Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bitcoin Protocol Vulnerability Could Lead To a Collapse

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the prepare-for-the-bitcoin-baron dept.

Bitcoin 256

First time accepted submitter stanga writes "Cornell researchers unveiled an attack on the Bitcoin mining protocol that enables selfish mining pools to earn more than their fair share. In a technical report the authors explain this attack can be performed by a pool of any size. Rational miners will join this pool to increase their benefits, creating a snowball effect that may end up with a pool commanding a majority of the system's mining power. Such a pool would be able to single-handedly control the blockchain, violating the decentralized nature of the increasingly successful Bitcoin. The authors propose a patch to the protocol that would protect the system from selfish mining pools smaller than 25% of the system. They also show that Bitcoin can never be safe from selfish mining pools larger than 33% of the network, whereas it was previously believed that only groups larger than 50% of the network were a threat to the system. The question is — can the miners operating today adopt the suggested fix and dismantle too-large pools before a selfish mining pool arises?"

cancel ×

256 comments

The Wild West (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45331551)

Bitcoins are the wild west...and that's why they're so exciting.

I missed the gold rush, but there's still money to be made selling shovels and pans to those who think they didn't...

Re:The Wild West (1, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 8 months ago | (#45331801)

Indeed, the built-in deflation ensures an eventual collapse, especially in the presence of alternatives currencies.

Re:The Wild West (4, Interesting)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#45332059)

bitcoin doesn't have built in deflation. The deflation is caused by the influx of people due to increasing popularity. It is true that the problems that are solved to successfully mine bitcoin get harder over time, computers also get faster and more energy efficient over time. The upperbound of bitcoin value is kept in check by the electricity cost of mining bitcoins. This limits the size of bitcoin bubbles. The value of bitcoin is not purely speculative. There is a real world limit to how valuable they can be at any time.

Re:The Wild West (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 8 months ago | (#45332307)

Indeed, the built-in deflation ensures an eventual collapse, especially in the presence of alternatives currencies.

Of course it does. Never mind that deflation hasn't crashed sales of computer equipment - Moore's law means that you get better equipment with the same money or the same equipment with less if you just wait - but this time claims based on absurdly oversimplified economic models will surely give the correct prediction. Any year now...

Re:The Wild West (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332589)

Not that I agree that deflation will lead directly to Bitcoin collapse, there is a pretty big difference between depreciation of the value of a tool that produces useful work or enjoyment in the meantime, versus changes in value of something intended as currency to be exchanged instead causing people to sit on it as some investment. The very least of which is one involves loss of value over time, while the other involves increasing value.

Re:The Wild West (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331829)

How can they be exciting? It already costs more in power bills than you make mining and you have to have specialist hardware (unless you're stealing cycles elsewhere or are a retard when it comes to money).

Re:The Wild West (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45331849)

How can they be exciting?

Volatility, regulation, deregulation, crashes when drug sites get busted, gambling sites... ...what's not to like?

Re:The Wild West (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45332037)

Not only crashes but rebounds. Hell for someone who found out about it when it was worth pennies its been an amusing ride to watch! Silk road gets popped, boom drop. But it didn't go that far, it slid back...a few months? Then it rebounded, now its even higher.

You look at its potential audience and, the whole bitcoin economy is still on the small side of what it could be....and divisible to 8 decimal places? I wouldn't count it down and out yet, it still has the most momentum and buy-in of any alternatives; there is serious advantage to being the first to market, even if you are not the best in the end.

Re:The Wild West (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 8 months ago | (#45332813)

A few months? Try a few days

Re:The Wild West (2)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 8 months ago | (#45332213)

Silk Road's bust caused the price to rise actually. I presume under the (likely correct) assumption that the federal bureaucracy will sit on them for several years at the very least, if they ever even get the authorization to sell them, if they find DPR's private keys (I haven't been following that story, so I don't know if they have or not; note that what they initially seized was the escrow wallet). It's about $100 above what it was when SR went down.

Re:The Wild West (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 8 months ago | (#45332141)

How can they be exciting? It already costs more in power bills than you make mining and you have to have specialist hardware (unless you're stealing cycles elsewhere or are a retard when it comes to money).

Parents are paying the electricity bills and buying the computers.

Re:The Wild West (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332185)

How can they be exciting? It already costs more in power bills than you make mining and you have to have specialist hardware (unless you're stealing cycles elsewhere or are a retard when it comes to money).

Bitcoin is powered by stolen electricity basically. If everyone that mined was also footing the utility bill, bitcoin would still be on CPU mining now.

Re:The Wild West (3, Insightful)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 8 months ago | (#45332487)

The point of Bitcoin isn't mining. Complaining that you can't make money mining is like criticizing the dollar because you don't have a dollar printing machine.

Re:The Wild West (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331831)

Your momma's nipples are like meaty, irregularly-textured morsels of sausage. Strangely enough, they taste not of meat but of skin, and become engorged and bright as seasonal berries.

I once asked my spic girlfriend, "Do Mexicans call nipples pesonitas because they look like peso coins?" She replied, "Ugh, you fucking idiot, it's with a z, 'pezonitas,' pinche cerdo." Which is relevant to the conversation, because nipples are like coins. Bitcoins, in this case.

Re:The Wild West (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#45332071)

who is selling the shovels and pans?

Re:The Wild West (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#45332105)

who is selling the shovels and pans?

You can pre-order your excavator from Butterfly labs. You will be lucky, if they fill your order within 24 months, by which time: the network hash rate will have increased so high, that you will have a net loss on your hands.

Re:The Wild West (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#45332299)

That's not even a shovel, but a shovel IOU.

Re:The Wild West (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#45332081)

I missed the gold rush, but there's still money to be made selling shovels and pans to those who think they didn't...

*Cough* Excuse me, while I move over and start mining Litecoin.

I wonder (3, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45331557)

Did the "selfish mining pools" us a Greedy algorithm?

Re:I wonder (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#45332349)

I what you did there...

Temporary problem (1)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about 8 months ago | (#45331559)

There's a finite number of Bitcoins that can be mined.
So this problem will eventually disappear, right?

Re:Temporary problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331685)

No.

You control the block chain, you control all transactions.

Re:Temporary problem (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 8 months ago | (#45331701)

No.

You control the block chain, you control all transactions.

And when you control the mail... http://youtu.be/Rg_4z2adv6Q?t=16s [youtu.be]

Re:Temporary problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332493)

But once all the available coins are mined, why would anyone keep mining? Thus the mining pools would break down, and a "pool" wouldn't be big any more.

The "middle manager" attack (4, Insightful)

slew (2918) | about 8 months ago | (#45331583)

Start with an intense desire to building your own private empire that you control.
Hiding information from others to gain a competitive advantage.
Populating other groups with spys to see what progress they are making.
Eventually giving rational people no choice but to join your team or be crushed.

I propose to call this the middle manager attack.

Yeah, Sure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331585)

The reason that Bitcoin will collapse because it's an underground currency that doesn't have any reliable defining body. It's speculative at best and a gamble.

Re:Yeah, Sure ... (2)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#45331767)

because it's an underground currency that doesn't have any reliable defining body

What do you mean by "defining body"? I googled it, but all I got was cosmetics. Your shampoo has "defining body".

Re:Yeah, Sure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331769)

That's been the reason bitcoin has been "going to collapse any day now, just you watch" for like five years and at least a dozen high-profile value crashes. If that hasn't brought it down by now, it's not going to.

This vulnerability, on the other hand, very well might.

And no, I don't have any bitcoins or any particular investment in their survival.

Re:Yeah, Sure ... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45332043)

Only reason is the black market uses it. but that is falling apart as the cops found ways of snagging drug dealers and other criminals bitcoins so they will be switching to another way.

NBD (5, Interesting)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about 8 months ago | (#45331589)

This attack would be very, very difficult to achieve. Doesn't seem very worrying and I'm sure it'll be fixed well before it becomes an issue. There are already some pretty good discussions on /r/Bitcoin/ covering why it's not as big a deal as the sensational headline here makes it out to be.

Re:NBD (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 8 months ago | (#45331763)

For an individual. If the US Government seriously saw BTC as a threat and wanted to use technical means to take it out, all it would need is a massive amount of processing power; the NSA either has that already or could build it out since their budget is essentially unlimited within their operational mandates.

Tinfoil hat (5, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | about 8 months ago | (#45331619)

So that's what the NSA datacenter is for...

DDoS (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 8 months ago | (#45331629)

At the moment it seems DDoS is a bigger problem for things related to bitcoin, such as coinchat.org, inputs.io, etc.

Is there a way to generate value besides mining? (4, Interesting)

deathcloset (626704) | about 8 months ago | (#45331633)

I fairly understand that for there to be value in bitcoin there must be scarcity and that this scarcity is created via the mining mechanisms. But what I wonder is if there be any other way to create value for a virtual currency?

I ask because to me the most interesting thing about virtual currencies and specifically bitcoin is NOT the mining aspect, but rather the distributed database. The fact the hosting or provision of the database is fundamentally bound to the value-creation process seems to be the problem here. The problem seems not to necessarily be virtual currency or distributed databases themselves. The problem seems to be that value creation is based on artificial scarcity which can be manipulated through collusion.

There has to be another way to establish value for a virtual currency.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1, Interesting)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about 8 months ago | (#45331643)

You can't establish value in a distributed fashion any better than with proof of work (that we know of right now). For a stupid alternative, look at ppcoin, which plans to eventually rely on "proof of stake" but currently relies primarily on proof of work.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331787)

You can't establish value in a distributed fashion any better than with proof of work (that we know of right now). For a stupid alternative, look at ppcoin, which plans to eventually rely on "proof of stake" but currently relies primarily on proof of work.

Take a look at Timekoin then, basically flies in the face of that logic, even offers a $10,000 bounty if you can prove them wrong. Many think it is trivial to break but none have been successful. Proof of work in bitcoin is not really any proof of work either because it's just a guessing game, no actually complex math with complex outcomes comes out of bitcoin.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | about 8 months ago | (#45331811)

"Proof of work in bitcoin is not really any proof of work either because it's just a guessing game" -- it seems you don't understand proof of work. If you don't do the work to guess, you don't get the right answer very many times.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332091)

Maybe you don't? Proof of work is something you do that requires work and there must be an easy way to check that the work is done. Proof of work is suppose to be consistent. So if you want your work to be find a prime number larger than 1 trillion, after the number is found; then checking it is fast and easy. But finding it may have taken a long time. Finding it will take a long time if an identical machine tries the same work. So that is proof of work, two machines can confirm that finding that prime number takes work.

Bitcoin is, for lack of better terms, pseudo-proof of work. The work is to guess a random number + some other bits of info and make a hash. Then keep trying random numbers until you find a hash with enough zeros in the front to meet the target. Two identical computers guessing numbers will end up with a different proof of work. One computer might guess the answer before the other. So how to do you gauge which machine really did the work? Well, the machine that won claims to be the winner and has a way for the other machine to check quickly. If the other machine had continued working, it might find a different answer that is also correct, but took longer. Why is its proof work any less valid than the machine that by luck found an answer first?

So again, bitcoin is not proof of work in the true sense. It is proof of luck. The paper basically shows that proof of luck is really no good when you get people involved because it is just like the lottery. You can play the billion dollar powerball all by yourself and never win. But what if you could gather everyone in the country together into one large lotto pool, the winner would share the winnings with everyone. So even if everyone only got $1 from the lotto, you still got something right? No one would play the lottery if the "mega-pool" of people are always going to win. Bitcoin by contrast suffers from the exact same human produced issue. Case closed.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

flargleblarg (685368) | about 8 months ago | (#45332315)

So if you want your work to be find a prime number larger than 1 trillion, after the number is found; then checking it is fast and easy.

I don't think you quite understand how prime numbers work. If it's easy to check that a number n (known to be larger than some m, for example 1 trillion) is prime, then it's also easy to find the first prime after m, due to the distribution of primes. For example, you only have to expect to test about 14 odd numbers greater than 1 trillion to find one that is prime. So if the test for primeness is "easy," then finding the first prime number larger than 1 trillion is only 14 times as much work — i.e., still "easy."

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#45332369)

Maybe you don't? Proof of work is something you do that requires work and there must be an easy way to check that the work is done.

What sha1 hash salted with ABCDEF ends in the hex: 01234? 01235? 01236? Please show your work, and explain why your average workload to solve this type of problem will not be consistent?

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 8 months ago | (#45332531)

Most proof-of-work systems are probabilistic. Can you cite one that isn't?

Anyway, if you're doing a lot of proof-of-works, then the average amount of work is pretty consistent.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332551)

Looking over Timekoin quickly, it looks like it restricts currency creation by network addresses. That seems trivially exploitable by someone with a lot of proxies, or many IPv6 addresses. lol

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (0)

Afty0r (263037) | about 8 months ago | (#45331947)

How is this modded interesting?

It a currency is not scarce, it is not valuable.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 8 months ago | (#45332567)

And yet Japan's been trying to devalue its currency by making it less scarce, but investors keep valuing it higher. I guess your quantity theory of money fails.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332229)

There has to be another way to establish value for a virtual currency.

Er, the only way of creating value for a currency, or for anything really, is through scarcity.

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 8 months ago | (#45332579)

So the more wikipedia readers there are, the less valuable wikipedia gets?

Re:Is there a way to generate value besides mining (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 8 months ago | (#45332775)

Fundamentally, I can't think of anything aside from bitcoin that would serve its purpose.

Real mining creates the scarcity by the fact that mining gold or silver is work and fairly rare. That said, it is pretty wasteful and costly to the environment... all to create a currency of scarcity.

Fiat currency are essentially virtual currency with the 'database' controlled by central bankers / government. They control the scarcity. Basically though, whoever is in charge gets to manipulate the currency directly. This turns a lot of people off this method. In my view, the 'miners' in this case is the financial services sector (bankers, debt...).
Some have suggested tying the monetary base to a set level of inflation or something like that. But still controlled and highly susceptible to politics...

Something like bitcoin that essentially makes scarcity a function of computing power. At least the miners will advance and utilize computing power. Better than mineral mining in my view. Unfortunately, trust is pretty hard in this kind of distributive system. I have no idea if I can trust it.

Simple Fix (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331639)

Date and Time stamp the creation of the block. If the network notices that blocks have been delayed, this new longer block gets dumped.

No more selfish miners.

Re:Simple Fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331671)

That requires 3rd party validation and creation of the time stamp. Functional though. Keep everyone in lockstep through coordinated time stamping.

Re:Simple Fix (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 8 months ago | (#45332569)

The entire point of Bitcoin's mining process is to establish a decentralized trustless timestamping service, and to avoid the need for a trusted timestamping server. If you add a trusted timestamping server, you make most of Bitcoin's design redundant, and vulnerable to abuse by the trusted server.

Re:Simple Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332761)

To elaborate why you need a 3rd party: you need to prevent someone from lying about the timestamp of his block. "Hey guys I mined my block 1 sec after the previous block in the chain, just as the timestamp says! What, you received my block later than a competing block? Must be network delay!"

Re:Simple Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331959)

Blocks are already timestamped. Blockchains are actually great for provable timestamping.

Re:Simple Fix (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 8 months ago | (#45332563)

You would have to reject blocks with timestamps that are around 10 minutes wrong. Many legitimate nodes' clocks on the network are further apart than that, so that wouldn't work.

It's true and that pool is BTC Guild (1)

elucido (870205) | about 8 months ago | (#45331649)

Well it could be BTC Guild anyway.

All it would do is result in a new proof of work for Bitcoin which is probably a good thing anyway.
The real question is whether or not it will effect Mastercoin?

Boring result is boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331661)

Sigh.... boring example of two generals problem/byzantine fault tolerance/byzantine generals is boring.

A byzantine attack on a network through collusion is... uninteresting. You pretty much provably can't function in a network with > 1/3 collusion in any world without introducing an oracle or similar powerful assumptions.

You can do a LOT with crypto, but you can't cheat distributed consensus problems.

Sorry... it's math and elementary replay attacks.

To all the naysayers -- no, you can't handle it with a simple open vote. Really. If you have a perfect broadcast channel you might have room. Of course, I've just cheated by introducing the absurdly powerful assumption of perfect broadcast channel.

Maybe it's neat that somebody discovered how to beat bitcoin at 33.3..3 % -- but it was guaranteed to exist previously.

Yaayyy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331681)

Bullshit headline of the year... so far.

Wow. A really really unethical headline... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331723)

Someone trying to buy some bitcoins for cheap?

Here is the commentary from one of the Bitcoin core developers: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=324413.msg3476697#msg3476697

This is an old known attack which is boring, made a little more interesting by also assuming that the attacker has sybil attacked the network and inserted itself between every node. The result is that they can mine a disproportionally large share of coins. Academically interesting, but not terribly significant.

Mostly it's just another example that overly large pools are bad for the network, and that preventing sybil attacks (e.g. by miners setting up additional trusted peerings between each other) is useful.

Welcome to Slashdot! (1)

mmell (832646) | about 8 months ago | (#45331825)

We take the "sense" out of "sensational".

Technology can't cure human nature (2)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 8 months ago | (#45331731)

Gold, salt, silver, greenbacks, plastic, bitcoin. Take your pick, None of it cures society of thieves, bank robbers, or scoundrels. And anyone who guarantees your money is secure is probably complicit in its theft. There will always be ways to steal your coin. Bitcoin just limits who might steal it.

Re:Technology can't cure human nature (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45332065)

If SHTF ever came to be the rich man will be the guy that has the horde of Peppercorns. They were worth more than gold at one point, and if SHTF happens in a very short time they would because as valuable in the states because we dont have an easy way to grow them. Like Cinnamon and other spices, their value would utterly skyrocket.

Re:Technology can't cure human nature (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 8 months ago | (#45332177)

...and here I was thinking that money is the representation of a man's value and a unit of trade. ...without trade, and guns to back the money, then everything would devolve into theft, chaos, war and anarchy.

Re:Technology can't cure human nature (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 8 months ago | (#45332601)

The idea is to decrease the motivation to steal. The purpose of an economy is to produce goods and services. When everyone has enough money to buy what goods and services they want, there is no motivation for theft. Even if someone is perverse and steals, you can just replace it.

FUD (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 8 months ago | (#45331815)

Sounds like the author wants to buy some cheap BTC.

Re:FUD (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#45332211)

You think that a Slashdot article is going to impact the price of bitcoins?

Seriously?

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332581)

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. Slashdot was the source of a lot of Bitcoin's early popularity, pre-Silk Road.

Re:FUD (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#45332723)

And movies used to cost a nickle. This ghost town couldn't move the price of warm piss.

The silliness of "mining" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331821)

Are there any virtual currencies yet that don't suffer from the deficiency of having to be "mined"?

The idea of wasting energy to "mine" virtual money is just silly. It's time for a better system.

Re:The silliness of "mining" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332303)

Are there any virtual currencies yet that don't suffer from the deficiency of having to be "mined"?

The idea of wasting energy to "mine" virtual money is just silly. It's time for a better system.

Look up Timekoin. It has been going for years and even offers a large bounty if you can exploit the implementation they use.

Oh well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331855)

...at least we know what Catherine Zeta-Jones will be doing this newyear...

I prefer currency 1.0 (2)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 8 months ago | (#45331883)

AKA Gold.

If someone has found a way to hack gold, they have had the good sense to keep quiet about it.

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45331999)

http://www.businessinsider.com/tungsten-filled-gold-bars-found-in-new-york-2012-9

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about 8 months ago | (#45332019)

And you can buy them direct from China! http://www.tungsten-alloy.com/tungsten-alloy-scan-gold-coin.html [tungsten-alloy.com]

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 8 months ago | (#45332333)

Gold-pressed tungsten? Sounds like something from Star Trek if you ask me.

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#45332163)

Can you buy a sandwich with gold shavings? Can you accurately and efficiently measure 1/10millionth of an ounce of gold to make small purchases? Can you send gold electronically?

People have hacked gold in a way that bitcoin has not yet been hacked. I can send bitcoins to people electronically or printed on a piece of paper via snail mail, and non of the servers or postal workers that handle the packages can steal the bitcoins. If you send 20 lbs of gold through the usps or fedex, anybody handling the package along the way can just take the gold.

This is not even a hack. It's worse than a hack. It's something that is so easy to do that it's not even considered a hack and nobody is stupid enough to sends large quantities of gold in the mail, because the risk is too high.

To do something like this with bitcoin *requires* a hack, and with gold it is trivial.

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about 8 months ago | (#45332409)

1/10,000,000 of an ounce of gold is currently worth 0.01335 cents. (That's cents, not dollars.) Where is a hundredth of a cent worth anything? What can I buy that's denominated in such small amounts?

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332689)

GP's sense of scale.

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#45332877)

The reason I chose 1/10,000,000 is the smallest allowed fraction of a bitcoin.

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332367)

"... they have had the good sense to keep quiet about it."

This isn't about being quiet, it's precisely the opposite--the article heralds the next downward swing in Bitcoin value (or, at least tries to). Without the wild swings up and down--buy low, sell high--nobody would be making any money. If you look at the history of Bitcoin, most of the value has been extracted by taking advantage of swings in value that were the direct result of news about some "problem" with the stability of Bitcoin. I like how they built in the next upswing with a "future patch".

Market Manipulation 101. You're either making money, or you're taking money. Which are you?

Re:I prefer currency 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332547)

> to hack gold

you mean like a cheap way to "fabricate" gold?

Ob. Nelson from the Simpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332083)

HAHA!

Serves you idiots right. Now get this Bitcoin crap off my front page.

ZOI violation (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#45332097)

The authors propose a patch to the protocol that would protect the system from selfish mining pools smaller than 25% of the system.

Why 25%? This appears to be a violation of the Zero-One-Infinity Rule [wikipedia.org] .

Re:ZOI violation (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 8 months ago | (#45332757)

That rule doesn't apply here. It's a rule about the design of software, specifically hard-coded limits. Basically, don't hard-code in arbitrary limits. In this case it isn't a hard-coded arbitrary limit. The mathematics behind how bitcoins work essentially prevents any fix from working if more than 25% of the system is participating in a single selfish mining pool. You can't change that by changing the fix, you have to change the mathematics. Which would instantly break the entire Bitcoin system itself, since every single client would no longer be able to conduct transactions.

I'll invest in bitcoin mining... (1, Funny)

acroyear (5882) | about 8 months ago | (#45332103)

when the tulips start to bloom again.

my pool of size 0 will become rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332121)

my pool of size 0 will become rich

Counterfeiting ANY Currency Could Lead To Collapse (1)

RileyBryan (1475681) | about 8 months ago | (#45332169)

How is this any different from physical currency?

They keep changing the money to make it 'harder' to counterfeit, but I don't think they're succeeding...

Hacking bank accounts or investment portfolios and adding ten zeroes to the balance would have the same effect, no?

Selfish Mining (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332263)

Selfish Mining isn't tenable even for the most selfish of miners:

http://bitbybitbybitcoin.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/selfish-mining-not-tenable-for-even-the-most-selfish-miner/

The problem here is.... (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 8 months ago | (#45332353)

.... that the value of bitcoin right now is high enough that the only way to have enough of it that it could make a big financial difference is by spending money that you probably can't afford to lose... and there's hardly a guarantee of a positive return, while if you only spend as much as you can actually afford to really lose, you aren't going to ever make very much.

The time to buy bitcoin as a money-making venture for all but the people who are wealthy enough to not need to use it in the first place is past.

Re:The problem here is.... (2)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 8 months ago | (#45332621)

Bitcoin isn't intended to be a money-making investment tool.

Re:The problem here is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332661)

More like Jewcoin, amirite?

Re:The problem here is.... (1, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 8 months ago | (#45332731)

Look at the current graph. To me it looks very much like now is not the time to buy.

http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/mtgoxUSD#rg360ztgSzm1g10zm2g25zv [bitcoincharts.com]

But if the chart looks good and you like to speculate on bitcoins, buy what you can afford to lose.

Money, Power... Women (1)

DeathElk (883654) | about 8 months ago | (#45332411)

You gotta get the miner first. Then when you get the miner, you need the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the bitcoin.

Walking Catskins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332481)

Of course, there is no way to acquire Bitcoins other than mining for them, right? And, there is also no better use than as a store of value, as savings, or as an investment. Is that what most seem to be saying. There is no way of using bitcoin that couldn't give a s* about it's mining process.

Thank you Slashdot. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 8 months ago | (#45332511)

On June the 12th I got myself 2 bitcoins. More to see how it works with the vendors than anything else. I understand the crypto side of it. I had forgotten all about it.

Then along comes this article. It reminded me that I had a couple. So I check the bitcoins and they've doubled in value, look peaky and there's a story of impending collapse.

So I just sold them and I'll wait patiently for the collapse.

Yay for unstable currencies.

Thoroughly over-hyped (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332639)

This headline is ridiculous. The ideas presented in that paper are merely theoretical. Not only would it be extremely difficult to achieve the right conditions to execute the attack (at the expense of losing money when you fail), but the paper makes vast assumptions about the social response to it working. Basically, the conclusion was "if this works [which it probably won't], then everyone will collectively make decisions that destroy the network because that's the rational thing to do." Obviously, it's not so rational if people don't want to see the system collapse.

This doesn't mean it should be ignored. It's an interesting "attack" that should be kept in mind as the protocol is developed further, but it's not even close to "bitcoin collapse". The headline is perhaps just wishful thinking of the submitter.

Re:Thoroughly over-hyped (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45332949)

Did you read the paper? It clearly shows that there is no such thing as "the right conditions," nor are they hard to achieve.

People will want to join the mining pool which pays the most. That's going to be a selfish mining pool as long as it's below 50%. When it reaches 50% and above, it is the only game in town.

It looks like there is some wishful thinking here, but it's not in the paper, it's in the Bitcoin community. I'd much rather have us acknowledge and fix problems, instead of pretend that they don't exist.

Ridiculously Over-Hyped (3, Informative)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | about 8 months ago | (#45332667)

The headline is just plain FUD. The ideas presented in that paper are merely theoretical. Not only would it be extremely difficult to achieve the right conditions to execute the attack (at the expense of losing money when you fail), but the paper makes vast assumptions about the social response to it working. Basically, the conclusion was "if this works [which it probably won't], then everyone will collectively make decisions that destroy the network because that's the rational thing to do." Obviously, it's not so rational if people don't want to see the system collapse.

This doesn't mean it should be ignored. It's an interesting "attack" that should be kept in mind as the protocol is developed further, but it's not even close to "bitcoin collapse". The headline is perhaps just wishful thinking of the submitter.

As someone else said there.. (4, Interesting)

deego (587575) | about 8 months ago | (#45332927)

.. Way for researchers to present what's always been well known as their own discovery..

Every *academic* research article I have seen so far on bitcoin has been dishonest. I understand that "if it's not published," it's not research for them. But, would it hurt them to mention in the passing: "BTW, this mindblowing fact we have uncovered: The entire bitcoin community knows it, starting with the founder himself... And, that the bitcoin community had somehow magically peaked into the future to see what we had discovered, and were taking actively countermeasures against millienia bitcoin-years (== 1 calendar year) ago...

Remember when a year ago two academics proudly announced their "discovery" with much fanfare: "Bitcoin transactions, unlike what bitcoiners believe, are not anonymous." Of course, the developers and bitcoiners have repeatedly warned of that. Their presentation video is sickening. Not once did they see it fit to mention /that./ The very point of bitcoin is that it is a *very public* ledger.

I have seen that in other fields.. If it is not published, it is free game for you to lift when creating your academic article. As if lifting is not bad enough, you don't bother to mention in the passing: "btw, So and so community has believed for a long time, following precisely this reasoning and data ... "

Pretty cool... (1)

Tolkienfanatic (1111661) | about 8 months ago | (#45332953)

To see a prof of mine on Slashdot
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...