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Question: Will you support Gavin's new block size limit hard fork of 8MB by January 1, 2016 then doubling every 2 years?
1.  yes
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Author Topic: Gold collapsing. Bitcoin UP.  (Read 1940495 times)
smooth
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January 06, 2015, 08:07:02 PM
 #19781

But unless the cartel has 100% of has power, which is impossible, these transactions would simply wait for an honest miner's block.

This is incorrect. A cartel with a high percentage could, within the protocol, reject blocks that don't follow its transaction inclusion rules. It doesn't take 100% to completely block some or all transactions from the chain.

Quote
On top of this the miner centralization issue is not a long term problem anyway. The system will naturally decentralize over time. With the introduction of ASICS it was difficult to obtain hardware and professional setups had an advantage in procurement only. However centralized mining installations in datacenters naturally are at a cost disadvantage vs. home style setups which have free space and cooling. As the ASIC market matures I think we'll seem a shift back towards more decentralized mining anyway.

This has probably already happened to some extent. The physical (as opposed to pool) mining is somewhat centralized. It was even during the CPU and GPU eras -- specialists build big mining farms (Satoshi is rumored to have had a pretty nice one), the rest don't. But the early ASIC era when there was only a relatively small quantity of gear in the world that represented the bulk of all of the hash power made matters much worse (when ghash had 50% a large portion of that was their own actual equipment), but only temporarily. That kind of transition will likely never happen again.



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January 06, 2015, 08:10:11 PM
 #19782

(such as including the economic value of a block's transactions in addition to difficulty, this would lower the height/priority of chains that do not include all the transactions that honest miners are including)
That doesn't sounds like a very good idea.

You've just described turning Bitcoin into a proof of stake system.

Gavin had a decent description of it (and other solutions) to address the possibility of 51% attack that withheld transactions a couple years ago, but I couldn't quickly find it.

It's definitely not a POS system though, mining still relies on hashing that anyone can participate in. It would only provide an additional priority advantage to blocks with more transactions in them. If all miners include all transactions in the P2P memory pool then its the same as what we have today. If an attacker decided to withhold transactions, then they'd be at a disadvantage and need progressively more than 51% of total hashing power as they processes less and less transactions.

POS provides rewards proportional to the amount of currency already owned/controlled. The scheme above is not influenced by the amount of currency owned/controlled, so it's definitely not POS.

Are you referring to the IBLT proposal? That would indeed make miners' blocks propagate faster if they include the same set of transactions instead of trying to make their own rules. However, it wouldn't really help in the case of a large cartel, since the cartel's miners would all use the same rules, so it is the others mining (using for example the current largely non-discriminatory rules) that would actually suffer.

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January 06, 2015, 08:11:42 PM
 #19783

(such as including the economic value of a block's transactions in addition to difficulty, this would lower the height/priority of chains that do not include all the transactions that honest miners are including)
That doesn't sounds like a very good idea.

You've just described turning Bitcoin into a proof of stake system.

Gavin had a decent description of it (and other solutions) to address the possibility of 51% attack that withheld transactions a couple years ago, but I couldn't quickly find it.

It's definitely not a POS system though, mining still relies on hashing that anyone can participate in. It would only provide an additional priority advantage to blocks with more transactions in them. If all miners include all transactions in the P2P memory pool then its the same as what we have today. If an attacker decided to withhold transactions, then they'd be at a disadvantage and need progressively more than 51% of total hashing power as they processes less and less transactions.

POS provides rewards proportional to the amount of currency already owned/controlled. The scheme above is not influenced by the amount of currency owned/controlled, so it's definitely not POS.
http://gavintech.blogspot.ch/2012/05/neutralizing-51-attack.html

SCs will help too, it will be backup network :-)
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January 06, 2015, 08:13:13 PM
 #19784

What is your number threshold for a amount of combined pools over 51% in which you would feel safe? 10, 20, 100?  I don't think it would be hard to get 100 mining pools to conspire together.

There is no fixed number, of course. Rather, as the number of independent entities in a majority set of miners increases, their interest will be more aligned with the interest of the users.  (This is true of democracy too, by the way.)

In the case of bitcoin, one additional problem is that bitcoin ownership is highly concentrated too, and the largest holders are not miners.  So, even if the protocol were somehow fixed to require consensus of all miners (instead of just a set with 51% power), the miners would still be largely disjoint from the users, whether one counts people or bitcoins held.  So the miners might still change the protocol to increase their revenue at the expense of the users.  (Would PoS be a partial solution to this problem?)

The likelyhood of getting N mining entities to cooperate with a protocol change attempt depends also on the benefit that the miners will get from it.  For example, I would guess that nearly all of them would approve a postponement of the next reward halving.

Academic interest in bitcoin only. Not owner, not trader, very skeptical of its longterm success.
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January 06, 2015, 08:17:32 PM
 #19785

The likelyhood of getting N mining entities to cooperate with a protocol change attempt depends also on the benefit that the miners will get from it.  For example, I would guess that nearly all of them would approve a postponement of the next reward halving.

Then by your reasoning guessing, it should be almost guaranteed to happen.

How about a friendly wager that the next block halving happens right on schedule? I'll be generous and make it an even-odds bet, although for something almost guaranteed to happen you might as well give me some nice odds for betting against it.



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January 06, 2015, 08:32:08 PM
 #19786

But unless the cartel has 100% of has power, which is impossible, these transactions would simply wait for an honest miner's block.

This is incorrect. A cartel with a high percentage could, within the protocol, reject blocks that don't follow its transaction inclusion rules. It doesn't take 100% to completely block some or all transactions from the chain.
A miner does not reject blocks, a miner can only build on top of a chain of blocks.

What you are describing is an attacking miner only building on top of their blocks and not on top of any blocks. That is the very definition of a 51% miner attack. The reason an attacking miner needs 51% is so their chain, that only includes their blocks with their inclusion rules, grows faster than the rest of the network.

There are two possible paths here.
1) There are two competing chains where one chain has only the attacker's blocks and the other chain has the honest miner's blocks. The goal of the attacker is to make their chain with their inclusion rules the longest. The network here can optionally choose the honest chain (which is what Gavin's proposal does). It also require 51% to pull off, which I don't think is possible anyway.
2) The blocks from both the attacker and honest miners build on top of each other in a single chain. In this this situation the honest miners include all transactions skipped by the attacker, and the attack fails.
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January 06, 2015, 08:35:08 PM
 #19787

I just skimmed the info about IBLT yesterday to figure out what the fuck that was.  Seems kinda cool.

One thing that I wondered right away what whether it could provide an efficient way to allow miners to make sure they were not wasting their time working on blocks which contained naughty {color}-listed transactions.

Off-hand I would actually kind of prefer the old-school free-form add-hoc ordering.  It just feels to me like it would be a bit harder to attack being less systematic.

The big 'win' with IBLT seems to only really come into play if/when large block sizes happen since it seems to be the very goal of the solution to preemptively do away with the natural advantage that small block have in terms of transfer times.  I'd rather see this problem attacked by allowing a move toward transaction fees playing a role myself (being now 6 years or so since the genesis block), but that's just me.

In the here and now, and seemingly for a while to come yet, it is the case that a 'free' global internet has plenty of capacity to support block sizes in the current size class without the IBLT optimizations really being all that necessary (notwithstanding the aesthetic qualities of efficiency.)  I'm also not aware of what a more structured ordering would bring to the table other than perhaps making it more efficient to gather transaction fees or (ab)use the blockchain as a generic stamping engine or something.

I, and a minority of others it seems, are mainly interested in how (and if) Bitcoin could perform if the global internet does not offer today's level of ambivalence.  Or is plainly hostile to Bitcoin and peer2peer traffic more generally.  In that case capacity would drop significantly, and it is for that reason that I'm leery of paying much heed to the theoretical constraints that exist now or are projected in the future.

edit: Inverted Bloom Lookup Tables.  I hate it when people use acronyms to much and to early for the average reader...  Basically they are a condensed way to notate a list of transactions (aka, a block.)  Thus, if one already has the transactions (because they've been listening on the same network and the network is working) they can assemble the same block as someone else and be sure it is right rather than download the block containing the same data they already have.  (As i understand things.)


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January 06, 2015, 08:39:32 PM
 #19788

** For that reason, the cartel can define and change its terms of service, and not even a supermajority of the users can stop them;
That is the crux of your argument and it is so simply not true on many levels.

It is the P2P node network which validates and protects the integrity of the network, not miners. The miners only determine _ordering_ of transactions on the blockchain. That is how the system works.

This argument is superficial and flawed.  The users can reject unorthodox blocks, but cannot create orthodox ones; whereas the mining cartel can block the orthodox chain while keeping their unorthodox chain open and functional.  So the users cannot oppose the miners, nor interfere with their operation.   Each user has only three options: (1) stop using the bitcoin system and lose all his coins, (2) upgrade to the cartel's revised protocol and continue use the full network, or (3) upgrade to some 'rebel' protocol which is run by a tiny CPU/GPU network.  (He can opt for both (2) and (3) at the same time, or switch between them any time; but then he will risk committing or be victim of double-spending.)

Please do read the detailed "script" that I posted to reddit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2qdfat/without_downvoting_me_to_hell_can_someone_explain/cn5s41z
http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2qmfgw/so_warren_buffet_says_bitcoin_is_bs/cn82t3q
http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2qmfgw/so_warren_buffet_says_bitcoin_is_bs/cn7rxz1


 

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January 06, 2015, 08:47:28 PM
 #19789

But unless the cartel has 100% of has power, which is impossible, these transactions would simply wait for an honest miner's block.

This is incorrect. A cartel with a high percentage could, within the protocol, reject blocks that don't follow its transaction inclusion rules. It doesn't take 100% to completely block some or all transactions from the chain.
A miner does not reject blocks, a miner can only build on top of a chain of blocks.

Yes, you have a chain of A -> B -> C

Normally the miner would build on C, but if a cartel with a high percentage wishes to reject C, they simply build on B instead.

Quote
What you are describing is an attacking miner only building on top of their blocks and not on top of any blocks. That is the very definition of a 51% miner attack. The reason an attacking miner needs 51% is so their chain, that only includes their blocks with their inclusion rules, grows faster than the rest of the network.

Somewhat. It doesn't have to be only their own blocks, it can be other blocks that follow their rules.

I don't remember a proposal from Gavin to defeat this sort of 51% attack, just his IBLT proposal which gives an incentive to include the standard set of transactions, but only to a miner that isn't large enough to define this standard. Given the ability to "set the standard" IBLT might give the cartel more power, I'm not sure.



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January 06, 2015, 08:52:17 PM
 #19790

It has value because...

Sorry, I was not blessed with the necessary Faith.   Undecided
...

I have to give it to you Jorge…despite the lack of references, the unsubstantiated claims and the ridiculous rhetoric, that was a well-written and effective troll.  

I think it was an effective troll because you're starting to get it.  That what really matters is not Bitcoin's speed, ease of use, or its 'features'; what gives Bitcoin its value is that it's not controlled by any central authority…that the Blockchain is an accurate ledger, accessible to the world according to the protocol rules.  

Will this always be the case?  Well, that really is the $3.8 billion dollar question, isn't it?  Does the experiment work?  Are the incentives enough for the network to enforce the protocol rules objectively?  Or will it devolve into an oligopoly?

Despite your claims to the contrary, the truth is that we don't know whether the experiment will continue to work or not.  But so far it is working, and every month that passes by where it continues to work increases the chances for continued success.  There are risks: the dwindling numbers of full-nodes, mining centralization, core development centralization, etc.; however, there's also a growing community of talented people passionately working to address these risks.

If it does work--if Bitcoin remains decentralized and continues to grow--then not only will it represent a great advancement for economic freedom, but it will also put that trillion-dollar pie in the sky within arm's reach.

You might want to get a few, in case it catches on.  


Run Bitcoin Unlimited (www.bitcoinunlimited.info)
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January 06, 2015, 09:01:16 PM
 #19791

2) The blocks from both the attacker and honest miners build on top of each other in a single chain. In this this situation the honest miners include all transactions skipped by the attacker, and the attack fails.

Obviously the attacker will not do that.  It will ignore all blocks that the orthodox miners put out, and continue mining empty blocks using his last mined  block as the parent.  Since the attacker has more power than the orthodox miners, his empty chain will eventually outpace every orthodox side branch, and all the orthodox blocks in the latter will then be orphaned and discarded by all the orthodox clients.

Thus, every transaction request that the orthodox clients issue will either stay unconfirmed forever, or become unconfirmed even after having been confirmed several times.  Whereas the clients who upgrade to the cartel's version will not notice any difference.

Academic interest in bitcoin only. Not owner, not trader, very skeptical of its longterm success.
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January 06, 2015, 09:06:48 PM
 #19792

Looking before the Scaling Up Leap

http://gavintech.blogspot.nl/2015/01/looking-before-scaling-up-leap.html

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January 06, 2015, 09:16:00 PM
 #19793

Despite your claims to the contrary, the truth is that we don't know whether the experiment will continue to work or not.  But so far it is working, and every month that passes by where it continues to work increases the chances for continued success.  There are risks: the dwindling numbers of full-nodes, mining centralization, core development centralization, etc.; however, there's also a growing community of talented people passionately working to address these risks.   If it does work--if Bitcoin remains decentralized and continues to grow--then not only will it represent a great advancement for economic freedom, but it will also put that trillion-dollar pie in the sky within arm's reach.

The size of the user base and the price are not important for the experiment. But the distribution of mining power is.

You are entitled to you opinion, but in my view the experiment has already shown that the protocol does not work.  It does not achieve its stated goal: all users of the system now have to trust that those 4 companies (which may actually be only 3, or 1, or may become 1 next year) will not be more evil or insane than the bank cartel. 
[/quote]

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January 06, 2015, 09:26:39 PM
 #19794

Despite your claims to the contrary, the truth is that we don't know whether the experiment will continue to work or not.  But so far it is working, and every month that passes by where it continues to work increases the chances for continued success.  There are risks: the dwindling numbers of full-nodes, mining centralization, core development centralization, etc.; however, there's also a growing community of talented people passionately working to address these risks.   If it does work--if Bitcoin remains decentralized and continues to grow--then not only will it represent a great advancement for economic freedom, but it will also put that trillion-dollar pie in the sky within arm's reach.

The size of the user base and the price are not important for the experiment. But the distribution of mining power is.

Only if

1. The mining power is abused. That hasn't happened yet in any significant way, so Peter R's argument applies equally. Every month that passes without abuse increases the chances for continued success, albeit slightly.

2. The distribution of mining power is stable. The real world evidence suggests the contrary. Yet you ignore it.

Quote
those 4 companies (which may actually be only 3, or 1, or may become 1 next year)

Or may become 10. Funny how you didn't include that possibility in your rhetoric. I wonder why.

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January 06, 2015, 10:03:14 PM
 #19795

Bitfinex continuing to jam forward
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January 06, 2015, 10:03:20 PM
 #19796

2) The blocks from both the attacker and honest miners build on top of each other in a single chain. In this this situation the honest miners include all transactions skipped by the attacker, and the attack fails.

Obviously the attacker will not do that.  It will ignore all blocks that the orthodox miners put out, and continue mining empty blocks using his last mined  block as the parent.  Since the attacker has more power than the orthodox miners, his empty chain will eventually outpace every orthodox side branch, and all the orthodox blocks in the latter will then be orphaned and discarded by all the orthodox clients.

Thus, every transaction request that the orthodox clients issue will either stay unconfirmed forever, or become unconfirmed even after having been confirmed several times.  Whereas the clients who upgrade to the cartel's version will not notice any difference.

Obviously, and so we are back to what I already stated, which apparently you didn't bother to read.

1) There are two competing chains where one chain has only the attacker's blocks and the other chain has the honest miner's blocks. The goal of the attacker is to make their chain with their inclusion rules the longest. The network here can optionally choose the honest chain (which is what Gavin's proposal does). It also require 51% to pull off, which I don't think is possible anyway.

Which is the only possible path. This path both requires at least 51% of total hashing power, and it requires that the honest network (users, P2P nodes & miners) to ignore the 2nd chain with all transactions included. Neither of these are likely IMHO, and why the attack fails.

Bitcoin is an ecosystem of human participants, not an autonomous machine that we have no influence over. Example during the March 2013 fork the autonomous machine decided to take the 0.8 branch, but a majority of human participants decided the 0.7 branch was a better path and shifted the machine back to that (causing a 30+ block re-org btw).

If a 51% attack ever happened it would be very visible and resisted by the majority of human participants, who all want bitcoin to succeed, and who would manually choose the shorter chain made by honest miners as the valid path. Gavin's proposal would automate this selection. A 51% attack, which is what you are relying all your arguments on, is both extremely unlikely, but also ineffective. Bitcoin would easily survive a +51% attack, but it will never have to because it is not going to happen.


But thank you for reminding my why I bailed on the academic path years ago and decided to live in the real world. You, like most academics I've encountered, seem to believe that writing long-winded obtuse arguments in a vacuum consisting of your own reality, somehow makes you intelligent or valuable.

You are not, you are like a colossi striding over a very small ant-hill.
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January 06, 2015, 10:04:58 PM
 #19797

Finex 291.94, yum yum.
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January 06, 2015, 10:06:58 PM
 #19798

Bitfinex continuing to jam forward

It's creeping upward. Honey Badger...

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January 06, 2015, 10:08:44 PM
 #19799

The fundamental issue is that the centralization, which is inherent in Bitcoin, is incredibly minuscule when compared to EVERY OTHER FORM OF MONEY with its almost nonexistent barrier to entry.  It is the reason many of us like it.  Governments are busy trying to set up barriers for people to be their own banks with Bitcoin and force people to use the current banking cartels, but ultimately it is a bit difficult to prevent so long as it is easy to download and run a node..

I fully agree that the banking sector is an oligopoly.  And the same is true of the economy in general.  And centraliaztion of the economy invariably results in centralization of political power and collapse of the democracy.

But I do not agree that bitcoin is somehow different from banks. Because:

* The same economic process that created the banking oligopoly has already created a mining oligopoly; namely, the big fish grows faster than the smal fish, and may even eat it.
See 1

* The mechanisms that are supposed to protect the bitcoin users and the protocol from abuse by the dominating cartel do not work:
See 2
** Acting in its self-interest, the cartel will be careful not to destroy its market, but will try to maximize its gain in the long term;

** The cartel will charge monopoly-level prices and provide monopoly-quality service;
See 1

** Users who object to the cartel have no alternative except to do without the service, or to use a much inferior one;
See 2

** For that reason, most users just accept the cartel as a fact of nature, and even try to be friends with it;

** For that reason, the cartel can define and change its terms of service, and not even a supermajority of the users can stop them;

** New providers (banks or miners) who want to enter the market and survive must submit to the cartel;
See 2

** Therefore, unhappy users may take their money to another bank or miner, but cannot break free of the cartel's power;

And so on.

By the way, a majority cartel could, by following the same script outlined in my reddit post, also undo the Bitstamp heist.  All it needs to do is block withdrawals from that address (which it can do immediately and unilaterally, by its veto power), and then force the users to upgrade to a version of the software that includes a built-in table of exceptions: transactions that violate the normal rules, but should be considered valid anyway.  For the time being, that table would have only one transaction, moving those 18'000 coins from the thief's address to the new Bitstamp's address.  The input would have 'FuckAllThieves' as the signature; which of course is not valid for that address, but the exception table will override that. 

This change to the protocol will surely cause more revolt among the fundamentalist users than the mere extension of the reward schedule.  On the other hand, it would be much easier to justify to the general users, since it would undo what is universally viewed as a crime, redress the loss of the victims, and create a powerful deterrent of future bitcoin thefts.  In fact, this hack will probably make bitcoins more valuable, increase adoption, appease hostile governments, etc. etc..  And the non-ideological users are already used to the banks doing that sort of thing.

And you can see how this will end.

The fact is, you do not really own your bitcoins, even if you are the only person who knows their private keys. Since bitcoins cannot exist outside the blockchain, they are actually owned by the miners.  Your bitcoins will stay or move only if and where the miners are willing to keep or move them.  At present, the miners will only move coins  if they get a transaction request with the proper signature.  However, if a majoritary subset of the miners agrees to do something else, they will have the power to force the users to accept it -- as long as it is less harmful to the general user than being cut off from the service.

Just like them banks.

It seems your opinion is that there is no need for bitcoin and that banks and arbitrary enforcements based on claims of thefts conducted by centralized controls of wealth ledgers are the way to go.
This is fine for you.  Others may want alternatives to this to exist in the world and use each type of wealth unit for its purpose.

Generally, we disagree on most everything in this post, with especially your assumptions about what future behaviors will occur.  These things haven't happened yet.  With vigilance and individual action, these things may never happen because it is done in the open, and not in secret banking ledgers, as pointed out previously in my last post to you (which you apparently ignored).


1Certain of the matters discussed in this post are about future performance and constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Such statements are based on the poster's beliefs as well as assumptions made. When used herein, the words “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” "may," “believe,” “expect,” “plan,” “should,” “hypothetical,” “potential,” “forecast,” “project,” variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ are often presented with the forward-looking statements themselves.

2They have worked so far.  Check the block chain to see if it is still incrementing.  Since your assertion is contrary to established fact, please show evidence.

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January 06, 2015, 11:16:12 PM
 #19800


http://gavintech.blogspot.ch/2012/05/neutralizing-51-attack.html

SCs will help too, it will be backup network :-)

I'm not sure I go along with that fully.  I wouldn't imagine sidechains having a very easy time of it with native Bitcoin in a state of turmoil in my conception of things.

Where I really see sidechains helping would be before troubles started.

For one, sidechains have a powerful incentive to keep Bitcoin working at least well enough for themselves to operate, but probably also well enough for everyone in order that Bitcoin remains credible as a backing store.  Indeed, as I've already (kinda) proven, straight forward simplistic mining does not have the long term potential to be profitable due to supply/demand issues with mining gear.  Sidechains would be almost forced to provide support for Bitcoin no matter what the profitability of doing so might be.  So this might provide a credible support foundation (as opposed to miners tapping other revenue streams like milking the userbase for intelligence data.)

For two, I could see sidechains acting as a force to split up mining unions as they might prefer merge mining different sets of sidechains and what-not.  I honestly don't know enough about it to know if that's a realistic hope though.


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