How to increase your Bitcoin mining profit by 30 percent ...

Translation of Jihuan Wu's interview with Huobi

Huobi has started organizing some public lectures, and for this particular one they interviewed Jihan Wu. Not sure if anyone else is interested but I enjoyed the article and decided to translate it - questions are roughly translated, and his answers are written in full!
This is about 30% because the article is really long - if anyone's interested I will sit down and do the rest. Original article
Q: How did you get into the bitcoin industry?
A: When I was studying, I was very interested in the origins of currency for a while. Apart from textbooks, borrow and read other books to learn. I'm more familiar with some of the interesting history about currency, such as how we used various types of currency before gold (as a precious metal) and fiat became widely adopted.
When I first came into contact with Bitcoin, it still had a very small market cap. In 2010, I read an analysis about Bitcoin's security written by a famous hacker. He thought Bitcoin's structure was very simple and the technology had no problems. Coming back to the principles about currency that I'm familiar with - I think that since the Internet is a unique community type, it's obvious that many hope that Bitcoin can be circulated as a universal equivalent within a certain niche community. Hence, I was determined and invested a lot of money to purchase Bitcoin. Within a short period of time, Bitcoin's value rose from 10USD to 30 USD, then fell to 2USD, so I lost 80% of my investment. This was my exciting, somewhat discouraging introduction into the bitcoin industry.
After purchasing Bitcoin, I translated Satoshi's white paper to gain a deeper understanding of the technology behind it. In the process of analyzing it, I developed an interest in and understanding of mining, leading me to stay in this industry to this day.
Q: What do you think about people saying you hold the most bitcoins?
A: I don't think so, because the process of forming Bitcoin's history is such that those who enter early gain huge benefits. Initially Satoshi held the most bitcoin; later on some famous investors such as Facebook's Winklevoss and Li Xiaolai surely hold a lot of bitcoin. After the bitcoin community suffered a series of profoundly impactful misfortunes, there was even less chance of me holding the most bitcoins since I gradually began selling my holdings from when bitcoin was about 24000 yuan (edited, thanks BitcoinPrepper!) and bought other digital currencies that seemed more promising. One of those is BCC.
Q: When did you find out about and join bitcoin's discussion about increasing block size?
A: I found out about it and joined the discussion at about the same time but I was pretty late to the discussion. The dispute about increasing block size can be traced back to 2010, when Satoshi was still around. A recent large dispute started in 2013, but by the time I began to follow it, it was already late 2015. At that point, the entire developer community had reached a stage where no one was willing to back down. Before we began to follow the discussion in earnest, we really believed in the moral character of the developers and thought this was just a technology issue. We believed they would come to a compromise and work out a better solution to the issue of increasing block size on their own.
Towards the end of 2015, both sides began to lose patience and some developers had begun to liaise with Chinese miners. October 2015 is a milestone in Bitcoin's history, because they began to coordinate working with mining pools to implement a hard fork to increase block size.
In January 2016, splits appeared in the developer community that produced Bitcoin Unlimited (BU), Classic and other small groups. Among them, Classic flew to china and met many mining pools to begin promoting a hard fork upgrade. At that time our company also met Classic's team, and we were the first in the world to signal our support for Classic. Afterwards, platforms began to show their support one by one - this was the backdrop to our consensus negotiations in Hong Kong.
After we signaled support for classic, an overwhelming majority of people wished that Core would compromise so that there wouldn't be a need to change the lead developer team. Hence, we held meetings in HK, holding the Hong Kong Consensus Negotiations (??). Core developers promised to work towards a hard fork and miners would no longer use clients not compatible with Core.
However, the Hong Kong Consensus was later on executed very poorly. Being a compromise, both sides understood the agreement very differently. Miners and exchanges held negotiations with Core developers, supporters and fans. We kept a hopeful attitude that bitcoin could follow the blueprint originally delimited by Satoshi and promptly upgrade, or else the issue of increasing block size would affect the growth of Bitcoin.
Q: Till May this year Bitcoin's fork was widely discussed, and Litecoin also gave it a go. At that time there were the proposals put forth by BU and Classic that you just mentioned - can you discuss the relationship between BU's proposal and BCC?
A: Former core developers have played a large part in forming the multiple developer teams such as BU, ABC, Classic, XT which are all now compatible with the BCC/BCH chain, and these teams are independent from the core team that are still in charge of the BTC chain (edited, thanks alfonumeric!). Some of BCC's main developers were leading BU developers and some of BCC's main anonymous developers previously made significant contributions to BU. These developers had their own ideals and ideas regarding how the quality of software development should be managed and how to coordinate the circulation of open-source software. Hence, BCC eventually broke off and formed a development team separate from BU.
Q: What value do you think BCC brings to the Bitcoin ecosystem?
A: Before discussing that, we need to be clear about what on-chain assets are. We feel that on-chain assets are essentially a type of willingly formed social contract dependent on technology to be realized.
Firstly, it is a social thing because it has achieved huge scale - there are many participants, about 20-30 million worldwide. These communities can be divided into Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash etc. Within each asset, the communities' participants have an initial consensus and have drafted a set of rules for the asset. At the same time consensus is reached willingly. This is the essence of on-chain assets: they can be realized through technology, based on the foundations of an agreement that was willingly entered into.
What happened during Bitcoin's block size upgrade? Firstly, Satoshi made clear since he first began writing the software that blocks would have to grow eventually and that hard forks were an important method to increase block size.
This was already apparent in Satoshi's white paper and emails, and his discussions on Bitcoin forums expressed similar views. Before Blockstream and their allies strangled opinions on certain important channels and media platforms, the entire Bitcoin community was largely aligned on the plan for and route towards Bitcoin's block size upgrade. Actually, this is a part of Bitcoin's entire community protocol, but after Blockstream gained control of important community and developer forums they began shutting down opinions starting in 2016, brainwashing newcomers to the bitcoin community. In my opinion, this is a violation of the community's social contract and the tradition of liberalism.
The Bitcoin community stresses freedom of speech, developing ideas and not controlling opinions or thinking. When these things appear, the community begins to violate its early promises. BCC appeared under these circumstances and helped the Bitcoin community to return to its earlier roots of liberalism. Previously, Bitcoin's community was open and everyone was free to voice opinions regarding what its future should look like. We formed an agreement based on resources, so we could freely organize ourselves (not sure what he means). This proved that any party who attempted to prohibit or exercise autocratic supervision over blockchain assets was doomed to fail, since the community was free to think and people could group up through communities to form consensus. With this consensus, we could produce the relevant software and guarantee the consensus on the blockchain. With regards to Bitcoin's ecosystem, I feel that BCC's greatest value lies in how it welcomes back the old tradition of liberalism.
Q: What left a deep impression on you during BCC's development?
A: Firstly the rise and fall of BCC's price is very interesting. After BCC commenced trading it hit a high of 0.5 BTC, then fell sharply. In the following days BCC's price fluctuated violently and would triple in a few days then fall, because everyone was in the process of getting to know and accept it. This left the deepest impression on me.
Next its difficulty adjustment mechanism is also interesting. Being a fork with less computing power, BCC could release blocks at a steady rate and the adjustment mechanism played an invaluable role. When BCC's block creation rate is slow, the difficulty decreases so that at some points of time BCC mining is more profitable than mining Bitcoin, attracting large amounts of computing power to mine BCC. After this critical point has passed, BTC transactions will be very congested. When the difficulty adjusts upwards again, computing power will shift back to BTC and alleviate the congestion. These events are fascinating and have never occurred before in Bitcoin's history. When we first saw this phenomenon with our own eyes we felt it was really fascinating - it has many implications for the switching over of computing power and how the value of assets are determined, and is worth researching.
submitted by kumolonimbus to btc [link] [comments]

Bitcoin, huh? WTF is going on? Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Will you stay decentralized, distributed, immutable?

0. Shit, this is long, TLWR please! Too long, won't read.
EDIT: TLDR TLWR for clarity.
1. Bitcoin, huh? Brief introduction.
There are 3 sections to this overview. The first section is a brief introduction to bitcoin. The second section looks at recent developments in the bitcoin world, through the analogy of email attachments, and the third section discusses what could be next, through the perspective of resilience and network security.
This is just a continuation of a long, long, possibly never-ending debate that started with the release of the bitcoin whitepaper in 2008 (see https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf). The recent mess during the past few years boils down to the controversy with the block size limit and how to appropriately scale bitcoin, the keyword appropriately. Scaling bitcoin is a controversial debate with valid arguments from all sides (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_size_limit_controversy).
I have researched, studied, and written this overview as objectively and as impartially as possible. By all means, this is still an opinion and everyone is advised to draw their own conclusions. My efforts are to make at least a few readers aware that ultimately there is only one team, and that team is the team bitcoin. Yes, currently though, there are factions within the team bitcoin. I hope that we can get beyond partisan fights and work together for the best bitcoin. I support all scaling proposals as long as they are the best for the given moment in time. Personally, I hate propaganda and love free speech as long as it is not derogatory and as long as it allows for constructive discussions.
The goal of this overview is to explain to a novice how bitcoin network works, what has been keeping many bitcoin enthusiasts concerned, and if we can keep the bitcoin network with three main properties described as decentralized, distributed, immutable. Immutable means censorship resistant. For the distinction between decentralized and distributed, refer to Figure 1: Centralized, decentralized and distributed network models by Paul Baran (1964), which is a RAND Institute study to create a robust and nonlinear military communication network (see https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2006/RM3420.pdf). Note that for the overall network resilience and security, distributed is more desirable than decentralized, and the goal is to get as far away from central models as possible. Of course, nothing is strictly decentralized or strictly distributed and all network elements are at different levels of this spectrum.
For those unaware how bitcoin works, I recommend the Bitcoin Wikipedia (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page). In short, the bitcoin network includes users which make bitcoin transactions and send them to the network memory pool called mempool, nodes which store the public and pseudonymous ledger called blockchain and which help with receiving pending transactions and updating processed transactions, thus securing the overall network, and miners which also secure the bitcoin network by mining. Mining is the process of confirming pending bitcoin transactions, clearing them from the mempool, and adding them to blocks which build up the consecutive chain of blocks on the blockchain. The blockchain is therefore a decentralized and distributed ledger built on top of bitcoin transactions, therefore impossible to exist without bitcoin. If someone claims to be working on their own blockchain without bitcoin, by the definition of the bitcoin network however, they are not talking about the actual blockchain. Instead, they intend to own a different kind of a private database made to look like the public and pseudonymous blockchain ledger.
There are roughly a couple of dozen mining pools, each possibly with hundreds or thousands of miners participating in them, to several thousand nodes (see https://blockchain.info/pools and https://coin.dance/nodes). Therefore, the bitcoin network has at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. The miner and node design makes the blockchain resilient and immune to reversible changes, making it censorship resistant, thus immutable. The bitcoin blockchain avoids the previous need for a third party to trust. This is a very elegant solution to peer-to-peer financial exchange via a network that is all: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Extra features (escrow, reversibility via time-locks, and other features desirable in specific instances) can be integrated within the network or added on top of this network, however, they have not been implemented yet.
Miners who participate receive mining reward consisting of newly mined bitcoins at a predetermined deflationary rate and also transaction fees from actual bitcoin transactions being processed. It is estimated that in 2022, miners will have mined more than 90% of all 21 million bitcoins ever to be mined (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Controlled_supply). As the mining reward from newly mined blocks diminishes to absolute zero in 2140, the network eventually needs the transaction fees to become the main component of the reward. This can happen either via high-volume-low-cost transaction fees or low-volume-high-cost transaction fees. Obviously, there is the need to address the question of fees when dealing with the dilemma how to scale bitcoin. Which type of fees would you prefer and under which circumstances?
2. WTF is going on? Recent developments.
There are multiple sides to the scaling debate but to simplify it, first consider the 2 main poles. In particular, to scale bitcoin on blockchain or to scale it off it, that is the question!
The first side likes the idea of bitcoin as it has been until now. It prefers on-chain scaling envisioned by the bitcoin creator or a group of creators who chose the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is now called Bitcoin Cash and somewhat religiously follows Satoshi’s vision from the 2008 whitepaper and their later public forum discussions (see https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1347.msg15366#msg15366). Creators’ vision is good to follow but it should not be followed blindly and dogmatically when better advancements are possible, the keyword when. To alleviate concerning backlog of transactions and rising fees, Bitcoin Cash proponents implemented a simple one-line code update which increased the block size limit for blockhain blocks from 1MB block size limit to a new, larger 8MB limit. This was done through a fork on August 1, 2017, which created Bitcoin Cash, and which kept the bitcoin transaction history until then. Bitcoin Cash has observed significant increase in support, from 3% of all bitcoin miners at first to over 44% of all bitcoin miners after 3 weeks on August 22, 2017 (see http://fork.lol/pow/hashrate and http://fork.lol/pow/hashrateabs).
An appropriate scaling analogy is to recall email attachments early on. They too were limited to a few MB at first, then 10MB, 20MB, up until 25MB on Gmail. But even then, Gmail eventually started using Google Drive internally. Note that Google Drive is a third party to Gmail, although yes, it is managed by the same entity.
The second side argues that bitcoin cannot work with such a scaling approach of pre-meditated MB increases. Arguments against block size increases include miner and node centralization, and bandwidth limitations. These are discussed in more detail in the third section of this overview. As an example of an alternative scaling approach, proponents of off-chain scaling want to jump to the internally integrated third party right away, without any MB increase and, sadly, without any discussion. Some of these proponents called one particular implementation method SegWit, which stands for Segregated Witness, and they argue that SegWit is the only way that we can ever scale up add the extra features to the bitcoin network. This is not necessarily true because other scaling solutions are feasible, such as already functioning Bitcoin Cash, and SegWit’s proposed solution will not use internally integrated third party as shown next. Note that although not as elegant as SegWit is today, there are other possibilities to integrate some extra features without SegWit (see /Bitcoin/comments/5dt8tz/confused_is_segwit_needed_for_lightning_network).
Due to the scaling controversy and the current backlog of transactions and already high fees, a third side hastily proposed a compromise to a 2MB increase in addition to the proposed SegWit implementation. They called it SegWit2x, which stands for Segregated Witness with 2MB block size limit increase. But the on-chain scaling and Bitcoin Cash proponents did not accept it due to SegWit’s design redundancy and hub centralization which are discussed next and revisited in the third section of this overview. After a few years of deadlock, that is why the first side broke free and created the Bitcoin Cash fork.
The second side stuck with bitcoin as it was. In a way, they inherited the bitcoin network without any major change to public eye. This is crucial because major changes are about to happen and the original bitcoin vision, as we have known it, is truly reflected only in what some media refer to as a forked clone, Bitcoin Cash. Note that to avoid confusion, this second side is referred to as Bitcoin Core by some or Legacy Bitcoin by others, although mainstream media still refers to it simply as Bitcoin. The core of Bitcoin Core is quite hardcore though. They too rejected the proposed compromise for SegWit2x and there are clear indications that they will push to keep SegWit only, forcing the third side with SegWit2x proponents to create another fork in November 2017 or to join Bitcoin Cash. Note that to certain degree, already implemented and working Bitcoin Cash is technically superior to SegWit2x which is yet to be deployed (see /Bitcoin/comments/6v0gll/why_segwit2x_b2x_is_technically_inferior_to).
Interestingly enough, those who agreed to SegWit2x have been in overwhelming majority, nearly 87% of all bitcoin miners on July 31, 2017 prior to the fork, and a little over 90% of remaining Bitcoin Core miners to date after the fork (see https://coin.dance/blocks). Despite such staggering support, another Bitcoin Core fork is anticipated later in November (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-is-splitting-once-again-are-you-ready) and the "Outcome #2: Segwit2x reneges on 2x or does not prioritize on-chain scaling" seems to be on track from the perspective of Bitcoin Core SegWit, publicly seen as the original Bitcoin (see https://blog.bridge21.io/before-and-after-the-great-bitcoin-fork-17d2aad5d512). The sad part is that although in their overwhelming majority, the miners who support SegWit2x would be the ones creating another Bitcoin Core SegWit2x fork or parting ways from the original Bitcoin.
In a way, this is an ironic example how bitcoin’s built-in resiliency to veto changes causes majority to part away when a small minority has status quo and holds off fully-consented progress. Ultimately, this will give the minority Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents the original Bitcoin branding, perhaps to lure in large institutional investors and monetize on bitcoin’s success as we have it seen it during the past 9 years since its inception. Recall that bitcoin of today is already a decentralized, distributed, immutable network by its definition. The bitcoin network was designed to be an alternative to centralized and mutable institutions, so prevalent in modern capitalist societies.
Bitcoin Core SegWit group wants to change the existing bitcoin network to a network with dominant third parties which, unlike Google Drive to Gmail, are not internal. In particular, they intend to do so via the lightning network, which is a second layer solution (2L). This particular 2L as currently designed relies on an artificial block size limit cap which creates a bottleneck in order to provide high incentives for miners to participate. It monetizes on backlog of transaction and high fees, which are allocated to miners, not any group in particular. Cheaper and more instantaneous transactions are shifted to the lightning network which is operated by hubs also earning revenue. Note that some of these hubs may choose to monitor transactions and can possibly censor who is allowed to participate in this no longer strictly peer-to-peer network.
We lose the immutability and instead we have a peer-to-hub-to-peer network that is mutable and at best decentralized, and certainly not distributed (see https://medium.com/@jonaldfyookball/mathematical-proof-that-the-lightning-network-cannot-be-a-decentralized-bitcoin-scaling-solution-1b8147650800). For regular day-to-day and recurring transactions, it is not a considerable risk or inconvenience. And one could choose to use the main chain any time to bypass the lightning network and truly transact peer-to-peer. But since the main chain has an entry barrier in the form of artificially instilled high transaction fees, common people are not able to use bitcoin as we have known it until now. Peer-to-peer bitcoin becomes institution-to-institution bitcoin with peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L.
To reiterate and stress, note the following lightning network design flaw again. Yes, activating SegWit and allowing 2L such as lightning allows for lower transaction fees to coexist side by side with more costly on-chain transactions. For those using this particularly prescribed 2L, the fees remain low. But since these 2L are managed by hubs, we introduce another element to trust, which is contrary to what the bitcoin network was designed to do at the first place. Over time, by the nature of the lightning network in its current design, these third party hubs grow to be centralized, just like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, etc. There is nothing wrong with that in general because it works just fine. But recall that bitcoin set out to create a different kind of a network. Instead of decentralized, distributed, immutable network with miners and nodes, with the lightning network we end up with at best decentralized but mutable network with hubs.
Note that Bitcoin Core SegWit has a US-based organization backing it with millions of dollars (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockstream and https://steemit.com/bitcoin/@adambalm/the-truth-about-who-is-behind-blockstream-and-segwit-as-the-saying-goes-follow-the-money). Their proponents are quite political and some even imply $1000 fees on the main bitcoin blockchain (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/ari-paul-tuur-demeester-look-forward-to-up-to-1k-bitcoin-fees). Contrary to them, Bitcoin Cash proponents intend to keep small fees on a scale of a few cents, which in large volume in larger blockchain blocks provide sufficient incentive for miners to participate.
On the one hand, sticking to the original vision of peer-to-peer network scaled on-chain has merit and holds potential for future value. On the other hand, 2L have potential to carry leaps forward from current financial infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, 2L will allow for extra features to be integrated off-chain (e.g. escrow, reversibility via time-locks), including entirely new features such as smart contracts, decentralized applications, some of which have been pioneered and tested on another cryptocurrency network called Ethereum. But such features could be one day implemented directly on the main bitcoin blockchain without the lightning network as currently designed, or perhaps with a truly integrated 2L proposed in the third section of this overview.
What makes the whole discussion even more confusing is that there are some proposals for specific 2L that would in fact increase privacy and make bitcoin transactions less pseudonymous than those on the current bitcoin blockchain now. Keep in mind that 2L are not necessarily undesirable. If they add features and keep the main network characteristics (decentralized, distributed, immutable), they should be embraced with open arms. But the lightning network as currently designed gives up immutability and hub centralization moves the network characteristic towards a decentralized rather than a distributed network.
In a sense, back to the initial email attachment analogy, even Gmail stopped with attachment limit increases and started hosting large files on Google Drive internally, with an embedded link in a Gmail email to download anything larger than 25MB from Google Drive. Anticipating the same scaling decisions, the question then becomes not if but when and how such 2L should be implemented, keeping the overall network security and network characteristics in mind. If you have not gotten it yet, repeat, repeat, repeat: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Is it the right time now and is SegWit (one way, my way or highway) truly the best solution?
Those siding away from Bitcoin Core SegWit also dislike that corporate entities behind Blockstream, the one publicly known corporate entity directly supporting SegWit, have allegedly applied for SegWit patents which may further restrict who may and who may not participate in the creation of future hubs, or how these hubs are controlled (see the alleged patent revelations, https://falkvinge.net/2017/05/01/blockstream-patents-segwit-makes-pieces-fall-place, the subsequent Twitter rebuttal Blockstream CEO, http://bitcoinist.com/adam-back-no-patents-segwit, and the subsequent legal threats to SegWit2x proponents /btc/comments/6vadfi/blockstream_threatening_legal_action_against). Regardless if the patent claims are precise or not, the fact remains that there is a corporate entity dictating and vetoing bitcoin developments. Objectively speaking, Bitcoin Core SegWit developers paid by Blockstream is a corporate takeover of the bitcoin network as we have known it.
And on the topic of patents and permissionless technological innovations, what makes all of this even more complicated is that a mining improvement technology called ASICboost is allowed on Bitcoin Cash. The main entities who forked from Bitcoin Core to form Bitcoin Cash had taken advantage of patents to the ASICboost technology on the original bitcoin network prior to the fork (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal). This boost saved estimated 20% electricity for miners on 1MB blocks and created unfair economic advantage for this one particular party. SegWit is one way that this boost is being eliminated, through the code. Larger blocks are another way to reduce the boost advantage, via decreased rate of collisions which made this boost happen at the first place (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal-solutions and https://bitslog.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/the-relation-between-segwit-and-asicboost-covert-and-overt). Therefore, the initial Bitcoin Cash proponents argue that eliminating ASICboost through the code is no longer needed or necessary.
Of course, saving any amount electricity between 0% and 20% is good for all on our planet but in reality any energy saved in a mining operation is used by the same mining operation to increase their mining capacity. In reality, there are no savings, there is just capacity redistribution. The question then becomes if it is okay that only one party currently and already holds onto this advantage, which they covertly hid for relatively long time, and which they could be using covertly on Bitcoin Cash if they desired to do so, even though it would an advantage to a smaller degree. To be fair to them, they are mining manufacturers and operators, they researched and developed the advantage from own resources, so perhaps they do indeed have the right to reap ASICboost benefits while they can. But perhaps it should happen in publicly know way, not behind closed doors, and should be temporary, with agreed patent release date.
In conclusion, there is no good and no bad actor, each side is its own shade of grey. All parties have their own truth (and villainy) to certain degree.
Bitcoin Cash's vision is for bitcoin to be an electronic cash platform and daily payment processor whereas Bitcoin Core SegWit seems to be drawn more to the ideas of bitcoin as an investment vehicle and a larger settlement layer with the payment processor function managed via at best decentralized third party hubs. Both can coexist, or either one can eventually prove more useful and digest the other one by taking over all use-cases.
Additionally, the most popular communication channel on /bitcoin with roughly 300k subscribers censors any alternative non-Bitcoin-Core-SegWit opinions and bans people from posting their ideas to discussions (see https://medium.com/@johnblocke/a-brief-and-incomplete-history-of-censorship-in-r-bitcoin-c85a290fe43). This is because their moderators are also supported by Blockstream. Note that the author of this overview has not gotten banned from this particular subreddit (yet), but has experienced shadow-banning first hand. Shadow-banning is a form of censorship. In this particular case, their moderator robot managed by people moderators, collaboratively with the people moderators, do the following:
  • (1) look for "Bitcoin Cash" and other undesirable keywords,
  • (2) warn authors that “Bitcoin Cash” is not true bitcoin (which objectively speaking it is, and which is by no means “BCash” that Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents refer to, in a coordinated effort to further confuse public, especially since some of them have published plans to officially release another cryptocurrency called “BCash” in 2018, see https://medium.com/@freetrade68/announcing-bcash-8b938329eaeb),
  • (3) further warn authors that if they try to post such opinions again, they could banned permanently,
  • (4) tell authors to delete their already posted posts or comments,
  • (5) hide their post from publicly seen boards with all other posts, thus preventing it from being seeing by the other participants in this roughly 300k public forum,
  • (6) and in extreme cases actually “remove” their valid opinions if they slip by uncensored, gain traction, and are often times raise to popularity as comments to other uncensored posts (see /btc/comments/6v3ee8/on_a_reply_i_made_in_rbitcoin_that_had_over_350 and /btc/comments/6vbyv0/in_case_we_needed_more_evidence_500_upvotes).
This effectively silences objective opinions and creates a dangerous echo-chamber. Suppressing free speech and artificially blowing up transaction fees on Bitcoin Core SegWit is against bitcoin’s fundamental values. Therefore, instead of the original Reddit communication channel, many bitcoin enthusiasts migrated to /btc which has roughly 60k subscribers as of now, up from 20k subscribers a year ago in August 2016 (see http://redditmetrics.com/btc). Moderators there do not censor opinions and allow all polite and civil discussions about scaling, including all opinions on Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Core, etc.
Looking beyond their respective leaderships and communication channels, let us review a few network fundamentals and recent developments in Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash networks. Consequently, for now, these present Bitcoin Cash with more favorable long-term prospects.
  • (1) The stress-test and/or attack on the Bitcoin Cash mempool earlier on August 16, 2017 showed that 8MB blocks do work as intended, without catastrophic complications that Bitcoin Core proponents anticipated and from which they attempted to discourage others (see https://jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/uahf/#2w for the Bitcoin Cash mempool and https://core.jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/#2w for the Bitcoin Core mempool). Note that when compared to the Bitcoin Core mempool on their respective 2 week views, one can observe how each network handles backlogs. On the most recent 2 week graphs, the Y-scale for Bitcoin Core is 110k vs. 90k on Bitcoin Cash. In other words, at the moment, Bitcoin Cash works better than Bitcoin Core even though there is clearly not as big demand for Bitcoin Cash as there is for Bitcoin Core. The lack of demand for Bitcoin Cash is partly because Bitcoin Cash is only 3 weeks old and not many merchants have started accepting it, and only a limited number of software applications to use Bitcoin Cash has been released so far. By all means, the Bitcoin Cash stress-test and/or attack from August 16, 2017 reveals that the supply will handle the increased demand, more affordably, and at a much quicker rate.
  • (2) Bitcoin Cash “BCH” mining has become temporarily more profitable than mining Bitcoin Core “BTC” (see http://fork.lol). Besides temporary loss of miners, this puts Bitcoin Core in danger of permanently fleeing miners. Subsequently, mempool backlog and transaction fees are anticipated to increase further.
  • (3) When compared to Bitcoin Cash transaction fees at roughly $0.02, transaction fees per kB are over 800 times as expensive on Bitcoin Core, currently at over $16 (see https://cashvscore.com).
  • (4) Tipping service that used to work on Bitcoin Core's /Bitcoin a few years back has been revived by a new tipping service piloted on the more neutral /btc with the integration of Bitcoin Cash (see /cashtipperbot).
3. Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Scaling bitcoin.
Let us start with the notion that we are impartial to both Bitcoin Core (small blocks, off-chain scaling only) and Bitcoin Cash (big blocks, on-chain scaling only) schools of thought. We will support any or all ideas, as long as they allow for bitcoin to grow organically and eventually succeed as a peer-to-peer network that remains decentralized, distributed, immutable. Should we have a preference in either of the proposed scaling solutions?
First, let us briefly address Bitcoin Core and small blocks again. From the second section of this overview, we understand that there are proposed off-chain scaling methods via second layer solutions (2L), most notably soon-to-be implemented lightning via SegWit on Bitcoin Core. Unfortunately, the lightning network diminishes distributed and immutable network properties by replacing bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network with a two-layer institution-to-institution network and peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L. Do we need this particular 2L right now? Is its complexity truly needed? Is it not at best somewhat cumbersome (if not very redundant)? In addition to ridiculously high on-chain transaction fees illustrated in the earlier section, the lightning network code is perhaps more robust than it needs to be now, with thousands of lines of code, thus possibly opening up to new vectors for bugs or attacks (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network and https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd). Additionally, this particular 2L as currently designed unnecessarily introduces third parties, hubs, that are expected to centralize. We already have a working code that has been tested and proven to handle 8MB blocks, as seen with Bitcoin Cash on August 16, 2017 (see https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/first-8mb-bitcoin-cash-block-just-mined). At best, these third party hubs would be decentralized but they would not be distributed. And these hubs would be by no means integral to the original bitcoin network with users, nodes, and miners.
To paraphrase Ocam’s razor problem solving principle, the simplest solution with the most desirable features will prevail (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor). The simplest scalability solution today is Bitcoin Cash because it updates only one line of code, which instantly increases the block size limit. This also allows other companies building on Bitcoin Cash to reduce their codes when compared to Bitcoin Core SegWit’s longer code, some even claiming ten-fold reductions (see /btc/comments/6vdm7y/ryan_x_charles_reveals_bcc_plan). The bitcoin ecosystem not only includes the network but it also includes companies building services on top of it. When these companies can reduce their vectors for bugs or attacks, the entire ecosystem is healthier and more resilient to hacking disasters. Obviously, changes to the bitcoin network code are desirable to be as few and as elegant as possible.
But what are the long-term implications of doing the one-line update repeatedly? Eventually, blocks would have to reach over 500MB size if they were to process Visa-level capacity (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability). With decreasing costs of IT infrastructure, bandwidth and storage could accommodate it, but the overhead costs would increase significantly, implying miner and/or full node centralization further discussed next. To decrease this particular centralization risk, which some consider undesirable and others consider irrelevant, built-in and integrated 2L could keep the block size at a reasonably small-yet-still-large limit.
At the first sight, these 2L would remedy the risk of centralization by creating their own centralization incentive. At the closer look and Ocam’s razor principle again, these 2L do not have to become revenue-seeking third party hubs as designed with the current lightning network. They can be integrated into the current bitcoin network with at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. Recall that miners will eventually need to supplement their diminishing mining reward from new blocks. Additionally, as of today, the nodes have no built-in economic incentive to run other than securing the network and keeping the network’s overall value at its current level. Therefore, if new 2L were to be developed, they should be designed in a similar way like the lightning network, with the difference that the transaction processing revenue would not go to third party hubs but to the already integrated miners and nodes.
In other words, why do we need extra hubs if we have miners and nodes already? Let us consider the good elements from the lightning network, forget the unnecessary hubs, and focus on integrating the hubs’ responsibilities to already existing miner and node protocols. Why would we add extra elements to the system that already functions with the minimum number of elements possible? Hence, 2L are not necessarily undesirable as long as they do not unnecessarily introduce third party hubs.
Lastly, let us discuss partial on-chain scaling with the overall goal of network security. The network security we seek is the immutability and resilience via distributed elements within otherwise decentralized and distributed network. It is not inconceivable to scale bitcoin with bigger blocks as needed, when needed, to a certain degree. The thought process is the following:
  • (1) Block size limit:
We need some upper limit to avoid bloating the network with spam transactions. Okay, that makes sense. Now, what should this limit be? If we agree to disagree with small block size limit stuck at 1MB, and if we are fine with flexible block size limit increases (inspired by mining difficulty readjustments but on a longer time scale) or big block propositions (to be increased incrementally), what is holding us off next?
  • (2) Miner centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized miners instead of distributed ones. Yes, that is true. And it has already happened, due to the economy of scale, in particular the efficiency of grouping multiple miners in centralized facilities, and the creation of mining pools collectively and virtually connecting groups of miners not physically present in the same facility. These facilities tend to have huge overhead costs and the data storage and bandwidth increase costs are negligible in this context. The individual miners participating in mining pools will quite likely notice somewhat higher operational costs but allowing for additional revenue from integrated 2L described earlier will give them economic incentive to remain actively participating. Note that mining was never supposed to be strictly distributed and it was always at worst decentralized, as defined in the first section of this overview. To assure at best a distributed network, we have nodes.
  • (3) Node centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized nodes instead of distributed ones. Again, recall that we have a spectrum of decentralized and distributed networks in mind, not their absolutes. The concern about the node centralization (and the subsequent shift from distributed to decentralized network property) is valid if we only follow on-chain scaling to inconsiderate MB values. If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
Furthermore, other methods to reduce bandwidth and storage needs can be used. A popular proposal is block pruning, which keeps only the most recent 550 blocks, and eventually deletes any older blocks (see https://news.bitcoin.com/pros-and-cons-on-bitcoin-block-pruning). Block pruning addresses storage needs and makes sure that not all nodes participating in the bitcoin network have to store all transactions that have ever been recorded on the blockchain. Some nodes storing all transactions are still necessary and they are called full nodes. Block pruning does not eliminate full nodes but it does indeed provide an economic incentive for the reduction and centralization (i.e. saving on storage costs). If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
In other words, properly designed 2L should provide economic incentives for all nodes (full and pruned) to remain active and distributed. As of now, only miners earn revenue for participating. The lightning network proposes extra revenue for hubs. Instead, miner revenue could increase by processing 2L transactions as well, and full nodes could have an economic incentive as well. To mine, relatively high startup costs is necessary in order to get the most up to date mining hardware and proper cooling equipment. These have to be maintained and periodically upgraded. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and a sufficiently large storage, which can be expanded as needed, when needed. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and relatively small storage, which does not need to be expanded.
Keeping the distributed characteristic in mind, it would be much more secure for the bitcoin network if one could earn bitcoin by simply running a node, full or pruned. This could be integrated with a simple code change requiring each node to own a bitcoin address to which miners would send a fraction of processed transaction fees. Of course, pruned nodes would collectively receive the least transaction fee revenue (e.g. 10%), full nodes would collectively receive relatively larger transaction fee revenue (e.g. 20%), whereas mining facilities or mining pools would individually receive the largest transaction fee revenue (e.g. 70%) in addition to the full mining reward from newly mined blocks (i.e. 100%). This would assure that all nodes would remain relatively distributed. Hence, block pruning is a feasible solution.
However, in order to start pruning, one would have to have the full blockchain to begin with. As currently designed, downloading blockchain for the first time also audits previous blocks for accuracy, this can take days depending on one’s bandwidth. This online method is the only way to distribute the bitcoin blockchain and the bitcoin network so far. When the size of blockchain becomes a concern, a simpler distribution idea should be implemented offline. Consider distributions of Linux-based operating systems on USBs. Similarly, the full bitcoin blockchain up to a certain point can be distributed via easy-to-mail USBs. Note that even if we were to get the blockchain in bulk on such a USB, some form of a block audit would have to happen nevertheless.
A new form of checkpoint hashes could be added to the bitcoin code. For instance, each 2016 blocks (whenever the difficulty readjusts), all IDs from previous 2015 blocks would be hashed and recorded. That way, with our particular offline blockchain distribution, the first time user would have to audit only the key 2016th blocks, designed to occur on average once in roughly 2 weeks. This would significantly reduce bandwidth concerns for the auditing process because only each 2016th block would have to be uploaded online to be audited.
Overall, we are able to scale the bitcoin network via initial on-chain scaling approaches supplemented with off-chain scaling approaches. This upgrades the current network to a pruned peer-to-peer network with integrated 2L managed by miners and nodes who assure that the bitcoin network stays decentralized, distributed, immutable.
  • Discussion at /btc/comments/6vj47c/bitcoin_huh_wtf_is_going_on_should_we_scale_you is greatly encouraged.
  • Note that the author u/bit-architect appreciates any Bitcoin Cash donations on Reddit directly or on bitcoin addresses 178ZTiot2QVVKjru2f9MpzyeYawP81vaXi bitcoincash:qp7uqpv2tsftrdmu6e8qglwr2r38u4twlq3f7a48uq (Bitcoin Cash) and 1GqcFi4Cs1LVAxLxD3XMbJZbmjxD8SYY8S (Bitcoin Core).
  • EDIT: Donation addresses above updated.
submitted by bit-architect to btc [link] [comments]

Back to 2008: The origin of the blockchain, where the dream begins

Back to 2008: The origin of the blockchain, where the dream begins
[My great achievements shall be cast on bronze, carved on marble and engraved on wooden boards forever. When these deeds are circulated in the world, the age of happiness also come.
Cervantes Don Quixote]
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the birth of this bitcoin, I sent this sentence to Satoshi Nakamoto, paying tribute to this great era.
www.fmz.com
01
The clock goes back to 2008, and the world is struggling with the worst global economic recession in half a century. This extraordinary shock has caused serious trade shackles and led to the collapse of several large financial institutions. Due to the global integration and the development of various well-designed financial products, the world financial system has expanded into an interdependent, closely-knit ecosystem. The crisis has developed like a fire, and central banks and policy makers seem to be unable to do anything.
The crisis was caused by policy makers. In order to stimulate the economy, governments implemented loose monetary policies and deficit finances to stimulate residents to increase leverage and excessive consumption. Financial institutions also ignored high-risk operations and created asset price bubbles. Policy makers and supervisory authorities disregard risks, subjectively causing the lack of financial supervision and laxity; financial institutions intensified and amplified risks in order to pursue short-term interests.
https://preview.redd.it/p0jdzz3u5zl11.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f4b1ea6e0b09df16ce04a989d3d6a1381f722b0f
Film The Big Short is drawn from the global financial crisis in 2008
The irony and helpless thing are that global policy makers tried to quickly start the economic recovery after the financial crisis, and all countries entered the era of monetary easing, and the currency issued by most countries in the world far exceeded the historical average. In this unprecedented campaign of printing money, global asset prices started a new round of skyrocketing, causing severe inflation and overcapacity. So far, it has not been cleared, and it has become an unsuccessful shackle that has kidnapped economic policies.
No one is satisfied with such a robbery policy with money in the bank enduring the actual negative interest rate exploitation. Who wants to see that money earned by his hard work is diluted by inflation? It's time to change the rules of the game and make some new attempts. FMZ
02
The popularization and application of computer technology and modern communication technology is the fifth information technology revolution defined in the book. It has promoted human society into the digital information age, which has brought about tremendous changes in our production and life style. We benefit from this, chatting, reading, playing, shopping, socializing, completing work and life on the Internet, killing boring and lonely time. Some excellent and great companies were born, as well as some opportunistic generations.
Those who are accustomed to the network, in the harsh content review and speech control environment, are familiar with the 404 page, which is the characteristic daily page under the authority system. An HTTP 404 error is a page that the server returns if it cannot provide information properly or cannot respond not knowing the reason when a client browsing a web page. The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the most widely used network protocol on the Internet. All WWW files must comply with this standard. Although the TCP/IP protocol is the most popular application on the Internet, the HTTP protocol does not stipulate that it must be used and based on the layers it supports. In fact, HTTP can be implemented on any other Internet protocol, or on other networks.
https://preview.redd.it/mi9il6tw5zl11.jpg?width=437&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=692f5210265d8c68757dc6e8e21b733194f144d3
Take a closer look at the HTTP status code, not far from “404 Not Found”. We can find the “402 Payment Required” that is rarely seen is described as "for later use" and is marked as "need to pay" to access. In fact, at the beginning of network design, creators hope to provide a way to transfer value. Different from the free sharing of information, it is not an easy task to exchange value freely on the Internet. Value is not data that can be “copied and pasted”. This dream can only be shelved indefinitely, and it is marked as "for later use". The problem is left to those who have enough wisdom to solve. FMZ
03
The seeds of the cryptocurrency have been planted early. In the 1980s, cypherpunk had the original idea of ​​cryptocurrency. Some people dream of building a market full of government secrets, and those who leak news can get untrackable electronic cryptocurrency rewards. The difficulty in designing rewards is how to build a consensus that everyone recognizes, namely the Byzantine Generals Problem, which was proposed by Leslie Lamport et al in 1985 – let the local forces reach a consensus and decide whether to send troops. Extending to the computing field, establishe a fault-tolerant distributed system. Even if some nodes fail, it can ensure the normal operation of the system. It can allow multiple nodes based on zero trust to reach consensus and ensure the consistency of information transmission.
I have to admit that the earth-shattering history is sometimes made by a small number of people. In 1993, Eric Hughes and a group of cryptography enthusiasts created “Cypherpunk mailing list”, and he wrote in the Cypherpunk Manifesto: “We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money”.
In 1998, another cypherpunk, Wei Dai, proposed the anonymous, distributed electronic cryptocurrency system B-money. The idea of ​​distributed thinking has emerged as the spiritual leader of the new generation of cryptocurrency. Thought collide and surging years go by, cypherpunks diligently seeking and researching, from asymmetric encryption technology, peer-to-peer network technology, hashcash algorithm, to reusable proof of work, technology is maturing.
On November 1, 2008, a new post appeared in the " cryptography mailing list" titled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System". It is Satoshi Nakamoto. FMZ
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” He wrote in the Bitcoin white paper.
“The most fundamental problem with traditional currencies is trust. The central bank must be trusted to not let the currency depreciate, but historically this credibility never existed. The bank must be trusted to manage the money and let it flow in electronic money, but the bank But using money to create a credit bubble makes private wealth shrink,"
On January 3, 2009, Nakamoto published the first version of the open source Bitcoin client, announcing the birth of Bitcoin. He got 50 bitcoins by "mining" on a small server in Helsinki, Finland, and the first bitcoin block was called “Genesis block”. Nakamoto put the headline of the "Times" on that day - "The Times 03/Jan/2009, Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks" in the Genesis block, making a mockery of the monetary authorities, which will always be in the annals of history.
https://preview.redd.it/fogcek5z5zl11.png?width=448&format=png&auto=webp&s=8b37b75cbd82730e030b487b1b9c8a07d51a0cf0
04
The bitcoin that appeared in 2009 has changed all the issues related to money, the Internet and the transfer of value. The knotty problem that plagued the network creators seems to usher in a solution. Bitcoin, which integrates P2P network, cryptography, consensus algorithm and other existing technologies, elegantly solves the problem of generating, storing and transferring exchange value on the Internet. In this system, data is generated and stored in blocks, and is chained in chronological order. Nodes that are independent of each other participate in data verification, storage, and maintenance, and are non-tamperable and transparent. specialty. Blockchain is translated into blockchain technology, which establishes a trusted mechanism for information and value transfer in untrusted networks. FMZ
Satoshi Nakamoto predicted that bitcoin would be either zero or extremely powerful in 20 years.. After the promotion and development of geeks, technical evangelists, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and even keen capital, Bitcoin that was rarely known by people at the beginning has become known to all, and its blockchain technology has spread its genes and led into a new era. For the blockchain technology, governments, big capital, technology pioneers and even the general public have gradually established consensus - after the steam engine, electricity, and the Internet, the blockchain may be the next generation of disruptive core technology, and the Internet is moving toward value Internet from information Internet.
https://preview.redd.it/iu1jell06zl11.jpg?width=600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f6d1d46a30bac78764be4e7e2b6370adb4f14763
Although the development of the Internet is changing rapidly, the breakthroughs in information dissemination and value transmission are not accidental events. From the day-to-day exploration of researchers and enthusiasts to the application feedback of ordinary users, they have to go through a long and arduous process of evolution. As technology and demand become more stable and mature, each new stage can build something new on the basis of the previous stage. Through heavy fog of thistory, looking back at the development of the information Internet, we should have sufficient psychological preparation for the construction and use of the value Internet. Although the technology is ready-made, the large-scale popularization and application can not be done overnight. If history has a reference, our optimistic expectation is totally reasonable. The application and popularity of the value Internet will radiate energy far beyond our expectations.
FMZ
submitted by FmzQuant to u/FmzQuant [link] [comments]

Bitcoin, huh? WTF is going on? Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Will you stay decentralized, distributed, immutable?

0. Shit, this is long, TLWR please! Too long, won't read.
EDIT: TLDR TLWR for clarity.
1. Bitcoin, huh? Brief introduction.
There are 3 sections to this overview. The first section is a brief introduction to bitcoin. The second section looks at recent developments in the bitcoin world, through the analogy of email attachments, and the third section discusses what could be next, through the perspective of resilience and network security.
This is just a continuation of a long, long, possibly never-ending debate that started with the release of the bitcoin whitepaper in 2008 (see https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf). The recent mess during the past few years boils down to the controversy with the block size limit and how to appropriately scale bitcoin, the keyword appropriately. Scaling bitcoin is a controversial debate with valid arguments from all sides (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_size_limit_controversy).
I have researched, studied, and written this overview as objectively and as impartially as possible. By all means, this is still an opinion and everyone is advised to draw their own conclusions. My efforts are to make at least a few readers aware that ultimately there is only one team, and that team is the team bitcoin. Yes, currently though, there are factions within the team bitcoin. I hope that we can get beyond partisan fights and work together for the best bitcoin. I support all scaling proposals as long as they are the best for the given moment in time. Personally, I hate propaganda and love free speech as long as it is not derogatory and as long as it allows for constructive discussions.
The goal of this overview is to explain to a novice how bitcoin network works, what has been keeping many bitcoin enthusiasts concerned, and if we can keep the bitcoin network with three main properties described as decentralized, distributed, immutable. Immutable means censorship resistant. For the distinction between decentralized and distributed, refer to Figure 1: Centralized, decentralized and distributed network models by Paul Baran (1964), which is a RAND Institute study to create a robust and nonlinear military communication network (see https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2006/RM3420.pdf). Note that for the overall network resilience and security, distributed is more desirable than decentralized, and the goal is to get as far away from central models as possible. Of course, nothing is strictly decentralized or strictly distributed and all network elements are at different levels of this spectrum.
For those unaware how bitcoin works, I recommend the Bitcoin Wikipedia (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page). In short, the bitcoin network includes users which make bitcoin transactions and send them to the network memory pool called mempool, nodes which store the public and pseudonymous ledger called blockchain and which help with receiving pending transactions and updating processed transactions, thus securing the overall network, and miners which also secure the bitcoin network by mining. Mining is the process of confirming pending bitcoin transactions, clearing them from the mempool, and adding them to blocks which build up the consecutive chain of blocks on the blockchain. The blockchain is therefore a decentralized and distributed ledger built on top of bitcoin transactions, therefore impossible to exist without bitcoin. If someone claims to be working on their own blockchain without bitcoin, by the definition of the bitcoin network however, they are not talking about the actual blockchain. Instead, they intend to own a different kind of a private database made to look like the public and pseudonymous blockchain ledger.
There are roughly a couple of dozen mining pools, each possibly with hundreds or thousands of miners participating in them, to several thousand nodes (see https://blockchain.info/pools and https://coin.dance/nodes). Therefore, the bitcoin network has at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. The miner and node design makes the blockchain resilient and immune to reversible changes, making it censorship resistant, thus immutable. The bitcoin blockchain avoids the previous need for a third party to trust. This is a very elegant solution to peer-to-peer financial exchange via a network that is all: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Extra features (escrow, reversibility via time-locks, and other features desirable in specific instances) can be integrated within the network or added on top of this network, however, they have not been implemented yet.
Miners who participate receive mining reward consisting of newly mined bitcoins at a predetermined deflationary rate and also transaction fees from actual bitcoin transactions being processed. It is estimated that in 2022, miners will have mined more than 90% of all 21 million bitcoins ever to be mined (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Controlled_supply). As the mining reward from newly mined blocks diminishes to absolute zero in 2140, the network eventually needs the transaction fees to become the main component of the reward. This can happen either via high-volume-low-cost transaction fees or low-volume-high-cost transaction fees. Obviously, there is the need to address the question of fees when dealing with the dilemma how to scale bitcoin. Which type of fees would you prefer and under which circumstances?
2. WTF is going on? Recent developments.
There are multiple sides to the scaling debate but to simplify it, first consider the 2 main poles. In particular, to scale bitcoin on blockchain or to scale it off it, that is the question!
The first side likes the idea of bitcoin as it has been until now. It prefers on-chain scaling envisioned by the bitcoin creator or a group of creators who chose the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is now called Bitcoin Cash and somewhat religiously follows Satoshi’s vision from the 2008 whitepaper and their later public forum discussions (see https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1347.msg15366#msg15366). Creators’ vision is good to follow but it should not be followed blindly and dogmatically when better advancements are possible, the keyword when. To alleviate concerning backlog of transactions and rising fees, Bitcoin Cash proponents implemented a simple one-line code update which increased the block size limit for blockhain blocks from 1MB block size limit to a new, larger 8MB limit. This was done through a fork on August 1, 2017, which created Bitcoin Cash, and which kept the bitcoin transaction history until then. Bitcoin Cash has observed significant increase in support, from 3% of all bitcoin miners at first to over 44% of all bitcoin miners after 3 weeks on August 22, 2017 (see http://fork.lol/pow/hashrate and http://fork.lol/pow/hashrateabs).
An appropriate scaling analogy is to recall email attachments early on. They too were limited to a few MB at first, then 10MB, 20MB, up until 25MB on Gmail. But even then, Gmail eventually started using Google Drive internally. Note that Google Drive is a third party to Gmail, although yes, it is managed by the same entity.
The second side argues that bitcoin cannot work with such a scaling approach of pre-meditated MB increases. Arguments against block size increases include miner and node centralization, and bandwidth limitations. These are discussed in more detail in the third section of this overview. As an example of an alternative scaling approach, proponents of off-chain scaling want to jump to the internally integrated third party right away, without any MB increase and, sadly, without any discussion. Some of these proponents called one particular implementation method SegWit, which stands for Segregated Witness, and they argue that SegWit is the only way that we can ever scale up add the extra features to the bitcoin network. This is not necessarily true because other scaling solutions are feasible, such as already functioning Bitcoin Cash, and SegWit’s proposed solution will not use internally integrated third party as shown next. Note that although not as elegant as SegWit is today, there are other possibilities to integrate some extra features without SegWit (see /Bitcoin/comments/5dt8tz/confused_is_segwit_needed_for_lightning_network).
Due to the scaling controversy and the current backlog of transactions and already high fees, a third side hastily proposed a compromise to a 2MB increase in addition to the proposed SegWit implementation. They called it SegWit2x, which stands for Segregated Witness with 2MB block size limit increase. But the on-chain scaling and Bitcoin Cash proponents did not accept it due to SegWit’s design redundancy and hub centralization which are discussed next and revisited in the third section of this overview. After a few years of deadlock, that is why the first side broke free and created the Bitcoin Cash fork.
The second side stuck with bitcoin as it was. In a way, they inherited the bitcoin network without any major change to public eye. This is crucial because major changes are about to happen and the original bitcoin vision, as we have known it, is truly reflected only in what some media refer to as a forked clone, Bitcoin Cash. Note that to avoid confusion, this second side is referred to as Bitcoin Core by some or Legacy Bitcoin by others, although mainstream media still refers to it simply as Bitcoin. The core of Bitcoin Core is quite hardcore though. They too rejected the proposed compromise for SegWit2x and there are clear indications that they will push to keep SegWit only, forcing the third side with SegWit2x proponents to create another fork in November 2017 or to join Bitcoin Cash. Note that to certain degree, already implemented and working Bitcoin Cash is technically superior to SegWit2x which is yet to be deployed (see /Bitcoin/comments/6v0gll/why_segwit2x_b2x_is_technically_inferior_to).
Interestingly enough, those who agreed to SegWit2x have been in overwhelming majority, nearly 87% of all bitcoin miners on July 31, 2017 prior to the fork, and a little over 90% of remaining Bitcoin Core miners to date after the fork (see https://coin.dance/blocks). Despite such staggering support, another Bitcoin Core fork is anticipated later in November (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-is-splitting-once-again-are-you-ready) and the "Outcome #2: Segwit2x reneges on 2x or does not prioritize on-chain scaling" seems to be on track from the perspective of Bitcoin Core SegWit, publicly seen as the original Bitcoin (see https://blog.bridge21.io/before-and-after-the-great-bitcoin-fork-17d2aad5d512). The sad part is that although in their overwhelming majority, the miners who support SegWit2x would be the ones creating another Bitcoin Core SegWit2x fork or parting ways from the original Bitcoin.
In a way, this is an ironic example how bitcoin’s built-in resiliency to veto changes causes majority to part away when a small minority has status quo and holds off fully-consented progress. Ultimately, this will give the minority Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents the original Bitcoin branding, perhaps to lure in large institutional investors and monetize on bitcoin’s success as we have it seen it during the past 9 years since its inception. Recall that bitcoin of today is already a decentralized, distributed, immutable network by its definition. The bitcoin network was designed to be an alternative to centralized and mutable institutions, so prevalent in modern capitalist societies.
Bitcoin Core SegWit group wants to change the existing bitcoin network to a network with dominant third parties which, unlike Google Drive to Gmail, are not internal. In particular, they intend to do so via the lightning network, which is a second layer solution (2L). This particular 2L as currently designed relies on an artificial block size limit cap which creates a bottleneck in order to provide high incentives for miners to participate. It monetizes on backlog of transaction and high fees, which are allocated to miners, not any group in particular. Cheaper and more instantaneous transactions are shifted to the lightning network which is operated by hubs also earning revenue. Note that some of these hubs may choose to monitor transactions and can possibly censor who is allowed to participate in this no longer strictly peer-to-peer network.
We lose the immutability and instead we have a peer-to-hub-to-peer network that is mutable and at best decentralized, and certainly not distributed (see https://medium.com/@jonaldfyookball/mathematical-proof-that-the-lightning-network-cannot-be-a-decentralized-bitcoin-scaling-solution-1b8147650800). For regular day-to-day and recurring transactions, it is not a considerable risk or inconvenience. And one could choose to use the main chain any time to bypass the lightning network and truly transact peer-to-peer. But since the main chain has an entry barrier in the form of artificially instilled high transaction fees, common people are not able to use bitcoin as we have known it until now. Peer-to-peer bitcoin becomes institution-to-institution bitcoin with peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L.
To reiterate and stress, note the following lightning network design flaw again. Yes, activating SegWit and allowing 2L such as lightning allows for lower transaction fees to coexist side by side with more costly on-chain transactions. For those using this particularly prescribed 2L, the fees remain low. But since these 2L are managed by hubs, we introduce another element to trust, which is contrary to what the bitcoin network was designed to do at the first place. Over time, by the nature of the lightning network in its current design, these third party hubs grow to be centralized, just like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, etc. There is nothing wrong with that in general because it works just fine. But recall that bitcoin set out to create a different kind of a network. Instead of decentralized, distributed, immutable network with miners and nodes, with the lightning network we end up with at best decentralized but mutable network with hubs.
Note that Bitcoin Core SegWit has a US-based organization backing it with millions of dollars (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockstream and https://steemit.com/bitcoin/@adambalm/the-truth-about-who-is-behind-blockstream-and-segwit-as-the-saying-goes-follow-the-money). Their proponents are quite political and some even imply $1000 fees on the main bitcoin blockchain (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/ari-paul-tuur-demeester-look-forward-to-up-to-1k-bitcoin-fees). Contrary to them, Bitcoin Cash proponents intend to keep small fees on a scale of a few cents, which in large volume in larger blockchain blocks provide sufficient incentive for miners to participate.
On the one hand, sticking to the original vision of peer-to-peer network scaled on-chain has merit and holds potential for future value. On the other hand, 2L have potential to carry leaps forward from current financial infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, 2L will allow for extra features to be integrated off-chain (e.g. escrow, reversibility via time-locks), including entirely new features such as smart contracts, decentralized applications, some of which have been pioneered and tested on another cryptocurrency network called Ethereum. But such features could be one day implemented directly on the main bitcoin blockchain without the lightning network as currently designed, or perhaps with a truly integrated 2L proposed in the third section of this overview.
What makes the whole discussion even more confusing is that there are some proposals for specific 2L that would in fact increase privacy and make bitcoin transactions less pseudonymous than those on the current bitcoin blockchain now. Keep in mind that 2L are not necessarily undesirable. If they add features and keep the main network characteristics (decentralized, distributed, immutable), they should be embraced with open arms. But the lightning network as currently designed gives up immutability and hub centralization moves the network characteristic towards a decentralized rather than a distributed network.
In a sense, back to the initial email attachment analogy, even Gmail stopped with attachment limit increases and started hosting large files on Google Drive internally, with an embedded link in a Gmail email to download anything larger than 25MB from Google Drive. Anticipating the same scaling decisions, the question then becomes not if but when and how such 2L should be implemented, keeping the overall network security and network characteristics in mind. If you have not gotten it yet, repeat, repeat, repeat: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Is it the right time now and is SegWit (one way, my way or highway) truly the best solution?
Those siding away from Bitcoin Core SegWit also dislike that corporate entities behind Blockstream, the one publicly known corporate entity directly supporting SegWit, have allegedly applied for SegWit patents which may further restrict who may and who may not participate in the creation of future hubs, or how these hubs are controlled (see the alleged patent revelations, https://falkvinge.net/2017/05/01/blockstream-patents-segwit-makes-pieces-fall-place, the subsequent Twitter rebuttal Blockstream CEO, http://bitcoinist.com/adam-back-no-patents-segwit, and the subsequent legal threats to SegWit2x proponents /btc/comments/6vadfi/blockstream_threatening_legal_action_against). Regardless if the patent claims are precise or not, the fact remains that there is a corporate entity dictating and vetoing bitcoin developments. Objectively speaking, Bitcoin Core SegWit developers paid by Blockstream is a corporate takeover of the bitcoin network as we have known it.
And on the topic of patents and permissionless technological innovations, what makes all of this even more complicated is that a mining improvement technology called ASICboost is allowed on Bitcoin Cash. The main entities who forked from Bitcoin Core to form Bitcoin Cash had taken advantage of patents to the ASICboost technology on the original bitcoin network prior to the fork (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal). This boost saved estimated 20% electricity for miners on 1MB blocks and created unfair economic advantage for this one particular party. SegWit is one way that this boost is being eliminated, through the code. Larger blocks are another way to reduce the boost advantage, via decreased rate of collisions which made this boost happen at the first place (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal-solutions and https://bitslog.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/the-relation-between-segwit-and-asicboost-covert-and-overt). Therefore, the initial Bitcoin Cash proponents argue that eliminating ASICboost through the code is no longer needed or necessary.
Of course, saving any amount electricity between 0% and 20% is good for all on our planet but in reality any energy saved in a mining operation is used by the same mining operation to increase their mining capacity. In reality, there are no savings, there is just capacity redistribution. The question then becomes if it is okay that only one party currently and already holds onto this advantage, which they covertly hid for relatively long time, and which they could be using covertly on Bitcoin Cash if they desired to do so, even though it would an advantage to a smaller degree. To be fair to them, they are mining manufacturers and operators, they researched and developed the advantage from own resources, so perhaps they do indeed have the right to reap ASICboost benefits while they can. But perhaps it should happen in publicly know way, not behind closed doors, and should be temporary, with agreed patent release date.
In conclusion, there is no good and no bad actor, each side is its own shade of grey. All parties have their own truth (and villainy) to certain degree.
Bitcoin Cash's vision is for bitcoin to be an electronic cash platform and daily payment processor whereas Bitcoin Core SegWit seems to be drawn more to the ideas of bitcoin as an investment vehicle and a larger settlement layer with the payment processor function managed via at best decentralized third party hubs. Both can coexist, or either one can eventually prove more useful and digest the other one by taking over all use-cases.
Additionally, the most popular communication channel on /bitcoin with roughly 300k subscribers censors any alternative non-Bitcoin-Core-SegWit opinions and bans people from posting their ideas to discussions (see https://medium.com/@johnblocke/a-brief-and-incomplete-history-of-censorship-in-r-bitcoin-c85a290fe43). This is because their moderators are also supported by Blockstream. Note that the author of this overview has not gotten banned from this particular subreddit (yet), but has experienced shadow-banning first hand. Shadow-banning is a form of censorship. In this particular case, their moderator robot managed by people moderators, collaboratively with the people moderators, do the following:
  • (1) look for "Bitcoin Cash" and other undesirable keywords,
  • (2) warn authors that “Bitcoin Cash” is not true bitcoin (which objectively speaking it is, and which is by no means “BCash” that Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents refer to, in a coordinated effort to further confuse public, especially since some of them have published plans to officially release another cryptocurrency called “BCash” in 2018, see https://medium.com/@freetrade68/announcing-bcash-8b938329eaeb),
  • (3) further warn authors that if they try to post such opinions again, they could banned permanently,
  • (4) tell authors to delete their already posted posts or comments,
  • (5) hide their post from publicly seen boards with all other posts, thus preventing it from being seeing by the other participants in this roughly 300k public forum,
  • (6) and in extreme cases actually “remove” their valid opinions if they slip by uncensored, gain traction, and are often times raise to popularity as comments to other uncensored posts (see /btc/comments/6v3ee8/on_a_reply_i_made_in_rbitcoin_that_had_over_350 and /btc/comments/6vbyv0/in_case_we_needed_more_evidence_500_upvotes).
This effectively silences objective opinions and creates a dangerous echo-chamber. Suppressing free speech and artificially blowing up transaction fees on Bitcoin Core SegWit is against bitcoin’s fundamental values. Therefore, instead of the original Reddit communication channel, many bitcoin enthusiasts migrated to /btc which has roughly 60k subscribers as of now, up from 20k subscribers a year ago in August 2016 (see http://redditmetrics.com/btc). Moderators there do not censor opinions and allow all polite and civil discussions about scaling, including all opinions on Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Core, etc.
Looking beyond their respective leaderships and communication channels, let us review a few network fundamentals and recent developments in Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash networks. Consequently, for now, these present Bitcoin Cash with more favorable long-term prospects.
  • (1) The stress-test and/or attack on the Bitcoin Cash mempool earlier on August 16, 2017 showed that 8MB blocks do work as intended, without catastrophic complications that Bitcoin Core proponents anticipated and from which they attempted to discourage others (see https://jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/uahf/#2w for the Bitcoin Cash mempool and https://core.jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/#2w for the Bitcoin Core mempool). Note that when compared to the Bitcoin Core mempool on their respective 2 week views, one can observe how each network handles backlogs. On the most recent 2 week graphs, the Y-scale for Bitcoin Core is 110k vs. 90k on Bitcoin Cash. In other words, at the moment, Bitcoin Cash works better than Bitcoin Core even though there is clearly not as big demand for Bitcoin Cash as there is for Bitcoin Core. The lack of demand for Bitcoin Cash is partly because Bitcoin Cash is only 3 weeks old and not many merchants have started accepting it, and only a limited number of software applications to use Bitcoin Cash has been released so far. By all means, the Bitcoin Cash stress-test and/or attack from August 16, 2017 reveals that the supply will handle the increased demand, more affordably, and at a much quicker rate.
  • (2) Bitcoin Cash “BCH” mining has become temporarily more profitable than mining Bitcoin Core “BTC” (see http://fork.lol). Besides temporary loss of miners, this puts Bitcoin Core in danger of permanently fleeing miners. Subsequently, mempool backlog and transaction fees are anticipated to increase further.
  • (3) When compared to Bitcoin Cash transaction fees at roughly $0.02, transaction fees per kB are over 800 times as expensive on Bitcoin Core, currently at over $16 (see https://cashvscore.com).
  • (4) Tipping service that used to work on Bitcoin Core's /Bitcoin a few years back has been revived by a new tipping service piloted on the more neutral /btc with the integration of Bitcoin Cash (see /cashtipperbot).
3. Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Scaling bitcoin.
Let us start with the notion that we are impartial to both Bitcoin Core (small blocks, off-chain scaling only) and Bitcoin Cash (big blocks, on-chain scaling only) schools of thought. We will support any or all ideas, as long as they allow for bitcoin to grow organically and eventually succeed as a peer-to-peer network that remains decentralized, distributed, immutable. Should we have a preference in either of the proposed scaling solutions?
First, let us briefly address Bitcoin Core and small blocks again. From the second section of this overview, we understand that there are proposed off-chain scaling methods via second layer solutions (2L), most notably soon-to-be implemented lightning via SegWit on Bitcoin Core. Unfortunately, the lightning network diminishes distributed and immutable network properties by replacing bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network with a two-layer institution-to-institution network and peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L. Do we need this particular 2L right now? Is its complexity truly needed? Is it not at best somewhat cumbersome (if not very redundant)? In addition to ridiculously high on-chain transaction fees illustrated in the earlier section, the lightning network code is perhaps more robust than it needs to be now, with thousands of lines of code, thus possibly opening up to new vectors for bugs or attacks (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network and https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd). Additionally, this particular 2L as currently designed unnecessarily introduces third parties, hubs, that are expected to centralize. We already have a working code that has been tested and proven to handle 8MB blocks, as seen with Bitcoin Cash on August 16, 2017 (see https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/first-8mb-bitcoin-cash-block-just-mined). At best, these third party hubs would be decentralized but they would not be distributed. And these hubs would be by no means integral to the original bitcoin network with users, nodes, and miners.
To paraphrase Ocam’s razor problem solving principle, the simplest solution with the most desirable features will prevail (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor). The simplest scalability solution today is Bitcoin Cash because it updates only one line of code, which instantly increases the block size limit. This also allows other companies building on Bitcoin Cash to reduce their codes when compared to Bitcoin Core SegWit’s longer code, some even claiming ten-fold reductions (see /btc/comments/6vdm7y/ryan_x_charles_reveals_bcc_plan). The bitcoin ecosystem not only includes the network but it also includes companies building services on top of it. When these companies can reduce their vectors for bugs or attacks, the entire ecosystem is healthier and more resilient to hacking disasters. Obviously, changes to the bitcoin network code are desirable to be as few and as elegant as possible.
But what are the long-term implications of doing the one-line update repeatedly? Eventually, blocks would have to reach over 500MB size if they were to process Visa-level capacity (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability). With decreasing costs of IT infrastructure, bandwidth and storage could accommodate it, but the overhead costs would increase significantly, implying miner and/or full node centralization further discussed next. To decrease this particular centralization risk, which some consider undesirable and others consider irrelevant, built-in and integrated 2L could keep the block size at a reasonably small-yet-still-large limit.
At the first sight, these 2L would remedy the risk of centralization by creating their own centralization incentive. At the closer look and Ocam’s razor principle again, these 2L do not have to become revenue-seeking third party hubs as designed with the current lightning network. They can be integrated into the current bitcoin network with at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. Recall that miners will eventually need to supplement their diminishing mining reward from new blocks. Additionally, as of today, the nodes have no built-in economic incentive to run other than securing the network and keeping the network’s overall value at its current level. Therefore, if new 2L were to be developed, they should be designed in a similar way like the lightning network, with the difference that the transaction processing revenue would not go to third party hubs but to the already integrated miners and nodes.
In other words, why do we need extra hubs if we have miners and nodes already? Let us consider the good elements from the lightning network, forget the unnecessary hubs, and focus on integrating the hubs’ responsibilities to already existing miner and node protocols. Why would we add extra elements to the system that already functions with the minimum number of elements possible? Hence, 2L are not necessarily undesirable as long as they do not unnecessarily introduce third party hubs.
Lastly, let us discuss partial on-chain scaling with the overall goal of network security. The network security we seek is the immutability and resilience via distributed elements within otherwise decentralized and distributed network. It is not inconceivable to scale bitcoin with bigger blocks as needed, when needed, to a certain degree. The thought process is the following:
  • (1) Block size limit:
We need some upper limit to avoid bloating the network with spam transactions. Okay, that makes sense. Now, what should this limit be? If we agree to disagree with small block size limit stuck at 1MB, and if we are fine with flexible block size limit increases (inspired by mining difficulty readjustments but on a longer time scale) or big block propositions (to be increased incrementally), what is holding us off next?
  • (2) Miner centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized miners instead of distributed ones. Yes, that is true. And it has already happened, due to the economy of scale, in particular the efficiency of grouping multiple miners in centralized facilities, and the creation of mining pools collectively and virtually connecting groups of miners not physically present in the same facility. These facilities tend to have huge overhead costs and the data storage and bandwidth increase costs are negligible in this context. The individual miners participating in mining pools will quite likely notice somewhat higher operational costs but allowing for additional revenue from integrated 2L described earlier will give them economic incentive to remain actively participating. Note that mining was never supposed to be strictly distributed and it was always at worst decentralized, as defined in the first section of this overview. To assure at best a distributed network, we have nodes.
  • (3) Node centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized nodes instead of distributed ones. Again, recall that we have a spectrum of decentralized and distributed networks in mind, not their absolutes. The concern about the node centralization (and the subsequent shift from distributed to decentralized network property) is valid if we only follow on-chain scaling to inconsiderate MB values. If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
Furthermore, other methods to reduce bandwidth and storage needs can be used. A popular proposal is block pruning, which keeps only the most recent 550 blocks, and eventually deletes any older blocks (see https://news.bitcoin.com/pros-and-cons-on-bitcoin-block-pruning). Block pruning addresses storage needs and makes sure that not all nodes participating in the bitcoin network have to store all transactions that have ever been recorded on the blockchain. Some nodes storing all transactions are still necessary and they are called full nodes. Block pruning does not eliminate full nodes but it does indeed provide an economic incentive for the reduction and centralization (i.e. saving on storage costs). If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
In other words, properly designed 2L should provide economic incentives for all nodes (full and pruned) to remain active and distributed. As of now, only miners earn revenue for participating. The lightning network proposes extra revenue for hubs. Instead, miner revenue could increase by processing 2L transactions as well, and full nodes could have an economic incentive as well. To mine, relatively high startup costs is necessary in order to get the most up to date mining hardware and proper cooling equipment. These have to be maintained and periodically upgraded. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and a sufficiently large storage, which can be expanded as needed, when needed. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and relatively small storage, which does not need to be expanded.
Keeping the distributed characteristic in mind, it would be much more secure for the bitcoin network if one could earn bitcoin by simply running a node, full or pruned. This could be integrated with a simple code change requiring each node to own a bitcoin address to which miners would send a fraction of processed transaction fees. Of course, pruned nodes would collectively receive the least transaction fee revenue (e.g. 10%), full nodes would collectively receive relatively larger transaction fee revenue (e.g. 20%), whereas mining facilities or mining pools would individually receive the largest transaction fee revenue (e.g. 70%) in addition to the full mining reward from newly mined blocks (i.e. 100%). This would assure that all nodes would remain relatively distributed. Hence, block pruning is a feasible solution.
However, in order to start pruning, one would have to have the full blockchain to begin with. As currently designed, downloading blockchain for the first time also audits previous blocks for accuracy, this can take days depending on one’s bandwidth. This online method is the only way to distribute the bitcoin blockchain and the bitcoin network so far. When the size of blockchain becomes a concern, a simpler distribution idea should be implemented offline. Consider distributions of Linux-based operating systems on USBs. Similarly, the full bitcoin blockchain up to a certain point can be distributed via easy-to-mail USBs. Note that even if we were to get the blockchain in bulk on such a USB, some form of a block audit would have to happen nevertheless.
A new form of checkpoint hashes could be added to the bitcoin code. For instance, each 2016 blocks (whenever the difficulty readjusts), all IDs from previous 2015 blocks would be hashed and recorded. That way, with our particular offline blockchain distribution, the first time user would have to audit only the key 2016th blocks, designed to occur on average once in roughly 2 weeks. This would significantly reduce bandwidth concerns for the auditing process because only each 2016th block would have to be uploaded online to be audited.
Overall, we are able to scale the bitcoin network via initial on-chain scaling approaches supplemented with off-chain scaling approaches. This upgrades the current network to a pruned peer-to-peer network with integrated 2L managed by miners and nodes who assure that the bitcoin network stays decentralized, distributed, immutable.
submitted by bit-architect to Bitcoincash [link] [comments]

Subreddit Stats: btc posts from 2017-10-03 to 2017-10-09 13:22 PDT

Period: 6.50 days
Submissions Comments
Total 837 20193
Rate (per day) 128.85 2692.43
Unique Redditors 489 2132
Combined Score 26601 69285

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 1086 points, 17 submissions: increaseblocks
    1. Another all time low achieved - The Blockstream CSO just reported Coinbase to the NYDFS (on Twitter) claiming they are violating the Bitlicense (199 points, 91 comments)
    2. Craig Wright is NOT the face of or "CEO" Bitcoin Cash (181 points, 116 comments)
    3. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Withdrawals now available on Gemini exchange (176 points, 39 comments)
    4. In just the month of September 2017 alone rBitcoin mods censored 5633 posts and comments! (115 points, 19 comments)
    5. Forget stealing data — these hackers broke into Amazon's cloud to mine bitcoin (91 points, 11 comments)
    6. Why Blockstream Is So Loudly Against Segwit2x (72 points, 52 comments)
    7. 10 reasons why Reddit admins should close down Bitcoin and not BTC (63 points, 62 comments)
    8. These are the real enemies of Bitcoin (43 points, 23 comments)
    9. Bitcoin Core developers along with Blockstream are destroying Bitcoin (36 points, 5 comments)
    10. Theory: Bitcoin Cash price is dropping as we get closer to SegWit2X hard fork. People are putting their money back into the SegWit1X chain for now so they can claim coins on both chains come November. (34 points, 43 comments)
  2. 970 points, 8 submissions: MemoryDealers
    1. Repost: "The notion of every #bitcoin user running their own node is as dumb as the notion of every email user running their own server.' (279 points, 233 comments)
    2. Just letting Bitcoin.org know that Bitcoin.com will list S2X as BTC (Just like 95% of the rest of the ecosystem will) (243 points, 146 comments)
    3. Censorship question (158 points, 164 comments)
    4. The newest Bitcoin CASH billboard is coming to Silicon Valley! ($1,000 in Bitcoin Cash giveaway contest) (90 points, 38 comments)
    5. Core supporter mentality: Why would anyone ever switch from Myspace to Facebook? Of course they won't, we are already #1 (73 points, 67 comments)
    6. Insights from "a professional capacity planner for one of the world’s busiest websites" on the block size issue. (59 points, 18 comments)
    7. South Korean Startups Are Preparing To Fight The Government's ICO Ban (48 points, 2 comments)
    8. Meanwhile in Japan: (20 points, 21 comments)
  3. 895 points, 7 submissions: poorbrokebastard
    1. Is segwit2x the REAL Banker takeover? (288 points, 400 comments)
    2. No supporter of Bitcoin Cash ever called it "Bcash." (207 points, 328 comments)
    3. The real upgrade happened on August 1st, 2017 (186 points, 206 comments)
    4. We are building a Big Blocker's Arsenal of Truth and we need your help! (143 points, 163 comments)
    5. Understanding the Implications of Restricting Capacity in a Peer to Peer Cash System. (53 points, 42 comments)
    6. Block space is a market-based, public good, NOT a centrally controlled, restricted commodity. (18 points, 48 comments)
    7. Crypt0 on youtube talks about the Segwit2x Banker Takeover (0 points, 3 comments)
  4. 866 points, 4 submissions: jessquit
    1. I think we need an EDA fix before the Nov hardfork (540 points, 352 comments)
    2. If you still think that SW2X is going to be a nice clean upgrade per the NYA you're smoking crack (136 points, 177 comments)
    3. Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin, even if Segwit currently has greater market share due to its stronger shilling (104 points, 140 comments)
    4. "Firing Core" by running SW2X makes as much sense as firing the Linux kernel devs by running Ubuntu. (86 points, 69 comments)
  5. 785 points, 8 submissions: btcnewsupdates
    1. Overstock accepts Bitcoin Cash - BCH holders can now buy Home Goods, Bed & Bath Essentials, Jewellery & More! (586 points, 117 comments)
    2. Bitcoin Cash Gains More Infrastructure In the Midst of Segwit2x Drama - Bitcoin News (80 points, 35 comments)
    3. To commemorate its Bitcoin Cash addition, GMO has launched a cash-back campaign for bitcoin cash of up to 25,000 yen (40 points, 0 comments)
    4. India’s Koinex Exchange to Enable Bitcoin Cash Trading Soon (31 points, 13 comments)
    5. Unregulated Is Not Lawless - CFTC is investigating Coinbase’s Ethereum flash crash (23 points, 6 comments)
    6. SimpleFX, online Forex & Cryptocurrency broker recently introduced Bitcoin Cash as a deposit currency (22 points, 0 comments)
    7. Bitcoin Cash Popularity Allows ViaBTC Mining Pool to Surpass 1 Exahash (3 points, 0 comments)
    8. Trade Bitcoin Cash CFDs - The Rapidly Rising Crypto - plus500.co.uk‎ (0 points, 0 comments)
  6. 745 points, 18 submissions: cryptorebel
    1. Great analysis by singularity and jessquit on how anti-btc trolls shifted: "suddenly last year they all disappeared, and a new type of bitcoin user appeared who were fully in support of bitcoin but they just so happened to support every single thing Blockstream and its employees said and did." (102 points, 50 comments)
    2. Don't fall for EDA Dragons Den FUD. EDA is a powerful weapon that could kill off or cripple the segwit chain for good. Legacy coin has no EDA crash barrier as this article explains. This is why small blockers use FUD us to disarm the EDA (78 points, 118 comments)
    3. Roger Ver CEO of bitcoin.com says that from his point of view the segwit2x split just gives him more coins to sell for the Bitcoin Cash version which he thinks is the more useful Bitcoin @3min41s mark (71 points, 33 comments)
    4. Proof the new Dragons Den plan could be to try to split BCC with an EDA change. Mrhodl is confirmed Dragons Den, and Cobra Bitcoin is the leader of bitcoin.org which is making enemy lists for big block supporting businesses. (70 points, 47 comments)
    5. Right now segwit2x (BT2) is trading for $1143 and segwit1x (BT1) is $3070 on Bitfinex futures markets. Even with not the greatest terms, you would expect 2x to be much higher. I believe this bodes well for BCC. (61 points, 112 comments)
    6. The other day people were suggesting we do an EDA change before the November 2x fork. Here is why I think that is a terrible idea, and why we should only consider EDA change AFTER the 2x fork. (58 points, 40 comments)
    7. "Nick, Adam and others saw the flaw in the system being that they could not ensure one vote one person.. The flaw in that reasoning is assuming that one vote one person was ever a goal. Miners act economically not altruistically." (57 points, 14 comments)
    8. Original chain is now only 4.8% more profitable than Bitcoin Cash chain after the most recent EDA adjustment on BCC. Very normal blocktimes. Where is the EDA dragons den FUD now? (53 points, 33 comments)
    9. Great Explanation from Peter Rizun at 6min mark, on why Segregated Witness no longer fits the Definition of Bitcoin in the Whitepaper as a Chain of Signatures. (51 points, 19 comments)
    10. Right now segwit2x is $650 and segwit1x is $3906. Search for BT1 and BT2 on this page and you can see the futures prices. (51 points, 102 comments)
  7. 640 points, 3 submissions: BeijingBitcoins
    1. "Am I so out of touch?" (441 points, 163 comments)
    2. Bitcoin Cannot Be Only a Store of Value - excellent article by OpenBazaar dev Chris Pacia (189 points, 47 comments)
    3. Interesting research paper: Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation (10 points, 2 comments)
  8. 622 points, 2 submissions: routefire
    1. "Everyone who supported UASF and now complains about S2X out of fear of confusion/lack of mandatory replay protection is a hypocrite. UASF did not have ANY replay protection, not even opt-in. UASF did not even have wipe-out protection!" (394 points, 133 comments)
    2. While /bitcoin was circle-jerking to the idea that no exchange would list the SW2x chain as BTC, Bitcoin Thailand's comment to the contrary was removed from the very same thread! (228 points, 70 comments)
  9. 510 points, 6 submissions: BitcoinIsTehFuture
    1. Bitfinex announcement about issuing BT1 & BT2 "Chain Split Tokens" to allow Futures trading. (BT1 = Segwit1x; BT2 = Segwit2x) (172 points, 173 comments)
    2. By proving that it can be done (getting rid of Core) this will set a HUUGE precedent and milestone that dev teams and even outright censorship cannot overtake Bitcoin. That will be an extremely bullish occasionfor all crypto. (149 points, 84 comments)
    3. Bitfinex is going to call Segwit2x coins "B2X" and let Core chain retain "BTC" ticker symbol. Bitfinex is therefore calling Segwit2x an altcoin and Core the "real chain". (138 points, 70 comments)
    4. The goal of all the forks appears to be to dilute investment in the true forks: Bitcoin Cash and Segwit2x. A sort of Scorched Earth approach by Blockstream. They are going to try to tear down Bitcoin as they get removed. (35 points, 11 comments)
    5. Blockstream be like (10 points, 11 comments)
    6. In light of all these upcoming forks, we need a site where you can put in a BTC address and it checks ALL the forks and says which chains still have a balance for that address. This way you can split your coins and send coins carefully. (6 points, 6 comments)
  10. 508 points, 3 submissions: xmrusher
    1. Can we take a moment to appreciate Jeff Garzik for how much bullshit he has to deal with while working to give BTC a long-needed upgrade that Core has been blocking for so long? (278 points, 193 comments)
    2. The very objective article "Bitcoin is not ruled by miners" on the "bitcoin wiki" was added by theymos on 8th of August this year. Nothing strange to see here, just an objective, encyclopedia-quality overview! (155 points, 58 comments)
    3. According to Crooked Greg, Jeff merging opt-in replay protection is "alarming", because it must mean Jeff wants to blacklist people's addresses too. Core devs keep lying and manipulating to stir more drama and further the split in the community. Disgusting! (75 points, 16 comments)
  11. 505 points, 4 submissions: WalterRothbard
    1. Sam Patterson on Twitter: Can anyone explain why miners and CEOs agreeing to a 2mb hard fork was no big deal with the HKA but is a "corporate takeover" with the NYA? (221 points, 85 comments)
    2. Apparently Bitcoin requires trust now - trusting Core. I didn't get that memo. I think I'll opt out. (169 points, 139 comments)
    3. Erik Voorhees on Twitter: Nothing about NYA was secret (106 points, 34 comments)
    4. How much BTC is in segwit addresses? (9 points, 25 comments)
  12. 480 points, 3 submissions: BitcoinXio
    1. Friendly reminder: if you haven't yet, watch this video which shows reddit is gamed and manipulated by professional shills paid by companies with huge million dollar budgets. It is up to our community to defend itself against these bad actors. (325 points, 99 comments)
    2. Blockchain CEO Peter Smith on Twitter: "We've dedicated our lives to building bitcoin products, introduced millions to bitcoin, evangelized, long before it was cool. Enemies?" (in response to Adam Back) (147 points, 47 comments)
    3. Liberty in North Korea: Reddit online community members join forces to assist in the placement of North Korea’s Hermit Kingdom refugees (8 points, 3 comments)
  13. 459 points, 4 submissions: singularity87
    1. The entire bitcoin economy is attacking bitcoin says bitcoin.org! You can't make this shit up. (435 points, 279 comments)
    2. Understanding Bitcoin - Incentives & The Power Dynamic (13 points, 1 comment)
    3. Understanding Bitcoin - What is 'Centralisation'? (9 points, 9 comments)
    4. Understanding Bitcoin - Validity is in the Eye of the Beholder (2 points, 25 comments)
  14. 434 points, 3 submissions: Gregory_Maxwell
    1. Wikipedia Admins: "[Gregory Maxwell of Blockstream Core] is a very dangerous individual" "has for some time been behaving very oddly and aggressively" (214 points, 79 comments)
    2. Gregory Maxwell: I didn't look to see how Bitcoin worked because I had already proven it (strong decentralized consensus) to be impossible. (122 points, 103 comments)
    3. LAST 1000 BLOCKS: Segwit2x-intent blocks: 922 (92.2%) (98 points, 99 comments)
  15. 419 points, 1 submission: Testwest78
    1. Making Gregory Maxwell a Bitcoin Core Committer Was a “Huge Mistake” Says Gavin Andresen (419 points, 231 comments)
  16. 412 points, 14 submissions: knight222
    1. Kudos to Theymos who wanted to clear things up... (311 points, 89 comments)
    2. COINFUCIUS on Twitter: We are working with the machine's manufacturer to incorporate Bitcoin Cash support. This is a priority for us. (76 points, 2 comments)
    3. Cash, credit ... or Bitcoin? St. John's gets 1st cybercurrency ATM - Newfoundland - Labrador (9 points, 1 comment)
    4. Banks like the potential of digital currencies but are cool on bitcoin, UBS says (3 points, 0 comments)
    5. The Feds Just Collected $48 Million from Seized Bitcoins (3 points, 1 comment)
    6. while Bitcoin users might get increasingly tyrannical about limiting the size of the chain so it's easy for lots of users and small devices. (3 points, 3 comments)
    7. ‘Fraud.’ ‘More than a fad.’ The words Wall Street CEOs are using to describe bitcoin (2 points, 0 comments)
    8. Bitcoin is creating stark divisions on Wall Street (1 point, 0 comments)
    9. Bitcoin: Bitcoin's rise happened in the shadows. Now banks want in (1 point, 0 comments)
    10. Japan’s Biggest Bank Plans to “Overcome” Bitcoin Volatility with 'MUFG Coin' (1 point, 0 comments)
  17. 406 points, 5 submissions: jonald_fyookball
    1. Normal, real twitter users don't add [UASF], [No2x] or any "causes" to their user handles. Obvious astroturfing is obvious. Do they really think they are fooling anyone? (175 points, 134 comments)
    2. Greg Maxwell (and others) may be engaging in the illegal harassment of Jeff Garzik. (92 points, 24 comments)
    3. Bitcoin Cash FAQ updated. Explains why Bitcoin Cash doesn't have SegWit and why it was not considered a capacity increase (87 points, 11 comments)
    4. Is it all a bait and switch campaign? (32 points, 14 comments)
    5. Possible EDA simulation algorithm sketch (20 points, 12 comments)
  18. 404 points, 3 submissions: Annapurna317
    1. Everyone should calm down. The upgrade to 2x has 95%+ miner support and will be as smooth as a hot knife through butter. Anyone that says otherwise is fear monguring or listening to bitcoin propaganda. (364 points, 292 comments)
    2. Notice: Redditor for 3-4 months accounts or accounts that do not have a history of Bitcoin posts are probably the same person or just a few people paid to manipulate discussion here. It's likely a paid astroturfing campaign. (38 points, 30 comments)
    3. The latest TED Radio Hour titled “Getting Organized” talks about the decentralized algorithms of ants and how centralization is not the most ideal state of an organization. (2 points, 0 comments)
  19. 385 points, 1 submission: squarepush3r
    1. Dangerous direction for /btc, possible jump the shark moment. Witch-hunting, paid troll and Dragon Den's accusation to justify censorship. (385 points, 201 comments)
  20. 381 points, 1 submission: hunk_quark
    1. Why is there so much debate on whether Bitcoin is store of value or digital currency? Satoshi's white paper was pretty clear it's a digital currency. (381 points, 182 comments)
  21. 369 points, 5 submissions: craftercrafter
    1. Gavin Andresen on Twitter: Early bitcoin devs luckily picked the right project at the right time. None are irreplaceable, bitcoin will succeed with or without us. (293 points, 57 comments)
    2. Antpool, BTC.TOP & Viabtc all said EDA is a temporary design for BCC. They are just waiting for the new algorithm. (34 points, 19 comments)
    3. SimpleFX, an Online Forex & Cryptocurrency Broker, Adds Bitcoin Cash Payments as well as Bitcoin Cash Trading Pairs! (27 points, 1 comment)
    4. BCC Miners, two EDAs have locked in. This will reduce mining difficulty to 64.00%. If you are aiming to achieve profit parity, you should start mining after the next EDA (in 2.5 hours), because then the difficulty will be at 51%, which gives profit parity on both chains and steady block rate. (9 points, 14 comments)
    5. Antpool, Viabtc, Bitcoin.com, BTC.com, we need to hear your voice. In the case of a scheduled hardfork for updating the EDA, will your pool follow? (6 points, 18 comments)
  22. 348 points, 6 submissions: specialenmity
    1. Fact: proof of work which is the foundation of bitcoin and not invented by Adam back was designed to counter attacks where one person falsely represents to be many(like spam). Subreddits and twitter dont form the foundation of bitcoin for a reason. (156 points, 27 comments)
    2. I'm a small blocker and I support the NYA (87 points, 46 comments)
    3. Devs find clever way to add replay protection that doesn't change transaction format which would break software compatibility and cause disruption. G. Max responds by saying that this blacklisting is a sign of things to come. (49 points, 57 comments)
    4. Five ways small blocks (AKA core1mb) hurt decentralization (36 points, 4 comments)
    5. Even if bitcoins only use to society was avoiding negative interest rates, bail-ins + bail-outs, that is incredibly useful to society. Of course a banker like Jamie Dimon would call something a fraud that removes a "bank tax" on society by allowing them to avoid these fraudulent charges. (18 points, 0 comments)
    6. There are different kinds of censorship. The core propagandists are unwittingly great advocates of economic censorship (2 points, 1 comment)
  23. 286 points, 2 submissions: coincrazyy
    1. Rick Falkvinge on Twitter - "Blockstream's modus operandi is not particularly hard to copy. It's just so cheap and shortsighted." -Gets 5000 ReTweets and 5000 likes in 30 mins. TO PROVE A POINT. ASTROTURFING DOES NOT MEAN CONSENSUS (164 points, 15 comments)
    2. Segwit was invented by "cypherpunks" THAT FAILED TO CREATE A VIABLE DIGITAL CURRENCY. Bitcoin was created by a cypherpunk that SUCCEEDED. (122 points, 118 comments)
  24. 257 points, 2 submissions: olivierjanss
    1. Why Bitfinex’s “Chain Split Tokens” are completely biased towards the small block side (again) (205 points, 165 comments)
    2. Reminder of what took place behind closed doors in 2016, revealing Blockstream & Core's quest for domination & lies. (52 points, 3 comments)
  25. 254 points, 9 submissions: SeppDepp2
    1. #SegWit2x is an upgrade to BTC and will use the BTC ticker. (103 points, 59 comments)
    2. Core rage quitting Swiss Bitcoin Association ? - Due to a CSW free speech ? - OMG - grow up little prejudges! (76 points, 141 comments)
    3. "Venezuela could soon decide to adopt the Bitcoin as its new currency" - Hope they'll use Satoshi's Bitcoin Cash - They cannot afford high fees like most No2X / NoCash puppets! (36 points, 6 comments)
    4. A short logical layman proof definition of Bitcoin: Look up, what Bitcoin really is: 1) Whitepaper 2) First code version Bitcoin is Bitcoin Cash and includes e.g. the witness. Segwit - Bitcoin is an alternative to this (ALT). (17 points, 3 comments)
    5. Core gets hyperallergic about a free speach of CSW in neutral Switzerland (6 points, 35 comments)
    6. Different Bitcoins: Value proposition, trust, reputation - confidence (6 points, 0 comments)
    7. Four Different November Scenarios (6 points, 24 comments)
    8. Swiss biggest FinTech launches BITCOIN Tracker (valid up to 2020) (2 points, 1 comment)
    9. Watch out for this kind of pattern! If it comes to such a segregation of good old members into good and enemy its gonna be dirty! (2 points, 0 comments)
  26. 230 points, 2 submissions: williaminlondon
    1. PSA: latest rbitcoin post "It's time to label (and remove from reddit.com) what is plainly obvious: btc is a monetized subreddit for bitcoin.com." (126 points, 57 comments)
    2. Did anyone notice how angry Blockstream / Core people are whenever good news are posted here? (104 points, 108 comments)
  27. 227 points, 1 submission: dskloet
    1. All the #no2x bullshit is the fault of the people who agreed to activeate SegWit before 2x. (227 points, 199 comments)
  28. 226 points, 5 submissions: opling
    1. Japan's Largest Bitcoin Exchange Bitflyer Launches Bitcoin Visa Prepaid Card (112 points, 1 comment)
    2. Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments With a Discount (44 points, 4 comments)
    3. Bitcoin ATMs On the Rise in Russia (40 points, 2 comments)
    4. Russia's Central Bank Instructs Clearinghouse Not to Settle Cryptocurrency Contracts (18 points, 1 comment)
    5. Government Head of IT Department Fired for Mining Bitcoin Using State-Owned Computers in Crimea (12 points, 2 comments)
  29. 222 points, 2 submissions: GrumpyAnarchist
    1. Xapo just sold off another 70,000 BCH today, that might explain the price. They're down to 176K in their main wallet now. (166 points, 132 comments)
    2. Roger, can you make Bitcoin Cash an option, with maybe a link to info, in the original wallet setup phase for the Bitcoin.com wallet? (56 points, 28 comments)
  30. 216 points, 7 submissions: uMCCCS
    1. TIL a BS employee, Chris Decker, and some other people released a study that says "4 MB blocks don't cause centralization" (128 points, 19 comments)
    2. Without ASICs, there would be large botnets that are more centralized (44 points, 43 comments)
    3. Bitcoin-ML Bucketed UTXO Commitment (a.k.a. Blockchain pruning!) (27 points, 6 comments)
    4. Bitcoin Cash is Satoshi's BitCoin, not altered Bitcoin (10 points, 10 comments)
    5. TIL BashCo has a website "2x Countdown" (5 points, 1 comment)
    6. How true is rBTC censorship? (2 points, 7 comments)
    7. If S1X lives and Core Never HardForks, BTC will die in year 2038 (0 points, 7 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. williaminlondon (3150 points, 739 comments)
  2. poorbrokebastard (2114 points, 518 comments)
  3. cryptorebel (1768 points, 257 comments)
  4. space58 (1313 points, 201 comments)
  5. Adrian-X (1109 points, 235 comments)
  6. knight222 (1037 points, 157 comments)
  7. bitcoincashuser (946 points, 188 comments)
  8. jessquit (901 points, 150 comments)
  9. ---Ed--- (758 points, 185 comments)
  10. LovelyDay (742 points, 125 comments)
  11. jonald_fyookball (720 points, 106 comments)
  12. Not_Pictured (701 points, 111 comments)
  13. awemany (675 points, 173 comments)
  14. BitcoinXio (611 points, 41 comments)
  15. Gregory_Maxwell (609 points, 90 comments)
  16. singularity87 (608 points, 44 comments)
  17. 2dsxc (587 points, 79 comments)
  18. BitcoinIsTehFuture (567 points, 79 comments)
  19. BTCrob (534 points, 214 comments)
  20. H0dl (531 points, 79 comments)
  21. dskloet (517 points, 94 comments)
  22. Ant-n (509 points, 132 comments)
  23. nullc (497 points, 66 comments)
  24. tippr (483 points, 284 comments)
  25. todu (476 points, 63 comments)
  26. GrumpyAnarchist (472 points, 127 comments)
  27. tophernator (462 points, 78 comments)
  28. livecatbounce (456 points, 61 comments)
  29. kenman345 (453 points, 49 comments)
  30. cryptonaut420 (403 points, 50 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Overstock accepts Bitcoin Cash - BCH holders can now buy Home Goods, Bed & Bath Essentials, Jewellery & More! by btcnewsupdates (586 points, 117 comments)
  2. I think we need an EDA fix before the Nov hardfork by jessquit (540 points, 352 comments)
  3. "Am I so out of touch?" by BeijingBitcoins (441 points, 163 comments)
  4. The entire bitcoin economy is attacking bitcoin says bitcoin.org! You can't make this shit up. by singularity87 (435 points, 279 comments)
  5. Making Gregory Maxwell a Bitcoin Core Committer Was a “Huge Mistake” Says Gavin Andresen by Testwest78 (419 points, 231 comments)
  6. "Everyone who supported UASF and now complains about S2X out of fear of confusion/lack of mandatory replay protection is a hypocrite. UASF did not have ANY replay protection, not even opt-in. UASF did not even have wipe-out protection!" by routefire (394 points, 133 comments)
  7. Dangerous direction for /btc, possible jump the shark moment. Witch-hunting, paid troll and Dragon Den's accusation to justify censorship. by squarepush3r (385 points, 201 comments)
  8. Why is there so much debate on whether Bitcoin is store of value or digital currency? Satoshi's white paper was pretty clear it's a digital currency. by hunk_quark (381 points, 182 comments)
  9. Everyone should calm down. The upgrade to 2x has 95%+ miner support and will be as smooth as a hot knife through butter. Anyone that says otherwise is fear monguring or listening to bitcoin propaganda. by Annapurna317 (364 points, 292 comments)
  10. Friendly reminder: if you haven't yet, watch this video which shows reddit is gamed and manipulated by professional shills paid by companies with huge million dollar budgets. It is up to our community to defend itself against these bad actors. by BitcoinXio (325 points, 99 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 194 points: cryptorebel's comment in Dangerous direction for /btc, possible jump the shark moment. Witch-hunting, paid troll and Dragon Den's accusation to justify censorship.
  2. 167 points: EH74JP's comment in The entire bitcoin economy is attacking bitcoin says bitcoin.org! You can't make this shit up.
  3. 158 points: BobWalsch's comment in I think we need an EDA fix before the Nov hardfork
  4. 157 points: BitcoinXio's comment in Dangerous direction for /btc, possible jump the shark moment. Witch-hunting, paid troll and Dragon Den's accusation to justify censorship.
  5. 149 points: MemoryDealers's comment in All the #no2x bullshit is the fault of the people who agreed to activeate SegWit before 2x.
  6. 116 points: Testwest78's comment in Making Gregory Maxwell a Bitcoin Core Committer Was a “Huge Mistake” Says Gavin Andresen
  7. 115 points: 2dsxc's comment in I think we need an EDA fix before the Nov hardfork
  8. 106 points: Piper67's comment in jgarzik please do not add replay protection
  9. 106 points: singularity87's comment in The entire bitcoin economy is attacking bitcoin says bitcoin.org! You can't make this shit up.
  10. 99 points: zowki's comment in Bitcoin.com Pool stabilized the Bitcoin Cash blockchain (prevented excessive EDAs)
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Bitcoin, huh? WTF is going on? Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Will you stay decentralized, distributed, immutable?

0. Shit, this is long, TLWR please! Too long, won't read.
EDIT: TLDR TLWR for clarity.
1. Bitcoin, huh? Brief introduction.
There are 3 sections to this overview. The first section is a brief introduction to bitcoin. The second section looks at recent developments in the bitcoin world, through the analogy of email attachments, and the third section discusses what could be next, through the perspective of resilience and network security.
This is just a continuation of a long, long, possibly never-ending debate that started with the release of the bitcoin whitepaper in 2008 (see https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf). The recent mess during the past few years boils down to the controversy with the block size limit and how to appropriately scale bitcoin, the keyword appropriately. Scaling bitcoin is a controversial debate with valid arguments from all sides (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_size_limit_controversy).
I have researched, studied, and written this overview as objectively and as impartially as possible. By all means, this is still an opinion and everyone is advised to draw their own conclusions. My efforts are to make at least a few readers aware that ultimately there is only one team, and that team is the team bitcoin. Yes, currently though, there are factions within the team bitcoin. I hope that we can get beyond partisan fights and work together for the best bitcoin. I support all scaling proposals as long as they are the best for the given moment in time. Personally, I hate propaganda and love free speech as long as it is not derogatory and as long as it allows for constructive discussions.
The goal of this overview is to explain to a novice how bitcoin network works, what has been keeping many bitcoin enthusiasts concerned, and if we can keep the bitcoin network with three main properties described as decentralized, distributed, immutable. Immutable means censorship resistant. For the distinction between decentralized and distributed, refer to Figure 1: Centralized, decentralized and distributed network models by Paul Baran (1964), which is a RAND Institute study to create a robust and nonlinear military communication network (see https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2006/RM3420.pdf). Note that for the overall network resilience and security, distributed is more desirable than decentralized, and the goal is to get as far away from central models as possible. Of course, nothing is strictly decentralized or strictly distributed and all network elements are at different levels of this spectrum.
For those unaware how bitcoin works, I recommend the Bitcoin Wikipedia (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page). In short, the bitcoin network includes users which make bitcoin transactions and send them to the network memory pool called mempool, nodes which store the public and pseudonymous ledger called blockchain and which help with receiving pending transactions and updating processed transactions, thus securing the overall network, and miners which also secure the bitcoin network by mining. Mining is the process of confirming pending bitcoin transactions, clearing them from the mempool, and adding them to blocks which build up the consecutive chain of blocks on the blockchain. The blockchain is therefore a decentralized and distributed ledger built on top of bitcoin transactions, therefore impossible to exist without bitcoin. If someone claims to be working on their own blockchain without bitcoin, by the definition of the bitcoin network however, they are not talking about the actual blockchain. Instead, they intend to own a different kind of a private database made to look like the public and pseudonymous blockchain ledger.
There are roughly a couple of dozen mining pools, each possibly with hundreds or thousands of miners participating in them, to several thousand nodes (see https://blockchain.info/pools and https://coin.dance/nodes). Therefore, the bitcoin network has at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. The miner and node design makes the blockchain resilient and immune to reversible changes, making it censorship resistant, thus immutable. The bitcoin blockchain avoids the previous need for a third party to trust. This is a very elegant solution to peer-to-peer financial exchange via a network that is all: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Extra features (escrow, reversibility via time-locks, and other features desirable in specific instances) can be integrated within the network or added on top of this network, however, they have not been implemented yet.
Miners who participate receive mining reward consisting of newly mined bitcoins at a predetermined deflationary rate and also transaction fees from actual bitcoin transactions being processed. It is estimated that in 2022, miners will have mined more than 90% of all 21 million bitcoins ever to be mined (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Controlled_supply). As the mining reward from newly mined blocks diminishes to absolute zero in 2140, the network eventually needs the transaction fees to become the main component of the reward. This can happen either via high-volume-low-cost transaction fees or low-volume-high-cost transaction fees. Obviously, there is the need to address the question of fees when dealing with the dilemma how to scale bitcoin. Which type of fees would you prefer and under which circumstances?
2. WTF is going on? Recent developments.
There are multiple sides to the scaling debate but to simplify it, first consider the 2 main poles. In particular, to scale bitcoin on blockchain or to scale it off it, that is the question!
The first side likes the idea of bitcoin as it has been until now. It prefers on-chain scaling envisioned by the bitcoin creator or a group of creators who chose the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is now called Bitcoin Cash and somewhat religiously follows Satoshi’s vision from the 2008 whitepaper and their later public forum discussions (see https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1347.msg15366#msg15366). Creators’ vision is good to follow but it should not be followed blindly and dogmatically when better advancements are possible, the keyword when. To alleviate concerning backlog of transactions and rising fees, Bitcoin Cash proponents implemented a simple one-line code update which increased the block size limit for blockhain blocks from 1MB block size limit to a new, larger 8MB limit. This was done through a fork on August 1, 2017, which created Bitcoin Cash, and which kept the bitcoin transaction history until then. Bitcoin Cash has observed significant increase in support, from 3% of all bitcoin miners at first to over 44% of all bitcoin miners after 3 weeks on August 22, 2017 (see http://fork.lol/pow/hashrate and http://fork.lol/pow/hashrateabs).
An appropriate scaling analogy is to recall email attachments early on. They too were limited to a few MB at first, then 10MB, 20MB, up until 25MB on Gmail. But even then, Gmail eventually started using Google Drive internally. Note that Google Drive is a third party to Gmail, although yes, it is managed by the same entity.
The second side argues that bitcoin cannot work with such a scaling approach of pre-meditated MB increases. Arguments against block size increases include miner and node centralization, and bandwidth limitations. These are discussed in more detail in the third section of this overview. As an example of an alternative scaling approach, proponents of off-chain scaling want to jump to the internally integrated third party right away, without any MB increase and, sadly, without any discussion. Some of these proponents called one particular implementation method SegWit, which stands for Segregated Witness, and they argue that SegWit is the only way that we can ever scale up add the extra features to the bitcoin network. This is not necessarily true because other scaling solutions are feasible, such as already functioning Bitcoin Cash, and SegWit’s proposed solution will not use internally integrated third party as shown next. Note that although not as elegant as SegWit is today, there are other possibilities to integrate some extra features without SegWit (see /Bitcoin/comments/5dt8tz/confused_is_segwit_needed_for_lightning_network).
Due to the scaling controversy and the current backlog of transactions and already high fees, a third side hastily proposed a compromise to a 2MB increase in addition to the proposed SegWit implementation. They called it SegWit2x, which stands for Segregated Witness with 2MB block size limit increase. But the on-chain scaling and Bitcoin Cash proponents did not accept it due to SegWit’s design redundancy and hub centralization which are discussed next and revisited in the third section of this overview. After a few years of deadlock, that is why the first side broke free and created the Bitcoin Cash fork.
The second side stuck with bitcoin as it was. In a way, they inherited the bitcoin network without any major change to public eye. This is crucial because major changes are about to happen and the original bitcoin vision, as we have known it, is truly reflected only in what some media refer to as a forked clone, Bitcoin Cash. Note that to avoid confusion, this second side is referred to as Bitcoin Core by some or Legacy Bitcoin by others, although mainstream media still refers to it simply as Bitcoin. The core of Bitcoin Core is quite hardcore though. They too rejected the proposed compromise for SegWit2x and there are clear indications that they will push to keep SegWit only, forcing the third side with SegWit2x proponents to create another fork in November 2017 or to join Bitcoin Cash. Note that to certain degree, already implemented and working Bitcoin Cash is technically superior to SegWit2x which is yet to be deployed (see /Bitcoin/comments/6v0gll/why_segwit2x_b2x_is_technically_inferior_to).
Interestingly enough, those who agreed to SegWit2x have been in overwhelming majority, nearly 87% of all bitcoin miners on July 31, 2017 prior to the fork, and a little over 90% of remaining Bitcoin Core miners to date after the fork (see https://coin.dance/blocks). Despite such staggering support, another Bitcoin Core fork is anticipated later in November (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-is-splitting-once-again-are-you-ready) and the "Outcome #2: Segwit2x reneges on 2x or does not prioritize on-chain scaling" seems to be on track from the perspective of Bitcoin Core SegWit, publicly seen as the original Bitcoin (see https://blog.bridge21.io/before-and-after-the-great-bitcoin-fork-17d2aad5d512). The sad part is that although in their overwhelming majority, the miners who support SegWit2x would be the ones creating another Bitcoin Core SegWit2x fork or parting ways from the original Bitcoin.
In a way, this is an ironic example how bitcoin’s built-in resiliency to veto changes causes majority to part away when a small minority has status quo and holds off fully-consented progress. Ultimately, this will give the minority Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents the original Bitcoin branding, perhaps to lure in large institutional investors and monetize on bitcoin’s success as we have it seen it during the past 9 years since its inception. Recall that bitcoin of today is already a decentralized, distributed, immutable network by its definition. The bitcoin network was designed to be an alternative to centralized and mutable institutions, so prevalent in modern capitalist societies.
Bitcoin Core SegWit group wants to change the existing bitcoin network to a network with dominant third parties which, unlike Google Drive to Gmail, are not internal. In particular, they intend to do so via the lightning network, which is a second layer solution (2L). This particular 2L as currently designed relies on an artificial block size limit cap which creates a bottleneck in order to provide high incentives for miners to participate. It monetizes on backlog of transaction and high fees, which are allocated to miners, not any group in particular. Cheaper and more instantaneous transactions are shifted to the lightning network which is operated by hubs also earning revenue. Note that some of these hubs may choose to monitor transactions and can possibly censor who is allowed to participate in this no longer strictly peer-to-peer network.
We lose the immutability and instead we have a peer-to-hub-to-peer network that is mutable and at best decentralized, and certainly not distributed (see https://medium.com/@jonaldfyookball/mathematical-proof-that-the-lightning-network-cannot-be-a-decentralized-bitcoin-scaling-solution-1b8147650800). For regular day-to-day and recurring transactions, it is not a considerable risk or inconvenience. And one could choose to use the main chain any time to bypass the lightning network and truly transact peer-to-peer. But since the main chain has an entry barrier in the form of artificially instilled high transaction fees, common people are not able to use bitcoin as we have known it until now. Peer-to-peer bitcoin becomes institution-to-institution bitcoin with peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L.
To reiterate and stress, note the following lightning network design flaw again. Yes, activating SegWit and allowing 2L such as lightning allows for lower transaction fees to coexist side by side with more costly on-chain transactions. For those using this particularly prescribed 2L, the fees remain low. But since these 2L are managed by hubs, we introduce another element to trust, which is contrary to what the bitcoin network was designed to do at the first place. Over time, by the nature of the lightning network in its current design, these third party hubs grow to be centralized, just like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, etc. There is nothing wrong with that in general because it works just fine. But recall that bitcoin set out to create a different kind of a network. Instead of decentralized, distributed, immutable network with miners and nodes, with the lightning network we end up with at best decentralized but mutable network with hubs.
Note that Bitcoin Core SegWit has a US-based organization backing it with millions of dollars (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockstream and https://steemit.com/bitcoin/@adambalm/the-truth-about-who-is-behind-blockstream-and-segwit-as-the-saying-goes-follow-the-money). Their proponents are quite political and some even imply $1000 fees on the main bitcoin blockchain (see https://cointelegraph.com/news/ari-paul-tuur-demeester-look-forward-to-up-to-1k-bitcoin-fees). Contrary to them, Bitcoin Cash proponents intend to keep small fees on a scale of a few cents, which in large volume in larger blockchain blocks provide sufficient incentive for miners to participate.
On the one hand, sticking to the original vision of peer-to-peer network scaled on-chain has merit and holds potential for future value. On the other hand, 2L have potential to carry leaps forward from current financial infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, 2L will allow for extra features to be integrated off-chain (e.g. escrow, reversibility via time-locks), including entirely new features such as smart contracts, decentralized applications, some of which have been pioneered and tested on another cryptocurrency network called Ethereum. But such features could be one day implemented directly on the main bitcoin blockchain without the lightning network as currently designed, or perhaps with a truly integrated 2L proposed in the third section of this overview.
What makes the whole discussion even more confusing is that there are some proposals for specific 2L that would in fact increase privacy and make bitcoin transactions less pseudonymous than those on the current bitcoin blockchain now. Keep in mind that 2L are not necessarily undesirable. If they add features and keep the main network characteristics (decentralized, distributed, immutable), they should be embraced with open arms. But the lightning network as currently designed gives up immutability and hub centralization moves the network characteristic towards a decentralized rather than a distributed network.
In a sense, back to the initial email attachment analogy, even Gmail stopped with attachment limit increases and started hosting large files on Google Drive internally, with an embedded link in a Gmail email to download anything larger than 25MB from Google Drive. Anticipating the same scaling decisions, the question then becomes not if but when and how such 2L should be implemented, keeping the overall network security and network characteristics in mind. If you have not gotten it yet, repeat, repeat, repeat: decentralized, distributed, immutable. Is it the right time now and is SegWit (one way, my way or highway) truly the best solution?
Those siding away from Bitcoin Core SegWit also dislike that corporate entities behind Blockstream, the one publicly known corporate entity directly supporting SegWit, have allegedly applied for SegWit patents which may further restrict who may and who may not participate in the creation of future hubs, or how these hubs are controlled (see the alleged patent revelations, https://falkvinge.net/2017/05/01/blockstream-patents-segwit-makes-pieces-fall-place, the subsequent Twitter rebuttal Blockstream CEO, http://bitcoinist.com/adam-back-no-patents-segwit, and the subsequent legal threats to SegWit2x proponents /btc/comments/6vadfi/blockstream_threatening_legal_action_against). Regardless if the patent claims are precise or not, the fact remains that there is a corporate entity dictating and vetoing bitcoin developments. Objectively speaking, Bitcoin Core SegWit developers paid by Blockstream is a corporate takeover of the bitcoin network as we have known it.
And on the topic of patents and permissionless technological innovations, what makes all of this even more complicated is that a mining improvement technology called ASICboost is allowed on Bitcoin Cash. The main entities who forked from Bitcoin Core to form Bitcoin Cash had taken advantage of patents to the ASICboost technology on the original bitcoin network prior to the fork (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal). This boost saved estimated 20% electricity for miners on 1MB blocks and created unfair economic advantage for this one particular party. SegWit is one way that this boost is being eliminated, through the code. Larger blocks are another way to reduce the boost advantage, via decreased rate of collisions which made this boost happen at the first place (see https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/breaking-down-bitcoins-asicboost-scandal-solutions and https://bitslog.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/the-relation-between-segwit-and-asicboost-covert-and-overt). Therefore, the initial Bitcoin Cash proponents argue that eliminating ASICboost through the code is no longer needed or necessary.
Of course, saving any amount electricity between 0% and 20% is good for all on our planet but in reality any energy saved in a mining operation is used by the same mining operation to increase their mining capacity. In reality, there are no savings, there is just capacity redistribution. The question then becomes if it is okay that only one party currently and already holds onto this advantage, which they covertly hid for relatively long time, and which they could be using covertly on Bitcoin Cash if they desired to do so, even though it would an advantage to a smaller degree. To be fair to them, they are mining manufacturers and operators, they researched and developed the advantage from own resources, so perhaps they do indeed have the right to reap ASICboost benefits while they can. But perhaps it should happen in publicly know way, not behind closed doors, and should be temporary, with agreed patent release date.
In conclusion, there is no good and no bad actor, each side is its own shade of grey. All parties have their own truth (and villainy) to certain degree.
Bitcoin Cash's vision is for bitcoin to be an electronic cash platform and daily payment processor whereas Bitcoin Core SegWit seems to be drawn more to the ideas of bitcoin as an investment vehicle and a larger settlement layer with the payment processor function managed via at best decentralized third party hubs. Both can coexist, or either one can eventually prove more useful and digest the other one by taking over all use-cases.
Additionally, the most popular communication channel on /bitcoin with roughly 300k subscribers censors any alternative non-Bitcoin-Core-SegWit opinions and bans people from posting their ideas to discussions (see https://medium.com/@johnblocke/a-brief-and-incomplete-history-of-censorship-in-r-bitcoin-c85a290fe43). This is because their moderators are also supported by Blockstream. Note that the author of this overview has not gotten banned from this particular subreddit (yet), but has experienced shadow-banning first hand. Shadow-banning is a form of censorship. In this particular case, their moderator robot managed by people moderators, collaboratively with the people moderators, do the following:
  • (1) look for "Bitcoin Cash" and other undesirable keywords,
  • (2) warn authors that “Bitcoin Cash” is not true bitcoin (which objectively speaking it is, and which is by no means “BCash” that Bitcoin Core SegWit proponents refer to, in a coordinated effort to further confuse public, especially since some of them have published plans to officially release another cryptocurrency called “BCash” in 2018, see https://medium.com/@freetrade68/announcing-bcash-8b938329eaeb),
  • (3) further warn authors that if they try to post such opinions again, they could banned permanently,
  • (4) tell authors to delete their already posted posts or comments,
  • (5) hide their post from publicly seen boards with all other posts, thus preventing it from being seeing by the other participants in this roughly 300k public forum,
  • (6) and in extreme cases actually “remove” their valid opinions if they slip by uncensored, gain traction, and are often times raise to popularity as comments to other uncensored posts (see /btc/comments/6v3ee8/on_a_reply_i_made_in_rbitcoin_that_had_over_350 and /btc/comments/6vbyv0/in_case_we_needed_more_evidence_500_upvotes).
This effectively silences objective opinions and creates a dangerous echo-chamber. Suppressing free speech and artificially blowing up transaction fees on Bitcoin Core SegWit is against bitcoin’s fundamental values. Therefore, instead of the original Reddit communication channel, many bitcoin enthusiasts migrated to /btc which has roughly 60k subscribers as of now, up from 20k subscribers a year ago in August 2016 (see http://redditmetrics.com/btc). Moderators there do not censor opinions and allow all polite and civil discussions about scaling, including all opinions on Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Core, etc.
Looking beyond their respective leaderships and communication channels, let us review a few network fundamentals and recent developments in Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash networks. Consequently, for now, these present Bitcoin Cash with more favorable long-term prospects.
  • (1) The stress-test and/or attack on the Bitcoin Cash mempool earlier on August 16, 2017 showed that 8MB blocks do work as intended, without catastrophic complications that Bitcoin Core proponents anticipated and from which they attempted to discourage others (see https://jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/uahf/#2w for the Bitcoin Cash mempool and https://core.jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/#2w for the Bitcoin Core mempool). Note that when compared to the Bitcoin Core mempool on their respective 2 week views, one can observe how each network handles backlogs. On the most recent 2 week graphs, the Y-scale for Bitcoin Core is 110k vs. 90k on Bitcoin Cash. In other words, at the moment, Bitcoin Cash works better than Bitcoin Core even though there is clearly not as big demand for Bitcoin Cash as there is for Bitcoin Core. The lack of demand for Bitcoin Cash is partly because Bitcoin Cash is only 3 weeks old and not many merchants have started accepting it, and only a limited number of software applications to use Bitcoin Cash has been released so far. By all means, the Bitcoin Cash stress-test and/or attack from August 16, 2017 reveals that the supply will handle the increased demand, more affordably, and at a much quicker rate.
  • (2) Bitcoin Cash “BCH” mining has become temporarily more profitable than mining Bitcoin Core “BTC” (see http://fork.lol). Besides temporary loss of miners, this puts Bitcoin Core in danger of permanently fleeing miners. Subsequently, mempool backlog and transaction fees are anticipated to increase further.
  • (3) When compared to Bitcoin Cash transaction fees at roughly $0.02, transaction fees per kB are over 800 times as expensive on Bitcoin Core, currently at over $16 (see https://cashvscore.com).
  • (4) Tipping service that used to work on Bitcoin Core's /Bitcoin a few years back has been revived by a new tipping service piloted on the more neutral /btc with the integration of Bitcoin Cash (see /cashtipperbot).
3. Should we scale you on-chain or off-chain? Scaling bitcoin.
Let us start with the notion that we are impartial to both Bitcoin Core (small blocks, off-chain scaling only) and Bitcoin Cash (big blocks, on-chain scaling only) schools of thought. We will support any or all ideas, as long as they allow for bitcoin to grow organically and eventually succeed as a peer-to-peer network that remains decentralized, distributed, immutable. Should we have a preference in either of the proposed scaling solutions?
First, let us briefly address Bitcoin Core and small blocks again. From the second section of this overview, we understand that there are proposed off-chain scaling methods via second layer solutions (2L), most notably soon-to-be implemented lightning via SegWit on Bitcoin Core. Unfortunately, the lightning network diminishes distributed and immutable network properties by replacing bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network with a two-layer institution-to-institution network and peer-to-hub-to-peer 2L. Do we need this particular 2L right now? Is its complexity truly needed? Is it not at best somewhat cumbersome (if not very redundant)? In addition to ridiculously high on-chain transaction fees illustrated in the earlier section, the lightning network code is perhaps more robust than it needs to be now, with thousands of lines of code, thus possibly opening up to new vectors for bugs or attacks (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network and https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd). Additionally, this particular 2L as currently designed unnecessarily introduces third parties, hubs, that are expected to centralize. We already have a working code that has been tested and proven to handle 8MB blocks, as seen with Bitcoin Cash on August 16, 2017 (see https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/first-8mb-bitcoin-cash-block-just-mined). At best, these third party hubs would be decentralized but they would not be distributed. And these hubs would be by no means integral to the original bitcoin network with users, nodes, and miners.
To paraphrase Ocam’s razor problem solving principle, the simplest solution with the most desirable features will prevail (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor). The simplest scalability solution today is Bitcoin Cash because it updates only one line of code, which instantly increases the block size limit. This also allows other companies building on Bitcoin Cash to reduce their codes when compared to Bitcoin Core SegWit’s longer code, some even claiming ten-fold reductions (see /btc/comments/6vdm7y/ryan_x_charles_reveals_bcc_plan). The bitcoin ecosystem not only includes the network but it also includes companies building services on top of it. When these companies can reduce their vectors for bugs or attacks, the entire ecosystem is healthier and more resilient to hacking disasters. Obviously, changes to the bitcoin network code are desirable to be as few and as elegant as possible.
But what are the long-term implications of doing the one-line update repeatedly? Eventually, blocks would have to reach over 500MB size if they were to process Visa-level capacity (see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability). With decreasing costs of IT infrastructure, bandwidth and storage could accommodate it, but the overhead costs would increase significantly, implying miner and/or full node centralization further discussed next. To decrease this particular centralization risk, which some consider undesirable and others consider irrelevant, built-in and integrated 2L could keep the block size at a reasonably small-yet-still-large limit.
At the first sight, these 2L would remedy the risk of centralization by creating their own centralization incentive. At the closer look and Ocam’s razor principle again, these 2L do not have to become revenue-seeking third party hubs as designed with the current lightning network. They can be integrated into the current bitcoin network with at worst decentralized miners and at best distributed nodes. Recall that miners will eventually need to supplement their diminishing mining reward from new blocks. Additionally, as of today, the nodes have no built-in economic incentive to run other than securing the network and keeping the network’s overall value at its current level. Therefore, if new 2L were to be developed, they should be designed in a similar way like the lightning network, with the difference that the transaction processing revenue would not go to third party hubs but to the already integrated miners and nodes.
In other words, why do we need extra hubs if we have miners and nodes already? Let us consider the good elements from the lightning network, forget the unnecessary hubs, and focus on integrating the hubs’ responsibilities to already existing miner and node protocols. Why would we add extra elements to the system that already functions with the minimum number of elements possible? Hence, 2L are not necessarily undesirable as long as they do not unnecessarily introduce third party hubs.
Lastly, let us discuss partial on-chain scaling with the overall goal of network security. The network security we seek is the immutability and resilience via distributed elements within otherwise decentralized and distributed network. It is not inconceivable to scale bitcoin with bigger blocks as needed, when needed, to a certain degree. The thought process is the following:
  • (1) Block size limit:
We need some upper limit to avoid bloating the network with spam transactions. Okay, that makes sense. Now, what should this limit be? If we agree to disagree with small block size limit stuck at 1MB, and if we are fine with flexible block size limit increases (inspired by mining difficulty readjustments but on a longer time scale) or big block propositions (to be increased incrementally), what is holding us off next?
  • (2) Miner centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized miners instead of distributed ones. Yes, that is true. And it has already happened, due to the economy of scale, in particular the efficiency of grouping multiple miners in centralized facilities, and the creation of mining pools collectively and virtually connecting groups of miners not physically present in the same facility. These facilities tend to have huge overhead costs and the data storage and bandwidth increase costs are negligible in this context. The individual miners participating in mining pools will quite likely notice somewhat higher operational costs but allowing for additional revenue from integrated 2L described earlier will give them economic incentive to remain actively participating. Note that mining was never supposed to be strictly distributed and it was always at worst decentralized, as defined in the first section of this overview. To assure at best a distributed network, we have nodes.
  • (3) Node centralization:
Bigger blocks mean that more data will be transferred on the bitcoin network. Consequently, more bandwidth and data storage will be required. This will create decentralized nodes instead of distributed ones. Again, recall that we have a spectrum of decentralized and distributed networks in mind, not their absolutes. The concern about the node centralization (and the subsequent shift from distributed to decentralized network property) is valid if we only follow on-chain scaling to inconsiderate MB values. If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
Furthermore, other methods to reduce bandwidth and storage needs can be used. A popular proposal is block pruning, which keeps only the most recent 550 blocks, and eventually deletes any older blocks (see https://news.bitcoin.com/pros-and-cons-on-bitcoin-block-pruning). Block pruning addresses storage needs and makes sure that not all nodes participating in the bitcoin network have to store all transactions that have ever been recorded on the blockchain. Some nodes storing all transactions are still necessary and they are called full nodes. Block pruning does not eliminate full nodes but it does indeed provide an economic incentive for the reduction and centralization (i.e. saving on storage costs). If addressed with the proposed integrated 2L that provides previously unseen economic incentives to participate in the network, this concern is less serious.
In other words, properly designed 2L should provide economic incentives for all nodes (full and pruned) to remain active and distributed. As of now, only miners earn revenue for participating. The lightning network proposes extra revenue for hubs. Instead, miner revenue could increase by processing 2L transactions as well, and full nodes could have an economic incentive as well. To mine, relatively high startup costs is necessary in order to get the most up to date mining hardware and proper cooling equipment. These have to be maintained and periodically upgraded. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and a sufficiently large storage, which can be expanded as needed, when needed. To run a full node, one needs only stable bandwidth and relatively small storage, which does not need to be expanded.
Keeping the distributed characteristic in mind, it would be much more secure for the bitcoin network if one could earn bitcoin by simply running a node, full or pruned. This could be integrated with a simple code change requiring each node to own a bitcoin address to which miners would send a fraction of processed transaction fees. Of course, pruned nodes would collectively receive the least transaction fee revenue (e.g. 10%), full nodes would collectively receive relatively larger transaction fee revenue (e.g. 20%), whereas mining facilities or mining pools would individually receive the largest transaction fee revenue (e.g. 70%) in addition to the full mining reward from newly mined blocks (i.e. 100%). This would assure that all nodes would remain relatively distributed. Hence, block pruning is a feasible solution.
However, in order to start pruning, one would have to have the full blockchain to begin with. As currently designed, downloading blockchain for the first time also audits previous blocks for accuracy, this can take days depending on one’s bandwidth. This online method is the only way to distribute the bitcoin blockchain and the bitcoin network so far. When the size of blockchain becomes a concern, a simpler distribution idea should be implemented offline. Consider distributions of Linux-based operating systems on USBs. Similarly, the full bitcoin blockchain up to a certain point can be distributed via easy-to-mail USBs. Note that even if we were to get the blockchain in bulk on such a USB, some form of a block audit would have to happen nevertheless.
A new form of checkpoint hashes could be added to the bitcoin code. For instance, each 2016 blocks (whenever the difficulty readjusts), all IDs from previous 2015 blocks would be hashed and recorded. That way, with our particular offline blockchain distribution, the first time user would have to audit only the key 2016th blocks, designed to occur on average once in roughly 2 weeks. This would significantly reduce bandwidth concerns for the auditing process because only each 2016th block would have to be uploaded online to be audited.
Overall, we are able to scale the bitcoin network via initial on-chain scaling approaches supplemented with off-chain scaling approaches. This upgrades the current network to a pruned peer-to-peer network with integrated 2L managed by miners and nodes who assure that the bitcoin network stays decentralized, distributed, immutable.
submitted by bit-architect to bitcoin_uncensored [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Mining - YouTube Bitcoin mining output and difficulty adjustments Bitcoin Hack 30 BTC Free Bitcoin Mining Blockchain Script Hack Giveaway Following Bitcoin’s Hash Rate Network Difficulty Is About to Set a New Bitcoin Mining Mastery Review – Does It REALLY Work?

According to data from Bitcoin mining pool BTC.com, yesterday (June 16), Bitcoin’s mining difficulty took a 14.95% jump, as the result of which it reached its highest level since January 2018.. The Bitcoin network has been designed with the aim of a new block of transactions being generated on average every ten minutes. The recent difficulty adjustment is the highest one since December of last year, when the Bitcoin network saw difficulty increase by little over 10%. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is adjusted every 2,016 blocks – roughly every two weeks – to ensure the rate at which new blocks are created remains constant at 10 minutes per block. Bitcoin's ‘Bearish' Like Gold; Falls Under $11,350 as Market Focuses on Fed Chair Speech BTC is “quite bearish,” right now, but a daily close above $10,500 remains bullish. Unlike spot, where altcoins and DeFi rule, futures markets maintain a premium with Bakkt recording strong volume. Bitcoin mining difficulty spikes. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty dropped by nearly 16%, which is the second-largest decrease on record. Mining difficulty is one of the essential parameters of the Bitcoin network. It shows how difficult it is to perform mathematical calculations to find a new block and get the reward. The difficulty is adjusted every 2016 blocks depending on the average time ... Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is programmed to adjust itself every 2,016 blocks – which normally takes about 14 days – in order to keep the average block production interval at about 10 minutes.

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Bitcoin Mining - YouTube

#bitcoin exchange rate #bitcoin rpc #bitcoin difficulty # ... Broke The Internet AND Most Inspiring Speech- It Changed My Life. - Duration: 14:58. Andrew DC TV Recommended for you. 14:58. Bitcoin ... Every 14 days the difficulty is adjusted. Most of the times it is increasing and since November 2017 it has exploded. What impact does this have on your mini... The Bitcoin Network Difficulty Metric The Bitcoin mining network difficulty is the measure of how difficult it is to find a new block compared to the easiest it can ever be. It is recalculated ... #bitcoin exchange rate #bitcoin rpc #bitcoin difficulty # ... The Speech That Broke The Internet!!! KEEP THEM POOR! - Duration: 10:27. MotivationHub Recommended for you. 10:27. 18 Passive Income ... This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue

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