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Author Topic: Decline in listening hosts  (Read 7705 times)
Gabi
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May 31, 2012, 08:02:21 PM
 #61

Having full nodes easy to setup and run is a good idea, because it would means more people running them
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tvbcof
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May 31, 2012, 08:09:37 PM
 #62

When I log on to my Wells-Fargo account to transfer funds, is my computer a 'peer' to Wells's machines?

No and if you have to ask something that dumb you likely shouldn't be making proclomaitons.

I thought so too...which is why it is surprising that anyone would fail the recognize the rhetorical nature of the question.  Unless they had not really followed the thread and comprehended some of the conceptual and time-frame features of it.   The nature of your other comments indicate that this is what we have here.

Imagine a hypothetical situation where there are 20 million users...

Unfortunatly that, and vastly more, is quite easy to do.  And is the basis for a lot of my concerns...

Who might make up full nodes?  Merchants, banks, exchanges, service providers, bitcoin enthusiasts, paranoid users, developers, and non-profits.  The fact that less than 0.1% of user's run a full node doesn't diminish the network.  At any point any one of them COULD run a full node.  That is the whole point.

And my point is that I am not very convinced that that will always be the case.  It could be, but I would consider Bitcoin a failure if so.  On it's present trajectory at least.


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May 31, 2012, 08:26:25 PM
 #63


As a related side note...

At some point it will really not be very truthful to refer to Bitcoin as a 'p2p' solution.  It is on a trajectory which makes Bitcoin not much more 'peer to peer' than Visa, PayPal, etc (assuming they have some amount of clustering and redundancy.)


I'm begining to suspect that you do not understand how bitcoin actually works, what decentralization means in the context of economic science, nor what it means to be a 'peer'.

When I log on to my Wells-Fargo account to transfer funds, is my computer a 'peer' to Wells's machines?



A better question is this...

Can you, without asking for special permission nor paying anyone for the privilege, set up a 'peer' to Wells' machines?  It's the ability to peer, not the reality, that makes bitcoin different from Wells Fargo.

"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 31, 2012, 08:28:37 PM
 #64

Just getting up to speed on this topic, interesting issue.

Like so many here, don't keep my client-qt running all the time anymore, did first month or so, then stopped running it unless needed, try to update everyday but not always...  Summer time brings electrical storms and outages so prefer to keep the system off allot more of the time.

The problem is there is little incentive to do so.  If there was a way to gain some value, like free transactions for those clients left running or some type of payout dividend.  Not as much as mining, but something to support the contributors in maintaining a broad base of node participation.

Places like Australia, where upload bandwidth is charged every month on your bill, are even more discouraged to support the peer-to-peer paradigm.  Agree this trend down in number of available nodes is disturbing, and will lead to making the bootstrap of newcomers even more troublesome.   To bad those via Tor can't somehow be counted, be nice to have a more reviling graph of actual numbers...
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May 31, 2012, 08:37:35 PM
 #65

Just getting up to speed on this topic, interesting issue.

Like so many here, don't keep my client-qt running all the time anymore, did first month or so, then stopped running it unless needed, try to update everyday but not always...  Summer time brings electrical storms and outages so prefer to keep the system off allot more of the time.

The problem is there is little incentive to do so.  If there was a way to gain some value, like free transactions for those clients left running or some type of payout dividend.  Not as much as mining, but something to support the contributors in maintaining a broad base of node participation.

There is no incentive for the end user to keep their bitcoind running 24/7 because there is no gain for the network, either.  A non-mining node that is just on the network listening and relaying adds nothing, so long as there exists somewhere one running with the entire blockchain.  It only takes one, and the mining pools' clients count.  Bitcoin does gain a little in the 'many-copies-keeps-data-safe' area, but that's just as true regarding a client that doesn't normally listen or one that just connects every few days to update it's blockchain.  This amounts to the greatest of non-issues for bitcoin.

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Places like Australia, where upload bandwidth is charged every month on your bill, are even more discouraged to support the peer-to-peer paradigm.  Agree this trend down in number of available nodes is disturbing, and will lead to making the bootstrap of newcomers even more troublesome.   To bad those via Tor can't somehow be counted, be nice to have a more reviling graph of actual numbers...

Again, not relevent.  The very fact that the numbers quoted here can't be trusted should be proof enough that this issue isn't and issue.

"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 31, 2012, 08:38:52 PM
 #66

To get back on topic; its unfortunate that the approximate number of bitcoin "users"  (full or lightweight hosts) in the last 24h or so can no longer be easily determined because at 3k and declining that stat can be used to predict the failure of bitcoin by its detractors.  Like any network technology, a lack of users discourages new users.  So if it is inaccurate, perhaps it should be removed (or relabeled) so as to not spread misinformation.  

And perhaps we should look for some other metric (or even proxy metric, such as # of IP address that read these forums) that would be more accurate so that if it is increasing we can use it to encourage new users.

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May 31, 2012, 08:39:37 PM
 #67


As a related side note...

At some point it will really not be very truthful to refer to Bitcoin as a 'p2p' solution.  It is on a trajectory which makes Bitcoin not much more 'peer to peer' than Visa, PayPal, etc (assuming they have some amount of clustering and redundancy.)


I'm begining to suspect that you do not understand how bitcoin actually works, what decentralization means in the context of economic science, nor what it means to be a 'peer'.

When I log on to my Wells-Fargo account to transfer funds, is my computer a 'peer' to Wells's machines?


A better question is this...

Can you, without asking for special permission nor paying anyone for the privilege, set up a 'peer' to Wells' machines?  It's the ability to peer, not the reality, that makes bitcoin different from Wells Fargo.

This is a good point, and I respect that you have made it.  It is actually related to a part of my comment that you snipped out where I called attention to the very different nature of Bitcoin vs. others in terms of 'centralized control'.

Anyone who cares to do something other than wave the pom-poms may notice that I have a great deal of respect for and hopes for Bitcoin even in the 'worst' of circumstances and am certainly not immune to recognizing the strong points which it has.


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May 31, 2012, 08:51:46 PM
 #68

To get back on topic; its unfortunate that the approximate number of bitcoin "users"  (full or lightweight hosts) in the last 24h or so can no longer be easily determined because at 3k and declining that stat can be used to predict the failure of bitcoin by its detractors.  Like any network technology, a lack of users discourages new users.  So if it is inaccurate, perhaps it should be removed (or relabeled) so as to not spread misinformation.  

And perhaps we should look for some other metric (or even proxy metric, such as # of IP address that read these forums) that would be more accurate so that if it is increasing we can use it to encourage new users.



We don't control that website, and thus don't control that metric.  Fudders are gonna fud.  It's what they do.

And the membership of this forum crossed 10K months ago, but there is no chance that the ownership of this forum is going to start counting IP addresses.  That wouldn't be any more relevant a metric anyway.  Not only do not all members run their own client, much less one full time; there are many more people who use bitcoin who don't have memberships.  Again, the growth or decline of the number of listening-but-not-mining clients is irrelevent to the function or resilence of the bitcoin network whether they are on the open Internet or some PVN.  Beyond some minimum number required to support the bandwidth of the network as a whole, that is.  The very fact that we can't know how many (or where are) all the network's nodes happen to exist is, itself, a contribution to it's resiliance.  An attacker can DOS the pools or exchanges, because he can find out it's IP address and a government agent can steal a server because he can find the farm that holds it; but these things cannot stop the bitcoin network for no other reason that you cannot kill what you cannot catch.  At worst, these kinds of events simply disrupt the network temporaroly and force more users towards Tor and I2P.

"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 31, 2012, 08:54:54 PM
 #69


This is a good point, and I respect that you have made it.  It is actually related to a part of my comment that you snipped out where I called attention to the very different nature of Bitcoin vs. others in terms of 'centralized control'.

Anyone who cares to do something other than wave the pom-poms may notice that I have a great deal of respect for and hopes for Bitcoin even in the 'worst' of circumstances and am certainly not immune to recognizing the strong points which it has.



Fair enough.  Let's assume for a moment that your not trolling, and that your concerns are valid.

Do you have any suggestions for improving the protocol?

"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 31, 2012, 09:12:24 PM
 #70

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We don't control that website, and thus don't control that metric.  Fudders are gonna fud.  It's what they do.

Hmm... that website doesn't really seem anti-bitcoin.  And if you're gonna write all that code you must be at least a little interested.  I was simply thinking someone here might know the owner and ask nicely. :-)

Quote
And the membership of this forum crossed 10K months ago, but there is no chance that the ownership of this forum is going to start counting IP addresses.  That wouldn't be any more relevant a metric anyway.  Not only do not all members run their own client, much less one full time; there are many more people who use bitcoin who don't have memberships.

of course, but one can guess-estimate the number of non-forum members; just like radio stations estimate listeners from request phone calls... and is really the derivative that matters not the value anyway.

Quote
Again, the growth or decline of the number of listening-but-not-mining clients is irrelevent to the function or resilence of the bitcoin network whether they are on the open Internet or some PVN.  Beyond some minimum number required to support the bandwidth of the network as a whole, that is.  The very fact that we can't know how many (or where are) all the network's nodes happen to exist is, itself, a contribution to it's resiliance.  An attacker can DOS the pools or exchanges, because he can find out it's IP address and a government agent can steal a server because he can find the farm that holds it; but these things cannot stop the bitcoin network for no other reason that you cannot kill what you cannot catch.  At worst, these kinds of events simply disrupt the network temporaroly and force more users towards Tor and I2P.

I'm not worried about technical disruption of bitcoin but social -- after all there still aren't many merchants accepting it.  BTC could just fade away... statistics showing a growing user base would convince merchants to offer it as a payment mechanism.  You are right, the inability to fully count/control the members is a great strength which is why I said "approximate numbers".  Hard numbers would be great, but if those are not available, it would still be useful to have the same kind of partly-fabricated numbers that businesses have used since the beginning of... well the beginning of VCs probably... to justify their business model.

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June 02, 2012, 08:30:55 PM
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Interesting.  How, exactly, would this vote occur?  How would this prevent an unwanted currency from foundation; via some yet undefined algo or would there need to be a human authority to make such a decision?  If the latter, who watches the watchers?

I envision that the development/management team would be responsible for including 'ballot questions'.  People who control BKC value would 'vote' in a similar way to performing any other type of transaction.  Just like the real world, lotsa people probably would not care about lotsa things enough to bother to vote at all.

How do you propose to enforce your vision?

It's not about 'my vision'.  Open-source is not an easy concept to grasp.  I'm sorry, but it's also not my fault.

From an implementation point of view and in the interest of balancing optimization against robustness, I might consider something like this:

 - Developers (in conjunction with other leaders) implement highly important decisions as code which simply honors settings which only secret-key holders can induce.

 - Once a decision has been reached ('the votes are counted') the next release might optimize the decision in code.

 - For flexibility and visibility, the code with deals with decisions like this would probably be implemented as modular plugins.

Methods for verifying integrity and absorbing 'updates' and the like are quite solid and old hat at this point.  If there is some focus on avoiding spaghetti code, and in particular, constructing a well thought out reference implementation for 'voting' which is auditable, that would go a long way toward developing the necessary level of confidence in the solution.

Quote
As for who watches the watchers, it's just like any other open-source project.  If the development team is to corrupt or out-of-sync with the users, some other group will be successful in creating a fork.  So, the users watch the watchers.  Or are the watchers I guess.

Network effects be damned, eh?

The 'network effect' (as I visualize it) is a highly valued moderating factor in a well functioning open-source solution.  Let's use Bitcoin as an example here:

Let's say that most people liked BIP17, but Gavin and relatively few others liked BIP16.  He could still implement it and the project would not come off it's rails because it although a majority is annoyed and some of their hopes for certain things are dashed, it's not a show-stopper and a large part of the community trusts him and his decisions allthesame.

Now instead lets say that Gavin made an obscure hack which transferred everyone's BTC to his address and pumped out an 'emergency fix' that everyone should update to ASAP.  Of course the code would fork almost immediately and a bad actor would be reduced from the community.  Probably in that bad of a scenerio transactions would be rolled back even.  Bitcoin would be damaged, but would survive.

---

As an aside, I personally build all of my releases from HEAD.  I do some cursory evaluation of the repository, but I've not the time or skill to identify well constructed exploits so my evaluations tend to just be to identify points of likely stability.

Part of the reason I do things this way is that I enjoy it, but another part is that if I stopped trusting the dev team, I would be prepared to look after the value I hold in Bitcoin anyway.  Or at least have a fighting chance of doing so.

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Who holds the veto power?
That's an implementation detail.
And implementation details are what I'm trying to get from you.  

I've already stated that all I have at this point is a neglected thought experiment, but you seem to keep asking for instrumented binaries (ok, and overstatement.)

I tossed off some implementation detail on-the-fly above.  Really though, if you cannot rather effortlessly envision at least the possibility of implementing 'veto' in a Bitcoin-like crypto-currency solution, and even a workable skeletal framework, it is somewhat pointless to try to enlighten you much further on this particular aspect of things.


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June 02, 2012, 08:44:07 PM
 #72

Open-source is not an easy concept to grasp.  I'm sorry, but it's also not my fault.
Wow. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.

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June 02, 2012, 08:44:50 PM
 #73

Open-source is not an easy concept to grasp.  I'm sorry, but it's also not my fault.
Wow. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.

Why you gotta be trolling this highly enlightened conversation?

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June 02, 2012, 08:46:12 PM
 #74

Open-source is not an easy concept to grasp.  I'm sorry, but it's also not my fault.
Wow. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.

Why you gotta be trolling this highly enlightened conversation?
Brotha', that's how I roll.

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June 02, 2012, 08:52:41 PM
 #75


Heh.  Someone (who can) seems to have taken a mulligan on this forum thread.  Unsurprising really.


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June 02, 2012, 09:39:55 PM
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Heh.  Someone (who can) seems to have taken a mulligan on this forum thread.  Unsurprising really.

I formally appologize fot this (and only this) thorny barb.  I had not realized that the conversation had been move and it seems both fair and appropriate to me.  More than fair, in fact, given that it was not moved to the 'alt' wasteland of filth which I would be hard pressed to argue as inappropriate:

  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=84941.0

I've got one more relatively important think to say about 'bakcoin', and a lot of loose ends from the lively conversation with one of the sharper knives in the bitcointalk.org drawer which I may or may not fill in depending on what else I've got going.


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June 24, 2012, 09:36:48 PM
 #77

How would one (easily  Tongue) make MultiBit "speak" through Tor?

A MultiBit user has experimented with using a SOCKS5 proxy and it appears to work (I haven't tried it personally).
She started MultiBit using:

java -jar -Dhttp.proxyHost=127.0.0.1 -Dhttp.proxyPort=8123 multibit-exe.jar

i.e. localhost and her SOCKS5 proxy was on port 8123.

The Mac and Linux installers have the multibit-exe.jar in. On Windows the jar is wrapped into an exe file so you could not use it directly as you cannot pass command line options on. (You could grab the multibit-exe.jar from one of the other installers and it would work).

The current version of MultiBit will leak a little as the help is taken directly from http://multibit.org.
At some point I will bundle the help in the installer so this leak will disappear.


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June 26, 2012, 10:25:43 PM
 #78

I myself think if the total hosts are indeed declining, which I believe they are, this greatly diminishes Bitcoins resilience to central control and to being attacked by the state. The once touted peer to peer resilience similar to that of bittorrent is clearly slowly evaporating as time goes on and it would seem it's only a matter of time when we will have a few super nodes as the sole backbone and an easy target for either control or destruction.

If that scenario ever materialize (states shutting down, seizing or controlling mining pools and other full nodes), these full nodes could migrate to more friendly jurisdictions. If eventually these jurisdictions became rare or inexistent, they could migrate to the darknet.
Shutting down darknets is a much more complex thing to do politically speaking - only shameless dictatorships attempt to do it so far.

I think slush is already accepting connections to his pool via a Tor hidden service, isn't he? In his case it was not for hiding his location, since he has a public IP anyway, but it was a measure to avoid DDoS I think.
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June 27, 2012, 07:22:44 PM
 #79

There was the idea to also pay nodes with bitcoins.

I like this idea.

I also like the idea of using Raspberry Pi or other cheap, disposable single-board computers with free, public Wi-Fi connections (library, airports, train stations, etc) as nodes. Of course, port forwading 8333 would be a challenge.

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