I posted the other day, it won't work, and Gavin dropped the pull request. You can read the discussion here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/97.

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March 31, 2011, 03:46:33 PM
 #16

You can potentially choose a specific miner by sending the fee portion directly to their address. This requires miners merge the myFreeTx branch, and may be a reason to reconsider merging it into mainline. It doesn't help create a multi-miner whitelist, though.
Luke, stop pushing the myFreeTx patch. As I posted the other day, it won't work, and Gavin dropped the pull request. You can read the discussion here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/97.
It works together with my policy changes. I also just pushed a fix so it works by itself. Gavin may wish to reconsider it, based on this new use, but regardless of whether it gets merged or not is irrelevant. Bitcoin isn't a monopolistic centralized proprietary software, it's a community of mostly free software, and miners too are free to run whatever code they wish.

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March 31, 2011, 05:28:40 PM
 #17

I really like justmoon's solution...it works without absolutely no modification to the bitcoin protocol.  It's elegant and simple.  There might even be a market for mining services that are verified to uphold certain standards of the community.  (but I also agree that it's probably not near to the top of most people's priority lists)

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March 31, 2011, 07:50:31 PM
 #18

You can potentially choose a specific miner by sending the fee portion directly to their address. This requires miners merge the myFreeTx branch, and may be a reason to reconsider merging it into mainline. It doesn't help create a multi-miner whitelist, though.
Luke, stop pushing the myFreeTx patch. As I posted the other day, it won't work, and Gavin dropped the pull request. You can read the discussion here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/97.
It works together with my policy changes. I also just pushed a fix so it works by itself. Gavin may wish to reconsider it, based on this new use, but regardless of whether it gets merged or not is irrelevant. Bitcoin isn't a monopolistic centralized proprietary software, it's a community of mostly free software, and miners too are free to run whatever code they wish.

It may work, but it doesn't seem to DO anything except keep your transactions from being accepted by any other miner.
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March 31, 2011, 09:51:25 PM
 #19

It may work, but it doesn't seem to DO anything except keep your transactions from being accepted by any other miner.
No, it just allows the address-controller to decide which other miner is allowed to get the fee.

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April 01, 2011, 01:25:56 AM
 #20

It works together with my policy changes. I also just pushed a fix so it works by itself. Gavin may wish to reconsider it, based on this new use, but regardless of whether it gets merged or not is irrelevant. Bitcoin isn't a monopolistic centralized proprietary software, it's a community of mostly free software, and miners too are free to run whatever code they wish.
I don't understand what you mean by "policy changes." Can you elaborate on that?

I just had a look at github, and I didn't see any pull requests along these lines. Do you have a link?

You're right, Bitcoin's not proprietary, and you are free to run whatever code you want. But the problem is, the patch that Gavin submitted violates the established protocol. When you generate a transaction that, according to the established protocol would require a transaction fee, but you do not include that fee in your transaction, no other node will accept that transaction. That's why Gavin withdrew the patch. And as I said in the comments for the patch, the patch isn't necessary anyway. If you happen to generate the transaction, you get the transaction fee back and it's free (for you). If someone else generates it, they get the fee.

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No, it just allows the address-controller to decide which other miner is allowed to get the fee.
Are we talking about the same patch? I'm referring to the "My free tx" patch submitted by Gavin, and described here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/97. That patch does not give you any control over who gets the fee.


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