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Author Topic: The AsicBoost 'dilemma'  (Read 2502 times)
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May 16, 2016, 10:16:50 AM
 #41

Everyone should able to create mining equipment
You are, you are free to create your own mining equipment.
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without restriction or stupid patent
Or having to ever pay for anything ever. MS should make Windows freely available to everyone, so as not to put Linux people at a disadvantage. Everyone is entitled to an iPhone, not just any smartphone. And rich parents, not just any parents, because otherwise life would be totally unfair.
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and miners should be allowed to mine bitcoin with anything (even it's inefficient)
You are. AsicBoost isn't taking away your CPU, your GPU, your FPGA, or the chickencoopful of ASICs you're mining with now.
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May 16, 2016, 01:36:03 PM
 #42

We already have a centralized mining horizon (80% of mining is in China). I don't see how we are in a free market right now.
Don't know how accurate are your stats ,even if its true ,I don't see see any relevance in it being called "centralized".Mining isn't profitable anymore,with electricity costs and everything ,difficult for an individual to make profit out of it especially in the western countries where prices are sky rocket high.China has mining farms on a large scale,early adopters.The mining farms are too expensive to be shut down considering the amounts invested in them.

This dilemma is a true one and creates increasing troubles to the mining industry approaching the halving.
For the first time I am a bit worried.
Again,the lesser the miners it will be more lucrative for them with the low block rewards.

What can I say? Do the math and check for yourself here
https://blockchain.info/pools?timespan=24hrs

You are a bit superficial regarding the matter: I think it's very important knowing who controls the mining operation.

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May 16, 2016, 02:10:01 PM
 #43

I dont see why this should be blocked anymore than ASICs were. If it works then eventually everyone will use this process and "standard" ASICs would be obsolete. Just like FPGAs, GPUs and CPUs.

Yes, but currently no one is required by law to pay another party to be able to mine.
No one to my knowledge pays patent rights to ASIC companies or any other miner manufacturer.
They only pay to buy the product and there is not an additional payment for right to use over time.

If the patent is approved, then the issue becomes, in the future no one can properly
compete unless they pay for a right to use this superior technology (this is speculative).
Only those who have the money and resources will be able to purchase it. Of course, the company
can release it for free use, after their patent, but this is not likely and will ultimately lead to a new
tech race which will result in even more centralized mining, if not bringing creating the final few.



Good point. I guess I was focused more on the tech than the idea of a patent.

It won't necessarily translate to a few people/companies are the only ones able to mine. Once the patent got approved, should they decided to sell the rights to use the tech to ASIC companies, these companies will simply pass the costs to their end-users, us miners and the huge mining organizations. In the end everyone gets to upgrade, and the situation would stay the same as it is now.


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May 16, 2016, 02:33:31 PM
 #44

Once the patent got approved, should they decided to sell the rights to use the tech to ASIC companies, these companies will simply pass the costs to their end-users, us miners and the huge mining organizations. In the end everyone gets to upgrade, and the situation would stay the same as it is now.
In the end if everyone pays money to acquire that 'improvement', the it is pointless as nobody gains the advantage anyways (everyone's hashrate increases by 20%). In other words, this is pointless as it gets.

What i can see here, bitcoin slowly become centralized.
Everyone should able to create mining equipment without restriction or stupid patent and miners should be allowed to mine bitcoin with anything (even it's inefficient)
The solution is simple and was proposed by some developer, i.e. block such improvements with a change that is required to make them inefficient.

Bitcoin was designed to allow anyone to be able to mine it. A mining environment where one entity is able to mine 20% faster than all the others because they are using government power to cripple the competition doesn't work out well for Bitcoin as a whole.
Exactly. If they don't 'sell' their patent to others, they're going to be abusing their position and pretty much undermine all connection. On the other hand, if they sell it nobody has an advantage and they generate profit. I disagree with either case.

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May 16, 2016, 02:41:38 PM
 #45

20% isn't minor. It will be the difference between being able to mine profitably or not.

There is a physical limit to how fast hardware can mine. Hardware which is allowed to skip repeating part of the hashing process will be able to mine faster and cheaper than hardware that cannot. Eventually the faster hardware will be profitable and the slower hardware will be uneconomical to run.

Bitcoin was designed to allow anyone to be able to mine it. A mining environment where one entity is able to mine 20% faster than all the others because they are using government power to cripple the competition doesn't work out well for Bitcoin as a whole.

You dont count the fact the 20% faster units should have higher initial cost price to pay the patent rights. How much more the initial cost should be? To get most revenue for the patenter it should be very close to the +20% expected lifetime profit of the unit. In other words, in ideal world the expected lifetime profit for normal and +20% faster patented unit should be the same eventually.

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May 16, 2016, 02:49:47 PM
 #46

Once the patent got approved, should they decided to sell the rights to use the tech to ASIC companies, these companies will simply pass the costs to their end-users, us miners and the huge mining organizations. In the end everyone gets to upgrade, and the situation would stay the same as it is now.
In the end if everyone pays money to acquire that 'improvement', the it is pointless as nobody gains the advantage anyways (everyone's hashrate increases by 20%). In other words, this is pointless as it gets.

Err...You mean like everyone upgrading from CPUs to GPUs to FPGAs to ASICs to better_ASICs? That sort of pointlessness?
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May 16, 2016, 06:28:45 PM
 #47

Reading up on this, I'm struck by a couple things:

1. Bitcoin core is threatening to make changes to defeat this, and any other, patents that would effectively force miners to pay the patentee in order to mine profitably.

2. Patents drive innovation, providing a means for inventors to profit from their work.

3. The ASICBoost inventors point out that if Bitcoin Core suppresses their patent, the impact will be this: Future innovators with similar technology will be motivated to go underground, developing secret partnerships with (select) miners. That way they still get paid something for their work, but only a fraction of the mining community gains the benefit.

Point #3 bears careful consideration. Let's say the ASICBoost team had realized what Core's response would be, and just secretly sold their technology to the highest bidder after quiet negotiations. That bidder would hold a major advantage, strong enough to grind down competition over time.

In the long run, this could lead to some serious centralization of the mining industry, and none of us want that.

The point being, Core acting to suppress patents does not make the inventors quit or their inventions magically disappear. It winds up endangering the decentralization of the bitcoin mining network.

I'm not a huge fan of the idea that the ASICBoost team, and similar groups, could reap huge profits off the miners. As someone noted above, the rational ASICBoost price would be just a little less than the added profit it provides compared to an equal miner that does not use ASICBoost. In other words, just under 20% of mining revenue. So ASICBoost could potentially suck up almost 20% of mining revenue. The Miners would have to pay electricity, hardware investment, personnel, rent and so on from the remaining 80%. That's a tough hit for them.

But if the alternative is them going out of business... I guess this brings forth Core's threat to defeat not just ASICBoost, but to find a way to defeat any similar enhancement. Keep in mind that Core would not only need to defeat public patents, but also any private invention that someone secretly cooks up.

If they could do that with some confidence, I think that might be the way to go. But if they can't be confident that they are forcing a level playing field on all miners, then I think they'd better lay off and let the patent holders take their profit. Because otherwise I think the threat of centralization due to some miners having a fixed advantage is just too great a risk.

Just my 2 satoshis...

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May 16, 2016, 06:52:31 PM
 #48

Reading up on this, I'm struck by a couple things:

1. Bitcoin core is threatening to make changes to defeat this, and any other, patents that would effectively force miners to pay the patentee in order to mine profitably.

2. Patents drive innovation, providing a means for inventors to profit from their work.

3. The ASICBoost inventors point out that if Bitcoin Core suppresses their patent, the impact will be this: Future innovators with similar technology will be motivated to go underground, developing secret partnerships with (select) miners. That way they still get paid something for their work, but only a fraction of the mining community gains the benefit.

Point #3 bears careful consideration. Let's say the ASICBoost team had realized what Core's response would be, and just secretly sold their technology to the highest bidder after quiet negotiations. That bidder would hold a major advantage, strong enough to grind down competition over time.

In the long run, this could lead to some serious centralization of the mining industry, and none of us want that.

The point being, Core acting to suppress patents does not make the inventors quit or their inventions magically disappear. It winds up endangering the decentralization of the bitcoin mining network.

I'm not a huge fan of the idea that the ASICBoost team, and similar groups, could reap huge profits off the miners. As someone noted above, the rational ASICBoost price would be just a little less than the added profit it provides compared to an equal miner that does not use ASICBoost. In other words, just under 20% of mining revenue. So ASICBoost could potentially suck up almost 20% of mining revenue. The Miners would have to pay electricity, hardware investment, personnel, rent and so on from the remaining 80%. That's a tough hit for them.

But if the alternative is them going out of business... I guess this brings forth Core's threat to defeat not just ASICBoost, but to find a way to defeat any similar enhancement. Keep in mind that Core would not only need to defeat public patents, but also any private invention that someone secretly cooks up.

If they could do that with some confidence, I think that might be the way to go. But if they can't be confident that they are forcing a level playing field on all miners, then I think they'd better lay off and let the patent holders take their profit. Because otherwise I think the threat of centralization due to some miners having a fixed advantage is just too great a risk.

Just my 2 satoshis...

Great points.  This whole issue is pretty complicated IMHO.  There are all kinds of possible consequences associated with changing the protocol.  I think it would be good to see some kind of research paper/memo from proponents - ideally some of the core devs - researching the prospective change using a cost-benefit analysis of some kind. Specifically, What are the most probable risks associated with doing nothing (is there any empirical evidence of these types of risks materializing in other fields, what was the outcome?), how have analogous issues in other industries been handled, what are the most probable risks of forking the protocol on the basis of this or similar threats, what are the known-unknowns here (and what are some analogous unintended consequences associated with similar changes and non-changes in other fields, how well do these analogies fit here), etc.?  Same type of paper from opponents would also be useful.     

TL;DR - A change in protocol may well be warranted.  However, making the change without a concerted and transparent attempt at analyzing the problem alongside the users risks a lot of backlash and an irreparable loss of faith in the Bitcoin system. Proponents implementing the change cannot and should not let themselves appear to be above public dialogue (i.e., by ignoring genuine concerns of opponents or concerned users) or like they're making things up as they go along.  Paradoxically, making the right change may be wrong if collapses the system.
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May 16, 2016, 11:07:57 PM
 #49

...
Bitcoin was designed to allow anyone to be able to mine it. A mining environment where one entity is able to mine 20% faster than all the others because they are using government power to cripple the competition doesn't work out well for Bitcoin as a whole.

By "government power," you mean subsidized Chinese 2 to 4 cent per kWh power, right? That's more than a 20% edge on my rate tho. Life is so unfair Sad

No, of course not. We are talking about patents, not the price of power.

If you're choosing to mine in a place where you're paying so much for your power that you can't compete, that's your choice. It is also a separate issue from whether Bitcoin mining should be patent-encumbered.

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May 16, 2016, 11:15:54 PM
 #50

I would support this if they hard forked to ban all asics. Because why asics should have advantage over a GPU? But then, GPUs have advantage over CPUs, thus Core should also make changes to forbid GPU mining. \s


 

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May 18, 2016, 02:45:39 PM
 #51

Well, does it work?

If it does, for how long?

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May 18, 2016, 05:46:19 PM
 #52

I would support this if they hard forked to ban all asics. Because why asics should have advantage over a GPU? But then, GPUs have advantage over CPUs, thus Core should also make changes to forbid GPU mining. \s


 

I think that ship sailed a couple years ago. In hindsight, maybe they should have acted to prevent ASIC mining and kept things at the CPU/GPU level. That would have maintained greater decentralization, I would think. But even with GPU mining we face these kinds of situations. When I was GPU mining X11 I recall how someone came up with a pretty good refinement that boosted hashrate. They sold it to one miner, but it ended up leaking to everyone pretty quickly, robbing them of any further profit.

A software-based innovation would probably be worthless to patent (piracy would be rampant), but one could easily envision inventors encoding their innovations in GPU or motherboard hardware and creating the same scenario: Only those who buy the patentees' hardware could survive.

But killing ASIC mining now would be virtually impossible. For one, it would render hundreds of millions of dollars worth of mining hardware worthless - so 100% of the existing bitcoin mining industry would be dead set against it.

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May 18, 2016, 06:15:56 PM
 #53

Err...You mean like everyone upgrading from CPUs to GPUs to FPGAs to ASICs to better_ASICs? That sort of pointlessness?
No, that is not comparable.

I would support this if they hard forked to ban all asics. Because why asics should have advantage over a GPU? But then, GPUs have advantage over CPUs, thus Core should also make changes to forbid GPU mining. \s
That doesn't make sense. You don't really gain anything with that. People with capital are still going to flush out small miners within a very short amount of time.

Well, does it work?
I don't think anyone knows now, it's a patent.

If it does, for how long?
Well, until changes are made that render it useless.

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May 18, 2016, 07:21:27 PM
 #54

I would support this if they hard forked to ban all asics. Because why asics should have advantage over a GPU? But then, GPUs have advantage over CPUs, thus Core should also make changes to forbid GPU mining. \s

You missed the point.

The point isn't that the new technique is faster, it is that the new technique is patented.

If it was only faster then everyone else could also go faster to keep up.

But it is both faster and patented, so even if everyone else comes up with the same idea, they still aren't allowed to compete because of the patent.

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May 18, 2016, 09:48:26 PM
 #55

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No, of course not. We are talking about patents, not the price of power.

If you're choosing to mine in a place where you're paying so much for your power that you can't compete, that's your choice. It is also a separate issue from whether Bitcoin mining should be patent-encumbered.

If you're choosing to mine in a jurisdiction in which said patent is registered/effective that you can't compete, that's your choice. I hear Somalia don't give shit about no patents.

Subsidised power price and patents are not that much different. Former incentives centralisation of hash-power in one state (right now Chinese gov can seize control over miners/pools quite effortlessly, if they only choose to do so), the latter could give control to one commercial entity (depending how are they going to play it).

I'm not saying AsicBoost should be allowed, but there's some serious inconsistency here, and it's not even the first patent relating to ASIC mining, BitFury had one (specialised, more efficient chip) but somehow no one have seen any major problem with it back then.

PoS is starting to look less ugly...

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