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Ethereum Classic is an open, decentralized, and permissionless public blockchain, that aims to fulfill the original promise of Ethereum, as a platform where smart contracts are free from third-party interference. ETC prioritizes trust-minimization, network security, and integrity. All network upgrades are non-contentious with the aim to fix critical issues or to add value with newly proposed features; never to create new tokens, or to bail out flawed smart contracts and their interest groups.
The problem with add on layers (lightning network, side chains etc) in my opinion is that, if use extensively, the number of Bitcoin transactions won't scale while the Bitcoin block reward decreases. If the number of transaction doesn't scale, either because of a forced limiting of the block size or because most transactions are done off the Bitcoin blockchain, Bitcoin miners won't be incentivised to secure the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that the Bitcoin blockchain will lose all security OR the fees required to move money on the Bitcoin blockchain (or off it or back from another chain) will increase as competition for space in the blocks heightens and you can only get your transactions confirmed by playing a high stakes high uncertainty auction game every block. On the other hand, if the number of transactions does scale up then the fees will replace the decreasing block reward and the miners can remain profitable while transaction fees are kept low and there remains a high probability of getting your transaction accepted in the next block or two. I have high hopes that large miners realise this and adopt a version of core which will reward their current infrastructure in the long term. Those same large miners with extensive mining infrastructure should easily be able to handle any proposed increases in block size and the storage and bandwidth issues that come along with that. submitted by
This is my current take. Sidechains will pull fees from the Bitcoin miners and weaken the network as a result if the block size is artificially limited. I welcome any argument against this position and look forward to someone changing my opinion on this matter. Apologies if I've not come across an argument that refutes this position yet, I'm not an all seeing eye. Please could you link to or briefly state them here.
Lately, the Bitcoin Cash community has been up in arms over the idea of GROUP
, a PoW miner-validated
tokenization scheme proposed
by Bitcoin Unlimited core developer Andrew Stone (thezerg1
In short, GROUP
accomplishes much of what launching Ethereum on top of Bitcoin would accomplish. Which is to say, it's a huge
By implementing GROUP, Bitcoin Cash stands to enable native
blockchain equities issuance, loan markets, options and prediction markets; along with all the usual "colored coins" use cases e.g. supply chain tracking systems, in-game items, cryptokitties and so on.
Let me preface this next part by saying we should be studying our competitors, even using their products outright, in order to keep a close ear on where Decred stands relative to the wider cryptocurrency industry. To help you understand why the GROUP situation on Bitcoin Cash may matter for Decred, some background on the current state of Bitcoin Cash is in order.
In late 2017, Bitcoin Cash launched as a coinsplit from the Bitcoin Core consensus by a French developer named Amaury Séchet via his "BitcoinABC" full node implementation. Owing to his many contributions to the BTC-BCH coinsplit, Amaury has since become Bitcoin Cash's benevolent dictator.
Pertinent here is the fact Amaury has voiced heavy skepticism towards GROUP. In remarks made during and after a recent Bitcoin Cash developer meetup
, Amaury repeatedly claimed there are "no use cases" whatsoever for GROUP. Amaury has made it clear so long as he's BDFL of Bitcoin Cash, the GROUP proposal is effectively frozen out.
Instead, Amaury thinks Bitcoin Cash should strive to be "cash only". And if Bitcoin Cash is to do smart contracts, it should be done through OP_RETURN systems like Counterparty
and colored coins protocols.
To grok the significance of this, you have to first understand OP_RETURN's pitfalls
As one of the most outspoken proponents of a certain OP_RETURN system
on the internet, turns out I'm in a pretty decent position to explain where OP_RETURN systems get it wrong. Since Counterparty is essentially a superset of colored coins (see: Vitalik Buterin's "strictly superior" comment
), I'm going to use the word "Counterparty" as a stand-in for all other OP_RETURN approaches. Once you understand Counterparty's pitfalls, you'll also understand
the pitfalls of all other
OP_RETURN colored coin schemes, which is what Amaury is advocating for in lieu of activating GROUP
Essentially, the chief error in Counterparty is its way of building its own blockchain. Namely, Counterparty transforms unvalidated metadata hidden within regular Bitcoin transactions inluded in the Bitcoin blockchain, into a "meta-blockchain".
As an analogy for how Counterparty works, imagine if you would each block in the Bitcoin blockchain as a cardboard box. Counterparty works by inscribing these boxes with its own (Egyptian, say) hieroglyphs
. Bitcoin miners don't understand what the heck these hieroglyphs mean. They just shrug and stack the cardboard boxes one on top of the other to build the blockchain. Bitcoin miners ignore the hieroglyphs completely.
Extending this analogy further, then Alice comes along with counterpartyd, the software implementation of a Counterparty full node. Alice's counterpartyd scans the Bitcoin blockchain for hieroglyphs. counterpartyd reads these hieroglyphs and interprets them for Alice. This is possible because the hieroglyphs contain instructions understood by counterpartyd. In turn, Alice's counterpartyd builds what it
considers to be the "Counterparty blockchain".
But since Bitcoin PoW miners never validated the hieroglyphs Alice's counterpartyd full node consumed, Alice's counterpartyd daemon has to be on guard while it's building its own view of the Counterparty blockchain. Literally anyone can write anything they want into these hieroglyphs. Specifically, an attacker can craft his own hieroglyphs in a way which instructs the Counterparty blockchain to reassign funds from victims to an attacker-controlled account, or worse.
Because of this, counterpartyd can't merely read
the hieroglyphs and take the instructions contained therein at face value; counterpartyd must also validate
all of these hieroglyphs. It has to check for double-spends and theft. It has to do all the things
Bitcoin PoW miners are tasked with doing.
But there's one key difference. Alice's counterpartyd full node can't prove
to other full nodes that her view of the Counterparty blockchain is correct. This is because Counterparty does not have any miners competing in terms of hashrate to extend the Counterparty blockchain. Counterparty has no notion of accumulated hashrate. Hence when two counterpartyd full nodes disagree upon the results of this validation effort, they have no way of deciding which view of the blockchain is correct.
IOW, Counterparty's consensus model is highly volatile. The instant two nodes disagree, they have no way of getting back into agreement except by introducing some inherently centralized human element. Maybe Poloniex insists on its
counterpartyd being the right view of the Counterparty blockchain. It then becomes Alice's word against Polo's.
And it gets worse. Since Counterparty has no PoW miners, Counterparty light wallets can't use block depth as a proxy for a Counterparty transaction's validity. For this reason, true SPV support is flat out impossible to implement in today's OP_RETURN systems.
But it's Counterparty's consensus model (or lackthereof) that seals its fate as being a second class protocol.
The bottom line is all "colored coin" systems are second-class citizens of the blockchain world. They're second-class citizens which lack a well-defined consensus model, and lack SPV support. It would be hard to argue the adoption of these systems to any self-respecting developer involved in commercial tokenization.
Andrew Stone's GROUP
proposal solves all these problems encountered by OP_RETURN tokenization systems. By introducing an unprecedented miner-validated
tokenization system for Bitcoin, GROUP-ed tokens get SPV support and they inherit Bitcoin's time-tested consensus model. In addition, GROUP enables tokenization without introducing a new Bitcoin scripting system, nor does it require developing an Ethereum-like VM. GROUP doesn't require introducing an XCP-like token in the middle, either. Suffice to say, as a huge proponent of Counterparty, the advantages of thezerg1
's GROUP proposal are overwhelming
. Alternative tokenization approaches are just not competitive.
I wanted to bring GROUP to the Decred community's attention because A) it's evidently being blocked by top Bitcoin Cash developers, and B) it's something we should be looking into given our focus on Distributed Autonomous Entities. I think it's fair to say there's at least going to be demand for blockchain equity issuance on Decred, and people are going to want SPV and a half-decent consensus model for those tokens.
To me and thezerg1
, the blockage of GROUP feels strangely familiar
. Namely, Vitalik Buterin launched Ethereum as a separate blockchain instead of launching it on Bitcoin primarily because the usual suspects of Bitcoin vehemently rejected on-chain tokenization in favor of off-chain approaches. What Amaury Séchet is doing with Bitcoin Cash today is rejecting Andrew Stone's native
tokenization system in favor of poorly thought-out, validationless ones from yesteryear.
As a Decred stakeminer, I'd like to publicly extend my gratitude to Andrew Stone for showing the world Bitcoin-like systems can be just as capable as Ethereum, and better designed as well. I'd personally love to see a GROUP proposal on Politeia, and should Andrew Stone be up for it, I'm sure we could find a way to sponsor his development efforts on top of Decred.
As I understand it, the hard part of mining bitcoin isn't in verifying the transaction, it's in being the first to find the hash equal to or lower than the target hash. If there are millions of miners all over the world looking for that hash, including giant, multiple-building farms, and only one block is added to the blockchain every 10 minutes, how could anyone mining from home hope to make any profit at all? Would you not just be losing stupendous amounts of money on gear and electricity and always be losing the 'hash race' to someone out there with a more powerful computer? I know and appreciate that people do this purely as a hobby and not always to make money, but I can't see how you could ever make money at all when competing with factory-sized water-cooled farms in China. I presume there's some key point I'm missing that will make everything instantly clear but I can't find it in any other explanation. submitted by
Also (side question) if it is true that in order to solve the numerical problem you need to find the hash lower than or equal to the target hash, and there's no extra reward for being the closest, only for being the first, why would you not just guess the lowest possible hash every time?
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