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Questions about technical / political / economic / "game theory" aspects of BU & ViaBTC. (1) With BU, can non-mining (full) nodes influence blocksize? (2) Should ViaBTC open-source their private relay network software? (3) Which is more anti-fragile: a ViaBTC/BU future, or a Core/SegWit future?
What do you think of the influence of non-mining node operators under Bitcoin Unlimited's model for voting on maximum block size? Do you think that non-mining nodes signaling for a certain size would truly motivate miners to not exceed that size?
[Have you] Thought about having that incorporated into BU (even giving access to BU miners)? I ask because looking at some of your pool's first-job times, it looks your system is quite impressive and it'd be a massive slap in the face for core's RN et al
~ u/yeh-nah-yeh Should we be concerned that ViaBTC will have a lot of hashing power - and they will be using a private, close-source relay network? There is probably a lot of discussion we could have on this topic. I like ViaBTC - but it seems strange that he did not address this point very much in his AMA. Are we going to have to "trust ViaBTC" now and "trust" their closed-source private relay network software? This seems like this would be a point of centralization / vulnerability in the network - where ViaBTC could abuse his power, or other players could attack ViaBTC, and harm Bitcoin itself. How does BU "signaling" work - in a non-mining (fully-validating) node, vs a mining node. One question quoted above from the AMA was:
I understand there are multiple parameters involved in "signaling":
EB = excessive blocksize
AD = acceptance depth
(Are there other parameters too? I can't remember.) Here is a Medium post by ViaBTC where he proposes some strategies for setting these parameters, in order to safely hard fork to bigger blocks with BU: Miner Guide: How to Safely Hard Fork to Bitcoin Unlimited https://medium.com/@ViaBTC/miner-guide-how-to-safely-hard-fork-to-bitcoin-unlimited-8ac1570dc1a8#.akijaiba7 Could we have some more discussion on how "signaling for" blocksizes works - under various possible future scenarios (optimistic / pessimistic... likely / unlikely / black-swan)? There are various future scenarios (after the network has eventually / presumably forked from Core to BU) where people could use BU's parameters to realize certain results on the network. (1) What are some of those future scenarios?
economic / political / technical events which could abruptly affect Bitcoin network traffic
already: Chinese currency (Yuan) dropping against US currency (dollar)
already: India demonetizing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes
likely: major ETF getting approved in the US (Winklevoss or other)
possible: additional spam attacks on the Bitcoin network
...from white hats (testing the system; pointing out vulnerabilities; making a statement)
...from black hats (another coin; a bot-net; pro-Core and/or anti-BU users; state / corporate actors; Mircea Popescu?)
black swan: some government does something weird & unexpected impacting financial markets and/or Bitcoin
... Trump administration : some high-level person (who's actually just an alt-right blogger that Trump hired to run some major governnent department) makes some crazy pronouncement / ruling about the internet / about the markets (FCC eliminates network neutrality? T-Bill sale fails?)
... Fed : rate hike? more helicopter money?
... Europe : Deutsche Bank collapses? Merkel / ECB decides to rescue / not rescue them? bail-ins?
... China : China bans Bitcoin again? releases their own crypto? imposes new capital controls? Bitcoin price goes moon and CNY crashes so Chinese govt imposes emergency ban on all traffic across Great Firewall - cutting off 80% of mining from the West?
... Russian hackers? some 400 pound guy on his bed? 4chan? whoever took down a big chunk of the DNS a few weeks ago?
(2) What are some possible (typical, atypical... benevolent, malicious... altruistic, selfish... defensive, proactive... pessimistic, optimistic ) BU parameter-setting strategies which people might adopt in those scenarios?
Which software is more safe / more dangerous... more anti-fragile / more fragile in the above scenarios?
users "signaling for" blocksize on the network using parameters in Bitcoin Unlimited?
(3) Can we start putting together a comprehensive strategic "threat (and opportunity) assessment" on those various possible future scenarios / strategies - ranking various threats (and opportunities) in terms of impact as well as probability?
How would the network react to threats/opportunities using BU (with most mining still concentrated in China, and maybe also concetrated on ViaBTC's private closed-source relay network)?
How would the network react to threats/opportunities using Core/SegWit?
(4) A lot of the discussion about BU is among miners - mostly in China - and maybe later many miners will be using the ViaBTC pool - which is also offering a cloud mining option... so perhaps it is normal & expected that most of the discussion about BU parameters revolves around miners.
What about non-mining (fully-validating) nodes in a BU world?
What about SPV clients and servers in a BU world?
Do non-mining (fully-validating) nodesalso have some role to play in helping to set the blocksize, and helping to secure and grow the network, based on setting BU parameters? Or with BU, only the miners decide?
Can non-mining (fully-validating) nodes prevent blocks from getting too big?
How would SPV clients and servers work in a BU world? Can they actively participate in helping to decide blocksize?
(5) Does BU give miners "all the power" - and so blocksize goes to 2 MB, 4 MB, 8 MB - and then some users from low-bandwidth geographic regions can no longer run full nodes at home? (6) If we have a period of 1-2 weeks where "bigger blocks" get mined (eg, 2 MB, or 4 MB), and then we decide we don't like it, can everyone "signal for" smaller blocks after a couple of weeks of bigger blocks? Can the chain reverts to a smaller blocksize, after a brief, one-week "bulge" of bigger blocks? (7) If we have an isolated incident where a single very-big block gets appended to the chain & accepted to a sufficient depth (say, an 8 MB block or a 32 MB, that some miner somehow managed get accepted on the chain)
Can the chain revert to smaller blocks after an isolated incident of one very-big block?
Or are we "stuck" with that bigger blocksize forever, simply because one got mined in the past?
(8) Remember BitPay Adaptive Blocksize? One of the nice things about it was that its consensus-forming mechanism was based on taking a median of what people were signalling - and the median is a more robust statistic (harder to fake/sybil?). Can any ideas from BitPay Adaptive Blocksize (eg, using the median) be incorporated into Bitcoin Unlimited? These are just some initial questions. Other people probably have many more. Hopefully we can have some good discussion and analysis, so we can keep the network safe & growing.
In this post from Mike Hearn on the mailing list he seems to suggest that the fork will go ahead even with less than 50% of the hashing power. He claims that if all merchants, exchanges and users are moving to this chain then it will be the main chain even if it has less computational power. SPV nodes only need a forced checkpoint... But the majority of the hashrate can now perform double spends on your chain! They can send bitcoins to exchanges, sell it, extract the money and build a new longer chain to get their bitcoins back. Are companies like Xapo and Coinbase really so stupid that they would go along with this without complete consensus? I dont think so. If the miners think that Bitcoin is doomed because of this change, then this is what they will do to maximize their profits. But you could always roll back the blockchain to revert the double spend and have your saviors Gavin and Mike do a checkpoint for you on every block. Better yet just let them sign the blocks for you and you wont have to worry about that pesky mining! Or you could change the hashing algortihm... Oh, but wait... so much capital has gone into the mining industry so this aint gonna happen. The sheep of reddit who worships Gavin and Hearn really need to understand the importance of consensus... Nothing of this is obviously going to happen, but just the fact that Mike suggests it is painful to watch. I thought he was more competent than that. Mike Hearn is really the Mircea Popescu of the "pro increase blocksize" debate.
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