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Author Topic: what are the chances that more than 21 million bitcoin will be created?  (Read 2669 times)
PetePete
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May 09, 2014, 01:52:41 PM
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As in modifying the code on an agreement with all parties involved, is there a chance people might want more than 21 million Bitcoins?
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May 09, 2014, 02:19:05 PM
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Precisely zero.

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May 09, 2014, 02:22:28 PM
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As in modifying the code on an agreement with all parties involved, is there a chance people might want more than 21 million Bitcoins?

Pretty good chance it will happen if bitcoin survives long enough into the future. Given the right leaders and the right circumstances the masses can be manipulated to support anything you can possibly think off. They got manipulated to support hitler. They got manipulated to support a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything is possible.

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May 09, 2014, 02:30:40 PM
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5flags I will accept your answer but it happened with dogecoin it turned into an inflationary currency over night, why was that so?
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May 09, 2014, 02:32:51 PM
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As in modifying the code on an agreement with all parties involved, is there a chance people might want more than 21 million Bitcoins?

Pretty good chance it will happen if bitcoin survives long enough into the future. Given the right leaders and the right circumstances the masses can be manipulated to support anything you can possibly think off. They got manipulated to support hitler. They got manipulated to support a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything is possible.
If that happens I would be really upset and alot of others too will be upset.  I dont think the ones that have the most bitcoins would want that to happen surely it wont be allowed to happen.  Hence reason why Litecoin and others are here.

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May 09, 2014, 02:48:23 PM
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5flags I will accept your answer but it happened with dogecoin it turned into an inflationary currency over night, why was that so?

dogecoin was inflationary in design from the very beginning.  There was a discussion at one point (in December and January) about changing this to remove the inflationary design.  Generating consensus is nearly impossible, and so the developers decided to leave it the way it was.

It was not "turned into an inflationary currency over night".  Instead, it was realized that modifying the core protocol once a consensus based currency has become popular is nearly impossible and so the decision to change it was abandoned.

It might be possible to convince a significant portion of the population to fork off from bitcoin into an inflationary currency.  There will remain a commited set of idealists that will refuse to use the new currency, and they will continue to call their currency "bitcoin".  It will be up to the users of the forked coin whether they want to create a huge amount of confusion by using the same "bitcoin" name for their altcoin.

Pretty good chance it will happen if bitcoin survives long enough into the future. Given the right leaders and the right circumstances the masses can be manipulated to support anything you can possibly think off. They got manipulated to support hitler. They got manipulated to support a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything is possible.

A significant percentage of the population can be manipulated to support anything, but bitcoin is a consensus system.  Hitler did not manipulate 100% of the population to support him.  There were many who refused, and who actively acted against him.  There was not 100% support for any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  All of those wars had individuals who publicly spoke out against them.

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May 09, 2014, 02:51:52 PM
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As in modifying the code on an agreement with all parties involved, is there a chance people might want more than 21 million Bitcoins?

all parties involved ...did u say so ? I'll leave a family note to run a full node even after 2140 and not to accept more than 21m ...u wont get a full consensus, so u wont ever succeed to make bitcoin inflationary.

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May 09, 2014, 03:05:02 PM
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A significant percentage of the population can be manipulated to support anything, but bitcoin is a consensus system.  Hitler did not manipulate 100% of the population to support him.  There were many who refused, and who actively acted against him.  There was not 100% support for any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  All of those wars had individuals who publicly spoke out against them.

What percentage need to support it? Is a majority of full nodes sufficient?

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May 09, 2014, 03:12:29 PM
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Thanks for the response guys.
DannyHamilton
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May 09, 2014, 03:14:35 PM
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A significant percentage of the population can be manipulated to support anything, but bitcoin is a consensus system.  Hitler did not manipulate 100% of the population to support him.  There were many who refused, and who actively acted against him.  There was not 100% support for any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  All of those wars had individuals who publicly spoke out against them.

What percentage need to support it? Is a majority of full nodes sufficient?

No.

Bitcoin is a consensus system.  You need 100% to change.

If 2 people refuse to change their software, then they will continue to communicate with each other as peers and will continue to operate the old protocol.  They will continue to call their system "bitcoin", and their system will still be the original "bitcoin". Any other system will be an altcoin.

Now if the majority decide to call their altcoin "bitcoin" as well, there will be much confusion, and a lot of complications.  The more people that choose to switch, the less confusion there will be, and the more likely that the new system will not fail.  At that point you'll have most people calling the new inflationary system "bitcoin", and a set of idealists calling the old system "bitcoin" and using whatever derogatory slang they like for the new system.

Think about it this way...

If Satoshi had decided to call his invention "dollars" instead of "bitcoins" (and left everything else in the design exactly the same), would the fact that the vast majority of people were using a different system called "dollars" have meant that his "dollar" system would automatically switch behavior to be the same as the "dollar" system that everyone else was using?  Obviously not.  There would just be a lot of confusion with two different monetary systems both called "dollars".

Here's another way to look at it.  If the creators of dogecoin had decided to name their system "bitcoin" (and leave everything else about dogecoin exactly the same), there would obviously be a lot of confusion as people tried to talk about exchanging legacy "bitcoins" for "new bitcoins" or vice versa.  However, the fact that the new "bitcoin" (dogecoin) (an inflationary altcoin based on the legacy bitcoin protocol) is popular and has many users does not mean that the original "bitcoin" system has become inflationary.

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May 09, 2014, 03:32:38 PM
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A significant percentage of the population can be manipulated to support anything, but bitcoin is a consensus system.  Hitler did not manipulate 100% of the population to support him.  There were many who refused, and who actively acted against him.  There was not 100% support for any of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.  All of those wars had individuals who publicly spoke out against them.

What percentage need to support it? Is a majority of full nodes sufficient?

Even in the very unlikely case that half the network supported an increase in the money supply, what would happen is that we'd end up with two coins: bitcoin (as is) and inflate-a-coin.  No one can force another user to accept inflate-a-coin and I know many people will continue to support bitcoin.  Remember, bitcoin is not a "democracy" and even popular opinion cannot force a change to the protocol.  

Viewing coin supply from the environmental lens, there are already cries that bitcoin's inflation consumes too much energy.  So increasing the mining reward when the distribution of coins was already efficiently diffused across the population would also be seen as environmentaly-wasteful.  To increase the money supply for inflate-a-coin then, I think you'd need to popularize a spin-off from the blockchain that employs proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus rather than proof of work because new bitshares (PoS equivalent to bitcoins) could be issued for no cost and by popular opinion (unlike PoW coins where work is required to create them).  

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May 09, 2014, 03:37:48 PM
 #12

If 2 people refuse to change their software, then they will continue to communicate with each other as peers and will continue to operate the old protocol.  They will continue to call their system "bitcoin", and their system will still be the original "bitcoin". Any other system will be an altcoin.
I don't really agree. If everyone who identifies as a Bitcoin user switches to a new protocol, except for 2 people using the original protocol, then the majority will be using "Bitcoin", and the minority will be using "an outdated, unsupported past version of Bitcoin".

They can shout "But we're using the real, original Bitcoin!" as much as they want - but for better or worse, it wouldn't change a thing. History written by the winners and all that.

Here's another way to look at it.  If the creators of dogecoin had decided to name their system "bitcoin" (and leave everything else about dogecoin exactly the same), there would obviously be a lot of confusion as people tried to talk about exchanging legacy "bitcoins" for "new bitcoins" or vice versa.  However, the fact that the new "bitcoin" (dogecoin) (an inflationary altcoin based on the legacy bitcoin protocol) is popular and has many users does not mean that the original "bitcoin" system has become inflationary.
It matters whether the users of the new protocol are new people, or people who originally used the old protocol but switched to the new protocol.

If the former then yes, it's just two coexisting, similarly named groups. If the latter then no, I would say the Bitcoin system really did evolve into something new.

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DannyHamilton
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May 09, 2014, 03:53:13 PM
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If 2 people refuse to change their software, then they will continue to communicate with each other as peers and will continue to operate the old protocol.  They will continue to call their system "bitcoin", and their system will still be the original "bitcoin". Any other system will be an altcoin.
I don't really agree. If everyone who identifies as a Bitcoin user switches to a new protocol, except for 2 people using the original protocol, then the majority will be using "Bitcoin", and the minority will be using "an outdated, unsupported past version of Bitcoin".

They can shout "But we're using the real, original Bitcoin!" as much as they want - but for better or worse, it wouldn't change a thing. History written by the winners and all that.

Here's another way to look at it.  If the creators of dogecoin had decided to name their system "bitcoin" (and leave everything else about dogecoin exactly the same), there would obviously be a lot of confusion as people tried to talk about exchanging legacy "bitcoins" for "new bitcoins" or vice versa.  However, the fact that the new "bitcoin" (dogecoin) (an inflationary altcoin based on the legacy bitcoin protocol) is popular and has many users does not mean that the original "bitcoin" system has become inflationary.
It matters whether the users of the new protocol are new people, or people who originally used the old protocol but switched to the new protocol.

If the former then yes, it's just two coexisting, similarly named groups. If the latter then no, I would say the Bitcoin system really did evolve into something new.

And at this point we are discussing semantics and can't proceed with constructive debate unless/until the OP defines exactly what he means by "more than 21 million Bitcoins".  We need the OP to define exactly (at a technical level) what "a bitcoin" is meant to be in this discussion so that we can determine if it is possible to have more than 21 million of them.

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May 09, 2014, 03:57:28 PM
 #14

Im lost...

new video here explains answer to my OP perfectly from Gavin himself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXKZhxL7x9s&feature=share
DannyHamilton
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May 09, 2014, 04:23:51 PM
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Im lost...

That happens a lot when you start looking at the technical details of bitcoin.

The root of the problem in this discussion is that it isn't clear what the definition of the word "bitcoin" is.

Meni presents the idea that if enough people agree to change the definition of the word "bitcoin", then bitcoin becomes the new thing.

I present the idea that a thing is what it is, regardless of what people choose to call it.

This is really a philosophical debate, and until you describe what side of that debate you are on, it becomes difficult to agree on an answer.

As an example:

There is an object in my front yard that all english speaking people agree to call an "oak tree".  You pose the question, "on an agreement with all parties involved, is there a chance an oak tree could fly on its own accord?"

I assume you are talking about the object currently known as an "oak tree" (regardless of what people choose to call it in the future).  So I state, "No.  That object can't fly on its own accord.  Any object that flys on its own accord isn't that object, even if the majority of people choose to call some other object that flys on its own accord an "oak tree".

Meni states, "If a large enough majority of people look at some other object that flies on its own accord, and agree to call it an "oak tree", then an "oak tree" can fly on its own accord, and the few people who still call that old object an "oak tree" will be using an outdated unsupported usage of the words "oak tree".

As you can see, we are both right.  You have to decide if you are talking about the word "bitcoin", or the concept that is currently described with the word "bitcoin".  The current concept can't be changed, it will always be what it is (just like an oak tree will always be what it is regardless of how else those words are used).  However, people could create a new concept and agree to re-use the name "bitcoin" for that new concept.

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May 09, 2014, 04:28:56 PM
 #16

The root of the problem in this discussion is that it isn't clear what the definition of the word "bitcoin" is.

Ok I think most people will agree that we are talking about what the majority considers to be Bitcoin. So in that case Bitcoin can be changed to support any number of coins. Case closed  Tongue.

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May 09, 2014, 04:34:00 PM
 #17

Remember, bitcoin is not a "democracy" and even popular opinion cannot force a change to the protocol. 

BIPs have been put to vote by miners. So it is a democracy and majority opinion rules.

DannyHamilton
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May 09, 2014, 04:44:41 PM
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The root of the problem in this discussion is that it isn't clear what the definition of the word "bitcoin" is.

Ok I think most people will agree that we are talking about what the majority considers to be Bitcoin. So in that case Bitcoin can be changed to support any number of coins. Case closed  Tongue.

I disagree, but that's the root of the problem here.

An oak tree doesn't stop being what it is just because the majority choose to call some newly discovered bird an "oak tree".

DannyHamilton
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May 09, 2014, 04:46:21 PM
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Remember, bitcoin is not a "democracy" and even popular opinion cannot force a change to the protocol. 

BIPs have been put to vote by miners. So it is a democracy and majority opinion rules.

And so far, forking changes have been accepted by everyone.  It isn't the "vote" that made it possible, its the fact that a consensus was reached that the change was necessary.

I'm pretty confident that a change to the inflation schedule will not reach the same consensus.

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May 09, 2014, 04:58:01 PM
 #20

If the masses join.. alas quite high.  The masses are completely moronic and never use their brain.  If the news tells them something it's true no matter what, :S.
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