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Author Topic: What happens when network is split for prolonged time and reconnected?  (Read 8351 times)
MoonShadow
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August 04, 2010, 12:40:02 AM
 #41

Also, there is a case of diminishing risks as the number of blocks grows and the number of nodes continues to grow.  Relative to the existing coins, new coins represent a smaller percentage of the monetary base with passing time.  Even though the risks of catching a bad coin created since a split increases with time as well, they are relatively remote, and tend towards zero over the next 120 years.  But the risks also tend toward zero at a log, not in a linear progression.

What I'm saying here is, by the time that bitcoins catch on, the risks of trading with bad coins during a network outage drop as the popularity of the bitcoin increases *and* also decrease simply as the blockchain grows over time.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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August 04, 2010, 02:28:14 PM
 #42

Thanks, that is a particularly useful result!
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August 05, 2010, 03:15:56 PM
 #43

Suppose that BitCoins are being widely used all across the globe.  Suppose that all internet connections between two countries are blocked (eg China and US go to war) and people still engage in transactions inside each network.  Now all transactions within each network are broadcasted to all nodes inside its network, but not to the other network.  Within each network, the longest chain in each would be considered valid, and the BitCoin economy would continue to exist inside each network.

Now after several years existing independently, what happens when the two networks are reconnected?

Note that it would actually be very hard to keep them separate in such a situation. It only takes one rogue node to connect the two and keep them in sync. I'd think there would be someone in some 3rd country who would act as go between (maybe somewhat like Switzerland did in WW2). It would seem probable to me there would even be many connections no matter how hard some authorities might wish to separate them. There could even be certain parties within the warring governments who would reconnect them for their own reasons (bankrolling spies?).
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August 06, 2010, 03:56:21 PM
 #44

Also, there is a case of diminishing risks as the number of blocks grows and the number of nodes continues to grow.  Relative to the existing coins, new coins represent a smaller percentage of the monetary base with passing time.  Even though the risks of catching a bad coin created since a split increases with time as well, they are relatively remote, and tend towards zero over the next 120 years.  But the risks also tend toward zero at a log, not in a linear progression.

But if you knew there was a split in progress and you generated coins, you would want to spend them as quickly as possible, just in case you were on the shorter chain when the network reconnected.  This would keep the risks much higher than the math would suggest.
MoonShadow
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August 06, 2010, 05:53:05 PM
 #45

Also, there is a case of diminishing risks as the number of blocks grows and the number of nodes continues to grow.  Relative to the existing coins, new coins represent a smaller percentage of the monetary base with passing time.  Even though the risks of catching a bad coin created since a split increases with time as well, they are relatively remote, and tend towards zero over the next 120 years.  But the risks also tend toward zero at a log, not in a linear progression.

But if you knew there was a split in progress and you generated coins, you would want to spend them as quickly as possible, just in case you were on the shorter chain when the network reconnected.  This would keep the risks much higher than the math would suggest.

An honest client can't really do that without spending the older coins first.  It doesn't *have* to spend the older coins first, but an honest client will not show any preferences towards spending the newest coins.  This would require a previously hacked client, or some rapid coding skills.


"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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August 06, 2010, 07:55:16 PM
 #46


An honest client can't really do that without spending the older coins first.  It doesn't *have* to spend the older coins first, but an honest client will not show any preferences towards spending the newest coins.  This would require a previously hacked client, or some rapid coding skills.

You can just rename your wallet file, then any new coins you generate will go in the new wallet and since those are the only coins in there they will be spent first. 

After the re-join, if your chain loses, just copy the saved wallet file back.  If your chain wins, transfer the remaining coins from the new wallet to another machine then copy the wallet back.  No coding skills needed.
MoonShadow
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August 06, 2010, 08:20:05 PM
 #47


An honest client can't really do that without spending the older coins first.  It doesn't *have* to spend the older coins first, but an honest client will not show any preferences towards spending the newest coins.  This would require a previously hacked client, or some rapid coding skills.

You can just rename your wallet file, then any new coins you generate will go in the new wallet and since those are the only coins in there they will be spent first. 

After the re-join, if your chain loses, just copy the saved wallet file back.  If your chain wins, transfer the remaining coins from the new wallet to another machine then copy the wallet back.  No coding skills needed.


That still requires prior intent, along with the expectation that you will be the one on your side of the break to make bitcoins.  And the risks involved to others is still dropping at a log, proceeding from very unlikely risk currently to astronomicly improbable over time.

I'm not saying that it's impossible, but neither is it impossible that the Mayans had it right and we only have two years left to live.  Personally, I don't think that it's a problem worth spending much time on.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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August 16, 2010, 07:36:54 AM
 #48

Thanks everyone for addressing my concerns!

I have come to realize that (A) there are a lot of smart people out there who would notice the network split and take steps to address the problem, and (B) there are a lot of cheap, open-source technologies to enable connectivity such as:

Mesh Potato (open-source mesh router that automatically forms a peer-to-peer network and relays telephone calls without landlines or cell-phone towers)
Universal Software Radio Peripheral (an open-source high-speed, flexible, inexpensive hardware device facilitating the building of a software radio, GSM cell tower/base station, digital transciever)
openBTS (an open-source application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface to standard GSM handset and connects calls)
OR a good old-fashioned modem Smiley

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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August 16, 2010, 09:27:00 AM
 #49

Thanks everyone for addressing my concerns!

I have come to realize that (A) there are a lot of smart people out there who would notice the network split and take steps to address the problem, and (B) there are a lot of cheap, open-source technologies to enable connectivity such as:

Mesh Potato (open-source mesh router that automatically forms a peer-to-peer network and relays telephone calls without landlines or cell-phone towers)
Universal Software Radio Peripheral (an open-source high-speed, flexible, inexpensive hardware device facilitating the building of a software radio, GSM cell tower/base station, digital transciever)
openBTS (an open-source application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface to standard GSM handset and connects calls)
OR a good old-fashioned modem Smiley

Nice. I posted the mesh potato in other topics a few days ago.

If bitcoin stays small and bad internet stuff happens I guess it could get split, but if it gets any kind of size and distribution it'll ust be impossible to keep us apart (at least many of us, for very long).

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August 16, 2010, 04:20:31 PM
 #50

You guys seem to be forgetting that the generated bitcoins can not be spent until the block has matured to 120 confirmations (120 blocks built on it). No honest nodes will accept your transaction if you try to send coins that haven't matured.

The likelihood of chain splitting for that long is fairly low, and even then once the longer chain wins the only losers are those who generated bitcoins on the shorter chain. While it sucks to be the guy that generates a block then loses the reward, those "lost" bitcoins are an exceedingly small portion of the total number of bitcoins in existence. All transactions from the shorter chain will be reincorporated into the longer one.

painlord2k
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November 06, 2014, 10:06:33 PM
 #51

Interesting topic someone pointed me to.

1) Separating the main network in two networks is pretty difficult.
2) Keep them separated is near impossible for a long time

This is know by the time of Gnutella and Freenet, where was tested in simulations that larger is the network faster it reconnect if divided. When you are in the thousands of nodes it is not very different from slicing molasses.

In the event of war (or whatever) the two networks would connect to each other thru a rogue node, probably hosted in some neutral country and sync together.
A 64K would be enough to move enough data up and down to sync them.

But, even if we suppose there are no direct connections, the two networks could just broadcast their own data blindly to each other using AM radio packets. Slow but would work.
They could just broadcast the data using DVB-T, S or C.

The only people to suffer for the lack of full connection could be (depending on relative conditions) the miners in the network with less hashing power, because, due the lag in connecting to the other network, they would near always be later on receiving the last block mined and transmit it.
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