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Author Topic: Will bitcoin ever be faster?  (Read 2237 times)
bullox
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April 18, 2011, 07:49:36 AM
 #1

For internet-based transactions, bitcoin working in 10-minute time chunks is ok.  Even when considering you need about 5-10 more blocks to confirm that it isnt an invalid fork, an hour or two is not a long time to wait when you consider internet based shopping usually doesnt leave the warehouse before then.

For face-to-face, I just cannot see bitcoin working in the real world with its current time settings.  I'm not sitting around waiting for an hour, nevermind even 10 minutes to ensure the transaction is legit and being picked up by the system.

Why was the choice made to be 50 btc / 10 min time blocks?  Why can't it change to 5btc / 1min time blocks?   Even waiting 1 minute at a cash register is a pain in the ass, but it would bring it a bit closer to real-world use.  With the prevalance of smartphones, and near-field RF, it seems like BTC is so ready to make an emergence into retail / normal use with the strict exception of it's time delay to verify.
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NghtRppr
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April 18, 2011, 07:53:09 AM
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For internet-based transactions, bitcoin working in 10-minute time chunks is ok.  Even when considering you need about 5-10 more blocks to confirm that it isnt an invalid fork, an hour or two is not a long time to wait when you consider internet based shopping usually doesnt leave the warehouse before then.

For face-to-face, I just cannot see bitcoin working in the real world with its current time settings.  I'm not sitting around waiting for an hour, nevermind even 10 minutes to ensure the transaction is legit and being picked up by the system.

Why was the choice made to be 50 btc / 10 min time blocks?  Why can't it change to 5btc / 1min time blocks?   Even waiting 1 minute at a cash register is a pain in the ass, but it would bring it a bit closer to real-world use.  With the prevalance of smartphones, and near-field RF, it seems like BTC is so ready to make an emergence into retail / normal use with the strict exception of it's time delay to verify.

The solution is to have a trusted third party act as a middle man. You keep a balance with the trusted third party and then when you want to buy something, you instruct the third party to transfer the BTC to the seller. The seller doesn't have to wait for confirmations since they are relying on the trust of the third party.
bullox
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April 18, 2011, 07:56:58 AM
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The solution is to have a trusted third party act as a middle man. You keep a balance with the trusted third party and then when you want to buy something, you instruct the third party to transfer the BTC to the seller. The seller doesn't have to wait for confirmations since they are relying on the trust of the third party.
By doing that doesn't it just kill the core concept of a p2p currency?  What you've described is akin to a federally insured bank issuing a debit card.  Why not just use that, since it already exists and isn't p2p?
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April 18, 2011, 08:16:09 AM
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By doing that doesn't it just kill the core concept of a p2p currency?  What you've described is akin to a federally insured bank issuing a debit card.  Why not just use that, since it already exists and isn't p2p?

Fiat currency can be printed like monopoly money. Bitcoins can't.

What are your goals and what do you think is being lost with the scheme I've described?
fetokun
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April 18, 2011, 08:22:39 AM
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I thought I could just pay a transaction fee and speed things up
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April 18, 2011, 08:23:48 AM
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I thought I could just pay a transaction fee and speed things up

You can't make confirmations go any faster than the speed at which blocks are being added to the block chain.
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April 18, 2011, 08:27:18 AM
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Even waiting 1 minute at a cash register is a pain in the ass, but it would bring it a bit closer to real-world use.  With the prevalance of smartphones, and near-field RF, it seems like BTC is so ready to make an emergence into retail / normal use with the strict exception of it's time delay to verify.

I agree with you, but it's probably not technically feasible. You also have to take variance into account. Even if you would lower the average block creation rate to something crazy like every 10 seconds, you would still need to wait 30 seconds to have a 95% chance of seeing the next block (because 10 seconds is just the average wait time). And even then, 5% of your costumers in line would need to wait even longer than 30 seconds. Not really competitive with a VISA payment that goes through after a few seconds.

What you might be able to do is to build some heuristics that try to figure out whether an unconfirmed transaction will eventually confirm. If you are well-connected to the Bitcoin network that might be feasible with an acceptable risk. For more discussion on the whole "fast transaction acceptance" thing, see also this thread: http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3441.0

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April 18, 2011, 08:45:23 AM
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Also see http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=423.msg3819#msg3819 and other ideas in that thread.

aka sipa, core dev team

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Timo Y
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April 18, 2011, 08:51:57 AM
 #9

This is how i see the future: bitcoin block chain for big transactions. Ripple (or similar) for small transactions denominated in btc. The two technologies complement each other ideally

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alkor
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April 19, 2011, 06:09:34 AM
 #10

Why was the choice made to be 50 btc / 10 min time blocks?  Why can't it change to 5btc / 1min time blocks?

I raised a similar question in the past, and from my understanding, the answer was that 10 mins was chosen to ensure that the previous block has propagated around all nodes in the network before a new block is generated.
Mike Hearn
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April 19, 2011, 07:13:55 AM
 #11

I added this to the FAQ as it comes up a lot.
gigabytecoin
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April 19, 2011, 08:14:02 AM
 #12

I asked the same (silly) question a little while ago: http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5567.0

The answer: It is already 100x faster than your average bank. Instant banking is just an illusion.
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