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Author Topic: Smart Contracts ..where are we now in their advancement ?  (Read 192 times)
ChiBitCTy
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November 16, 2019, 08:59:42 PM
Last edit: November 16, 2019, 09:16:09 PM by ChiBitCTy
Merited by OgNasty (2), ETFbitcoin (1), Heisenberg_Hunter (1), rhomelmabini (1)
 #1

I'm very curious where we currently stand in terms of smart contract cryptographic advancement.  I am no Mr Robot so my base level of understanding is not high when it comes to cryptography and smart contracts in general.  Of course I know basics such as ETH is based upon a S.C. platform per say, and I've even heard that bitcoin has smart contract tech built in to it's bchain, and I understand some of the main uses/potential uses for S.C.'s but how far have we really gotten in their advancement?

For example, I love this topic posted by Satoshi because I see the potential as MASSIVE here ( https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=750.msg8140#msg8140 ).  First off, would anyone debate that this is not in regards to S.C's? I asked Nick Szabo if this post was and he stated while vague, he believes that is what Satoshi is referring to (in contrast to Craig Wright who told me he built in S.C.'s from day one which is in direct opposition of Satoshi's words himself lol ).

So have we gotten to the point of Satoshis vision where cryptocurrency and their blockchains can actually change the escrow game as we know it? If not, are we very far away?  I just think smart contracts can do so much good for the world in so many ways and am very excited to see their future in our world.  Thanks for reading /any input, up front.
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November 17, 2019, 03:55:07 AM
Last edit: November 17, 2019, 04:10:42 AM by gmaxwell
Merited by Welsh (6), ChiBitCTy (2), ETFbitcoin (1), Heisenberg_Hunter (1)
 #2

Unfortunately... People like centralized systems,-- they have lots of nice usability properties, people are willing to ignore their flaws/risks, they are easy to develop, and *critically* they are easy to monetize.

By contrast, smart contracts are essentially cryptographic protocols themselves-- inheriting the extreme difficulty and risk that normally comes with making a novel cryptographic protocol. They also inherit the development and usability challenges of distributed systems, and they're difficult or impossible to monetize-- which reduces the incentive to engage in the extraordinary amount of work needed to create them.

As a result even most things that hype "smart contracts" are pure pretext and misdirection. Mostly just borderline or outright scam tokens traded on promises which will never be met (if they're even possible to meet).  Or you get insanity like Ethereum's operators going and editing the blockchain state to take funds they personally lost due to a bug in some goofy contract they were participants in and then everyone involved trying to pretend that this wasn't an example of centralization that totally mooted any purpose for a smart contract in the first place ...

But there are many things possible, much more than even the simple example imagined by Satoshi, and the prospects seem tantalizing... but because of the lack of incentive and the risk of loss (other than for the operators of centralized systems where the funds can just be clawed back) it's a bit slow going.

Thought Bitcoin's history there have been a number of other just-for-fun smart contracting examples, e.g. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=293382.0 but a much smaller number of actual production uses.

There are some interesting smart contract things going on-- for example lightning protocol in Bitcoin is an example of using smart contracts for an actually useful purpose which isn't really just a cover for centralization or a ponzi scheme.

And most people don't even realize that it's Bitcoin smart contracts that power lightning-- maybe we should expect that when a smart contract system works people won't realize it's a smart contract at all.

Another important advance for smart contracts is, in my opinion, the taproot proposal in Bitcoin:   With taproot the common case of cooperating participants in a smart contract becomes indistinguishable from an ordinary boring payment. The full cost of public contract execution is then only needed if the contract participants try to cheat.  This makes smart contract usage much more cost efficient, censorship resistant, and private.  They doesn't make them less difficult to develop but it means they don't need to necessarily have a high operating cost.

There is ongoing research going into new tools for building smart contract languages which provide for a firm theoretical grounding to them, which should make it possible for stronger analysis of smart contracts which will ultimately make it easier to author them and be confident that they'll behave like you expect.
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November 17, 2019, 05:45:06 AM
 #3

I think I say "snipped" here  Cheesy

I can't thank you enough for breaking that all down for me, and in words I can understand!  A lot of what I was curious about has become much more clear now.  I look forward to reading up on the projects you mentioned.  LN is one thing I'm actually kind of familiar with. A Mr Robot such as yourself taught me a lot about the network and I'm proud to say I even transacted on it a few times, my greatest tech achievement since running punter/prog programs as a teen script kittie troll on AOL  Embarrassed

One thing that really sticks out is the amount of work it takes to make cryptographic projects such as these come to fruition.  I always thought a Jeremy Hammond or Nick Szabo type could whip stuff up w/ease but obviously not at all the case. Which should be obvious as Satoshi had a lot of help himself. Thanks again man, MUCH appreciated, especially coming from someone as distinguished as yourself.  
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November 24, 2019, 11:32:01 AM
 #4

Unfortunately... People like centralized systems,-- they have lots of nice usability properties, people are willing to ignore their flaws/risks, they are easy to develop, and *critically* they are easy to monetize.

By contrast, smart contracts are essentially cryptographic protocols themselves-- inheriting the extreme difficulty and risk that normally comes with making a novel cryptographic protocol. They also inherit the development and usability challenges of distributed systems, and they're difficult or impossible to monetize-- which reduces the incentive to engage in the extraordinary amount of work needed to create them.

As a result even most things that hype "smart contracts" are pure pretext and misdirection. Mostly just borderline or outright scam tokens traded on promises which will never be met (if they're even possible to meet).  Or you get insanity like Ethereum's operators going and editing the blockchain state to take funds they personally lost due to a bug in some goofy contract they were participants in and then everyone involved trying to pretend that this wasn't an example of centralization that totally mooted any purpose for a smart contract in the first place ...

But there are many things possible, much more than even the simple example imagined by Satoshi, and the prospects seem tantalizing... but because of the lack of incentive and the risk of loss (other than for the operators of centralized systems where the funds can just be clawed back) it's a bit slow going.

Thought Bitcoin's history there have been a number of other just-for-fun smart contracting examples, e.g. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=293382.0 but a much smaller number of actual production uses.

There are some interesting smart contract things going on-- for example lightning protocol in Bitcoin is an example of using smart contracts for an actually useful purpose which isn't really just a cover for centralization or a ponzi scheme.

And most people don't even realize that it's Bitcoin smart contracts that power lightning-- maybe we should expect that when a smart contract system works people won't realize it's a smart contract at all.

Another important advance for smart contracts is, in my opinion, the taproot proposal in Bitcoin:   With taproot the common case of cooperating participants in a smart contract becomes indistinguishable from an ordinary boring payment. The full cost of public contract execution is then only needed if the contract participants try to cheat.  This makes smart contract usage much more cost efficient, censorship resistant, and private.  They doesn't make them less difficult to develop but it means they don't need to necessarily have a high operating cost.

There is ongoing research going into new tools for building smart contract languages which provide for a firm theoretical grounding to them, which should make it possible for stronger analysis of smart contracts which will ultimately make it easier to author them and be confident that they'll behave like you expect.


Taproot, and Schnorr, and SIGHASH_NOINPUT, oh my!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSUVRj8iznU

That's really cool,
Thanks.
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November 24, 2019, 01:49:38 PM
Merited by gmaxwell (2), ChiBitCTy (1)
 #5

By contrast, smart contracts are essentially cryptographic protocols themselves-- inheriting the extreme difficulty and risk that normally comes with making a novel cryptographic protocol. They also inherit the development and usability challenges of distributed systems, and they're difficult or impossible to monetize-- which reduces the incentive to engage in the extraordinary amount of work needed to create them.

I think this depends though on whether talking about direct or indirect monetization. Obviously an integrated smart contract that is self executing/deterministic cannot be monetized by some service provider, as the whole point of such constructions is to do away with the need for relying on 3rd parties to adjudicate the outcome of contracts between 1st/2nd parties. But it does increase the value of the actual Bitcoin network when a type of smart contract can be made conventional and standardized.

Still, directly monetizable smart contracts (and because they depend on some non-deterministic external factor) are possible. Someone wrote about this on the bitcoin-dev mailing list not so long ago: good behavior bonds. The bitcoin network cannot decide if behavior of those who sign the contract is good or bad, only the operator of the bond service can do that. Seems odd that no-one has even tried this yet, I would have expected at least an inept attempt to put it into practice.

Lightning itself is an example of directly monetizable smart contracts also. It's just that there's almost certainly never going to be much (even any) profit in it; it seems to me that watch tower fees will always push the market towards self-run nodes, which in turn pushes the relay fee market to (or even below) the bottom line.

Vires in numeris
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November 27, 2019, 11:43:33 PM
Merited by ChiBitCTy (1)
 #6

For example, I love this topic posted by Satoshi because I see the potential as MASSIVE here ( https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=750.msg8140#msg8140 ).  First off, would anyone debate that this is not in regards to S.C's? I asked Nick Szabo if this post was and he stated while vague, he believes that is what Satoshi is referring to (in contrast to Craig Wright who told me he built in S.C.'s from day one which is in direct opposition of Satoshi's words himself lol ).
I will respond to one thing satoshi said in the post you cited:



Now, an economist would say that a fraudulent seller could start negotiating, such as "release the money and I'll give you half of it back", but at that point, there would be so little trust and so much spite that negotiation is unlikely. Why on earth would the fraudster keep his word and send you half if he's already breaking his word to steal it? I think for modest amounts, almost everyone would refuse on principle alone.

With SW, it would be possible to craft a signed 'child' transaction the is dependent on the transaction releasing the coin to the fraudster.

What satoshi described also does not allow for the two parties to mutually agree to split up the coin, for example if a seller is unable to deliver all of a set of goods due to unexpected circumstances, but SW should allow for this to be addressed as well.


My understanding of SW and LN is it is theoretically possible to have a trust-less cross-chain transaction if both blockchains have adopted SW, or something substantially similar (transactions that can be time locked from the time of confirmation, and the ability to sign dependent transactions without the signed 'parent' signed transaction). This would be most advantageous for people wanting to trade coin for a stable coin (bitcoin for USDT).


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ChiBitCTy
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November 28, 2019, 05:39:04 PM
 #7

@prime#7 - thanks for your response. Interesting points!

@carltonbanks - thanks for your response. When it comes to this stuff I’m like DJ Jazzy Jeff..a complete idiot but I try to understand Smiley i.e. -I followed some of what you said.    I guess when I think of how SCs can come to fruition I never thought of the monihtazation aspect. I guess with out that, not a lot of Mr Robots are likely to sit down and code for weeks on end for no profit. I guess in terms of Escrow you could have a coin/blockchain that simply provides the platform and takes like .00001% of the transaction amount for doing so ..while buyers and sellers can utilize these self transacting contracts to facilitate everything. 

I guess some of this is a pipe dream more then likely..at least rn. I recently listened to Nick Szabo on this cast ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-what-bitcoin-did-podcast/id1317356120?i=1000455670093 )..which brought me down a bit on my excitement of SCs. He said he doesn’t see much advancement overall and their future is bleak (paraphrasing here). Bit of a downer coming from the creator of these (Though Nick is negative about seemingly everything in this world).
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December 01, 2019, 09:13:30 AM
 #8

Unfortunately... People like centralized systems,-- they have lots of nice usability properties, people are willing to ignore their flaws/risks, they are easy to develop, and *critically* they are easy to monetize.


unfortunately, I think you are clueless, you need to understand that most people still haven't discovered decentralized technology, some people only heard of bitcoin and second of all the decentralized technology needs improvement, faster, ect.

I disagree. Many people who've discovered Decentralized technology (Bitcoin, BitTorrent, IPFS, etc.) still prefer centralized technology.
It's been proven by :
1. how many people store their Bitcoin on custodial wallet or exchange (which isn't intended to store Bitcoin)
2. low volume of DEX

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