Bram Cohen: 'Getting Rich Is a Terrible Metric of Success ...

Long live decentralized bitcoin(!) A reading list

Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today.
During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it)
In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited.
For more threads like this see UASF

Summary / The fundamental tradeoff

A trip to the moon requires a rocket with multiple stages by gmaxwell (must read) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/438hx0/a_trip_to_the_moon_requires_a_rocket_with/
Bram Cohen, creator of bittorrent, argues against a hard fork to a larger block size https://medium.com/@bramcohen/bitcoin-s-ironic-crisis-32226a85e39f#.558vetum4
gmaxwell's summary of the debate https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1343716.msg13701818#msg13701818
Core devs please explain your vision (see luke's post which also argues that blocks are already too big) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/61yvvv/request_to_core_devs_please_explain_your_vision/
Mod of btc speaking against a hard fork https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57hd14/core_reaction_to_viabtc_this_week/d8scokm/
It's becoming clear to me that a lot of people don't understand how fragile bitcoin is https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/59kflj/its_becoming_clear_to_me_that_a_lot_of_people/
Blockchain space must be costly, it can never be free https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4og24h/i_just_attended_the_distributed_trade_conference/
Charlie Lee with a nice analogy about the fundamental tradeoff https://medium.com/@SatoshiLite/eating-the-bitcoin-cake-fc2b4ebfb85e#.444vr8shw
gmaxwell on the tradeoffs https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1520693.msg15303746#msg15303746
jratcliff on the layering https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/59upyh/segwit_the_poison_pill_for_bitcoin/d9bstuw/

Scaling on-chain will destroy bitcoin's decentralization

Peter Todd: How a floating blocksize limit inevitably leads towards centralization [Feb 2013] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=144895.0 mailing list https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2013-February/002176.html with discussion on reddit in Aug 2015 https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/3hnvi8/just_a_little_history_lesson_for_everyone_new_the/
Nick Szabo's blog post on what makes bitcoin so special http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2017/02/money-blockchains-and-social-scalability.html
There is academic research showing that even small (2MB) increases to the blocksize results in drastic node dropoff counts due to the non-linear increase of RAM needed. http://bravenewcoin.com/assets/Whitepapers/block-size-1.1.1.pdf
Reddit summary of above link. In this table, you can see it estimates a 40% drop immediately in node count with a 2MB upgrade and a 50% over 6 months. At 4mb, it becomes 75% immediately and 80% over 6 months. At 8, it becomes 90% and 95%. https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5qw2wa_future_led_by_bitcoin_unlimited_is_a/dd442pw/
Larger block sizes make centralization pressures worse (mathematical) https://petertodd.org/2016/block-publication-incentives-for-miners
Talk at scalingbitcoin montreal, initial blockchain synchronization puts serious constraints on any increase in the block size https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgjrS-BPWDQ&t=2h02m06s with transcript https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/montreal2015/block-synchronization-time
Bitcoin's P2P Network: The Soft Underbelly of Bitcoin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6kibPzbrIc someone's notes: https://gist.github.com/romyilano/5e22394857a39889a1e5 reddit discussion https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4py5df/so_f2pool_antpool_btcc_pool_are_actually_one_pool/
In adversarial environments blockchains dont scale https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/hongkong2015/in-adversarial-environments-blockchains-dont-scale
Why miners will not voluntarily individually produce smaller blocks https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/hongkong2015/why-miners-will-not-voluntarily-individually-produce-smaller-blocks
Hal Finney: bitcoin's blockchain can only be a settlement layer (mostly interesting because it's hal finney and its in 2010) https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/3sb5nj/most_bitcoin_transactions_will_occur_between/
petertodd's 2013 video explaining this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZp7UGgBR0I
luke-jr's summary https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/61yvvv/request_to_core_devs_please_explain_your_vision/dficjhj/
Another jratcliff thread https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6lmpll/explaining_why_big_blocks_are_bad/

Full blocks are not a disaster

Blocks must be always full, there must always be a backlog https://medium.com/@bergealex4/bitcoin-is-unstable-without-the-block-size-size-limit-70db07070a54#.kh2vi86lr
Same as above, the mining gap means there must always be a backlog talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2453&v=iKDC2DpzNbw transcript: https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/montreal2015/security-of-diminishing-block-subsidy
Backlogs arent that bad https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/49p011/was_the_fee_event_really_so_bad_my_mind_is/
Examples where scarce block space causes people to use precious resources more efficiently https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4kxxvj/i_just_singlehandedly_increased_bitcoin_network/
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/47d4m2/why_does_coinbase_make_2_transactions_pe
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/53wucs/why_arent_blocks_full_yet/d7x19iv
Full blocks are fine https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5uld1a/misconception_full_blocks_mean_bitcoin_is_failing/
High miner fees imply a sustainable future for bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/680tvf/fundamentals_friday_week_of_friday_april_28_2017/dgwmhl7/
gmaxwell on why full blocks are good https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6b57ca/full_blocks_good_or_bad/dhjxwbz/
The whole idea of the mempool being "filled" is wrong headed. The mempool doesn't "clog" or get stuck, or anything like that. https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/7cusnx/to_the_people_still_doubting_that_this_congestion/dpssokf/

Segwit

What is segwit

luke-jr's longer summary https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6033h7/today_is_exactly_4_months_since_the_segwit_voting/df3tgwg/?context=1
Charlie Shrem's on upgrading to segwit https://twitter.com/CharlieShrem/status/842711238853513220
Original segwit talk at scalingbitcoin hong kong + transcript https://youtu.be/zchzn7aPQjI?t=110
https://scalingbitcoin.org/transcript/hongkong2015/segregated-witness-and-its-impact-on-scalability
Segwit is not too complex https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57vjin/segwit_is_not_great/d8vos33/
Segwit does not make it possible for miners to steal coins, contrary to what some people say https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5e6bt0/concerns_with_segwit_and_anyone_can_spend/daa5jat/?context=1
https://keepingstock.net/segwit-eli5-misinformation-faq-19908ceacf23#.r8hlzaquz
Segwit is required for a useful lightning network It's now known that without a malleability fix useful indefinite channels are not really possible.
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5tzqtc/gentle_reminder_the_ln_doesnt_require_segwit/ddqgda7/
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5tzqtc/gentle_reminder_the_ln_doesnt_require_segwit/ddqbukj/
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5x2oh0/olaoluwa_osuntokun_all_active_lightning_network/deeto14/?context=3
Clearing up SegWit Lies and Myths: https://achow101.com/2016/04/Segwit-FUD-Clearup
Segwit is bigger blocks https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5pb8vs/misinformation_is_working_54_incorrectly_believe/dcpz3en/
Typical usage results in segwit allowing capacity equivalent to 2mb blocks https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/69i2md/observe_for_yourself_segwit_allows_2_mb_blocks_in/

Why is segwit being blocked

Jihan Wu (head of largest bitcoin mining group) is blocking segwit because of perceived loss of income https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/60mb9e/complete_high_quality_translation_of_jihans/
Witness discount creates aligned incentives https://segwit.org/why-a-discount-factor-of-4-why-not-2-or-8-bbcebe91721e#.h36odthq0 https://medium.com/@SegWit.co/what-is-behind-the-segwit-discount-988f29dc1edf#.sr91dg406
or because he wants his mining enterprise to have control over bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6jdyk8/direct_report_of_jihan_wus_real_reason_fo

Segwit is being blocked because it breaks ASICBOOST, a patented optimization used by bitmain ASIC manufacturer

Details and discovery by gmaxwell https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-April/013996.html
Reddit thread with discussion https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63otrp/gregory_maxwell_major_asic_manufacturer_is/
Simplified explaination by jonny1000 https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/64qq5g/attempted_explanation_of_the_alleged_asicboost/
http://www.mit.edu/~jlrubin/public/pdfs/Asicboost.pdf
https://medium.com/@jimmysong/examining-bitmains-claims-about-asicboost-1d61118c678d
Evidence https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63yo27/some_circumstantial_evidence_supporting_the_claim/
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63vn5g/please_dont_stop_us_from_using_asicboost_which/dfxmm75/
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63soe3/reverse_engineering_an_asic_is_a_significant_task/dfx9nc
Bitmain admits their chips have asicboost but they say they never used it on the network (haha a likely story) https://blog.bitmain.com/en/regarding-recent-allegations-smear-campaigns/
Worth $100m per year to them (also in gmaxwell's original email) https://twitter.com/petertoddbtc/status/849798529929424898
Other calculations show less https://medium.com/@vcorem/the-real-savings-from-asicboost-to-bitmaintech-ff265c2d305b
This also blocks all these other cool updates, not just segwit https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63otrp/gregory_maxwell_major_asic_manufacturer_is/dfw0ej3/
Summary of bad consequences of asicboost https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/64qq5g/attempted_explanation_of_the_alleged_asicboost/dg4hyqk/?context=1
Luke's summary of the entire situation https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6ego3s/why_is_killing_asicboost_not_a_priority/diagkkb/?context=1
Prices goes up because now segwit looks more likely https://twitter.com/TuurDemeestestatus/849846845425799168
Asicboost discovery made the price rise https://twitter.com/TuurDemeestestatus/851520094677200901
A pool was caught red handed doing asicboost, by this time it seemed fairly certain that segwit would get activated so it didnt produce as much interest as earlier https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6p7lr5/1hash_pool_has_mined_2_invalid_blocks/ and https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6p95dl/interesting_1hash_pool_mined_some_invalid_blocks/ and https://twitter.com/petertoddbtc/status/889475196322811904
This btc user is outraged at the entire forum because they support Bitmain and ASICBOOST https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/67t43y/dragons_den_planned_smear_campaign_of_bitmain/dgtg9l2/
Antbleed, turns out Bitmain can shut down all its ASICs by remote control: http://www.antbleed.com/

What if segwit never activates

What if segwit never activates? https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6ab8js/transaction_fees_are_now_making_btc_like_the_banks/dhdq3id/ with https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5ksu3o/blinded_bearer_certificates/ and https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4xy0fm/scaling_quickly/

Lightning

bitcoinmagazine's series on what lightning is and how it works https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-building-a-bidirectional-payment-channel-1464710791/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-creating-the-network-1465326903/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-completing-the-puzzle-and-closing-the-channel-1466178980/
The Lightning Network ELIDHDICACS (Explain Like I Don’t Have Degrees in Cryptography and Computer Science) https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/the-lightning-network-elidhdicacs
Ligtning will increases fees for miners, not lower them https://medium.com/lightning-resources/the-lightning-paradox-f15ce0e8e374#.erfgunumh
Cost-benefit analysis of lightning from the point of view of miners https://medium.com/@rusty_lightning/miners-and-bitcoin-lightning-a133cd550310#.x42rovlg8
Routing blog post by rusty https://medium.com/@rusty_lightning/routing-dijkstra-bellman-ford-and-bfg-7715840f004 and reddit comments https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/4lzkz1/rusty_russell_on_lightning_routing_routing/
Lightning protocol rfc https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lightning-rfc
Blog post with screenshots of ln being used on testnet https://medium.com/@btc_coach/lightning-network-in-action-b18a035c955d video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxGiMu4V7ns
Video of sending and receiving ln on testnet https://twitter.com/alexbosworth/status/844030573131706368
Lightning tradeoffs http://www.coindesk.com/lightning-technical-challenges-bitcoin-scalability/
Beer sold for testnet lightning https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/62uw23/lightning_network_is_working_room77_is_accepting/ and https://twitter.com/MrHodl/status/848265171269283845
Lightning will result in far fewer coins being stored on third parties because it supports instant transactions https://medium.com/@thecryptoconomy/the-barely-discussed-incredible-benefit-of-the-lightning-network-4ce82c75eb58
jgarzik argues strongly against LN, he owns a coin tracking startup https://twitter.com/petertoddbtc/status/860826532650123264 https://twitter.com/Beautyon_/status/886128801926795264
luke's great debunking / answer of some misinformation questions https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6st4eq/questions_about_lightning_network/dlfap0u/
Lightning centralization doesnt happen https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6vzau5/reminder_bitcoins_key_strength_is_in_being/dm4ou3v/?context=1
roasbeef on hubs and charging fees https://twitter.com/roasbeef/status/930209165728825344 and https://twitter.com/roasbeef/status/930210145790976000

Immutability / Being a swiss bank in your pocket / Why doing a hard fork (especially without consensus) is damaging

A downside of hard forks is damaging bitcoin's immutability https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5em6vu/what_happens_if_segwit_doesnt_activate/dae1r6c/?context=3
Interesting analysis of miners incentives and how failure is possible, don't trust the miners for long term https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5gtew4/why_an_increased_block_size_increases_the_cost_of/daybazj/?context=2
waxwing on the meaning of cash and settlement https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5ei7m3/unconfirmed_transactions_60k_total_fees_14btc/dad001v/
maaku on the cash question https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5i5iq5/we_are_spoiled/db5luiv/?context=1
Digital gold funamentalists gain nothing from supporting a hard fork to larger block sizes https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5xzunq/core_please_compromise_before_we_end_up_with_bu/dem73xg/?context=1
Those asking for a compromise don't understand the underlying political forces https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6ef7wb/some_comments_on_the_bip148_uasf_from_the/dia236b/?context=3
Nobody wants a contentious hard fork actually, anti-core people got emotionally manipulated https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5sq5ocontentious_forks_vs_incremental_progress/ddip57o/
The hard work of the core developers has kept bitcoin scalable https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/3hfgpo/an_initiative_to_bring_advanced_privacy_features/cu7mhw8?context=9
Recent PRs to improve bitcoin scaleability ignored by the debate https://twitter.com/jfnewbery/status/883001356168167425
gmaxwell against hard forks since 2013 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140233.20
maaku: hard forks are really bad https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zxjza/adam_greg_core_devs_and_big_blockers_now_is_the/df275yk/?context=2

Some metrics on what the market thinks of decentralization and hostile hard forks

The price history shows that the exchange rate drops every time a hard fork threatens: https://i.imgur.com/EVPYLR8.jpg
and this example from 2017 https://twitter.com/WhalePanda/status/845562763820912642
http://imgur.com/a/DuHAn btc users lose money
price supporting theymos' moderation https://i.imgur.com/0jZdF9h.png
old version https://i.imgur.com/BFTxTJl.png
older version https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CxqtUakUQAEmC0d.jpg
about 50% of nodes updated to the soft fork node quite quickly https://imgur.com/O0xboVI

Bitcoin Unlimited / Emergent Consensus is badly designed, changes the game theory of bitcoin

Bitcoin Unlimited was a proposed hard fork client, it was made with the intention to stop segwit from activating
A Future Led by Bitcoin Unlimited is a Centralized Future https://blog.sia.tech/a-future-led-by-bitcoin-unlimited-is-a-centralized-future-e48ab52c817a#.p1ly6hldk
Flexible transactions are bugged https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/57tf5g/bitcoindev_bluematt_on_flexible_transactions/
Bugged BU software mines an invalid block, wasting 13 bitcoins or $12k
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5qwtr2/bitcoincom_loses_132btc_trying_to_fork_the/
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5qx18i/bitcoincom_loses_132btc_trying_to_fork_the/
bitcoin.com employees are moderators of btc https://medium.com/@WhalePanda/the-curious-relation-between-bitcoin-com-anti-segwit-propaganda-26c877249976#.vl02566k4
miners don't control stuff like the block size http://hackingdistributed.com/2016/01/03/time-for-bitcoin-user-voice/
even gavin agreed that economic majority controls things https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5ywoi9/in_2010_gavin_predicted_that_exchanges_ie_the/
fork clients are trying to steal bitcoin's brand and network effect, theyre no different from altcoins https://medium.com/@Coinosphere/why-bitcoin-unlimited-should-be-correctly-classified-as-an-attempted-robbery-of-bitcoin-not-a-9355d075763c#.qeaynlx5m
BU being active makes it easier to reverse payments, increases wasted work making the network less secure and giving an advantage to bigger miners https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5g1x84/bitcoin_unlimited_bu_median_value_of_miner_eb/
bitcoin unlimited takes power away from users and gives it to miners https://medium.com/@alpalpalp/bitcoin-unlimiteds-placebo-controls-6320cbc137d4#.q0dv15gd5
bitcoin unlimited's accepted depth https://twitter.com/tdryja/status/804770009272696832
BU's lying propaganda poster https://imgur.com/osrViDE

BU is bugged, poorly-reviewed and crashes

bitcoin unlimited allegedly funded by kraken stolen coins
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/55ajuh/taint_analysis_on_bitcoin_stolen_from_kraken_on/
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/559miz/taint_analysis_on_btc_allegedly_stolen_from_kraken/
Other funding stuff
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zozmn/damning_evidence_on_how_bitcoin_unlimited_pays/
A serious bug in BU https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5h70s3/bitcoin_unlimited_bu_the_developers_have_realized/
A summary of what's wrong with BU: https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5z3wg2/jihanwu_we_will_switch_the_entire_pool_to/devak98/

Bitcoin Unlimited Remote Exploit Crash 14/3/2017

https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zdkv3/bitcoin_unlimited_remote_exploit_crash/ https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zeb76/timbe https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5zdrru/peter_todd_bu_remote_crash_dos_wtf_bug_assert0_in/
BU devs calling it as disaster https://twitter.com/SooMartindale/status/841758265188966401 also btc deleted a thread about the exploit https://i.imgur.com/lVvFRqN.png
Summary of incident https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zf97j/i_was_undecided_now_im_not/
More than 20 exchanges will list BTU as an altcoin
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zyg6g/bitcoin_exchanges_unveil_emergency_hard_fork/
Again a few days later https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/60qmkt/bu_is_taking_another_shit_timberrrrr

User Activated Soft Fork (UASF)

site for it, including list of businesses supporting it http://www.uasf.co/
luke's view
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5zsk45/i_am_shaolinfry_author_of_the_recent_usedf1dqen/?context=3
threat of UASF makes the miner fall into line in litecoin
https://www.reddit.com/litecoin/comments/66omhlitecoin_global_roundtable_resolution/dgk2thk/?context=3
UASF delivers the goods for vertcoin
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/692mi3/in_test_case_uasf_results_in_miner_consensus/dh3cm34/?context=1
UASF coin is more valuable https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6cgv44/a_uasf_chain_will_be_profoundly_more_valuable/
All the links together in one place https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6dzpew/hi_its_mkwia_again_maintainer_of_uasfbitcoin_on/
p2sh was a uasf https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/v0.6.0/src/main.cpp#L1281-L1283
jgarzik annoyed at the strict timeline that segwit2x has to follow because of bip148 https://twitter.com/jgarzik/status/886605836902162432
Committed intolerant minority https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6d7dyt/a_plea_for_rational_intolerance_extremism_and/
alp on the game theory of the intolerant minority https://medium.com/@alpalpalp/user-activated-soft-forks-and-the-intolerant-minority-a54e57869f57
The risk of UASF is less than the cost of doing nothing https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6bof7a/were_getting_to_the_point_where_a_the_cost_of_not/
uasf delivered the goods for bitcoin, it forced antpool and others to signal (May 2016) https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/antpool-will-not-run-segwit-without-block-size-increase-hard-fork-1464028753/ "When asked specifically whether Antpool would run SegWit code without a hard fork increase in the block size also included in a release of Bitcoin Core, Wu responded: “No. It is acceptable that the hard fork code is not activated, but it needs to be included in a ‘release’ of Bitcoin Core. I have made it clear about the definition of ‘release,’ which is not ‘public.’”"
Screenshot of peter rizun capitulating https://twitter.com/chris_belcher_/status/905231603991007232

Fighting off 2x HF

https://twitter.com/MrHodl/status/895089909723049984
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6h612o/can_someone_explain_to_me_why_core_wont_endorse/?st=j6ic5n17&sh=cc37ee23
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6smezz/segwit2x_hard_fork_is_completely_useless_its_a/?st=j6ic2aw3&sh=371418dd
https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6sbspv/who_exactly_is_segwit2x_catering_for_now_segwit/?st=j6ic5nic&sh=1f86cadd
https://medium.com/@elliotolds/lesser-known-reasons-to-keep-blocks-small-in-the-words-of-bitcoin-core-developers-44861968185e
b2x is most of all about firing core https://twitter.com/WhalePanda/status/912664487135760384
https://medium.com/@StopAndDecrypt/thats-not-bitcoin-this-is-bitcoin-95f05a6fd6c2

Misinformation / sockpuppets

https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6uqz6k/markets_update_bitcoin_cash_rallies_for_three/dlurbpx/
three year old account, only started posting today https://archive.is/3STjH
Why we should not hard fork after the UASF worked: https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6sl1qf/heres_why_we_should_not_hard_fork_in_a_few_months/

History

Good article that covers virtually all the important history https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/long-road-segwit-how-bitcoins-biggest-protocol-upgrade-became-reality/
Interesting post with some history pre-2015 https://btcmanager.com/the-long-history-of-the-fight-over-scaling-bitcoin/
The core scalabality roadmap + my summary from 3/2017 https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2015-Decembe011865.html my summary https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5xa5fa/the_core_development_scalability_roadmap/
History from summer 2015 https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/5xg7f8/the_origins_of_the_blocksize_debate/
Brief reminders of the ETC situation https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6nvlgo/simple_breakdown_of_bip91_its_simply_the_miners/dkcycrz/
Longer writeup of ethereum's TheDAO bailout fraud https://www.reddit.com/ethereumfraud/comments/6bgvqv/faq_what_exactly_is_the_fraud_in_ethereum/
Point that the bigblocker side is only blocking segwit as a hostage https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/5sqhcq/daily_discussion_wednesday_february_08_2017/ddi3ctv/?context=3
jonny1000's recall of the history of bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6s34gg/rbtc_spreading_misinformation_in_rbitcoinmarkets/dl9wkfx/

Misc (mostly memes)

libbitcoin's Understanding Bitcoin series (another must read, most of it) https://github.com/libbitcoin/libbitcoin/wiki/Understanding-Bitcoin
github commit where satoshi added the block size limit https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/63859l/github_commit_where_satoshi_added_the_block_size/
hard fork proposals from some core devs https://bitcoinhardforkresearch.github.io/
blockstream hasnt taken over the entire bitcoin core project https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/622bjp/bitcoin_core_blockstream/
blockstream is one of the good guys https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6cttkh/its_happening_blockstream_opens_liquid_sidechain/dhxu4e
Forkers, we're not raising a single byte! Song lyrics by belcher https://gist.github.com/chris-belche7264cd6750a86f8b4a9a
Some stuff here along with that cool photoshopped poster https://medium.com/@jimmysong/bitcoin-realism-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-1mb-blocks-c191c35e74cb
Nice graphic https://twitter.com/RNR_0/status/871070843698380800
gmaxwell saying how he is probably responsible for the most privacy tech in bitcoin, while mike hearn screwed up privacy https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/6azyme/hey_bu_wheres_your_testnet/dhiq3xo/?context=6
Fairly cool propaganda poster https://twitter.com/urbanarson/status/880476631583924225
btc tankman https://i.redd.it/gxjqenzpr27z.png https://twitter.com/DanDarkPill/status/853653168151986177
asicboost discovery meme https://twitter.com/allenscottoshi/status/849888189124947971
https://twitter.com/urbanarson/status/882020516521013250
gavin wanted to kill the bitcoin chain https://twitter.com/allenscottoshi/status/849888189124947971
stuff that btc believes https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6ld4a5/serious_is_the_rbtc_and_the_bu_crowd_a_joke_how/djszsqu/
after segwit2x NYA got agreed all the fee pressure disappeared, laurenmt found they were artificial spam https://twitter.com/i/moments/885827802775396352
theymos saying why victory isnt inevitable https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6lmpll/explaining_why_big_blocks_are_bad/djvxv2o/
with ignorant enemies like these its no wonder we won https://bitco.in/forum/threads/gold-collapsing-bitcoin-up.16/page-999 ""So, once segwit2x activates, from that moment on it will require a coordinated fork to avoid the up coming "baked in" HF. ""
a positive effect of bcash, it made blockchain utxo spammers move away from bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/76lv0b/cryptograffitiinfo_now_accepts_bitcoin_cash/dof38gw/
summary of craig wright, jihan wu and roger ver's positions https://medium.com/@HjalmarPeters/the-big-blockers-bead6027deb2
Why is bitcoin so strong against attack?!?! (because we're motivated and awesome) https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/64wo1h/bitcoin_unlimited_is_being_blocked_by_antivirus/dg5n00x/
what happened to #oldjeffgarzik https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/6ufv5x/a_reminder_of_some_of_jeff_garziks_greatest/
big blockers fully deserve to lose every last bitcoin they ever had and more https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinMarkets/comments/756nxf/daily_discussion_monday_october_09_2017/do5ihqi/
gavinandresen brainstorming how to kill bitcoin with a 51% in a nasty way https://twitter.com/btcdrak/status/843914877542567937
Roger Ver as bitcoin Judas https://imgur.com/a/Rf1Pi
A bunch of tweets and memes celebrating UASF
https://twitter.com/shaolinfry/status/842457019286188032 | https://twitter.com/SatoshiLite/status/888335092560441345 | https://twitter.com/btcArtGallery/status/887485162925285377 | https://twitter.com/Beautyon_/status/888109901611802624 | https://twitter.com/Excellion/status/889211512966873088 | https://twitter.com/lopp/status/888200452197801984 | https://twitter.com/AlpacaSW/status/886988980524396544 | https://twitter.com/BashCo_/status/877253729531162624 | https://twitter.com/tdryja/status/865212300361379840 | https://twitter.com/Excellion/status/871179040157179904 | https://twitter.com/TraceMayestatus/849856343074902016 | https://twitter.com/TraceMayestatus/841855022640033792 | https://fs.bitcoinmagazine.com/img/images/Screen_Shot_2017-08-18_at_01.36.47.original.png
submitted by belcher_ to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Amir Taaki - Breaking Bitcoin presentation (transcript)

Below I transcribed Amir's talk from Breaking Bitcoin (see previous post here, start of presentation (youtube): here). Excuse the errors (will fix if you point me to them).
What was most interesting for me:
Amir:
Thank you for having me here.
I believe that ideas play an important role in shaping human history. What I want to talk about is how technology has been shaped by key ideas. In particular how certain mechanical ideas of human society got mixed up with with politics and technology.
What I want to talk about is the free technology movement. It was a movement that showed great potential promise to liberate humanity. At the heart of it was a idea that technology offered a new way to construct a radially different kind of society that never before was possible in history, this movement was influenced by the visions of early scientists who believed in the power of computer technology not just to serve large industry and military but everybody to have access to this new power.
Influenced of by the 60s counterculture, this movement went on to develop the first personal computers. But that's not the end of the story because this radical vision mutated into the idea of self-regulating systems which see human beings as object managed by computer algorithms. In this vision, the value of human ideas to transform the world was diminished into a strange kind of consensus where everybody satisfies their personal desires.
We now find ourselves in a strange static dreamworld while dark forces are returning to threaten to penetrate our reality and all of the dreams of the techno-utopiasts play the role in creating this fake virtual world in which human beings driven by desires, devoid of all sense of higher purpose become slaves to algorithms and vast computer intelligences.
What is interesting about this story is the significance it has for Bitcoin. A project which is created for the purpose of creating a decentralized peer-to-peer money that cannot be controlled by governments and central banks but which now finds itself monopolized by large mining cartels. A lack of vision to guide the project forwards and increasing irrelevance in a world facing a global breakup of power.
Lastly I want to explain my project to revitalize the free technology movement to formulate a wider vision to restore back the potential of the technology to transform human society and train the next generation of revolutionary hackers dedicated to the cause of using the technology to support the cause of freedom.
My aim here is to find sponsors, find the place for establishing our hacker Academy, to find partner organisations to develop new technology projects with and to find people ready to dedicate themselves in advancing the free technology movement. People ready to be at the forefront of writing history.

At the heart of this story lies a conflict between two men in 1968. One of them is good B.F. Skinner, the other is good Lewis Mumford. It was one moment when two ideas about how technology could be used to advance human society first XXX ((unintelligible)) to take hold.
There's a documentary from this time made in mid-60s called "Towards tomorrow". And in this documentary, it described two possible future visions for human society. In a society where old forms of authority were declining, what would be the way that we could organize masses of human beings in a future society.
One of these visions for this society was a world managed by an elite group of technocrats, a specialized elite who managed a large population of passive human beings who constantly needed to be monitored and managed to be able to to keep them happy. B.F. Skinner described a new way of controlling and ordering people. He posed the question in this age of mass democracy and individualism the old forms of coercion was simply not possible and he put forth the idea of using reward. And he described an experiment where you have a cage with a pigeon inside and the pigeon can be trained to peck symbols, buttons, and depending on which symbol they peck, they get a pellet of food. In this way, by giving the pigeons the right reward for the correct behavior, they train the pigeon as a mechanical object.
He then took this farther and he went to a mental hospital in San Bernardino in California and in the mental hospital, what they did is they gave the mental patients small reward every time they did a good behavior. With this reward, when it was a lunch time or a dinner time, the patients could sit at a nicer table. So, inside the mental hospital, they created a new ordered hierarchy from a system of reward in which people don't feel controlled but feel empowered. Skinner describes this model as a model for the future of humanity. What's really interesting about this video by Skinner is it there's something very eerily similar to what we see today in which there is a technocratic elite that has interest in politics only in managing human society to keep us happy to keep everything stable and to keep themselves rich. A lot of this was powered in the mid-80s with the fake consumer credit to reward us as a form of social management - much like the experiment with the hospital, the mental hospital.
Lewis Mumford put forward an alternative vision for a society. In this video I'm going to show you - he first criticises Skinner and then he puts forward an alternative vision where everybody in the society is a participant. Everybody is an active human being deciding their destiny.

There were many forms the computer could have taken. In 1800s, the computer was proposed by Babbage. And popularized by Ada Lovelace. It was seen as a tool that would have huge social uses and that should be in the hands of many people, but when the computer was first developed during WWII - for cracking German codes for the military and for guiding ballistic missiles - computers became a very large centralized machine.
By the 80s, communities of hackers started to emerge which started to be fascinated with these huge machines - which at the time you had to get the time slice, to get the appointment to get to get some time to use the machine - they started to get jobs near these computing devices, because they wanted to know how these machines could work. They started to build their own computers in their garages, in their houses and universities - and that was the birth of the personal computers, the reason why we now have laptops and telephones.
What happened was: a lot of big companies started to come along and they started to invest a lot of capital. All of the hacker community - who up until that point had never seen money before in their life - to throw themselves at, at the proprietary industry. And whereas before the culture that had created this personal computers, this liberatory technology, really believed in power to use the technology to improve the humanity for the better, who really believed in free technology, in sharing techniques and code with each other - instead became siloed off.
But there was one guy - Richard Stallman - he was just a guy - he found this ethically wrong. If enough people got together, we could give a challenge against the proprietary industry. He made that as a proposal to the community - that it doesn't have to be this way, if we together put our energies we can build our own operating system. A lot of people at that time thought that he was crazy or that his ideas weren't feasible.
This is early video of Richard Stallman.

So, in 1991, the cryptography was classified as ammunitions and Philip Zimmermann wrote the first freely available encryption software for anybody to use and he uploaded it to the Internet. The American government arrested him and he was facing a decade in prison. What Philip Zimmerman did was to print the source code of PGP - of this encryption software - which he sold internationally, which is something that in America is protected under the First Amendment. And the American government was realizing that they couldn't continue with the case, they dropped the case. And since that time, because of the action of Philip Zimmermann, software became classified as a form of speech. And cryptography became widely available. It's now reason why cryptography is available everywhere.
Also, in early 90s, Stallman has started to piece together his operating system. And by now a community a community of people has emerged around him. It was the birth of Linux - a really important piece of technology. Not just in the free technology world, but in general, in hi-tech space it place a very key role. And that was a rise of the whole bunch of movements: free software movement, hacker movement, crypto-anarchist movement. Movements were invigorated with creating a lot of new ideas and a lot of new concepts about how we could use the technology to shape the world around us. These were collective movements driven by the shared sense of purpose.
Towards the end of the 90s (the baby boomer generation), the western society became overly optimistic. Something the Jean Baudrillard called 'the dead of society' and 'obsession with desert-like forms / with the simulacrum'.
Stallman free software movement failed to capitalize on institutionalizing his movement. And what happen was what emerged was the open source movement. It was a movement that said: making this technology is not a question of freedom/ethics, it's simply when you have access to source code of a program it's more efficient, it's cheaper, it makes more quality code. I don't think that's true, but that was their argument. One of the main spokesmen was Eric Raymond who released a book called 'A cathedral and a bazaar'. In that book, Eric Raymond has described the open source development philosophy as open bazaar where everybody, dozens or hundreds of people, a wide number of people all collaborated in a horizontal manner. He coined an idea that given enough eyes all bugs are shallow. When we have a piece of source code, if there are enough people - all contributing a small amount of time and looking at the source code - then if there is a bug, that bug will be found. The idea that given a huge amount of people with a small amount of contribution of each, that we can develop projects and advance technology.
Then what happened was the biggest event in the modern western history - which was the collapse of the twin towers, the twin idols of capitalism, perfect in a reflections, reaching into the skyline of New York - which realized our deepest most hidden desires to see the destruction of this passive lifeless world. And what it represented was the return of the real (of the) dark forces - that we ignored - back to penetrate into our reality.
In early 2000s we saw a lot of optimism and momentum for change. We saw the Arab spring, we saw The occupy, we saw the orange revolutions. In the technology world, we saw a lot of advances, there was a huge amount of optimism for Linux on the desktop. Every year the people were saying: this is going be the year of the desktop. Everybody was waiting for that sudden single breakthrough. One of the major developments in technology world was the confrontation that took place between Hollywood and a Manhattan programmer called Bram Cohen. ((...)) He developed BitTorrent. The concept started with sites like Napster or Kazaa - that were centralized services that were shut down by authorities.
Cohen came up with a concept: if enough people downloading files and seeding them at the same time - then the more people that download the file the more that file will become widely distributed in the network. So, that file will become shared in a self-regulating network. It was a big success and the movie studios didn't know what to do about this, they were completely powerless in face of this technology. The idea of creating a functional self-regulating system outside of power proved itself and it's something wildly popular among technologists.
The next major development is the shutdown of the Pirate bay which led to the development of the Pirate party that at one point had double digits in elections and even entered into the EU parliament. There is huge momentum behind it. Wikipedia was also developed - the idea that given thousands and thousands of people all contributing small edits, one line at time, could build this huge knowledge resource . Around this movements started to emerge the new priests of this internet-centric decentralization technology - people like Yochai Benkler, academics who would go to conferences and sell this ideology to people.
But something strange started to emerge. Wikipedia released statistics about edits on Wikipedia. We found that it was a small group of dedicated people that wrote the majority of Wikipedia, people who really believed in the project and spent all their time writing the majority of the articles on the website. When we started to look closer at these decentralized systems, what we observed was small groups of leaders surrounded by a wider community. In BitTorent, it wasn't that everybody was seeding in the network. Most people, after they downloaded, didn't continue to run the software. In fact, it was a small group of users, who wanted to challenge Hollywood and promote BitTorrent, who would leave their software running seeding torrents.
In open source, we observed that there were small groups of dedicated developers in a project surrounded by wider community. And in fact, what Stallman has done was not just to write Linux and put that in the community, but he had written articles, he had written manifestos, he had put forward a vision and an ideology that pulled together enough people and drove this movement of hackers forwards.
So what drove these projects for freedom was not a new model or a new technique. It was a vision that pulled together enough people to realize an idea. To understand why Occupy and Arab Spring and orange revolutions and the Pirate Party and a lot of these movements had a huge of amount of will and movement - fail, it's really instructive to understand what happened to Egypt. In Egypt, huge amounts of youths started to mobilize through Facebook and they started to go to this center in Cairo to front the military dictatorship. Huge amount of people died in that struggle. And after they threw out ((?)) the military dictatorship, the youth then sat down and said: "Okay, now what we are gonna do? What's next?". So they started to discuss.
And into that, came a group of people, with a vision, with an ideology, that was well organized and able to pull together enough strands of the society behind them. But they could put their vision into power. And that was the Muslim Brotherhood.
And then the same youth hood - that kicked out the military dictatorship - came back to the square to ask the military dictatorship to come back and rescue them from the Islamists.
At the same time, Satoshi developed Bitcoin. I remember on Satoshi's early website he described it as a peer-to-peer form of money that cannot be controlled by central banks and governments. And it's something that attracted libertarians, cryptographers and hackers. Bitcoin is kind of a technology - free technology project - that was a little late to the party. Interestingly, it finds itself in the same place as the movements that preceded it. The fundamental problem with Bitcoin is not a problem of missing this or that technology, it's a problem of a lack of vision, a lack of how this technology is -
And it's not just about Bitcoin - it's something to do with the wider technology movement. We have to understand the global situation now. Humanity is facing a future with a huge amount of suffering. We are facing the threats from terrorism, from immigration. There's the rise of new ideological movements - ISIS just went and took a city in southern Philippines for more than a month - which is right next to Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country in the world. And in Europe the new right movement is getting very strong, organizing training camps, becoming well-organized, getting into political power and well-funded. This is the reality of our situation now.
We have to think about how this technologies that we make -, where do they situate themselves in the wider global context.
In Rojava, there is also a really important movement with the ideology of democratic confederalism which is the way forward from anarchism. And offers a really good analysis of what is the current society and what is the crisis that we're facing. And how, in that place, revolutionaries from all over the world are going to learning the methodology and ideology of this movement. It's a new emerging movement outside of any one person's control, but new forces can be harnessed. What we have to understand is that anarchist movement and the hacker movement is something deeply connected. The problem with anarchism is that it failed in it's potential to advance humanity forward, it's simply an ideology that no longer is able to work. What we have in Rojava is a libertarian revolution of 5 million people. What is democratic confederalism? It's an ideological movement that opposes the state as a mechanical worldview and sees the nature as something that is divine, that seeks to restore the balance back between internal+subjective and external+material world. The freedom comes from reaching our destiny as human beings, not simply through pleasure seeking. (Liberalism is the destruction of the free society.) And the better humanity it's not simply a happier humanity but stronger freer humanity. The crisis in the West not simply an economic crisis, but social crisis - we're facing a deep cultural issue.
All of the ideas in hacker movement - such as BitLaw, digital governance, cryptographic economy, decentralized organization, new economic models, new technical tools - unless we are able to take all of these concepts and put them into a plan, with a sense of direction, that we can put these into practice - then it's something that's going to be lost. Now, what's presenting itself is a massive opportunity for hackers to put their ideas into practice.
So, right now we are building a hacker team. There's 3 tasks we have to do: study of all the ideas and concepts in technology. From this study we have to develop a long- term plan. And thirdly, we have to devote ourselves to build the technical base of this new emerging democratic confederalism movement, we have to create revolutionary hackers dedicated to the course. If we don't, then all of the technology we are making is outside of the society, it's a toy, and what is relevant in this world is not making new products to fill the spaces in the environment around us, but using technology to shape politics that influence the world around us.
This revolution in North Syria or Rojava is the biggest opportunity in the entire history of modernity. Through this we can give direction to the hacker movement. One of our main projects is a Bitcoin project. We have a nation of 5 million people and - and - and there is a financial situation where they're under financial embargo, they use - , they don't have the financial infrastructure so they use paper money and Syrian Lira is inflating massively. Because there's embargo so you can't send money in and out. Also there is a project to create decentralized economy and there's a lot of real concrete uses for Bitcoin. And also the ideology of the revolutionary nation is in line with the vision and values of the Bitcoin.
When we decide to look at deploying Bitcoin, what we realize is that Bitcoin is not ready and there's a lot of new things that need to be developed in Bitcoin, they should make it so it's able to be deployed on a scale of 5 million people. We are assembling a project to deploy Bitcoin as the national currency of Rojava. We want to create new products in practical use on a large scale. Products that solve real problems and serve the cause of freedom.
Towards this goal, we're assembling a team of 20 hackers dedicated for two years. We're looking to establish links with companies and sponsors to make this happen. The first step is to establish a hacker's academy in Greece - to train groups of revolutionary self-sufficient hackers that we're going to deploy on projects. Our needs now: partners, sponsors, space, support.
Our first plan is to setup exchange shops and localized wallets in Bitcoin where people come buy vouchers and use Bitcoin to create a local Bitcoin market. We have to create brochures, lots of information. Once this system gets bigger, then we also need to think of bigger financial infrastructure - so one of the things is paper wallets. At the moment, 100 thousands paper wallet cost $6000. Unfortunately the counterfeiting measures on the paper wallets aren't very well made. There needs to be a lot research done. There is a small USB device called ESP 12 which can be programmed with micro Python and C and it has on-board Wi-Fi, plus you can fit modules for radio. Through that you can create a large scale payments networks with cheap consumer devices that cost fie dollars each for people to transact bitcoins.
There is also a big market for Bitcoin because sending money between Rojava and Istanbul currently costs 5 %. Later, we also can create plastic card system where we print cards and also establish payments network using radio systems. There needs to be a lot of development and investigations in Lightning Networks and other technologies.
This is why I [want to ((?))] have a laboratory - if I take a group of people there - I can create all kinds of technology projects and a lot of concepts we've been theorizing for a long time. We can see that it works practically.
There is also the project of the Pirates to create liquid democracy - there is a system of local councils in every neighborhood which - , a lot of these digital platforms that have been developed for many years - we can deploy them. There was also the economy being based on cooperatives - all of the ideas about economic management, about collective management of resources about using cryptography and currencies to manage cooperatives. These all things we can deploy - but what it's going to take is a group of people who's doing this research, who's going deep - not only in terms of developing new concepts - but looking back into the literature about what were - , what is the history of the movement, where we situated it and also what are the concepts and how we can apply them towards our goal.
I'm gonna to finish my talk on that. Does anybody have questions?
submitted by vbenes to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

BlockTorrent: The famous algorithm which BitTorrent uses for SHARING BIG FILES. Which you probably thought Bitcoin *also* uses for SHARING NEW BLOCKS (which are also getting kinda BIG). But Bitcoin *doesn't* torrent *new* blocks (while relaying). It only torrents *old* blocks (while sync-ing). Why?

This post is being provided to further disseminate an existing proposal:
This proposal was originally presented by jtoomim back in September of 2015 - on the bitcoin_dev mailing list (full text at the end of this OP), and on reddit:
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/3zo72i/fyi_ujtoomim_is_working_on_a_scaling_proposal/cyomgj3
Here's a TL;DR, in his words:
BlockTorrenting
For initial block sync, [Bitcoin] sort of works [like BitTorrent] already.
You download a different block from each peer. That's fine.
However, a mechanism does not currently exist for downloading a portion of each [new] block from a different peer.
That's what I want to add.
~ jtoomim
The more detailed version of this "BlockTorrenting" proposal (as presented by jtoomim on the bitcoin_dev mailing list) is linked and copied / reformatted at the end of this OP.
Meanwhile here are some observations from me as a concerned member of the Bitcoin-using public.
Questions:
Whoa??
WTF???
Bitcoin doesn't do this kind of "blocktorrenting" already??
But.. But... I thought Bitcoin was "p2p" and "based on BitTorrent"...
... because (as we all know) Bitcoin has to download giant files.
Oh...
Bitcoin only "torrents" when sharing one certain kind of really big file: the existing blockchain, when a node is being initialized.
But Bitcoin doesn't "torrent" when sharing another certain kind of moderately big file (a file whose size, by the way, has been notoriously and steadily growing over the years to the point where the system running the legacy "Core"/Blockstream Bitcoin implementation is starting to become dangerously congested - no matter what some delusional clowns "Core" devs may say): ie, the world's most wildly popular, industrial-strength "p2p file sharing algorithm" is mysteriously not being used where the Bitcoin network needs it the most in order to get transactions confirmed on-chain: when a a newly found block needs to be shared among nodes, when a node is relaying new blocks.
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin+bitcoinxt+bitcoin_uncensored+btc+bitcoin_classic/search?q=blocktorrent&restrict_sr=on
How many of you (honestly) just simply assumed that this algorithm was already being used in Bitcoin - since we've all been told that "Bitcoin is p2p, like BitTorrent"?
As it turns out - the only part of Bitcoin which has been p2p up until now is the "sync-ing a new full-node" part.
The "running an existing full-node" part of Bitcoin has never been implemented as truly "p2p2" yet!!!1!!!
And this is precisely the part of the system that we've been wasting all of our time (and destroying the community) fighting over for the past few months - because the so-called "experts" from the legacy "Core"/Blockstream Bitcoin implementation ignored this proposal!
Why?
Why have all the so-called "experts" at "Core"/Blockstream ignored this obvious well-known effective & popular & tested & successful algorithm for doing "blocktorrenting" to torrent each new block being relayed?
Why have the "Core"/Blockstream devs failed to p2p-ize the most central, fundamental networking aspect of Bitcoin - the part where blocks get propagated, the part we've been fighting about for the past few years?
This algorithm for "torrenting" a big file in parallel from peers is the very definition of "p2p".
It "surgically" attacks the whole problem of sharing big files in the most elegant and efficient way possible: right at the lowest level of the bottleneck itself, cleverly chunking a file and uploading it in parallel to multiple peers.
Everyone knows torrenting works. Why isn't Bitcoin using it for its new blocks?
As millions of torrenters already know (but evidently all the so-called "experts" at Core/Blocsktream seem to have conveniently forgotten), "torrenting" a file (breaking a file into chunks and then offering a different chunk to each peer to "get it out to everyone fast" - before your particular node even has the entire file) is such a well-known / feasible / obvious / accepted / battle-tested / highly efficient algorithm for "parallelizing" (and thereby significantly accelerating) the sharing of big files among peers, that many people simply assumed that Bitcoin had already been doing this kind of "torrenting of new-blocks" these whole past 7 years.
But Bitcoin doesn't do this - yet!
None of the Core/Blockstream devs (and the Chinese miners who follow them) have prioritized p2p-izing the most central and most vital and most resource-consuming function of the Bitcoin network - the propagation of new blocks!
Maybe it took someone who's both a miner and a dev to "scratch" this particular "itch": Jonathan Toomim jtoomim.
  • A miner + dev who gets very little attention / respect from the Core/Blockstream devs (and from the Chinese miners who follow them) - perhaps because they feel threatened by a competing implementation?
  • A miner + dev who may have come up with the simplest and safest and most effective algorithmic (ie, software-based, not hardware-consuming) scaling proposal of anyone!
  • A dev who who is not paid by Blockstream, and who is therefore free from the secret, undisclosed corporate restraints / confidentiality agreements imposed by the shadowy fiat venture-capitalists and legacy power elite who appear to be attempting to cripple our code and muzzle our devs.
  • A miner who has the dignity not to let himself be forced into signing a loyalty oath to any corporate overlords after being locked in a room until 3 AM.
Precisely because jtoomim is both a indepdendent miner and an independent dev...
  • He knows what needs to be done.
  • He knows how to do it.
  • He is free to go ahead and do it - in a permissionless, decentralized fashion.
Possible bonus: The "blocktorrent" algorithm would help the most in the upload direction - which is precisely where Bitcoin scaling needs the most help!
Consider the "upload" direction for a relatively slow full-node - such as Luke-Jr, who reports that his internet is so slow, he has not been able to run a full-node since mid-2015.
The upload direction is the direction which everyone says has been the biggest problem with Bitcoin - because, in order for a full-node to be "useful" to the network:
  • it has to able to upload a new block to (at least) 8 peers,
  • which places (at least) 8x more "demand" on the full-node's upload bandwidth.
The brilliant, simple proposed "blocktorrent" algorithm from jtoomim (already proven to work with Bram Cohen's BitTorrent protocol, and also already proven to work for initial sync-ing of Bitcoin full-nodes - but still un-implemented for ongoing relaying among full-nodes) looks like it would provide a significant performance improvement precisely at this tightest "bottleneck" in the system, the crucial central nexus where most of the "traffic" (and the congestion) is happening: the relaying of new blocks from "slower" full-nodes.
The detailed explanation for how this helps "slower" nodes when uploading, is as follows.
Say you are a "slower" node.
You need to send a new block out to (at least) 8 peers - but your "upload" bandwidth is really slow.
If you were to split the file into (at least) 8 "chunks", and then upload a different one of these (at least) 8 "chunks" to each of your (at least) 8 peers - then (if you were using "blocktorrenting") it only would take you 1/8 (or less) of the "normal" time to do this (compared to the naïve legacy "Core" algorithm).
Now the new block which your "slower" node was attempting to upload is already "out there" - in 1/8 (or less) of the "normal" time compared to the naïve legacy "Core" algorithm.[ 1 ]
... [ 1 ] There will of course also be a tiny amount of extra overhead involved due to the "housekeeping" performed by the "blocktorrent" algorithm itself - involving some additional processing and communicating to decompose the block into chunks and to organize the relaying of different chunks to different peers and the recompose the chunks into a block again (all of which, depending on the size of the block and the latency of your node's connections to its peers, would in most cases be negligible compared to the much-greater speed-up provided by the "blocktorrent" algorithm itself).
Now that your block is "out there" at those 8 (or more) peer nodes to whom you just blocktorrented it in 1/8 (or less) of the time - it has now been liberated from the "bottleneck" of your "slower" node.
In fact, its further propagation across the net may now be able to leverage much faster upload speeds from some other node(s) which have "blocktorrent"-downloaded it in pieces from you (and other peers) - and which might be faster relaying it along, than your "slower" node.
For some mysterious reason, the legacy Bitcoin implementation from "Core"/Blockstream has not been doing this kind of "blocktorrenting" for new blocks.
It's only been doing this torrenting for old blocks. The blocks that have already been confirmed.
Which is fine.
But we also obviously need this sort of "torrenting" to be done for each new block is currently being confirmed.
And this is where the entire friggin' "scaling bottleneck" is occurring, which we just wasted the past few years "debating" about.
Just sit down and think about this for a minute.
We've had all these so-called "experts" (Core/Blockstream devs and other small-block proponents) telling us for years that guys like Hearn and Gavin and repos like Classic and XT and BU were "wrong" or at least "unserious" because they "merely" proposed "brute-force" scaling: ie, scaling which would simply place more demands on finite resources (specifically: on the upload bandwidth from full-nodes - who need to relay to at least 8 peer full-nodes in order to be considered "useful" to the network).
These "experts" have been beating us over the head this whole time, telling us that we have to figure out some (really complicated, unproven, inefficient and centralized) clever scaling algorithms to squeeze more efficiency out of existing infrastructure.
And here is the most well-known / feasible / obvious / accepted / battle-tested algorithm for "parallelizing" (and thereby massively accelerating) the sharing of big file among peers - the BitTorrent algorithm itself, the gold standard of p2p relaying par excellence, which has been a major success on the Internet for decades, at one point accounting for nearly 1/3 of all traffic on the Internet itself - and which is also already being used in one part of Bitcoin: during the phase of sync-ing a new node.
And apparently pretty much only jtoomim has been talking about using it for the actual relaying of new blocks - while Core/Blockstream devs have so far basically ignored this simple and safe and efficient proposal.
And then the small-block sycophants (reddit users or wannabe C/C++ programmers who have beaten into submission and/or by the FUD and "technological pessimism" of the Core/Blockstream devs, and by the censorhip on their legacy forum), they all "laugh" at Classic and proclaim "Bitcoin doesn't need another dev team - all the 'experts' are at Core / Blockstream"...
...when in fact it actually looks like jtoomim (an independent minedev, free from the propaganda and secret details of the corporate agenda of Core/Blockstream - who works on the Classic Bitcoin implementation) may have proposed the simplest and safest and most effective scaling algorithm in this whole debate.
By the way, his proposal estimates that we could get about 1 magnitude greater throughput, based on the typical latency and blocksize for blocks of around 20 MB and bandwidth of around 8 Mbps (which seems like a pretty normal scenario).
So why the fuck isn't this being done yet?
This is such a well-known / feasible / obvious / accepted / battle-tested algorithm for "parallelizing" (and thereby significantly accelerating) the sharing of big files among peers:
  • It's already being used for the (currently) 65 gigabytes of "blocks in the existing blockchain" itself - the phase where a new node has to sync with the blockchain.
  • It's already being used in BitTorrent - although the BitTorrent protocol has been optimized more to maximize throughput, whereas it would probably be a good idea to optimize the BlockTorrent protocol to minimize latency (since avoiding orphans is the big issue here) - which I'm fairly sure should be quite doable.
This algorithm is so trivial / obvious / straightforward / feasible / well-known / proven that I (and probably many others) simply assumed that Bitcoin had been doing this all along!
But it has never been implemented.
There is however finally a post about it today on the score-hidden forum /Bitcoin, from eragmus:
[bitcoin-dev] BlockTorrent: Torrent-style new-block propagation on Merkle trees
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/484nbx/bitcoindev_blocktorrent_torrentstyle_newblock/
And, predictably, the top-voted comment there is a comment telling us why it will never work.
And the comment after that comment is from the author of the proposal, jtoomim, explaining why it would work.
Score hidden on all those comments.
Because the immature tyrant theymos still doesn't understand the inherent advantages of people using reddit's upvoting & downvoting tools to hold decentralized, permissionless debates online.
Whatever.
Questions:
(1) Would this "BlockTorrenting" algorithm from jtoomim really work?
(2) If so, why hasn't it been implemented yet?
(3) Specifically: With all the "dev firepower" (and $76 million in venture capital) available at Core/Blockstream, why have they not prioritized implementing this simple and safe and highly effective solution?
(4) Even more specifically: Are there undisclosed strategies / agreements / restraints imposed by Blockstream financial investors on Bitcoin "Core" devs which have been preventing further discussion and eventual implementation of this possible simple & safe & efficient scaling solution?
Here is the more-detailed version of this proposal, presented by Jonathan Toomim jtoomim back in September of 2015 on the bitcoin-dev mailing list (and pretty much ignored for months by almost all the "experts" there):
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2015-Septembe011176.html
As I understand it, the current block propagation algorithm is this:
  1. A node mines a block.
  2. It notifies its peers that it has a new block with an inv. Typical nodes have 8 peers.
  3. The peers respond that they have not seen it, and request the block with getdata [hash].
  4. The node sends out the block in parallel to all 8 peers simultaneously. If the node's upstream bandwidth is limiting, then all peers will receive most of the block before any peer receives all of the block. The block is sent out as the small header followed by a list of transactions.
  5. Once a peer completes the download, it verifies the block, then enters step 2.
(If I'm missing anything, please let me know.)
The main problem with this algorithm is that it requires a peer to have the full block before it does any uploading to other peers in the p2p mesh. This slows down block propagation to:
O( p • log_p(n) ) 
where:
  • n is the number of peers in the mesh,
  • p is the number of peers transmitted to simultaneously.
It's like the Napster era of file-sharing. We can do much better than this.
Bittorrent can be an example for us.
Bittorrent splits the file to be shared into a bunch of chunks, and hashes each chunk.
Downloaders (leeches) grab the list of hashes, then start requesting their peers for the chunks out-of-order.
As each leech completes a chunk and verifies it against the hash, it begins to share those chunks with other leeches.
Total propagation time for large files can be approximately equal to the transmission time for an FTP upload.
Sometimes it's significantly slower, but often it's actually faster due to less bottlenecking on a single connection and better resistance to packet/connection loss.
(This could be relevant for crossing the Chinese border, since the Great Firewall tends to produce random packet loss, especially on encrypted connections.)
Bitcoin uses a data structure for transactions with hashes built-in. We can use that in lieu of Bittorrent's file chunks.
A Bittorrent-inspired algorithm might be something like this:
  1. (Optional steps to build a Merkle cache; described later)
  2. A seed node mines a block.
  3. It notifies its peers that it has a new block with an extended version of inv.
  4. The leech peers request the block header.
  5. The seed sends the block header. The leech code path splits into two.
  6. (a) The leeches verify the block header, including the PoW. If the header is valid,
  7. (a) They notify their peers that they have a header for an unverified new block with an extended version of inv, looping back to 2. above. If it is invalid, they abort thread (b).
  8. (b) The leeches request the Nth row (from the root) of the transaction Merkle tree, where N might typically be between 2 and 10. That corresponds to about 1/4th to 1/1024th of the transactions. The leeches also request a bitfield indicating which of the Merkle nodes the seed has leaves for. The seed supplies this (0xFFFF...).
  9. (b) The leeches calculate all parent node hashes in the Merkle tree, and verify that the root hash is as described in the header.
  10. The leeches search their Merkle hash cache to see if they have the leaves (transaction hashes and/or transactions) for that node already.
  11. The leeches send a bitfield request to the node indicating which Merkle nodes they want the leaves for.
  12. The seed responds by sending leaves (either txn hashes or full transactions, depending on benchmark results) to the leeches in whatever order it decides is optimal for the network.
  13. The leeches verify that the leaves hash into the ancestor node hashes that they already have.
  14. The leeches begin sharing leaves with each other.
  15. If the leaves are txn hashes, they check their cache for the actual transactions. If they are missing it, they request the txns with a getdata, or all of the txns they're missing (as a list) with a few batch getdatas.
Features and benefits
The main feature of this algorithm is that a leech will begin to upload chunks of data as soon as it gets them and confirms both PoW and hash/data integrity instead of waiting for a fully copy with full verification.
Inefficient cases, and mitigations
This algorithm is more complicated than the existing algorithm, and won't always be better in performance.
Because more round trip messages are required for negotiating the Merkle tree transfers, it will perform worse in situations where the bandwidth to ping latency ratio is high relative to the blocksize.
Specifically, the minimum per-hop latency will likely be higher.
This might be mitigated by reducing the number of round-trip messages needed to set up the BlockTorrent by using larger and more complex inv-like and getdata-like messages that preemptively send some data (e.g. block headers).
This would trade off latency for bandwidth overhead from larger duplicated inv messages.
Depending on implementation quality, the latency for the smallest block size might be the same between algorithms, or it might be 300% higher for the torrent algorithm.
For small blocks (perhaps < 100 kB), the BlockTorrent algorithm will likely be slightly slower.
Sidebar from the OP: So maybe this would discourage certain miners (cough Dow cough) from mining blocks that aren't full enough:
Why is [BTCC] limiting their block size to under 750 all of a sudden?
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/486o1u/why_is_bttc_limiting_their_block_size_to_unde

For large blocks (e.g. 8 MB over 20 Mbps), I expect the BlockTorrent algo will likely be around an order of magnitude faster in the worst case (adversarial) scenarios, in which none of the block's transactions are in the caches.

One of the big benefits of the BlockTorrent algorithm is that it provides several obvious and straightforward points for bandwidth saving and optimization by caching transactions and reconstructing the transaction order.

Future work: possible further optimizations
A cooperating miner [could] pre-announce Merkle subtrees with some of the transactions they are planning on including in the final block.
Other miners who see those subtrees [could] compare the transactions in those subtrees to the transaction sets they are mining with, and can rearrange their block prototypes to use the same subtrees as much as possible.
In the case of public pools supporting the getblocktemplate protocol, it might be possible to build Merkle subtree caches without the pool's help by having one or more nodes just scraping their getblocktemplate results.
Even if some transactions are inserted or deleted, it [might] be possible to guess a lot of the tree based on the previous ordering.
Once a block header and the first few rows of the Merkle tree [had] been published, they [would] propagate through the whole network, at which time full nodes might even be able to guess parts of the tree by searching through their txn and Merkle node/subtree caches.
That might be fun to think about, but probably not effective due to O( n2 ) or worse scaling with transaction count.
Might be able to make it work if the whole network cooperates on it, but there are probably more important things to do.
Leveraging other features from BitTorrent
There are also a few other features of Bittorrent that would be useful here, like:
  • prioritizing uploads to different peers based on their upload capacity,
  • banning peers that submit data that doesn't hash to the right value.
Sidebar from the OP: Hmm...maybe that would be one way to deal with the DDoS-ing we're experiencing right now? I know the DDoSer is using a rotating list of proxies, but still it could be a quick-and-dirty way to mitigate against his attack.
DDoS started again. Have a nice day, guys :)
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin_Classic/comments/47zglz/ddos_started_again_have_a_nice_day_guys/d0gj13y
(It might be good if we could get Bram Cohen to help with the implementation.)
Using the existing BitTorrent algorithm as-is - versus tailoring a new algorithm optimized for Bitcoin
Another possible option would be to just treat the block as a file and literally Bittorrent it.
But I think that there should be enough benefits to integrating it with the existing bitcoin p2p connections and also with using bitcoind's transaction caches and Merkle tree caches to make a native implementation worthwhile.
Also, BitTorrent itself was designed to optimize more for bandwidth than for latency, so we will have slightly different goals and tradeoffs during implementation.
Concerns, possible attacks, mitigations, related work
One of the concerns that I initially had about this idea was that it would involve nodes forwarding unverified block data to other nodes.
At first, I thought this might be useful for a rogue miner or node who wanted to quickly waste the whole network's bandwidth.
However, in order to perform this attack, the rogue needs to construct a valid header with a valid PoW, but use a set of transactions that renders the block as a whole invalid in a manner that is difficult to detect without full verification.
However, it will be difficult to design such an attack so that the damage in bandwidth used has a greater value than the 240 exahashes (and 25.1 BTC opportunity cost) associated with creating a valid header.
Related work: IBLT (Invertible Bloom Lookup Tables)
As I understand it, the O(1) IBLT approach requires that blocks follow strict rules (yet to be fully defined) about the transaction ordering.
If these are not followed, then it turns into sending a list of txn hashes, and separately ensuring that all of the txns in the new block are already in the recipient's mempool.
When mempools are very dissimilar, the IBLT approach performance degrades heavily and performance becomes worse than simply sending the raw block.
This could occur if a node just joined the network, during chain reorgs, or due to malicious selfish miners.
Also, if the mempool has a lot more transactions than are included in the block, the false positive rate for detecting whether a transaction already exists in another node's mempool might get high for otherwise reasonable bucket counts/sizes.
With the BlockTorrent approach, the focus is on transmitting the list of hashes in a manner that propagates as quickly as possible while still allowing methods for reducing the total bandwidth needed.
Remark
The BlockTorrent algorithm does not really address how the actual transaction data will be obtained because, once the leech has the list of txn hashes, the standard Bitcoin p2p protocol can supply them in a parallelized and decentralized manner.
Thoughts?
-jtoomim
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?

Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me?
I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin.
And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into.
But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all.
Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading!
But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree!
So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading?
Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot?
Just Do It?
When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law").
On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy).
So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split.
But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this.
Weird split among the devs
As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them.
But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase.
And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means.
And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn?
On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me.
And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?).
Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate.
When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?)
I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection.
And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely?
On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years.
Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China".
I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too!
I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints?
I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain.
(Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=)
Paradoxes in the blocksize debate
Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here:
(1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available.
But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)."
I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity.
(2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers.
I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff).
So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments.
But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction.
I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down).
Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"?
By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent.
I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply.
(BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.)
The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes.
This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-)
And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company?
Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)?
So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought.
Scaling
Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network.
So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster.
But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments).
Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever?
Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while?
And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses?
When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there.
But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions.
Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in?
And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture.
Are we using our capacity wisely?
I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years.
It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees.
When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.).
I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank.
Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server.
And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has.
Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database.
So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve.
But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into!
It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work.
Right? Right?
A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures
I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science).
My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there.
From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers).
It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds.
For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?).
Curry-Howard anyone?
I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java.
So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach.
And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations.
For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto.
And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks."
These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin.
But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise").
Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying.
And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols).
And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases.
(And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?)
And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database.
Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected.
I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize?
It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet."
So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network.
Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible.
It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff.
Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain.
XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine).
But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements").
One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin.
Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language).
They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do.
Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof
You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements.
Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure.
The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem.
There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce.
I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms.
I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply.
So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of desperate debate where both sides seem right because the other side seems wrong.
https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/neil.ghani/papers/ghani-calco07
The above paper is about "higher dimensional trees". It uses a bit of category theory (not a whole lot) and a bit of Haskell (again not a lot - just a simple data structure called a Rose tree, which has a wikipedia page) to develop a very expressive and efficient data structure which generalizes from lists to trees to higher dimensions.
I have no idea if this kind of data structure could be applicable to the current scaling mess we apparently are getting bogged down in - I don't have the game-theory skills to figure it out.
I just thought that since the blockchain is like a list, and since there are some tree-like structures which have been grafted on for efficiency (eg Merkle trees) and since many of the futuristic scaling proposals seem to also involve generalizing from list-like structures (eg, the blockchain) to tree-like structures (eg, side-chains and tree-chains)... well, who knows, there might be some nugget of algorithmic or architectural or data-structure inspiration there.
So... TL;DR:
(1) I'm freaked out that this blocksize debate has splintered the community so badly and dragged on so long, with no resolution in sight, and both sides seeming so right (because the other side seems so wrong).
(2) I think Bitcoin could gain immensely by using high-level formal, algebraic and co-algebraic program specification and verification languages (such as Maude including Maude-NPA, Mobile Maude parameterized skeletons, etc.) to specify (and possibly also, to some degree, verify) what Bitcoin does - before translating to low-level implementation languages such as C and Python and Java saying how Bitcoin does it. This would help to communicate and reason about programs with much more mathematical certitude - and possibly obviate the need for many political and economic tradeoffs which currently seem dismally inevitable - and possibly widen the collaboration on this project.
(3) I wonder if there are some Big Data approaches out there (eg, along the lines of Google's MapReduce and BigTable, or Yale's CalvinDB), which could be implemented to allow Bitcoin to scale massively and painlessly - and to satisfy all stakeholders, ranging from millionaires to micropayments, coffee drinkers to the great "unbanked".
submitted by BeYourOwnBank to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Introducing a POW through a soft-fork | Devrandom | Nov 01 2017

Devrandom on Nov 01 2017:
Hi all,
Feedback is welcome on the draft below. In particular, I want to see if
there is interest in further development of the idea and also interested in
any attack vectors or undesirable dynamics.
(Formatted version available here:
https://github.com/devrandom/btc-papers/blob/masteaux-pow.md )

Soft-fork Introduction of a New POW

Motivation:

not have economies of scale
mining power fluctuations
Note however that choice of a suitable POW will require deep analysis.
Some pitfalls include: botnet mining, POWs that seem ASIC resistant but are
not, unexpected/covert optimization.
In particular, unexpected/covert optimizations, such as ASCIBOOST, present
a potential centralizing and destabilizing force.

Design

Aux POW intermediate block

Auxiliary POW blocks are introduced between normal blocks - i.e. the chain
alternates between the two POWs.
Each aux-POW block points to the previous normal block and contains
transactions just like a normal block.
Each normal block points to the previous aux-POW block and must contain all
transactions from the aux-POW block.
Block space is not increased.
The new intermediate block and the pointers are introduced via a soft-fork
restriction.

Reward for aux POW miners

The reward for the aux POW smoothly increases from zero to a target value
(e.g. 1/2 of the total reward) over time.
The reward is transferred via a soft-fork restriction requiring a coinbase
output to an address published in the
aux-POW block.

Aux POW difficulty adjustment

Difficulty adjustments remain independent for the two POWs.
The difficulty of the aux POW is adjusted based on the average time between
normal block found
to aux block found.
Further details are dependent on the specific POW.

Heaviest chain rule change

This is a semi-hard change, because non-upgraded nodes can get on the wrong
chain in case of attack. However,
it might be possible to construct an alert system that notifies
non-upgraded nodes of an upcoming rule change.
All blocks are still valid, so this is not a hardforking change.
The heaviest chain definition changes from sum of difficulty to sum of:
mainDifficulty ^ x * auxDifficulty ^ y 
where we start at:
x = 1; y = 0 
and end at values of x and y that are related to the target relative
rewards. For example, if the target rewards
are equally distributed, we will want ot end up at:
x = 1/2; y = 1/2 
so that both POWs have equal weight. If the aux POW is to become dominant,
x should end small relative to y.

Questions and Answers

weight? A: 1/2 of the reward should be transferred
to aux miners and x = 1/2, y = 1/2.
most of the reward should be transferred to
aux miners and x = 0, y = 1. The main difficulty will tend to zero, and
aux miners will just trivially generate the
main block immediately after finding an aux block, with identical content.
optimized by skipping transactions already
transferred.
would agree if they believe that
the coins will increase in value due to improved security properties.

Open Questions

become idle while a block of the other type is being mined. In practice,
the spare capacity can be used to find alternative ("attacking") blocks or
mine other coins. Is that a problem?
types of hardware?

POW candidates

confirmation)

Next Steps

detrimental behavior patterns (e.g. block withholding / selfish mining)

Credits

Bram Cohen came up with a similar idea back in March:
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-March/013744.html
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/attachments/20171101/9dc7ba4e/attachment.html
original: https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-Novembe015236.html
submitted by dev_list_bot to bitcoin_devlist [link] [comments]

This will all end in tears.

Ideas are not harmless. Ideas can be destructive, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. New ideas run at risk of disturbing the homeostasis that evolved in the environment they contaminate.
I worry everyday about what we have created. Inventions can not be put back into the box they came from. As soon as we announce a new invention, we lose control over it. Worse, there is no guarantee that a new invention ends up benefiting humanity in the long run.
With the discovery of nuclear weapons we ensured that another great war would be the last one. With the discovery of heroin we ensured the death through addiction of millions. With Bitcoin, we have changed the natural laws that governed the global economy. This will inevitably trigger the largest social upheaval in modern history.
Governments know that technology is the most disruptive power in the world. The American government knew this was going to happen. The NSA came up with a theoretical implementation of Bitcoin in 1996. They knew. And they prepared themselves.
Today the US government is the owner of 144.336 Bitcoin, or one percent of the total current supply. Don't expect your government to let go of those coins. If the US government would ever see a need to purchase Bitcoin, it's own acquisition of new Bitcoin would inevitably trigger a rise in prices. This was the easiest way for your government to step into the game and preserve its own relevancy in the coming global economy.
The official narrative is that Bitcoin surged as a result of the stability found through the closure of Silk Road. The Chinese then stepped into the market and we ended up at 200 dollar a coin. The official narrative is a lie.
The sudden massive increase in volume on Chinese Bitcoin exchanges was completely unexplainable. There was no rise in client downloads in China. There was no rise in Bitcoin search volume on Baidu. There was no rise in Bitcoin visits on the Chinese Wikipedia. There was no Chinese bubble. You can all look this up for yourself, and you'll see that I'm right.
What happened is that the world's second largest superpower took an emergency response upon discovering that the world's largest superpower seized 1% of the global Bitcoin supply. The closure of Silk Road was never about drugs, it was about seizing Bitcoin without causing a price spike.
Who was capable of causing the April 2013 DDOS attacks that brought Mt Gox to its knees, triggering a price collapse? The US government owns a massive botnet.
The US government thinks about the long term. Their goal is to make the worldwide adaptation of Bitcoin as little disruptive as possible. They know what's going to happen and the chaos it will cause. We're only barely beginning to understand what we have unleashed.
As mentioned earlier, you have no power to stop the use of a technology. Mr. Nobel was horrified to see how dynamite was used, you will be horrified to see how Bitcoin will be used. You can't decide how Bitcoin will be used any more than Bram Cohen could decide what you will and won't get to download with Bittorrent. There is no "Stop" sign that Bitcoin has to obey. There is 32 trillion dollar worth of wealth hidden off shore to avoid paying taxes. This is sooner or later going to end up stored in Bitcoin.
People who own Bitcoin will see no need to pay taxes, thus leading to a rise in taxes for people who do pay taxes, thus leading to more people fleeing to Bitcoin. Eventually, this leads to a situation where all financial transactions are done in Bitcoin. Fiat currency is going to be worthless.
This is good news for you, but not for the rest of humanity. We are about to witness the largest transfer of wealth in human history. The victims will be those a few years from now who didn't invest and are forced to buy Bitcoin to pay for their groceries when the value of the dollar starts to take a nosedive.
How will your neighbor feel when his savings have become worthless and his bank won't let him withdraw the money? How will people in third world countries without access to Bitcoin feel? How will the people of the world feel about people becoming billionaires through sheer luck? Will those people use their power in a responsible manner?
You're going to feel thankful for every crash we've had, as every crash encouraged people with a large balance to divest and thereby lead to a more egalitarian distribution of Bitcoin. The problem is nonetheless unavoidable. There will be anonymous Bitcoin billionaires. There will be social and economic chaos.
I genuinely hope that I'm wrong and shake my head a few years from now. We can't count on such luck however. Think about what you're going to do. You successfully inverted the global economic order. Now you are at the steering wheel.
submitted by accountt1234 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Rolling UTXO set hashes | Pieter Wuille | May 15 2017

Pieter Wuille on May 15 2017:
Hello all,
I would like to discuss a way of computing a UTXO set hash that is
very efficient to update, but does not support any compact proofs of
existence or non-existence.
Much has been written on the topic of various data structures and
derived hashes for the UTXO/TXO set before (including Alan Reiner's
trust-free lite nodes [1], Peter Todd's TXO MMR commitments [2] [3],
or Bram Cohen's TXO bitfield [4]). They all provide interesting extra
functionality or tradeoffs, but require invasive changes to the P2P
protocol or how wallets work, or force nodes to maintain their
database in a normative fashion. Instead, here I focus on an efficient
hash that supports nothing but comparing two UTXO sets. However, it is
not incompatible with any of those other approaches, so we can gain
some of the advantages of a UTXO hash without adopting something that
may be incompatible with future protocol enhancements.
  1. Incremental hashing
Computing a hash of the UTXO set is easy when it does not need
efficient updates, and when we can assume a fixed serialization with a
normative ordering for the data in it - just serialize the whole thing
and hash it. As different software or releases may use different
database models for the UTXO set, a solution that is order-independent
would seem preferable.
This brings us to the problem of computing a hash of unordered data.
Several approaches that accomplish this through incremental hashing
were suggested in [5], including XHASH, AdHash, and MuHash. XHASH
consists of first hashing all the set elements independently, and
XORing all those hashes together. This is insecure, as Gaussian
elimination can easily find a subset of random hashes that XOR to a
given value. AdHash/MuHash are similar, except addition/multiplication
modulo a large prime are used instead of XOR. Wagner [6] showed that
attacking XHASH or AdHash is an instance of a generalized birthday
problem (called the k-sum problem in his paper, with unrestricted k),
and gives a O(22*sqrt(n-1)) algorithm to attack it (for n-bit
hashes). As a result, AdHash with 256-bit hashes only has 31 bits of
security.
Thankfully, [6] also shows that the k-sum problem cannot be
efficiently solved in groups in which the discrete logarithm problem
is hard, as an efficient k-sum solver can be used to compute discrete
logarithms. As a result, MuHash modulo a sufficiently large safe prime
is provably secure under the DL assumption. Common guidelines on
security parameters [7] say that 3072-bit DL has about 128 bits of
security. A final 256-bit hash can be applied to the 3072-bit result
without loss of security to reduce the final size.
An alternative to multiplication modulo a prime is using an elliptic
curve group. Due to the ECDLP assumption, which the security of
Bitcoin signatures already relies on, this also results in security
against k-sum solving. This approach is used in the Elliptic Curve
Multiset Hash (ECMH) in [8]. For this to work, we must "hash onto a
curve point" in a way that results in points without known discrete
logarithm. The paper suggests using (controversial) binary elliptic
curves to make that operation efficient. If we only consider
secp256k1, one approach is just reading potential X coordinates from a
PRNG until one is found that has a corresponding Y coordinate
according to the curve equation. On average, 2 iterations are needed.
A constant time algorithm to hash onto the curve exists as well [9],
but it is only slightly faster and is much more complicated to
implement.
AdHash-like constructions with a sufficiently large intermediate hash
can be made secure against Wagner's algorithm, as suggested in [10].
4160-bit hashes would be needed for 128 bits of security. When
repetition is allowed, [8] gives a stronger attack against AdHash,
suggesting that as much as 400000 bits are needed. While repetition is
not directly an issue for our use case, it would be nice if
verification software would not be required to check for duplicated
entries.
  1. Efficient addition and deletion
Interestingly, both ECMH and MuHash not only support adding set
elements in any order but also deleting in any order. As a result, we
can simply maintain a running sum for the UTXO set as a whole, and
add/subtract when creating/spending an output in it. In the case of
MuHash it is slightly more complicated, as computing an inverse is
relatively expensive. This can be solved by representing the running
value as a fraction, and multiplying created elements into the
numerator and spent elements into the denominator. Only when the final
hash is desired, a single modular inverse and multiplication is needed
to combine the two.
As the update operations are also associative, H(a)+H(b)+H(c)+H(d) can
in fact be computed as (H(a)+H(b)) + (H(c)+H(d)). This implies that
all of this is perfectly parallellizable: each thread can process an
arbitrary subset of the update operations, allowing them to be
efficiently combined later.
  1. Comparison of approaches
Numbers below are based on preliminary benchmarks on a single thread
of a i7-6820HQ CPU running at 3.4GHz.
(1) (MuHash) Multiplying 3072-bit hashes mod 23072 - 1103717 (the
largest 3072-bit safe prime).
* Needs a fast modular multiplication/inverse implementation. * Using SHA512 + ChaCha20 for generating the hashes takes 1.2us per element. * Modular multiplication using GMP takes 1.5us per element (2.5us 
with a 60-line C+asm implementation).
* 768 bytes for maintaining a running sum (384 for numerator, 384 
for denominator)
* Very common security assumption. Even if the DL assumption would 
be broken (but no k-sum algorithm faster than Wagner's is found), this
still maintains 110 bits of security.
(2) (ECMH) Adding secp256k1 EC points
* Much more complicated than the previous approaches when 
implementing from scratch, but almost no extra complexity when ECDSA
secp256k1 signature validation is already implemented.
* Using SHA512 + libsecp256k1's point decompression for generating 
the points takes 11us per element on average.
* Addition/subtracting of N points takes 5.25us + 0.25us*N. * 64 bytes for a running sum. * Identical security assumption as Bitcoin's signatures. 
Using the numbers above, we find that:
24ms (2) 100ms
block takes (1) 3ms (2) 0.5ms
Note that while (2) has higher CPU usage than (1) in general, it has
lower latency when using precomputed per-transaction aggregates. Using
such aggregates is also more feasible as they're only 64 bytes rather
than 768. Because of simplicity, (1) has my preference.
Overall, these numbers are sufficiently low (note that they can be
parallellized) that it would be reasonable for full nodes and/or other
software to always maintain one of them, and effectively have a
rolling cryptographical checksum of the UTXO set at all times.
  1. Use cases
computation. This currently requires minutes of I/O and CPU, as it
serializes and hashes the entire UTXO set. A rolling set hash would
make this instant, making the whole RPC much more usable for sanity
checking.
blocks/UTXO sets.
the past few blocks (computed on the fly), a consistency check can be
done that recomputes it based on the database.
[1] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88208.0
[2] https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2016-May/012715.html
[3] https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-February/013591.html
[4] https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-March/013928.html
[5] https://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~mihipapers/inchash.pdf
[6] https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~daw/papers/genbday.html
[7] https://www.keylength.com/
[8] https://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.06502.pdf
[9] https://www.di.ens.f~fouque/pub/latincrypt12.pdf
[10] http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/hash/sha-3/Aug2014/documents/gligoroski_paper_sha3_2014_workshop.pdf
Cheers,

Pieter
original: https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2017-May/014337.html
submitted by dev_list_bot to bitcoin_devlist [link] [comments]

Weekly Bitcoin Twitter Sentiment Tracking Launched New FUD: Bram Cohen on the Future of BitTorrent BitTorrent Founder to Launch Ethereum Classic Price Analysis - 12th March 2020

Bram Cohen. Follow. Jun 22, 2015 · 10 min read. Bitcoin has always had the potential for a crisis. Maybe it will be the subject of a successful denial of service attack. Maybe it will be declared ... Bram Cohen: Data Structures for Scaling Bitcoin. Posted on July 11, 2017 by 247 Bitcoin. 24 7 Bitcoin. Bitcoin News Search. 1 News -24 7 News -24 7 Bitcoin -1 Search. Search for: submitted by /u/ysangkok 24 7 Bitcoin. Bitcoin News Search. 1 News -24 7 News -24 7 Bitcoin -1 Search. Search for: Posted in Bitcoin News, News, Reddit Tagged 247 Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin News, Bitcoins, BTC, Reddit ... Bram Cohen: ‘Getting Rich Is a Terrible Metric of Success’ CoinDesk reporter Leigh Cuen is joined by Bram Cohen, author of the BitTorrent protocol and CEO of Chia . The inventor of Bittorrent has now turned his attention to blockchain technology and building a greener Bitcoin called Chia.Bram Cohen released Bittorrent to the world in 2004, but, in early 2017 ... Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, has set his eyes on cryptocurrencies and says he's going to start his own. Over the past few years, cryptocurrencies have become more and more popular, with ...

[index] [7345] [15604] [4253] [29735] [10052] [38528] [13535] [14312] [39801] [37172]

Weekly Bitcoin Twitter Sentiment Tracking Launched

This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue 11/0917 Look who's joining the cryptocurrency scene! The man who created BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, has announced his intentions to enter the blockchain and cryptocurrency world with Chia! What makes ... Given the huge impact sentiment has on the price and momentum of bitcoin, Brave New Coin’s launch of a Bitcoin Twitter Sentiment index comes as welcome news for anyone working in the sector ... This is part one of a two-part conversation with Bram Cohen. Bram is the inventor of the peer to peer BitTorrent protocol that changed the world in the early 2000s, disrupting the way we ... Berkeley Bitcoin Meetup - Bram Cohen from Chia Network - Duration: 53:38. Blockchain at Berkeley 690 views. 53:38 . I turn Car Compressor into Working Engine - Duration: 34:59. Lets Learn ...

#