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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
2.  no

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Author Topic: Gold collapsing. Bitcoin UP.  (Read 2022643 times)
solex
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January 25, 2015, 01:55:19 AM
 #20541

Anyhow, it also seems Gavin is on the edge here with this whole thing, putting his legitimacy and authority as Bitcoin lead dev at risk if people in the end refuses to cope with the forked software.
Interesting times..

..., there is evidence what Satoshi thought about the max block size limit. Can't quote this often enough, it seems:

The threshold can easily be changed in the future.  We can decide to increase it when the time comes.  It's a good idea to keep it lower as a circuit breaker and increase it as needed.  If we hit the threshold now, it would almost certainly be some kind of flood and not actual use.  Keeping the threshold lower would help limit the amount of wasted disk space in that event.

Conclusion: Whatever one's arguments for or against raising the limit are, leave Satoshi out of it. From what we can gather, he thought it's a total non-issue, a matter of spam reduction.

Doesn't mean he's automatically right of course, but arguing against a relaxation of the limit by appeal to the creator's authority just doesn't fly given the evidence.

There is no doubt that when Satoshi handed his role over to Gavin he demonstrated himself to be a very astute judge of character and ability. Gavin is continuing solidly with the vision that Satoshi had for his project.

I have admiration for Peter Todd's crypocurrency development skills, but was very disappointed when he published his naive, noobie-fooling video. Greg Maxwell takes a thoughtful, conservative and measured approach, but I really wish he would make it clear whether he thinks Bitcoin should at least scale in line with the general level of improvement in computing technology for high-end home users.

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January 25, 2015, 02:04:55 AM
 #20542

1) To hope and expect that Bitcoin will enjoy it's advantage of not needing to comply with the same regulatory issues which mainstream systems do if it becomes more then a pin-point spot on the landscape is utterly pie-in-the-sky.  At that point it will have to bite off the challenges that mainstream systems do, or play a never-ending cat-n-mouse game with the legal system.  Both are going to degrade it's technical operational capabilities a lot and put it out of reach to almost anyone to operate unless they leverage certain services from specialists with a government charter.

I think you are correct to point out that bitcoin is ultimately going to have to answer to the regulators. Bitcoin enthusiasts (me included) have a tendency to think (hope? dream about?) that bitcoin is just going to bypass the current regulatory framework because it can't be regulated. I think an interesting discussion could be made on this topic, but I will grant you that there is an element of pie-in-the-sky on the part of the enthusiasts.

So let's assume that bitcoin becomes fully regulated. I maintain that this is going to be less difficult for bitcoin system than it is for the mainstream financial system, for the reasons I've outlined in my past few posts: a "normalized database" system (ie crypto, where the blockchain acts as reference point for all transactions) is easier to police than a big messy "un-normalized database" system like we have in the status quo, where any given transaction is recorded in multiple different tables strewn out all over the financial world. The latter system is messier and sloppier and therefore harder and more expensive to police.

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January 25, 2015, 02:23:30 AM
 #20543

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization. One of the principles of database normalization is that any given piece of data should be stored in only one location rather than duplicated as multiple entries in multiple tables. (Backups or multiple copies of the database, e.g. multiple copies of the blockchain, btw don't count as multiple locations.) The problem with multiple entries is that you end up with discrepancies that you have to fix. Discrepancies happen not just due to honest error, but also due to bad actors.

On the other hand, robustness against design and programming errors requires truly redundant data representations, taht is, storing each piece of data in many locations with independent design, implementation, and management.  Backups and multiple copies of a database do not count towards that either.  Thus it is actually good that the same data is kept by different players and by the government.  

Quote
The problem with the current system is not that it's intractable. It's tractable; it's just takes lots of time and energy to run it, because it's a big sprawling mess. Bitcoin (or crypto in general) takes this big sprawling non-normalized mess of a database and normalizes it. The significance of database normalization should not be underestimated.

A single design failure could render all the account information in the blockchain useless.  A government could break all bitcoin-dependent businesses at once by blocking access to the bitcoin network (by network hacking or by legal threats on users).

And it is undeniable that, for the amount of traffic that it processes, the bitcoin network is terribly more wasteful of computing resources than the existing financial system, by orders of magnitude.

Academic interest in bitcoin only. Not owner, not trader, very skeptical of its longterm success.
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January 25, 2015, 02:37:41 AM
 #20544

Bitcoin has a big technical crutch in that it is not a real-time system. 

In many ways though, bitcoin is a lot faster than the current system. How long does it take for a bitcoin transaction to be fully verified (prudent for large transactions)? If you pick 6-blocks-deep as the standard, it takes about an hour. How long does it take for large transactions to clear in the current system? It varies widely but it is not uncommon for large transactions to take one or more days to clear fully. So far large transactions, we're looking at ~ one hour max (bitcoin) versus a day or days max (legacy system): bitcoin wins.

I'm cool with Bitcoin being used for such transactions.  That's kind of what I've been arguing all along.  I would much rather trust mathematics than the legal system which is increasingly under control of the corporate financial sector for such things.


You may be thinking that credit cards are pretty much instantaneous and therefore faster than bitcoin. Well, not really. Bitcoin transactions can be just as fast if you're willing to forego waiting for the chain to grow by 6 blocks. There is some risk to this, but it is small enough to be acceptable for small transactions. Compare this to using a credit card: there is a risk that my signature won't be valid, or that some other problem may crop up so that the merchant/CC company never get my money, but the merchant and CC company are willing to accept this risk without waiting to make sure my payment actually arrives (which could take months). So far small transactions, where the recipient is willing to accept the small risk of payment not being received: pretty much instantaneous (seconds, less than a minute) for bitcoin and for legacy systems; I call it a tie.

I'm fine with using my credit and cash for day-in/day-out stuff.  Works great for me and I expect it (almost) always will.  If I want to do something which I cannot do with these (such as support Wikileaks which is why I got interested in Bitcoin in the first place) then I would like Bitcoin to be available, but I have no problem paying what it is worth in transaction fees.  And it's a lot.

I'd rather use sidechains when I can since, to me, that is exactly the same thing as using Bitcoin.  I would anticipate (and verify) that the sidechain I am using is property supporting Bitcoin and would anticipate that my few transactions and thousands of others are bundled up into a single backing store transaction.  In this way I can pay a modest fee for penny-ante stuff but when it hits the native Bitcoin network the transaction fee realized by the infrastructure operators significant while their job remains manageable.


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January 25, 2015, 02:44:56 AM
 #20545

1) To hope and expect that Bitcoin will enjoy it's advantage of not needing to comply with the same regulatory issues which mainstream systems do if it becomes more then a pin-point spot on the landscape is utterly pie-in-the-sky.  At that point it will have to bite off the challenges that mainstream systems do, or play a never-ending cat-n-mouse game with the legal system.  Both are going to degrade it's technical operational capabilities a lot and put it out of reach to almost anyone to operate unless they leverage certain services from specialists with a government charter.

I think you are correct to point out that bitcoin is ultimately going to have to answer to the regulators. Bitcoin enthusiasts (me included) have a tendency to think (hope? dream about?) that bitcoin is just going to bypass the current regulatory framework because it can't be regulated. I think an interesting discussion could be made on this topic, but I will grant you that there is an element of pie-in-the-sky on the part of the enthusiasts.

So let's assume that bitcoin becomes fully regulated. I maintain that this is going to be less difficult for bitcoin system than it is for the mainstream financial system, for the reasons I've outlined in my past few posts: a "normalized database" system (ie crypto, where the blockchain acts as reference point for all transactions) is easier to police than a big messy "un-normalized database" system like we have in the status quo, where any given transaction is recorded in multiple different tables strewn out all over the financial world. The latter system is messier and sloppier and therefore harder and more expensive to police.

I'm inclined to simply plan on playing cat-n-mouse and retain as much of a potential of playing from a position of strength as possible.

It is faulty to hope that we could give a little and get those who Bitcoin threatens off our backs.  Won't happen.  Control of a monetery system is to important to to many people.  The only way Bitcoin will be accepted by TPTB will be if they own the system.  At that point it is worthless to me (though, as I always say, it could make me a rich guy.)

Back in 2011 there was some thread asking how the govt could neutralize Bitcoin.  My answer, 'embrace it.'  So it is no surprising that I would view TPTB being nice and accommodating with some skepticism.


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January 25, 2015, 02:47:58 AM
 #20546

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization. One of the principles of database normalization is that any given piece of data should be stored in only one location rather than duplicated as multiple entries in multiple tables. (Backups or multiple copies of the database, e.g. multiple copies of the blockchain, btw don't count as multiple locations.) The problem with multiple entries is that you end up with discrepancies that you have to fix. Discrepancies happen not just due to honest error, but also due to bad actors.

On the other hand, robustness against design and programming errors requires truly redundant data representations, taht is, storing each piece of data in many locations with independent design, implementation, and management.  Backups and multiple copies of a database do not count towards that either.  Thus it is actually good that the same data is kept by different players and by the government.  

Basically, you are stating that database normalization has a downside. I will grant that there is a time and a place for database normalization and denormalization. But there is a difference between selective denormalization, done on purpose because it conveys advantages when done properly (an option opened up with the advent of trustless decentralized ledger), versus being fully-denormalized, all the time, because you have no choice in the matter (because trustless ledgers do not exist). IOW, bitcoin provides a degree of database design flexibility that did not exist prior to the advent of blockchain technology.

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January 25, 2015, 03:10:07 AM
 #20547

Back in 2011 there was some thread asking how the govt could neutralize Bitcoin.  My answer, 'embrace it.'  So it is no surprising that I would view TPTB being nice and accommodating with some skepticism.

I agree that the governmental approach (at least in the west) will probably be to embrace bitcoin, regulate it, tax it. I don't think bitcoin is the existential threat to the legacy system that some people imagine it to be. Bitcoin will not cause the central banks to fail. So, for the foreseeable future, I think bitcoin (or crypto) will coexist peacefully with the legacy system. Indeed, bitcoin will probably even be nurtured by it, in its own way.

But .... if and when a central bank fails, like in Zimbabwe for instance ... not because bitcoin caused it, but because the system failed all by itself ....

That's when bitcoin will (I think) step in and take over the function of the central bank. This will make it harder to RE-establish the legacy banking system in an area where it has failed. But, bitcoin won't cause the downfall of the institutions that are already in existence.

If my analysis is correct, then everybody wins when the legacy banking system's current institutions adopt bitcoin, including the current powers that be. If/when there is a collapse of the currency/banking system in a given country or society, then (hopefully) the society's subsequent descent into chaos will be less traumatic since people will be able to use a ready-made, out of the box crypto-based financial infrastructure.  And a well fed, economically-empowered mob is less likely to take revenge on the ruling class than a hungry, economically-disempowered one. Wink

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January 25, 2015, 03:57:05 AM
 #20548

But .... if and when a central bank fails, like in Zimbabwe for instance ... not because bitcoin caused it, but because the system failed all by itself ....

It is entirely normal that disruptive technologies are most useful, initially, on the edge cases where the dominant system doesn't work well, and not at the core use case where dominant system is highly optimized, and large value chains are built around it. Indeed disruptive technologies often cause a dominant system to further specialize on a core market -- ceding fringe markets altogether instead of expending resources to serve them -- where it then becomes even more optimized and successful, for a while (often quite a while).

So yes if bitcoin is disruptive then you would expect to take hold in places like Zimbabwe, remittences to Somalia, online gambling, underground markets, etc.

If the threatened embrace of big banks and wall street goes anywhere beyond the toe-in-the-water stage then you can be sure it means bitcoin won't be disruptive after all (but as tvbcof points out may still be very profitable for early adopters).

We shall see.
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January 25, 2015, 04:01:35 AM
 #20549

A single design failure could render all the account information in the blockchain useless. 

This is one of the very good reasons why the world will not, and should not, convert from the legacy system into a crypto-centric one instantaneously. We are not going to jump from here to there all at once or overnight. We are going to do it cautiously, taking a million baby steps in the process. There are scenarios for catastrophic failure that you have thought of, some that I have thought of, and I am sure some that neither of us have thought of. What if some crazy obscure bug causes the chain to fork into a thousand directions all of a sudden? But the thing is, we can play what-if for any technology. What if every computer on the planet gets knocked out by a gigantic EMP or series of EMPs, man-made or otherwise? All of our financial information would be lost! OOMMMGGGG!!! So, what do we do? Just abandon technology, because it might fail us? No, we are going to have to have backup plans in cases of catastrophic technical failure of the blockchain, just like we do for any new technology. I suppose I have more faith in our ability to do so than you. (Or not. I do not want to be presumptuous.)

A government could break all bitcoin-dependent businesses at once by blocking access to the bitcoin network (by network hacking or by legal threats on users).
Yes, and the government could shut down the internet, and the government could turn off your cell phone and cut off your electricity. And the government could shoot you in the head. All of these being arguments that make crypto more appealing, not less.

And it is undeniable that, for the amount of traffic that it processes, the bitcoin network is terribly more wasteful of computing resources than the existing financial system, by orders of magnitude.

Are you talking about the way things stand now, or the way things are envisioned to be in 2, 5, 10 years? Right now a lot of money is spent per transaction [1]; but that is basically because the infrastructure is still being built and people are investing lots of money. If you were an airline and were spending a zillion dollars to build a fleet of new airplanes, and only one airplane was in service so far, would you calculate the cost per passenger as the number of passengers flying right now in the one airplane, divided by all the money being spent building the entire fleet? No, you would not, because it would be a disingenuous argument to make.

[1] https://blockchain.info/charts/cost-per-transaction?timespan=all&showDataPoints=false&daysAverageString=1&show_header=true&scale=0&address=

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January 25, 2015, 04:04:31 AM
 #20550

...
If the threatened embrace of big banks and wall street goes anywhere beyond the toe-in-the-water stage then you can be sure it means bitcoin won't be disruptive after all.
...


I think that's a touch overly definitive. Part of the prospect of bitcoin is that it might not matter *how* it's embraced. Once it's value is high enough and it's in enough hands, it starts to become a financial backbone, both in terms of plumbing and store-of-value asset.

It also depends on what you mean by "disruptive". Replacing the plumbing of the existing financial system, while creating a new asset class - but still using dollars on the consumer tier - would be disruptive. But perhaps you're limiting the term to the more extreme fiat-goes-away scenarios.

Bitcoin is the first monetary system to credibly offer perfect information to all economic participants.
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January 25, 2015, 04:11:47 AM
 #20551

If the threatened embrace of big banks and wall street goes anywhere beyond the toe-in-the-water stage then you can be sure it means bitcoin won't be disruptive after all (but as tvbcof points out may still be very profitable for early adopters).

We shall see.

There's disruptive, and then there's disruptive. I make the claim often that blockchain technology will be disruptive. And I want it to be. But I want it to be disruptive in a good way, not in a bad way. That means gradual. Catastrophic USD hyperinflation, collapse of the Fed, etc all at the hands of crypto would be a very undesirable outcome, imho.

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January 25, 2015, 04:53:23 AM
 #20552

...
If the threatened embrace of big banks and wall street goes anywhere beyond the toe-in-the-water stage then you can be sure it means bitcoin won't be disruptive after all.
...


I think that's a touch overly definitive. Part of the prospect of bitcoin is that it might not matter *how* it's embraced. Once it's value is high enough and it's in enough hands, it starts to become a financial backbone, both in terms of plumbing and store-of-value asset.

It also depends on what you mean by "disruptive". Replacing the plumbing of the existing financial system, while creating a new asset class - but still using dollars on the consumer tier - would be disruptive. But perhaps you're limiting the term to the more extreme fiat-goes-away scenarios.

I'd consider replacing the plumbing of the financial system to be disruptive (not something that happens often and creates massive winners and losers). Creating a new asset class would not be disruptive (happens all the time, there are dozens of asset classes already, or far more, depending on how you count).

If banks and wall street strongly embrace bitcoin it will mean that bitcoin is very compatible with business-as-usual, and its effects will be limited. If they keep a close eye on it, experiment with it, create niche products around it, then it might be disruptive. For example, I'd consider an ETF in this category, as it fits with "new asset class." It does not fit within "replace the plumbing of the financial system." At least not yet.

Disruptive technologies are strongly embraced by dominant players belatedly and reluctantly, when new winners have already been established, and it is too late to retain their dominant role in the post-disruption playing field. For example, Google has more advertising revenue than the entire television business, possibly more than all of traditional media combined. That's because big media did not strong embrace the internet; it didn't fit business-as-usual. They all had web sites and so forth, but they didn't and couldn't truly embrace it -- meaning change everything about the way they do business -- the way Google could.




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January 25, 2015, 03:50:45 PM
 #20553

System-wise the mainstream financial system is hampered more by regulatory issues.  From a computer science and engineering point of view it's job is not that difficult.

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization...

The problem with viewing Bitcoin as a database is obvious:  It's a database which can only handle 7 TPS.
This sort of throughput may be enough for your local Walmart, but world currency?
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January 25, 2015, 04:11:15 PM
 #20554

System-wise the mainstream financial system is hampered more by regulatory issues.  From a computer science and engineering point of view it's job is not that difficult.

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization...

The problem with viewing Bitcoin as a database is obvious:  It's a database which can only handle 7 TPS.
This sort of throughput may be enough for your local Walmart, but world currency?

See proposed hard fork, which (as you know) solves the transactional bandwidth issues bitcoin would eventually have experienced going forward.
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January 25, 2015, 04:20:48 PM
 #20555

System-wise the mainstream financial system is hampered more by regulatory issues.  From a computer science and engineering point of view it's job is not that difficult.

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization...

The problem with viewing Bitcoin as a database is obvious:  It's a database which can only handle 7 TPS.
This sort of throughput may be enough for your local Walmart, but world currency?

See proposed hard fork, which (as you know) solves the transactional bandwidth issues bitcoin would eventually have experienced going forward.


A patch increasing the (still limited) # of transactions at the expense of blockchain size.  At best a cludgy temp fix, "[f]rom a CS and engineering point of view."
Besides, we aren't talking about what Bitcoin could be if we changed the code--we're talking about Bitcoin as it is now Smiley
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January 25, 2015, 04:34:00 PM
 #20556

System-wise the mainstream financial system is hampered more by regulatory issues.  From a computer science and engineering point of view it's job is not that difficult.

From a CS and engineering point of view, the current financial system is like a massive sprawling database built by someone who doesn't know anything about database normalization...

The problem with viewing Bitcoin as a database is obvious:  It's a database which can only handle 7 TPS.
This sort of throughput may be enough for your local Walmart, but world currency?

See proposed hard fork, which (as you know) solves the transactional bandwidth issues bitcoin would eventually have experienced going forward.


A patch increasing the (still limited) # of transactions at the expense of blockchain size.  At best a cludgy temp fix, "[f]rom a CS and engineering point of view."
Besides, we aren't talking about what Bitcoin could be if we changed the code--we're talking about Bitcoin as it is now Smiley

Blockchain size increases are a non issue and the 'patch' (hardfork) is scalable - the blockchain only grows rapidly if the TPS of the network grows rapidly. If they become an issue then some form of blockchain pruning code can be implemented.

Bitcoin 'now' is an evolving project since 2009.
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January 25, 2015, 04:42:38 PM
 #20557

^TL;DR: Hardforks are just fine, we'll hardfork this thing like a red-headed stepchild--change 21mil max coin limit, give it 50% a year inflation because hardfork, so whateva!

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January 25, 2015, 05:09:43 PM
 #20558

Hardforks r expected atleast first 10 yrs.. Ie we had a hardfork when we got rid of gold standard but monetary policy at the time was hundreds of yrs old..

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January 25, 2015, 05:10:59 PM
 #20559

now you're talking, baby:

Bitcoin: The “Perfect Gold”

http://insidebitcoins.com/news/bitcoin-the-perfect-gold/29080?utm_content=buffere5c51&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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January 25, 2015, 05:24:32 PM
 #20560

Hardforks r expected atleast first 10 yrs.. Ie we had a hardfork when we got rid of gold standard but monetary policy at the time was hundreds of yrs old..

That's because trust in fiat != trust in a chunk of code.  With Bitcoin, code is exactly what you have to put your trust in.
I'm also not buying that miners (rather: mining pools) will chose the fork that's best for Bitcoin as a whole, i.e. best for "hodlers," rather than the one which best serves their immediate interests Sad

BTW, have you noticed the pool breakdown lately?



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