1. 16

  2. 4

    Stellar is very interesting stuff.

    Even the decision to trust the person-with-the-most-SHA256-colliding-hardware (bitcoin’s current, absurd rule) is a trust judgment.

    I have to agree with a lot of Graydon’s concerns about the Bitcoin community, but I don’t think this characterization is fair. The core argument in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work is that willingness to do work aligns with the rewards for doing that work, and Bitcoin tries to align the incentives, so “behaving well” means “getting paid”. There are some minor issues with this that have been found (like selfish mining), but so far it’s proven to be fairly robust. Unfortunately, it’s a very hard model to formally reason about, which is a big weakness in Bitcoin for the long term.

    1. 4

      I know very little about Bitcoin, so this may be a silly question: Doesn’t the incentive of Bitcoin fall apart if/when someone with significant resources (e.g. hashing capability) joins the network? Significant in the sense of being able to control enough of the global hashrate to start attempting double-spends, or just generally rewriting history because they can out-hash enough of the network to get revisions in?

      I realize the global hash rate is pretty large…but I also don’t underestimate the resources a government or large organization could throw at the problem if they really desired.

      1. 5

        Doesn’t the incentive of Bitcoin fall apart if/when someone with significant resources (e.g. hashing capability) joins the network?

        Yes. If any single “interest” controls more than half of the hash rate, they can start to rewrite the chain from any arbitrary point (over time). The meta-argument is that progress in hash rate changes is slow enough (some kind of weak ‘efficient hashrate market’ hypothesis) than technology changes won’t allow this to happen. It has also happened in the past, so it’s not clear how valid these assumptions really are.

        There’s a bunch of interesting detail on this in Section III of http://www.jbonneau.com/doc/BMCNKF15-IEEESP-bitcoin.pdf

        1. 2

          Neat, thanks for the explanation and link. Will make some nice weekend reading. :)

    2. 3

      He removed the post :(

      1. 8

        Because Bitcoin advocates annoyed him. “I have removed the post in question, out of respect for the developers and, equally, a total disinterest in any further contact with the surrounding Bitcoin community.”


      2. 1

        I thought the comic was a quick, fun way to get introduced to the protocol: https://www.stellar.org/stories/adventures-in-galactic-consensus-chapter-1/

        1. 1

          Perhaps this is a question with an obvious answer, but is it possible to just use stellar as a general decentralized database (instead of as a financial ledger per se)? As a place where users within a quorum can post signed messages and have all the members of the slice participate in the storage of those messages?

          While I can see the value of decentralized financial transactions personally I’ve become more interested in the concept of decentralized data storage in general.