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Author Topic: Decline in listening hosts  (Read 7698 times)
minorman
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May 29, 2012, 07:58:54 PM
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In these times when nearly all indicators are pointing towards increasing adoption and growing economy of Bitcoin there is one important (??) indicator pointing down: The number of connected hosts.

According to http://bitcoinstatus.rowit.co.uk/ there are now less than 3000 listening hosts. I guess these are mostly people running Bitcoin-qt and with port 8333 open - mainly miners.

I do not think that this development is surprising: Most regular Bitcoin users are migrating to lightweight clients and mobile clients and only miners really need to remain well connected to the backbone p2p network.

In the beginning of Bitcoin -
anyone with a CPU could mine (one CPU - one vote) -
soon, only people with a GPU could mine (ruling out laptops) -
then, only people with certain ATI GPUs could mine (ruling out Nvidia and on-board graphics) -
today, only people with ATI GPUs AND cheap electricity or FPGAs could mine (ruling out many people who own even good ATI GPUs)
in the near future, only people with an expensive 28 nm FPGA can mine (even fewer people) -
within a year or so, only people with a dedicated ASIC (costing $1000+) can mine (even fewer people).

The thing is that while that the raw hashing power needed to attack the network is growing, the number of miners you need to target by DDOS or otherwise (if you are a malign government wanting to take down Bitcoin) is getting lower by the day!
IMO the 3000 nodes that we currently have seems like an easier target for a well funded attacker than than the prospect of deploying 55,000+ spartan 6 chips to brute-force a 51% attack.

What do you think? Is the chronic decline in hosts a genuine problem for the backbone p2p network?

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May 29, 2012, 08:53:23 PM
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It is still 1 'vote' per hash. I guess you are annoyed because so many people are so interested in bitcoin?

If you want a bigger say you could help the network more. If you don't know how you could hire someone. Lots of people selling hashing power lately.

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May 29, 2012, 09:08:16 PM
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Just looked at the graphs, more concerned about how many version 0.3 clients are still being used.

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May 29, 2012, 09:30:14 PM
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Most miners use pools.  I doubt there are 3000+ solo miners to begin with.

Looking at listening hosts is kinda silly.  Many bitcoind are configured to ignore incoming connections (most major pools are) so that stat really isn't meaningful.

Attacking the network by DDOS is one thing.  Trying to use it for double spend is another.  It is pretty obvious and users can simply stop moving funds to be "immune" to any effects.  If it becomes a problem I would expect all clients to include some "network health" metric and warn users to not spend/send coins when network is being disrupted.
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May 29, 2012, 09:31:00 PM
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I guess many people are running the bitcoin client through Tor, those don't show up.

minorman
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May 29, 2012, 09:33:35 PM
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Most miners use pools.  I doubt there are 3000+ solo miners to begin with.

Looking at listening hosts is kinda silly.  Many bitcoind are configured to ignore incoming connections (most major pools are) so that stat really isn't meaningful.

OK, two questions:
1) Why is it not a problem that there are so few listening hosts? Would the network still function if there were zero?
2) What about the decline in total hosts? Is that not a problem for the network's ability to resist attack?

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May 29, 2012, 09:43:10 PM
 #7

If listening hosts fell to 0 then it would not be possible for new nodes to boostrap.  That would be very bad.  The site you linked has a stat to indicate that danger.  I am not saying it is "good" just pointing out your cause and effect aren't well supported.

Total hosts declining does make the network more vulnerable to DDOS attack however that is academic at best.  The pools have long since represented 70%+ of hashing power.  DDOS the top 10 pools and you cut the effective hashrate significantly.  Still long term I don't think that will be viable.  If the top 10 pools went down I would expect most exchanges and major business to halt deposits/sales giving you no target for your 51%.
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May 29, 2012, 09:48:11 PM
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Most miners use pools.  I doubt there are 3000+ solo miners to begin with.

Looking at listening hosts is kinda silly.  Many bitcoind are configured to ignore incoming connections (most major pools are) so that stat really isn't meaningful.

OK, two questions:
1) Why is it not a problem that there are so few listening hosts? Would the network still function if there were zero?
2) What about the decline in total hosts? Is that not a problem for the network's ability to resist attack?

Keep in mind that 1 host is Deep Bit which is like 20-30% of the entire bitcoin network hash rate. Nuff said...
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May 29, 2012, 09:50:19 PM
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If the major pools were DDOSed, most miners would automatically switch over to backup pools, p2pool, or solo mining. I'd be more worried about the major pools getting hacked but even that wouldn't really hurt much of anything for very long.

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May 29, 2012, 09:53:03 PM
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I'm a miner but I only open the Bitcoin-QT once a day to download blocks and then I immediately close it.  It's open for approximately 90 seconds of any given day.

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May 29, 2012, 11:02:17 PM
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The number of nodes is not a accurate representation of the popularity or growth.
I'm a miner but I only open the Bitcoin-QT once a day to download blocks and then I immediately close it.  It's open for approximately 90 seconds of any given day.
similar deal here. I only open it once a week to update it or to send transactions.

It looks like your upset because you cant mine and get what people think is free money?
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May 30, 2012, 03:57:23 AM
 #12

I leave it always open and listening. I don't see a reason not to, having a plenty powerful pc and connection.

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May 30, 2012, 04:12:55 AM
 #13

All 4 of my rigs are updated and always on. Both my laptops run a node each, and my younger brother and parents across town have a node on each of their computers. all but my primary have a 0 Balance, but they are there doing their jobs.

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May 30, 2012, 04:17:17 AM
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Most miners use pools.  I doubt there are 3000+ solo miners to begin with.

Looking at listening hosts is kinda silly.  Many bitcoind are configured to ignore incoming connections (most major pools are) so that stat really isn't meaningful.

OK, two questions:
1) Why is it not a problem that there are so few listening hosts? Would the network still function if there were zero?
2) What about the decline in total hosts? Is that not a problem for the network's ability to resist attack?

More and more personal nodes also are "quiet" nodes as well, whether or not they are listening hosts.  Basicly this means that they don't announce their IP address in any fashion, and may also primarily use a VPN, Tor or I2P.  Which means that they might accept incoming connections, but the incoming node must first be aware of the IP address of the quiet node.  This could be because those two nodes have connected in the past, or the IP address of the quiet node was revealled to the other node over the bitcon network itself.  Certainly not all nodes can be quiet, but any node can switch from quiet to normal to offline and back whenever the user wishes.  My own node is fairly quiet when I have it on, and does accept incoming connections from nodes that it recognizes, but isn't online at all most of the time.

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minorman
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May 30, 2012, 05:32:15 AM
 #15

All 4 of my rigs are updated and always on. Both my laptops run a node each, and my younger brother and parents across town have a node on each of their computers. all but my primary have a 0 Balance, but they are there doing their jobs.

How many connections do these nodes have?
When I just run bitcoin-qt I only have the 8 (outgoing) connections because the network (not under my control) does not allow free traffic on port 8333?

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May 30, 2012, 05:57:02 AM
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I suspect that at the current rate of adoption, it will become increasingly expensive to run a full client and there will be continued drop-out.

If, for some reason, Bitcoin became suddenly very popular, I suspect that the rate of drop-out will become very sharp.  Only the people with the ability to construct and operate 'super-nodes' will be able to do so.  At that point, a relatively small amount of arm-twisting at the corp/gov level and DOS will spell the end of Bitcoin-I as a reliable solution.

Of course it will be re-born but it will be much more difficult to convince people that p2p crypto-currencies are a solid solution.


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May 30, 2012, 06:14:15 AM
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I suspect that at the current rate of adoption, it will become increasingly expensive to run a full client and there will be continued drop-out.

If, for some reason, Bitcoin became suddenly very popular, I suspect that the rate of drop-out will become very sharp.  Only the people with the ability to construct and operate 'super-nodes' will be able to do so.  At that point, a relatively small amount of arm-twisting at the corp/gov level and DOS will spell the end of Bitcoin-I as a reliable solution.

Of course it will be re-born but it will be much more difficult to convince people that p2p crypto-currencies are a solid solution.



If you truly feel that way, I'll be the adult an offer to relieve you of your entire burden of unspent bitcoins for $2 apeice.  Which, according to your theory, is $1.99 more than their true worth.

In the meantime, the rest of us are going to keep doing what were doing, okay?

"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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May 30, 2012, 06:16:10 AM
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If you truly feel that way, I'll be the adult an offer to relieve you of your entire burden of unspent bitcoins for $2 apeice.  Which, according to your theory, is $1.99 more than their true worth.

In the meantime, the rest of us are going to keep doing what were doing, okay?

This, +1

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May 30, 2012, 06:35:27 AM
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I suspect that at the current rate of adoption, it will become increasingly expensive to run a full client and there will be continued drop-out.

If, for some reason, Bitcoin became suddenly very popular, I suspect that the rate of drop-out will become very sharp.  Only the people with the ability to construct and operate 'super-nodes' will be able to do so.  At that point, a relatively small amount of arm-twisting at the corp/gov level and DOS will spell the end of Bitcoin-I as a reliable solution.

Of course it will be re-born but it will be much more difficult to convince people that p2p crypto-currencies are a solid solution.


If you truly feel that way, I'll be the adult an offer to relieve you of your entire burden of unspent bitcoins for $2 apeice.  Which, according to your theory, is $1.99 more than their true worth.


Not hardly.  I expect that prior to a collapse such as I've describe (as a possible scenario) BTC will shoot up in value.  I'll either capitalize then, or take a bet that controlling secret keys which are represented in what I call the 'Satoshi blockchain' will be even more valuable.  Probably I'll hedge my bets and do some of both.

I need BTC at around $100 per before I'm ready to sell my stash down to a nice magic number.  Ping me then if you are still interested in being a buyer.

In the meantime, the rest of us are going to keep doing what were doing, okay?

Oh yes.  Absolutely!  Carry on as you will please!


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May 30, 2012, 06:43:36 AM
 #20

blah blah blah

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