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Author Topic: Bringing decentralization back to the Bitcoin network.  (Read 9821 times)
Holliday
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January 21, 2012, 01:31:07 AM
 #1

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If you aren't the sole controller of your private keys, you don't have any bitcoins.
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bittenbob
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January 21, 2012, 01:43:15 AM
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The problem is there aren't very many good pools to choose from. I started with DeepBit because there was some sense of security of being with the biggest pool. I switched to ABCPool because of their no fee at the time which they have since raised to a whopping 4%. Since the 4% fee their reliability has taken a dump and I have lost a lot of mining productivity due to this. If it was a 0% pool then it wouldn't be a problem but at 4% this is just unacceptable. As a result I am very seriously considering a move back to DeepBit. I don't like all the mining power concentrated in one pool but I do see the benefit of that pool. I do understand that pools take money to operate and the smaller the pool the more difficult it becomes but they do have to compete with the bigger pools and they have to remember that.
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January 21, 2012, 01:47:58 AM
 #3

Good show Holliday, the deepbit problem has been bothering me for some time and I am glad to see this initiative in the community to deal with it.

Is it true that other small pools, those in the "other known" slice, can integrate into P2Pool as a "node"?

I have read posts to this effect but its pretty complex for me.  I would like to mine for P2Pool but I also feel allegiance to my small pool.

This is not some pseudoeconomic post-modern Libertarian cult, it's an un-led, crowd-sourced mega startup organized around mutual self-interest where problems, whether of the theoretical or purely practical variety, are treated as temporary and, ultimately, solvable.
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January 21, 2012, 02:00:39 AM
 #4

at least move over to other larger pools, or if you have many cards, distribute them among different pools.
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January 21, 2012, 02:52:22 AM
 #5

A quick example, DDoS the top 3 pools and you've disabled a large percentage of the network, which makes the 51% attack require less hardware to pull off. Another version is take control of the top pool, while DDoSing the next two smaller pools. Here you've managed to get 51% without any hardware investment what-so-ever.
I beg to differ. While you may be able to DDOS large pools to bring mining power offline, the difficulty remains the same for at least two more weeks. It is infeasible to perform such an attack for so long; and botnet operators know that a 2 week (or longer) DDOS spree would get large portions of their nets shut down.

Furthermore, as evidenced by previous experiences with DDOS (to Deepbit, Slush, BTC Guild, and other large pools), the mining power is not magically reduced by the offline-pool's total hashrate - many miners are configured to switch to solo-mode if they cannot reach any configured pools. This preserves the security of the network, even if it does reduce its efficiency for a while.

Finally, a 51% attack really would not achieve anything more then double-spends being possible by an attacker. While this is a bad thing, it isn't a total breach of security, a la side channel attack or similar.

I do agree that p2pool is eventually going to become more important - however in its current form it cannot scale well to support a huge network of miners. The more ideal situation will be to have p2pool being partially centralized and partially decentralized - this would spread the load and allow for the easier configuration that is currently possible with a regular pool.

Another option is mining over Tor to a hidden service - Slush is the only one that I know of that offers this right now, and it is something that might become necessary if some regulation is conferred upon Bitcoin, rendering mining illegal or some such.

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2112
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January 21, 2012, 03:53:04 AM
 #6

I beg to differ. While you may be able to DDOS large pools to bring mining power offline, the difficulty remains the same for at least two more weeks.
Actually it is sufficient to DDoS pools when (block_height modulo 2016) = 2015. Each pool could then compute a different difficulty for the next period. Ultimately the global Bitcoin network will converge to a single longest chain. But the trajectory of the convergence will be different than with regular orphan blocks. The attack is still probabilistic, but the chances are different than during the remaining portion of the re-target period.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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January 21, 2012, 04:39:15 AM
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I beg to differ. While you may be able to DDOS large pools to bring mining power offline, the difficulty remains the same for at least two more weeks.
Actually it is sufficient to DDoS pools when (block_height modulo 2016) = 2015. Each pool could then compute a different difficulty for the next period. Ultimately the global Bitcoin network will converge to a single longest chain. But the trajectory of the convergence will be different than with regular orphan blocks. The attack is still probabilistic, but the chances are different than during the remaining portion of the re-target period.

I would argue that the chances of this being successful would be minimal - all the nodes that are not subject to DDoS will compute the difficulty similarly, and since there is a majority of such nodes, the pools would have to agree, or else risk their blocks being rejected. Assuming they solve any blocks while they are being DDoSed. Smiley

There are a few ways of disrupting the network, but every time I look into its inner workings, I am amazed at how resilient it actually is in practice.

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January 21, 2012, 05:41:26 AM
 #8

the pools would have to agree, or else risk their blocks being rejected.
Exactly: mutual rejection of blocks with slight (but non zero) difference in difficulty. This is actually an interesting and open problem both from the control theory point of view as well as game-theoretic point of view: whom to trust? For the original Bitcoin where the retarget period is two weeks this is a comparatively rare occurence.

There were several threads in this forum postulating changes in the retargeting algorithm. Some even were as aggresive as suggesting new difficulty for each new block using some complex formula.

"chances of this being successful would be minimal" is an intellectual cop-out similar to "chain reorganizations will never happen, right guys?"

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
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January 21, 2012, 05:48:18 AM
 #9

I do agree that p2pool is eventually going to become more important - however in its current form it cannot scale well to support a huge network of miners. The more ideal situation will be to have p2pool being partially centralized and partially decentralized - this would spread the load and allow for the easier configuration that is currently possible with a regular pool.
If the current p2pool grows 10x, it would still work quite well for most miners with at least 1 good GPU. If it grows much past that, it would be trivial to split the pool to p2poolA and p2poolB.

Buy & Hold
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January 21, 2012, 07:51:15 AM
 #10

How about voting with your money? As in only buying from pools that are not the largest.

If its bad for the network I dont want to support it with my money. I would never want to buy from a pool thats 51% since its a weakness.

I rather support small pools but I dont want to donate to people earning money by selling their coins.

Would it be possible to know from which pool the coins come, and rather only buy coins from small pools?

Perhaps in an exchange where you can select if you want to buy coins only from pools less than X% size thus creating a natural support for small pools.
Since if all pools would be small you would still buy from all pools.

Ofcourse a pool operator could own several small pools...




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vuce
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January 21, 2012, 08:00:04 AM
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How about voting with your money? As in only buying from pools that are not the largest.

If its bad for the network I dont want to support it with my money. I would never want to buy from a pool thats 51% since its a weakness.

I rather support small pools but I dont want to donate to people earning money by selling their coins.

Would it be possible to know from which pool the coins come, and rather only buy coins from small pools?

Perhaps in an exchange where you can select if you want to buy coins only from pools less than X% size thus creating a natural support for small pools.
Since if all pools would be small you would still buy from all pools.

Ofcourse a pool operator could own several small pools...

What if it were your coins and no one would want to take them? Smiley
istar
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January 21, 2012, 08:07:50 AM
 #12

How about voting with your money? As in only buying from pools that are not the largest.

If its bad for the network I dont want to support it with my money. I would never want to buy from a pool thats 51% since its a weakness.

I rather support small pools but I dont want to donate to people earning money by selling their coins.

Would it be possible to know from which pool the coins come, and rather only buy coins from small pools?

Perhaps in an exchange where you can select if you want to buy coins only from pools less than X% size thus creating a natural support for small pools.
Since if all pools would be small you would still buy from all pools.

Ofcourse a pool operator could own several small pools...

What if it were your coins and no one would want to take them? Smiley

Not saying noone would want to take them. Just optional.
But imagine you are an investor buying coins for $100.000 would you buy them from someone who makes the network less secure and makes it more likley that you lose that investment?  Or would you rather buy them from miners making the network more secure?


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vuce
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January 21, 2012, 08:21:55 AM
 #13

How about voting with your money? As in only buying from pools that are not the largest.

If its bad for the network I dont want to support it with my money. I would never want to buy from a pool thats 51% since its a weakness.

I rather support small pools but I dont want to donate to people earning money by selling their coins.

Would it be possible to know from which pool the coins come, and rather only buy coins from small pools?

Perhaps in an exchange where you can select if you want to buy coins only from pools less than X% size thus creating a natural support for small pools.
Since if all pools would be small you would still buy from all pools.

Ofcourse a pool operator could own several small pools...

What if it were your coins and no one would want to take them? Smiley

Not saying noone would want to take them. Just optional.
But imagine you are an investor buying coins for $100.000 would you buy them from someone who makes the network less secure and makes it more likley that you lose that investment?  Or would you rather buy them from miners making the network more secure?


Why would you lose any of those coins? Unless you buy the whole 100k of coins from someone who has 51% of the network power and would double spend on you.
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January 21, 2012, 10:44:17 AM
 #14

does a 51% not include clients who aren't mining?

I mean, do desktop clients and the like not take part transaction verification (I believe they dont)?

If not would there be a way to distribute the decision making on network transactions to include non-mining clients?

just my .02 btc
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January 21, 2012, 10:54:45 AM
 #15

does a 51% not include clients who aren't mining?

I mean, do desktop clients and the like not take part transaction verification (I believe they dont)?

If not would there be a way to distribute the decision making on network transactions to include non-mining clients?
A 51% is about mining blocks, so how can clients who aren't mining affect it? Sure, they relay transactions but if they receive a block they just accept it and relay it.
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January 21, 2012, 11:06:18 AM
 #16

A 51% is about mining blocks, so how can clients who aren't mining affect it? Sure, they relay transactions but if they receive a block they just accept it and relay it.

Good question, I'm glad I asked it.

I don't really know enough to answer it, that's why I asked it.

Since we at least agree on the question, perhaps there is a possible solution.

just my .02 btc
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January 21, 2012, 12:22:33 PM
 #17

One more thing, how can we, the supporters of Bitcoin, boast about the advantages of a decentralized network when the pie chart looks like that?

This is the natural tendency of networks.  From the internet to your cellular metabolic network, networks have a scale-free network.

A scale-free network is basically where a few nodes hog all the connections.  You can think of them as hubs.  A lot of the nodes have few connections (measured as the degree, k) between the nodes and these hubs have a lot.  Why do networks have a tendency to form like this?  It is just preferential attachment.  Since these mining pools are already large, they can recruit more people to join or have the resources to get more computational power.  Thus they generate more bitcoins.

Introducing constraints to the economy only serves to limit what can be economical.
Brian DeLoach
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January 21, 2012, 12:27:08 PM
 #18

I switched to ABCPool because of their no fee at the time which they have since raised to a whopping 4%. Since the 4% fee their reliability has taken a dump and I have lost a lot of mining productivity due to this.

One DDoS and their reliability "takes a dump"? Every single pool* is vulnerable to a DDoS and all the large ones have been attacked and taken down for hours or days at a time. ABCpool has a good track record of reliability and low stales. A whopping 4%? They are the cheapest PPS pool available right now. Deepbit charges 10%.

* All conventional centralized pools

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January 21, 2012, 03:40:17 PM
 #19

.....

P2Pool is a bit more complicated than traditional pool mining, but there are people willing to help, and it's not as difficult as it might seem... But the added work, lack of software that is P2Pool friendly, and variance expected with a smaller pool has kept some miners away.

.....

TL;DR: I'm asking for donations to the miners of P2Pool because it promotes decentralization of the Bitcoin network. If you think decentralization is important, but aren't a miner yourself, consider offering a small donation.


It seems that the focus of your plea should be on subsidizing the creation of a P2Pool-friendly software and so on, not the P2Pool miners themselves.

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January 21, 2012, 03:45:23 PM
 #20

.....

P2Pool is a bit more complicated than traditional pool mining, but there are people willing to help, and it's not as difficult as it might seem... But the added work, lack of software that is P2Pool friendly, and variance expected with a smaller pool has kept some miners away.

.....

TL;DR: I'm asking for donations to the miners of P2Pool because it promotes decentralization of the Bitcoin network. If you think decentralization is important, but aren't a miner yourself, consider offering a small donation.


It seems that the focus of you plea should be on subsidizing the creation of a P2Pool-friendly software and so on, not the P2Pool miners themselves.

+1 already mining on p2pool  Smiley ,and a bit off-topic we should consider using a decentralized community forum too, see my sig

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