*Open Bazaar was crossed-out after their S2X support retraction, see edit at bottom. These guys submitted by
have deep pockets, but as you will see below, they are funded by even deeper pockets.
We can't leave this to chance or "the markets to decide" when there is such a malicious intent to manipulate the markets by those powerful players. So that's why all the people saying: "Don't worry, S2X won't happen" or "S2X is DOA" need to stop, we are at a 'make-or-break' moment for Bitcoin. It's very dumb to underestimate them. If you don't know yet who those malicious players are, read below:
We need to keep exposing them everywhere. Using Garzik as a pawn now, after they failed when they bought Hearn and Andresen (Here are the corrupted former 'good guys'), they are using the old and effective 'Problem-Reaction-Solution' combined with the 'Divide & Conquer' strategies to try to hijack Bitcoin. Well, effective before the current social media era, in which hidden motives can be brought to the light of day to be exposed.
Public pressure works when your profits depend on your reputation. The social media criticism worked for companies like Open Bazaar, which after weeks of calling them out on their S2X support, they finally withdrew it
Please contact the companies on these lists if you have any type of relationship with them, we have just a few days left until the fork:
Regarding OpenBazaar: * openbazaar (OB1) developer appears to be spreading pro s2x fud. someone needs to fork their project * PSA : Open Bazaars latest investment round was for 200K from Barry Silberts DCG (Digital Currency Group)
(See edit at the bottom)
B2X (S2X/NYA) is nothing more than an open attack on Bitcoin, not an "upgrade" as they want to sell it. This attack has no 'consensus', at all. It was "agreed" by a bunch of miners and corporations behind closed doors, with no community nor developers support. Only miners and a few millionaires that stand to profit from the B2X attack support it. The vast majority of the Bitcoin community is totally against this attack on Bitcoin. Most of those companies are under DCG group:
Every bitcoiner should know about what DCG (Digital Currency Group) is, and call out publicly these crooks and the people they bribed that are working for the Corporations/Bankers against Bitcoin:
Brian Armstrong, Winklevoss brothers, Bobby Lee, Peter Smith, Nic Cary, Haipo Yang, Rick Falkvinge, Jon Matonis, Wences Casares, Tony Gallippi, Mike Belshe, Ryan X Charles,
Brian Hoffman/Sam Patterson/Chris Pacia (and all OB1 team)(see edit at the bottom), Gavin Andresen, Jeff Garzik, Mike Hearn, Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, John Mcaffe, Craig Wright, Barry Silbert, Larry Summers, Blythe Masters, Stephen Pair, Erik Voorhees, Vinny Lingham, Olivier Janssens, Jeremy Allaire, Peter Vessenes, Bruce Wagner, Brock Pierce, Aaron Voisine/Adam Traidman/Aaron Lasher (Breadwallet team), Glenn Hutchins (Federal Reserve Board of Directors), Bill Barhydt and Jiang Zhuoer.
Once people are informed, they won't be fooled (like all the poor guys at btc) and will follow Bitcoin instead of the S2X or Bcash or any other centralized altcoin they come up with disguised as Bitcoin.
DCG (Digital Currency Group) is the company spearheading the Segwit2x movement. The CEO of DCG is Barry Silbert, a former investment banker, and Mastercard is an investor in DCG.
Let's have a look at the people that control DCG: http://dcg.co/who-we-are/
Three board members are listed, and one Board "Advisor." Three of the four Members/advisors are particularly interesting: Glenn Hutchins
: Former Advisor to President Clinton. Hutchins sits on the board of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he was reelected as a Class B director for a three-year term ending December 31, 2018. Yes, you read that correctly, currently sitting board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Barry Silbert
: CEO of DCG (Digital Currency Group, funded by Mastercard) who is also an Ex investment Banker at (Houlihan Lokey)
And then there's the "Board Advisor," Lawrence H. Summers:
"Chief Economist at the World Bank from 1991 to 1993. In 1993, Summers was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin. In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury. While working for the Clinton administration Summers played a leading role in the American response to the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the Russian financial crisis. He was also influential in the American advised privatization of the economies of the post-Soviet states, and in the deregulation of the U.S financial system, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers Blythe Masters:
Former executive at JPMorgan Chase. She is currently the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a financial technology firm developing distributed ledger technology for wholesale financial services. Masters is widely credited as the creator of the credit default swap as a financial instrument. She is also Chairman of the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, member of the International Advisory Board of Santander Group, and Advisory Board Member of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blythe_Masters
Seriously....The segwit2x deal is being pushed through by a Company funded by Mastercard, Whose CEO Barry Silbert is ex investment banker, and the Board Members of DCG include a currently sitting member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Ex chief Economist for the World Bank and a guy responsible for the removal of Glass Steagall. It's fair to call these guys "bankers" right?
So that's the Board of DCG. They're spearheading the Segwit2x movement. As far as who is responsible for development, my research led me to "Bitgo". I checked the "Money Map" https://i.redd.it/15auzwkq3hiz.png
And sure enough, DCG is an investor in Bitgo.
(BTW, make sure you take a good look take a look at the money map and bookmark it for reference later, ^ it is really helpful.)
"Currently, development is being overseen by bitcoin security startup BitGo, with help from other developers including Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik." https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-segwit2x-scaling-proposal-miners-offer-optimistic-outlook/
So Bitgo is overseeing development of Segwit2x with Jeff Garzick. Bitgo has a product/service that basically facilitates transactions and supposedly prevents double spending. It seems like their main selling point is that they insert themselves as middlemen to ensure Double spending doesn't happen, and if it does, they take the hit, of course for a fee, so it sounds sort of like the buyer protection paypal gives you: "Using the above multi-signature security model, BitGo can guarantee that transactions cannot be double spent. When BitGo co-signs a BitGo Instant transaction, BitGo takes on a financial obligation and issues a cryptographically signed guarantee on the transaction. The recipient of a BitGo Instant transaction can rest assured that in any event where the transaction is not ultimately confirmed in the blockchain, and loses money as a result, they can file a claim and will be compensated in full by BitGo."
So basically, they insert themselves as middlemen, guarantee your transaction gets confirmed and take a fee. What do we need this for though when we have a working blockchain that confirms payments in the next block already?
0-conf is safe when blocks aren't full and one confirmation should really be good enough for almost anyone on the most POW chain. So if we have a fully functional blockchain, there isn't much of a need for this service is there? They're selling protection against "The transaction not being confirmed in the Blockchain" but why wouldn't the transaction be getting confirmed in the blockchain? Every transaction should be getting confirmed, that's how Bitcoin works. So in what situation does "protection against the transaction not being confirmed in the blockchain" have value?
Is it possible that the Central Bankers that control development of Segwit2x plan to restrict block size to benefit their business model just like our good friends over at Blockstream attempted to do, although unsuccessfully as they were not able to deliver a working L2 in time?
It looks like Blockstream was an attempted corporate takeover to restrict block size and push people onto their L2, essentially stealing business away from miners. They seem to have failed, but now it almost seems like the Segwit2x might be a culmination of a very similar problem.
Also worth noting these two things, pointed out by Adrian-x
So segwit2x takes power away from core, but then gives it to guess who...Mastercard and central bankers.
- MasterCard made this statement before investing in DCG and Blockstream. (Very evident at 2:50 - enemy of digital cash watch the whole thing.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu2mofrhw58
- Blockstream is part of the DCG portfolio and the day after the the NYA Barry personal thanked Adam Back for his assistant in putting the agreement together. https://twitter.com/barrysilbert/status/867706595102388224
So, to recap:
Did we just spend so much time fighting and bickering with core that we totally missed the REAL takeover of Bitcoin, happening right before our eyes, by the likes of currently serving Federal Reserve Bank of New York Board Members?
- DCG's Board of Directors and Advisors is almost entirely made up of Central Bankers including one currently sitting Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and another who was Chief Economist at the World Bank.
- The CEO of the company spearheading the Segwit2x movement (Barry Silbert) is an ex investment banker at Houlihan Lokey. Also, Mastercard is an investor in the company DCG, which Barry Silbert is the CEO of.
- The company overseeing development on Segwit2x, Bitgo, has a product/service that seems to only have utility if transacting on chain and using 0-Conf is inefficient or unreliable.
- Segwit2x takes power over Bitcoin development from core, but then literally gives it to central bankers and Mastercard. If segwit2x goes through, BTC development will quite literally be controlled by central bankers and a currently serving member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
And before you dismiss all those hard and documented facts as just a 'conspiracy theory', think about this:
Of course, who thought that the ones holding the centralized financial power today (famous for back-door shady plots to consolidate even more power and control), would sit on their hands and let Bitcoin just stroll in and easily take that power away from them?
So, it is not a crazy conspiracy theory, but more like the logical and expected thing to happen. Don't let it happen.
Edit 2: Brian Armstrong taken out of the 'bad guys' list.
Edit 3: Welp, Brian Armstrong back on the blacklist for this flip-flop
. And added Winklevoss Brothers for this
, and Bobby Lee for this
Edit 4: Due to Brian Hoffman just issuing this excellent and explicit S2X/NYA support retraction
, I created this post to apologize for my previous posts (calling them out for the S2X support) and I will be editing my posts to reflect this positive change. I'm gladly back to being a supporter of the great and promising project that OpenBazaar has proven to be.
Edit 5: Added Blythe Masters (How could we leave her out?).
Edit 6: Added links to lists of companies supporting S2X/NYA.
At long last, we're excited to present to the Ethereum community the release version of our whitepaper, including plans for our token sale now scheduled for November 1st at 3pm UTC.
We've been banging on pots and pans since January
that we intended Arcade City to be the decentralized, Ethereum-based
answer to Uber. In April we laid out our multi-stage path to complete decentralization over time
, then announced plans to submit a DAO proposal
- oops! - and just recently added a crew of experienced Ethereum developers
who've built a functioning Ethereum ridesharing prototype
in record time.
In the meantime we've made substantial progress 'on the ground' in cities all over the world, with our flagship ridesharing network in Austin giving tens of thousands of safe rides in a completely decentralized manner.
Now we're ready to combine our decentralized organizational model with the solid decentralized tech that can propel our project further into the mainstream.
Responding to your questions and comments below will be our 7-person ‘City Council’, as well as a few other folks who’ve been involved with Arcade City thus far.
Our Reddit usernames are included in the Team Bios section below.
What is Arcade City?
Arcade City is a decentralized global community of peer-to-peer service providers and consumers. The core technical offering is an Ethereum-based app for web, Android and iOS. Arcade City features an open ecosystem with forthcoming APIs to enable developers and entrepreneurs to easily create their own apps and service offerings as part of the Arcade City network. Initial service offerings focus on the ridesharing industry, with plans in motion for peer-to-peer deliveries and short-term home rentals.
Arcade City aims to reinvent the sharing economy by combining the power of blockchain technology, open-source development, platform cooperativism, and a decentralized ‘swarm’ organizational model open to all.
A hackathon, you say?
Assuming our token sale sells out by the end of November, we'll be throwing an online hackathon open to any Ethereum developers, with a minimum of $100K USD value in prizes, payable in ETH or ARC.
We'll announce super final details about start and end dates, judges and such, after the sale, potentially as soon as the first week of November.
The basic idea of the first hackathon will be to build out the functionality described in the Arcade City Infrastructure section of the whitepaper
: the offers, disputes, guilds, referrals, reputation, and assurance systems, with a likely priority on the reputation system.
We intend to crowdsource the majority of our Ethereum development via multiple hackathons with everything open-source on GitHub
Check out the eye-popping revenue projectons in our whitepaper! Then imagine the majority of that revenue flowing into the Ethereum community by way of incentive prizes to accelerate the decentralization of the sharing economy...
- IBTimes UK - 'Decentralised Uber' Arcade City wins Europe's biggest blockchain competition
- Bitcoin.com - ‘Decentralized Uber’ App Delivers 1,000 Meals in Austin, Texas - (The most-viewed article on Bitcoin.com)
- Our Austin push was featured in TechCrunch, The Guardian, National Review, VICE, Austin Inno, CoinTelegraph and more, with mentions in Newsweek, Bloomberg, The Economist, The Atlantic, Reason, Business Insider, and countless local media outlets.
** Christopher David (MillennialChris) - Mayor **
Christopher David founded Arcade City in December 2015. A former Uber driver
, Chris initially envisioned Arcade City as a decentralized, driver-run competitor to Uber. As a blockchain enthusiast and proponent of radical decentralization, Chris was the first to recognize the larger potential of Arcade City as an unstoppable engine of mass peer-to-peer transactions across countless industries and countries all over the world. Using skills acquired during years of grassroots political organizing, he led the growth of Arcade City from an idea into a global movement on a shoestring budget. After much trial and error, he somehow managed to attract an amazing team of talented visionaries passionate to fulfill on the greater vision of Arcade City to ‘decentralize all the things'. Chris has a bachelors degree in international relations, a black belt in tang soo do, and a really loud mouth. And he thinks you should read Swarmwise
** Jennifer Williams (ArcadeCityJenny) - Vice Mayor **
is a founding member of the Arcade City Swarm and has served as the Director of Support since February 2016. She contributes on a full-time basis to expanding operations globally with the other founding members. Together they give new members the necessary tools and resources needed to efficiently and effectively navigate the Arcade City ecosystem. Her primary motivation is to guide, educate and liberate individuals by making information accessible through email, social media, and the Arcade City Help Desk that she designed. After her studies in graphic design and holding several corporate managerial positions she decided to exit the proverbial ‘hamster wheel’ and pursue her entrepreneurial goals which led her to ridesharing. Jennifer has 2.5 years of rideshare experience, has mentored 400+ new drivers, and served as a marketing coordinator, brand ambassador and recruiter, which has given her extensive knowledge of the industry. Through her work with Arcade City she has gained interests and insights into cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, and she believes that implementing the latest technologies will help Arcade City supercede the ridesharing competitors by eliminating the middlemen and allowing drivers to earn fair wages and build stronger communities while saving riders from price gouging.
** Lauren Slade (ArcadeSlade) - City Manager **
Lauren Slade is an accomplished operations and support professional with over four years of direct experience providing tactical strategies ranging from small startups to large scale teams operating globally. As a forward thinking tech leader she believes in pairing laser-focused user observation with a great amount of drive to constantly improve ways of operating as the most definitive route to unstoppable success. Lauren is steadfast and committed to collaboratively solving meaningful problems with a team who values getting things done. She joined Arcade City full-time in June of 2016 to direct the V2 integration of decentralized management systems and develop operational growth processes. Lauren looks forward most to ensuring Arcade City becomes a self-sustaining business model, free of a central governing council from the top down. Her passion for process-minded management and developing teams inspires her to successfully scale and balance hyper growth within talent and project recruitment. As a natural planner she enjoys getting down to the detail on performance and tracking metrics.
** Kristien De Wachter (kikipluche) - City Planner **
Kristien De Wachter has over 10 years of experience in project management and operations. In the beginning of 2015 she reinforced A-Labs, the City’s digital innovation lab. As lead of A-Labs, making the bridge between experiments and the “outside world”, tackling all problems that obstruct the way towards a good end-product, making sure all team members can work and think freely towards the common goals. Working on decentralization for more than a year. She joined forces with Arcade City on the 23th of September, as a liaison between the dev team in Antwerp and the swarm and swarm leaders, making sure all the cats run in the same direction, always with respect for everyone’s individuality and strengths. Believes Arcade City will bring freedom to every individual.
** Stefaan Ponnet (sponnet) - Engineer **
Stefaan has 15 years of experience in software development, design and architecture. He managed a software company for 6 years and worked for large companies as well as emerging start-ups. Interested in the possibilities of decentralized systems, he was an early Ethereum follower. Since september 2015 Stefaan has been full-time involved in developing Ethereum prototypes for government in the city of Antwerp. Stefaan has a passion for open source methodology and loves to solve technological problems. Stefaan and the Antwerp team joined Arcade City in September 2016 by publicly pledging our support to the community. Stefaan will add his expertise by developing all necessary building blocks - like Smart Contracts , Dapps, APIs, and anything else needed to make this new economy a reality.
** Michael Thuy (kingflurkel) - System Architect **
Michael Thuy has been studying and working on decentralized technology for the past 2 years, mostly from within the City of Antwerp's digital innovation lab 'A-Labs'. In the past year he has been working on concepts like Blocktube and Locals World. From a strong ideological and technical background he manages to mash up cutting edge technology to come up with all-round concepts. Meeting Arcade City, he felt he had no other purpose in life than to contribute to Arcade City's swarm. Michael is co-authoring the Arcade City whitepapeconcept and building on the PolymeEthereum prototype. With Arcade City, Michael wants to make sure his kids grow up in a different economic model than he did. He also would like Arcade City to be the de facto economic model on Mars.
** Ben Adriaenssen (Ben_AC) - Brand Architect **
Ben Adriaenssen after finishing his studies in ‘Visual Arts - Graphic Design’ found that working in advertising agencies or graphic studios was not fulfilling his strong urge to do something good for the world and the people in it. Applying his skill-set to communicate about random services or products wasn’t enough; he wanted to make a difference. Working for the City of Antwerp was a big step in this direction. While starting and working in the City of Antwerp's digital innovation lab 'A-Labs', his lifelong passion for creating digital interactive things has been reignited. Focusing on blockchain-technology was another big step to combining the love for design with the passion for people. Ben is thrilled to be able to contribute his value to a project like Arcade City. Working in this innovative decentral way, with like-minded people in a swarm structure, is for Ben a dream come true. He hopes Arcade City can put the power, literally and figuratively, back into the hands of the common man.
We could go on...
But to keep this to a somewhat manageable length, we'll stop here and answer any questions.
How can we earn your support?
As you all know the price of Bitcoin is climbing to significant higher price points ($150+) due to more and more positive news coming out over the validity and therefore acceptance of bitcoin. I'm a firm believer that we will see new highs for the price of bitcoin sometime this year. I have come to the conclusion 3 months ago that the price has to increase and test the $266 high sooner rather than later. There are several reasons and events that have happened over the course of the last 3 months that have consolidated this view. submitted by
1) The number one reason which evoked this thought was that mining difficulty was getting rapidly higher (at a rate of 30-35%) and the 2016 blocks completion rate was getting faster. However, at the time the price was stagnating at $100-110. This would render mining not very profitable and soon more powerful ASICs would need to come to the market to justify the continuation of mining activity or the mining market would collapse or perhaps the PoW function would need to be re-thought. Something had to give and I thought it would be the price. I felt we would need to see $150-250 prices but only in a favourable environment where more people would see bitcoin as a legitamate currency. This favourable environment was becoming more and more apparent after hearing various VC investors ploughing millions of dollars into start-ups.
CLARIFICATION: In a favourable environment more miners enter the market with newer, more powerful ASIC hardware rendering the current miners with their less powerful and now outdated ASIC hardware no longer profitable. This forces the current miners to hold on to their Bitcoins and wait to sell at a higher price removing this supply of Bitcoins from the market. This creates an upward price squeeze in a favourable environment.
2) VC funding into many bitcoin start-ups has taken off dramatically over the summer where coinlab got $500,000, Coinbase raised $5million and many other Bitcoin startups received $10,000-50,000 from Bitcoin venture capitalist firm BTCVC. While there were lots of early technologies that had funding and failed in the past several decades bitcoin, atleast is the only technology that is becoming adopted in over 80 countries world wide. For a currency Bitcoin is apolitical for a technology it is still not fully utilised. VC funding tends to happen when hope/speculation and confidence in a technology is evident and there seems to be plenty of confidence in it.
3) The closure of Silk Road in my opinion is a great thing for Bitcoin only because it removes the association of illicit drug commerce and the notion that such illegal activity is the main utility of Bitcoin. Regardless of what anyone thinks of drug use and trade it's evident that the number one currency used to trade illicit drugs is the US dollar and notably the $100 bill. Example of note is HSBC's direct involvement in facilitating transfers of $650m of Latin American drug money to and from the US which supposedly prevented a total financial collapse in 2008.
4) Many countries other than US have given Bitcoin the green light for acceptance: Germany legally declared Bitcoin as private money and legal tender (thats subject to tax but at least its legal), Canadian and UK financial services governing bodies declared that no legislation will be placed on Bitcoin, the exchanges or services. Government sanctioned Chinese state TV channel CCTV twice aired documentaries on Bitcoin in the summer.
Overall there are more and more services and utilities for Bitcoin cropping up every week and with that more and more confidence in the digital currency is observed. This is now reflected in the price but some like Falkvinge will argue that it's overpriced due to speculation. But what's wrong speculation? In financial markets, every currency, commodity and company need speculators as ultimately speculators aid the price discovery and determine a fair value. In turn the resulting liquidity indirectly provides wealth and value to the company/commodity/currency.
As shown in this article one of the main issues with Bitcoin is that it doesn't know if its a currency, commodity or asset as it exhibits all three tendencies but conversely therein lies its strength as well. Bitcoin has a set of properties that allow it to have all three classifications and I believe confidence in its adoption is gained by this fact.
Indeed the original premise of Bitcoin is that it's a currency and fulfils the basic criteria which makes it money; it's a medium of exchange, divisible, fungible, portable and scarce which supposedly gives it a store of value. Hence it's been coined the term digital gold. Like Gold it's apolitical however, unlike Gold where it's tangible and safe in ones possession Bitcoin's store of value is derived from its core attribute and that is its cryptography. Paradoxically Bitcoin is not tangible but it can be sent to the other side of the world in minutes and that is value. It can also be stored on a thumb drive and taken across borders without anyone knowing. This is not possible with gold. Bitcoin achieves this with the help of its encryption protocol. The Sha256 encryption protocol so far cannot be cracked and as long as that is secure Bitcoin's utility as a digital currency/asset/commodity remains and with that greater adoption and further fair value determination.
The future is bright, the future is Bitcoin
Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me? submitted by
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:
- wealthy individuals trying to preserve and transport their wealth across space and across time
- iPhone and Android users who want to buy a latte on their smartphone at Starbucks
- Venezuelans and Argentinians and Cypriots and Russian oligarchs and Greeks and anyone else whose state-backed currency sucks
- unbanked Africans who will someday be texting around money via SMS messages on their cellphones
- online content providers who will finally be able to get paid via micropayments
- smart contracts and stock brokering and lawyering and land deeding and the refrigerator calling out to order more milk and distributed anonymous corporations (DACs) automatically negotiating and adjusting driverless taxicab fares in the Uber-future of the Internet of Things
...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
assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal
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
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)
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:
- separating the compact (and easy-to-check) statement of a theorem from the messy (and hard-to-check) details of its proof(s);
- separating the specification of a system from its implementation(s); and
- being able to prove that an implementation does indeed satisfy its specification.
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".
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