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The first Bitcoin Cash block has been mined (blockdozer.com)
373 points by TekMol on Aug 1, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 327 comments

Most fascinating to me has been Coinbase's position throughout this.

Which was essentially they are treating the new Bitcoin cash as a shitcoin, aka not supporting it.

They took the position that if you want your "free" Bitcoin Cash, move your BTC out of Coinbase.(1)

This led to the inevitable service decay & delays that CoinBase has become well known for in the bitcoin community whenever leading up to a high volume event. (2)

And yet their internal PR team has given somewhat measured responses that "if Coinbase decides to support Bitcoin Cash in the future, it will distribute the balances that accrue at the time of the August 1 fork." (3)

The article w/that nugget goes on to state that when Ethereum split "Coinbase eventually let customers withdraw their share of the new currency, known as "Ethereum Classic," even though it still does not allow it to be bought and sold on the Coinbase site."

Seems like a risky bet not to just say something closer to "Hey if Bitcoin Cash is a thing and worth more than 1% of the original BTC we'll support it. If it's not at the end of 90 days we'll give you a way to take it out either way."

Judging by the volume of concern and disdain from newbies in the Bitcoin forums a lot of people got woken up by this event and what it means to have your decentralized currency controlled by a central authority.

(1) https://blog.coinbase.com/update-for-customers-with-bitcoin-...

(2) http://bitcoinist.com/mass-exodus-from-coinbase-spawns-12hou...

(3) http://fortune.com/2017/07/31/bitcoin-fork-coinbase/

Coinbase CEO here - apologies for the confusion on that.

I certainly wouldn't say we are treating it as a "shitcoin". I tweeted out a few thoughts here to share how I think about it:


Hope it helps. Thx!

Meanwhile, Kraken supports Bitcoin Cash from minute one:



Here's Coinbase's original statement, which seems to be exactly what the grandparent comment was saying: https://twitter.com/coinbase/status/890986442674941953

"Coinbase does not intend to interact with the Bitcoin Cash blockchain."

Thank you for linking the prior statement. I read it, and disagree with your conclusion that it's the same as the grandparent.

It simply says, not supporting BCC now, but might in the future -- we will not acquire the BCCs for Coinbase.

There is nothing to "acquire" - the private keys are the same, they and they alone already have control over the funds.

"Wait and see" is usually a reasonable stance for companies to take, but in the case of securities splitting in two, withholding the new securities until their value changes - potentially even keeping them yourself - really shows your hand.

Among other things, this split has thrown into relief the stances various exchanges take with regard to their clients, and anyone researching which exchange to use should take a good hard look at moves like this when considering who to invest with.

Then go to Kraken!

The point is, splits and civil wars cause customer confusion and are harmful for bitcoin adoption. Coinbase is throwing some political weight around by saying "We won't support BCH." Their competitors do, so are customers supposed to think it's a technical challenge to support BCH?

It's just strange that Coinbase either wasn't prepared or sees BCH as a threat. Balkanization of bitcoin is unnecessary. Why refuse to support what everyone else supports? https://twitter.com/Yelka_Pineda/status/891020902066003968

In my view, as a bystander with no skin in the game, the BCH fork is very much political, so there's no reason why exchanges should not take a political stance in response. It's hardly a question of supporting what "everyone else" supports, Bitstamp has the same position for instance.

>the BCH fork is very much politica

There are political elements, for sure, but the overall reason for it is there are a genuine segment of people who believe segwit is kludge, and on chain scaling is the way forward.

Whether or not those people are correct, this chain represents their version of the bitcoin vision, dismissing it as a political move is a tad arrogant.

If you believe that splits cause customer confusion, and balkanization is unnecessary, then one way to help this problem is to use all your weight to ensure that BCH fails, not only to fix this split but also to demonstrate for any future splits that they will have little to gain.

Helping the split in any way (e.g. by making the split easier to use or by acknowledging it as a reasonable alternative) means facilitating future splits and future balkanization, driving down long term value of BTC.

> splits and civil wars cause customer confusion and are harmful for bitcoin adoption

I agree with this point, and I see Coinbase's comm as trust-building with their (perhaps nonvocal majority?) customers.

The future of this technology cannot work if you must understand the jargon and consequences of a fork (and whatever else can happen), and then form an opinion of your exchanges as a mainstream adopter based upon how they deal with these intricacies. Most people just want something easy to use. Coinbase has allowed that happy path to continue, and I trust them as a result of the manner in which they handled this event.

(Now, for people in-the-know, things are different. But I'd bet that Coinbase's target audience is not blockchain hackers.)

Why exactly should Coinbase support every new altcoin? I seriously can not understand your point.

Doesn't Coinbase reduce the amount of customer confusion by offering fewer cryptocurrencies to purchase?

It perhaps makes sense from a business standpoint: why support a new coin from day 1 instead of waiting for the ecosystem to mature? Coinbase already doesn't support other coins like XRP or Monero or whatnot.

It's a little different in the case of BCH, as it is with ETC. They aren't mere altcoins. They're forks, and if you owned coins on the chain before the splits, you now own those coins on both forks. Coinbase offers the illusion that you owned actual coins. To be fully faithful to the illusion, coin you owned on Coinbase before the split should have the same properties it would have if you owned the coins on their blockchains.

This is completely off topic, but does it bother anybody else that we live in a world where the CEO of any technologically savvy company disseminates announcements as a picture of text?

Well, that's kind of the de facto standard for tweeting large blocks of text that don't read well as a sequence of tweets.

I think the idea was more along the lines of "Remember blog posts?"

Do any screen readers do OCR or read the comment of a picture for sight impaired users?

It's better than the old days of hearing nothing except press releases.

An executive's Twitter is a press release. Let's not pretend they don't realize we're watching.

No more than a world where college-educated professional programmers communicate using memes and emojis.

It's merely what passes as presidential these days.

Bitcoin cash represents 7-8% of the value of a bitcoin pre-split. How is it user friendly to "tax" coinbase bitcoin holders by that amount? Is coinbase just going to sell those bitcoin cash for its own profit? Some transparancy would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Answered here: https://twitter.com/coinbase/status/892499250273107968

Will Coinbase keep BCC coins for itself?

No. Coinbase does not intend to support or interact with the new blockchain in any way. If this were to change, Coinbase would make those coins available for customers to withdraw, not keep them.

Makes sense but if the value BCC is at sustains itself, it would make sense that customers see that value as considerable and lost if they can't reclaim it later on.

Ironically, not "interacting" with that chain only serves to create more dead coins and thus push up value. Imagine if the value grows considerably... customers might be changing their tune if they feel that they lost out and feel they were misinformed.

You can bet I'll be removing every last coin I have from coinbase as soon as all of this is over. They gave a whopping three days notice. For those of us who had our coins in a vault, which adds a 48 hour delay to any transfers, this gave almost no time at all to react. In my case, I wasn't able to get it out in time and it essentially means I just lost money. Coinbase of course has no way to get a hold of anyone. I just have to watch my money swirl down a drain.

3 day notice? Did you check your emails from coinbase? I got an email on 7/19 warning about the fork.

The email laid out the process if you want access to the fork.

I got an email mid July

Can you fix your exchange/company?

Downtime should be unacceptable and exceptional for a financial marketplace.

On Coinbase however, downtimes and unexpected behavior are common place, and happen multiple times a week.

It's outright fraudulent when you allow your employees to trade during those downtimes.

What the hell.

Appreciate your statement.

Many that left their BTC assets on CB in interest of your core benefits - simplicity, security - will watch with interest for further communication in the coming weeks as price of bt cash stabilizes.

That's fine but there is obviously demand for BCH trading and by not supporting it, Coinbase/GDAX is forcing otherwise happy customers onto competing platforms.

Definitely wish Coinbase had just taken care of it for me. Instead, I withdrew everything to a personel wallet and will be depositing my BCC to Kraken. I'll probably just deposit my BTC to Kraken as well since I'm going through the trouble. I like that Kraken will give me access to a bunch of other coins to get exposure to. On the plus side, all this is motivating me to deepen my understanding of the cryptocoin tech/ecosystem.

Did the same, but from. Bitstamp to Kraken (Bitstamp took the same position as Coinbase). Kraken supports USD now, which it didn't used to last time I traded there, so I'll probably just stick with Kraken.

I imagine most of the exchanges that didn't support BCH are going to lose a lot of customers over it.

Folks like us voicing this stuff may make them rethink things and they retroactively make it right for the people who didn't bother to be proactive. Which would then just add insult to injury for us! Well at least I got some good experience out of it...

Honestly this seems like an off shoot thread to try to submarine and try and give legitimacy to the fork while taking swipes at those that opposed it.

I didn't know much about the fork up until a few days ago, but I did know to make sure I unloaded everything off of Coinbase if I wanted to benefit and double my tiny little bit of BTC since there had been a notice for weeks now about how they won't support it and a cursory Google search showed what you needed to benefit.

...so update -- it came true. Coinbase has buckled under the backlash and will make everyone's BCC available to them. Your welcome to everyone who was too lazy to withdraw their funds. You didn't have navigate the byzantine manual process to claim your coins. :)

The same can be said for other cryptocurrencies besides BTC, ETH, and LTC...

But will you hand over the private keys for the wallets your customers have with you so that they can use the BCH, or will you only transfer money to another BTC wallet and so the ship has sailed?

Except it really is a shitcoin. A scam to ensure that the mining pools can keep exploiting ASICBOOST. Ignore it and move on in life.

Nice drive-by propaganda comment that ignores a massive amount of context and subtlety.

Except it doesn't, really. Cuts straight to the point.

Right, because leveraging efficiencies should be a prohibited activity in a "Free" Market system, where said efficiencies cannot be enjoyed by incumbents. Clearly the correct action in such a case is to limit innovation and remove advantages developed by non-incumbents.

Anyone who doesn't understand Coinbase's reluctance to add support for BCH, or any other altcoin, needs to understand this hypothetical scenario:

1) I'm a long time miner who owns a massive wealth of Bitcoins.

2) I fund some developers to create a hardfork.

3) I dedicate a small percentage of my mining power to prop up the new coin.

4) Coinbase adds support for the new coin.

5) I deposit all my new split coins at Coinbase, trade for BTC, and withdraw BTC.

6) Using the rest of my mining power I then reverse the depositing transactions to Coinbase by double spending.

7) Profit.

I think it's positively absurd that _any_ exchange is supporting BCH.

But to each their own peril.

That is for adding trading support. Any forks which have worked out the replay protection problem - which includes BCH - are trivial to add withdraw support for, and many exchanges have offered this from day one (demonstrating they're likely above board as far as handling users' funds go).

Coinbase and others saying they'll "wait and see" is really just another bump on a long road of screwing users out of funds. They once again profit off of later price information - and in this case can even decide to argue that they held the assets and so own the BCH - essentially just earning another piece of their users' pies.

I'm amazed people still stick with Coinbase. Any exchange that even nominally 'puts users first' (i.e. isn't trying to screw them for profit) has offered withdrawal of BCH from the get-go. Though OTOH anyone who has seen how Coinbase operates with price fluctuations and so on would have guessed they'd end up doing this for the fork.

Pick your partners wisely folks. :)

It would take a lot of computing power to reverse (at least) 6 blocks worth of transactions.

No, it just takes a miner with >51% mining power. Any of the big pools could do it without flinching.

Not really, if someone had the insane power of 60% mining power, the probability of mining 6 consecutive blocks would still be 0.60^6 only ~4.67%, but this falls exponentially, so if they wait a few more minutes and have to reverse one more block, that's 2.8%

It's just very unlikely this could work. Possible, but very unlikely.

Edit: Also, if you have a very large amount of coins, you probably want to sell it off slowly, instead of tanking the market in one go. This makes it even more difficult since if you're caught reversing the first few transactions, your account will be flagged.

That's not how the 51% attack works.

If you have >51% of the mining power, you can overpower the rest of the network. Simply pick a block in the past and start mining from there, ignoring everyone else. With >51% of the hashrate you _will_ overcome the rest of the network and enforce your new chain.

They can do it in secret. Build a secret parallel chain while they transact, then release the chain after they've got their BTC.

And 51% is not "insane". It's absolutely tiny. As I said, _any_ of the large pools could do it, right now.

OK I must be missing something here: how can any of the large pools have 51% of the mining power?

How can you have more than one pool, each with more than half the power?

EDIT: OK I see where you're coming from I think... you mean any of the pools could 51% the forked branch, right?

Yes 51% of the branch you are attacking. They have hard forked, any bitcoin mining pool could easily control 51% (like 80%) of the bitcash mining worldwide.

I assume it means any of the larger pools in Bitcoin could switch over to one of the smaller altcoins and overwhelm the much smaller pool of miners there.

I don't follow this stuff closely, so I'm clearly missing an important detail here: how can several different entities simultaneously have the ability to "easily" control 51% of the hashrate?

I kind of think it is a little bit like this.

Imagine a new sport called zoccer. It's just like regular soccer, but if a team scores 5 goals within the 90 minutes, they automatically win the match.

Right now there are only a few small teams playing. But Nike has said they are willing to sponsor a tournament, if there is enough interest.

At any point, Barcelona or Manchester United or Real Madrid or Chelsea or AC Milan or any other large soccer team team can just say "we are now a zoccer club" and swoop in take Nike's money.

They all have the power to switch and dominate the new scene.

Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin-cash (BCH) share the same Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm. Thus, mining power is split between these two networks. Most mining power is currently on the BTC, which means that it is at least possible that multiple miners on BTC have more than 51% of the mining power currently deployed on BCH.

Having 60% of the mining power means you mine 1.5 blocks on the "false" chain for every block on the "real" chain.

You don't need to mine 6 blocks in a row against the other miners, you just need to have a longer chain. So you simply fork the chain, and then submit that as the "real" chain.

With 60% of the mining power and a 6 block deficit, you'd overtake the main chain in 120 minutes (approx; 12 blocks), since you're making up half a block of deficit per block they mine.

If you really had 60% of the mining power, you could undo 3 days of transactions in about a week of mining.

In what world is 2.8% sufficiently small to be ignored?

6) says that coins with smaller mining pools are more susceptible to double spending attacks correct?

Yes, since it is easier to gain 51% of the available mining power. that's why coins live or die by miner adoption.

You are making a way bigger deal out of this than it is.

Exchanges can quite easily protect themselves.

All they have to do is increase the confirmation time before they "accept" coins.

The longer you wait, the more secure your coins are. I would suspect that a day is easily enough time to be confident that a double spend won't happen.

A 51% attack can reliably undo any number of confirmations.

It is not as easy as that would suggest.

Sure, you can build a longer blockchain, but nothing forces other people to accept that blockchain.

IE, people can checkpoint the chain.

Also, if 51% attacks consistently started to happen, that would cause the price if that chain to plummet to 0.

There is no point stealing money that is worth 0.

A 51% attack could be done by someone who hopes to dump their gains before the market reacts, or it could be done by someone who wants to see the value go to zero. Bitcoin Cash could start checkpointing itself, but at that point it'd be centralized and you're right that its value would probably go to zero.

Yeah that was a pretty crappy attitude considering BCC is trading at $200 right now. I imagine a lot of early bitcoin buyers used coinbase and are sitting on like 10+ btc.

Not really cool to be ambiguous about stealing $2000+ from your users.

If you don't hold your keys, you're subject to the decisions of those who do. Coinbase is a good enough steward of most people's bitcoins that it's a fine trade-off.

keeping 10+btc in coinbase is immensely stupid.

don't keep your bitcoin in exchanges. it defeats three of the main appeals of bitcoin: autonomy, trustlessness, anonymity

> anonymity

Bitcoin itself isn't anonymous at all: All transactions are public. Only via a Laundry you can cover up your tracks.

Zerocoin and Zcash were created to fix that.

transactions are public but if no one knows that a public key is yours it's difficult to trace. and like you said, there's tools to anonymize your bitcoin transactions completely

As soon as you buy/sell something, someone will know your public key.

The laundry scheme isn't tied to Bitcoin, that's why I think it's wrong to say that one of Bitcoins advantages is anonimity.

>As soon as you buy/sell something, someone will know your public key.

So make a new key, and tumble the Bitcoins until you feel safe again.

Since all transactions are public, he can easily follow the tracks to your new public key.

Tumbling is supposed to make tracking non-trivial. Anyways you can always convent to another coin, especially one with more anonymity, and then back to Bitcoin.

EDIT https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14918545 This just started getting popular if you want to talk more about tumbling.

> Not really cool to be ambiguous about stealing $2000+ from your users.

Serious question: under what legal theory (not loose analogy) is the BCH corresponding to a wallet held by Coinbase property of Coinbase's users and not Coinbase?

Security laws. Stuff like this happens all the times in spinoffs and the rules are very clear about who is entitled to the proceeds.

> Security laws.

That's hardly specific.

> Stuff like this happens all the times in spinoffs

There's a reason I specifically excluded loose analogies.

> the rules are very clear about who is entitled to the proceeds.

And the specific rules that specifically apply to a fork of a cryptocurrnecy and a firm providing wallet services like Coinbase are...what, precisely?

Perhaps general securities laws are written in a way which encompasses this scenario, but I'm asking about the specific applicable laws that cover the situation at hand.

Sounds a bit harsh. He's suggesting securities law is a good place to start; a reasonable thing that adds something to the discussion. Consider hiring a paralegal to research the issue for you and write you a well-documented brief to meet your standards of proof.

That's idiotic, securities do not spontaneously split on their own. In a split, agents agree upon how it should be carried out, specifically to avoid this problem.

In what way is deciding not to support BCC stealing?

It's more akin to a forex brokerage deciding not to support EUR when it first came out over the lira. You can easily use someone else, Coinbase is hardly the only service around.

It's more like HP shares splitting into HP and Agilent, and your brokerage deciding that it won't track your ownership stake in Agilent and not giving you any further access to obtain your Agilent stock.

Under these circumstances, you'd have serious reservations about passively parking any assets with that particular broker...

That's one possible analogy. Another analogy would be: an unrelated third-party decides to give, to everyone who has HP shares, an equivalent number of shares in a new company. In that case, a broker would be under no obligation to give you these new shares.

Which analogy is the best one depends on your point of view on this debate.

> a broker would be under no obligation to give you these new shares.

No obligation would exist, but I'd rather take my business to a broker who would do so, given the choice.

How about a third-party company that awards a free trip to a timeshare resort (some obligations apply) to every HP shareholder?

Correct. I have not studied securities law but I don't think Coinbase's users have any recourse claiming their BCC and Coinbase decides their stance is that it was always theirs as they held the relevant private keys.

This analogy doesn't work because people could've transferred their Bitcoin to a personal wallet while the same can't be said of stocks.

Actually... with many brokerages, you can still obtain actual paper stock certificates -- it's just that the overhead and fees to do that make it highly unattractive.

Furthermore: It is possible to directly transfer stocks from one brokerage account (similar to a wallet) to another at a different brokerage without having to liquidate assets.

In your example, it is like everyone who has EUR being entitled to 1:1 notes of a newly-created currency called lira, with owners simply entering their EUR notes' serial numbers and being credited the lira.

Your "forex brokerage" then decides they're "not going to mess with this newfangled currency", leaving you none the wiser with how they're handling the newly created funds if at all.

If it goes up, they could shrug and say that they had the serial numbers so it was theirs the whole time. If it crashes, they could credit everyone the decreased value of the lira out of money they made by selling off earlier and pocket the rest. (Or take option A and pocket all of it, if the 'good' PR is not worth the slightly decreased profits.)

Considering the prices people end up having gotten "locked-in" on after price fluctuations when using Coinbase, this wouldn't even be "far-fetched" for them so much as par for the course.

If you have pre-fork BTC on Coinbase, you have no way of capturing its value as BCC since you don't own the wallet.

You had a way to capture its value as BCC by withdrawing the BTC to your wallet - it's not a surprise, and it was communicated by Coinbase before the split.

I don't know if you have a historical example of that happening but it would most likely be illegal to accept lira but not EUR.

Illegal where? Perhaps inside the Eurozone but that wouldn't be enforceable anywhere else.

I don't have an actual historical example, it was more of a thought experiment.

As a non-early adopter of blockchain tech, I appreciated the clarity that Coinbase decided on here. "You don't have to worry about anything."

Which, if you aren't familiar with what the word "fork" means in the developer world, was exactly what I wanted to hear from a legitimate company like Coinbase.

Kraken made it also quite clear, like 1 BTC in your account = 1 BCC.

And BCC will start at 0.01 BTC.

To me you don't need to be a developer to understand that.

"What's the difference? Will this happen again? Do I automatically have any of this newfangled bitcoin cash?"

"Does that mean I got free money? Is it a paper version of Bitcoin? Why can't they create it from scratch? Are they affiliated? Why is it called a fork? Should I buy Bitcoin before a fork? What's the point? Why 1 BTC = 1 BCC? Who decided that? Is it same on other exchanges? Why does BCC start at 0.01 BCC?"

"Sure, no, they could, no, software term, if you want to, independence, because of how the software works, see previous, for any that support them, because that's what it's valued at right now.

Any other easily-googlable questions? :)"

FWIW I moved ~80 BTC out of Coinbase almost instantly yesterday.

It's not unreasonable to expect some delays accessing their cold storage (which is key split across geographically disparate safe deposit boxes, last I heard)

That said, I was around during Mt. Gox's failure (fortunately didn't lose anything then) so I get a little skittish when I hear about a wallet/exchange experiencing withdrawal delays...

I'm curious. If you were around during Mt. Gox's failure, why on earth are you holding ~80 BTC in somebody else's wallet? That seems kind of crazy, so I wonder if there is an advantage that I'm missing...

Good question. It's a combination of things.

First of all, I've always trusted Coinbase a lot more than most other Bitcoin services. They're a US company, a YC company, I've met the founders, I know some of the employees, they at least appear to be very serious about security, etc.

Second, those 80 BTC are not all of my Bitcoin. I don't completely trust myself to securely store Bitcoin, so I like having some diversification of risk.

But yes, some of it comes down to laziness. I should probably figure out a better way diversify the risk without needing to trust a 3rd party.

Anyone can create infinite forks similar to BCC/BCH. Should Coinbase support them all?

No, but they should support forks with significant hashing power and exchange value behind them.

BCH has ~2% mining power behind it. That's not "significant".

According to what definition? 2% of BTC mining power is still more than most other coins.

Coinbase doesn't support most other coins either. There are exchanges that are enthusiastic about supporting all of the altcoins out there, but Coinbase isn't one.

It's already in the top 4 coins in market cap. Seems like a reasonable coin to support at this point.

That market cap is illusionary because there's no way to deposit BCH into exchanges right now. ViaBTC apparently requires 20 confirmations which would take about a week at the current hash rate, the other exchanges like Kraken and Bittrex aren't accepting deposits at all and don't plan to for a few days yet. So essentially all of the BCH making up that market cap cannot in fact be sold at all right now; the only BCH can be is from Bitcoins that was in exchanges that support BCH at the time of the split.

Market cap is not a useful metric. It hase very low liquidity at the moment.

It's been extremely volatile so at this juncture price means little. Give it some time before arguing it has any value, the market hasn't decided yet.

Right at this moment it's values at $717.00 per BCH vs $2694.42 for a BTC.

You'd argue it's better for me to have wait until the price stabilizes at 2% of BTC before I'm allowed to cash out?

Depending on the interest in the coin I would say yes. Not doing so will cost them customers.

Their particular position is one thing, but giving only 4 days notice is quite another. Especially considering any BTC held in their "vault" service takes 48h to transfer into standard wallet. I (and I'm assuming many other folks) would have happily withdrawn if I had the time and wasn't busy doing things over the weekend.

I got three notifications from Coinbase, dating as early as July 19th; that's way more than 4 days notice.

I received zero notifications. I'm assuming they selectively decided to notify users based on how recently they had logged in perhaps, meaning that there may be a large amount of cumulative bitcoin whose owners were not notified. I only heard of anything from being on Hacker News.

Maybe, but they must have had a strange priority. While I think I logged in recently, my account has always had a zero balance.

In what form? I got one email on July 27

Email on the 27th, and also on the 19th and 20th.

They can have any stand they want. But they deny me my property.

Imagine a bank anouncing they would keep all the dividends of one particular stock, because the didn't like it. That's what coinbase is doing. It plain and simply theft.

> But they deny me my property.

Is it your property? It's a benefit that people have decided to extend to whoever controls existing Bitcoin wallets. Do you have an agreement with Coinbase that obligated them to transfer to you any such benefit that should accrue to the Bitcoin wallet they control for you?

Of course. The Bitcoins are still mine, even i keep them in a coinbase wallet. (ownsership vs perssesion). Now every btc owner gets bcc. The owner is me, not coinbase. I gave the persession of by btc to coinbase to trade them eventually, not to give up ownership. And as the owner that never 1) gave away usufruct I'm entiled to all profits from them. See the share/divident analogy.

1) At last not legaly binding, that had to be there at the very least in red flashing letters, possibly even then it would have been void.

I'm not sure if "the Bitcoins are still mine" is an appropriate interpretation - (just as with banks) you don't own those particular BTC that you deposited, these now belong to Coinbase, what you have is a claim, a debt, an IOU, a statement from Coinbase that they'll give you a particular amount BTC on demand. If the standard banking regulations apply (and why wouldn't they? Coinbase is licenced as a money transmitter) there are no any particular "named" BTC held in escrow particularly for you, there's an "account" that tallies how much BTC you "have", i.e., how much BTC Coinbase owes you - as their user agreement states, "you are the owner of the balance of each of your Currency Wallets".

In the absence of any specific agreements with Coinbase regarding usufruct rights, you wouldn't have them (just as you don't have usufruct rights when depositing currency in a bank account) - you don't own that BTC, Coinbase owes you some fixed amount of BTC, and that's that.

Of course, that would be a nice thing to test in courts - after all they decide who owes what to whom, not the algorithms of BTC/BCC.

> The Bitcoins are still mine, even i keep them in a coinbase wallet.

Right, that's governed by your contract with Coinbase, and is the service they offer.

> Now every btc owner gets bcc.

No, everyone controlling a BTC wallet is now also controlling a BCC (or BCH, I've seen both used as the abbreviation) wallet with an equal number of coins.

I'm guessing rights to coins on alternative chains that Coinbase ends up controlling due to BTC forks are not covered in your contract with Coinbase.

Edited my comment to make it clearer.

There is a difference between ownership and possion. Technically (in the meaning "how it is realized in computer code") bcc is given to the person possessing btc. But by the law the owner is entitled to the profits of a thing. But coinbase does not own my coins, it merely posses them.

> There is a difference between ownership and possion

Yes, ownership is a matter of law. By what law does the act of a fork which grants possession of BCH to controllers of BTC wallets grant ownership to anyone else?

> But by the law the owner is entitled to the profits of a thing

That's, at best, imprecise. I own money, which I hold on a bank, which contracts a certain rate of interest (which may be zero) to be paid on it while I hold it there. I absolutely do not own any profits the bank is able to realize through holding the money (any more than, beyond those contracted, I am liable for any costs associated with their holding of money); indeed, their ownership of the net profits realizable by having the money in their hands is central to their business model. (There are restrictions on their ability to use the money they are holding to prevent undue risk of them not being able to pay my money back, but if they gain a windfall, I don't share in it.)

The real question seems to be legally whether BCH is a gift to those owning BTC or those possessing it. In the absence of very strong evidence to the contrary, I think the law is likely to say that who possession was given to also determines who ownership was given to. If I give a thousand dollars cash to everyone I see wearing a green hat, and one of those people had borrowed the hat, the owner of the hat is going to have a difficult time arguing that they own the thousand dollars.

>The real question seems to be legally whether BCH is a gift to those owning BTC or those possessing it. In

Bch is not a gift. Who should have gifted it? Who is the previous owner? How did the previous owner aquire it? It is a "fructus" of btc. And that belongs to the owner.

This right can be signed away, with life estate or usufructus. But that's a big deal. That can't be somewho implied in a sentence hidden somewhere in a long ToS.

You don't own Bitcoin if you don't control the keys. If you read the Coinbase ToS,

> Coinbase securely stores all Digital Currency private keys in our control in a combination of online and offline storage.

And if you read the whole thing,

> supported Digital Currency

is mentioned multiple times.

[1] https://www.coinbase.com/legal/user_agreement?locale=en-US#1....

>You don't own Bitcoin if you don't control the keys.

That's wrong, and obviously so. That concept is "possession" and not "ownership".

What they write in their ToS doesn't matter, it does not change fundamentals of porperty law. (Well, as every legal argument on the internet it depends on your jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the coinbase, as coinbase resides in multiple)

The spelling is "possession", by the way.

You don't have property, you have an account. If you had wanted to have bitcoin, you should have stored your bitcoin in a bitcoin wallet.

What's the difference between Bitcoin Cash and a Bitcoin clone that anyone can set up?

Nonzero miner and community support.

That's the crux of it. BCC is truly the end result of the years long civil war within Bitcoin, and so represents a significant minority of users and miners who really wanted larger blocks over Segwit and are willing to put their money where their beliefs are. This hard fork has been a very long time coming, unlike some Bitcoin clone that anyone could set up.

I don't see a problem with how this was handled by Coinbase. It's obvious they're a central authority. When people make the choice of Coinbase over managing their own wallet they're sacrificing freedom for a sense of security.

Disclaimer/FYI/FWIW: Coinbase was YC S12.

PS: Suprised to see no mention after 14+ hours on the entire sub-discussion that their tech stack appears to still depend on MongoDB (re: "service decay & delays").

Not sure what happened on this month's job thread (too late to delete?); it's not like it's a secret!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14902743 vs. https://www.coinbase.com/careers/477665

  King_mansur 17 hours ago
  AvenueIngres 17 hours ago
  >* Our APIs are currently powered by Rails with a MongoDB backend

  Everything makes so much sense now (Coinbase's single digit SLA)


  In case you are wondering what technologies we use at Coinbase, we’re built using a combination 
  of Ruby, Node.js, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, Swift (for iOS), and Java (for Android).

The original design of Bitcoin Cash would have required active work by Coinbase to ensure they could later distribute balances that accrued at the time of the fork and that some of the coins wouldn't accidentally be transferred along with the corresponding bitcoins. It was changed a few days before the fork so that all they had to do to ensure they could make that promise was to do nothing.

> They took the position that if you want your "free" Bitcoin Cash, move your BTC out of Coinbase.(1)

> when Ethereum split "Coinbase eventually let customers withdraw their share of the new currency, known as "Ethereum Classic," even though it still does not allow it to be bought and sold on the Coinbase site.

Note the ETC withdrawal option came after ETC spiked in price and retreated like 80%. Coinbase then ended ETC withdrawals at the end of 2016. I suspect you'll see the same with BCH.

It's not particularly fascinating for anyone who's kept an eye out for Coinbase's business practices. Most people who've used or heard about using them during any sort of price fluctuations (transactions delayed until the dust settles, after which they "conveniently" made a loss or only a slight win even before fees) would not have been surprised and likely could have guessed that this is how they'd approach the fork.

Pretending like you're "staying out of it" works 9 times out of 10 for businesses, but in this case it's pretty transparent that they're banking on the ignorance/apathy of users who decide to leave their funds with CB despite warnings so that CB can trade or even pocket the BCH and profit off of deciding based on future price information.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them cross the line into out-and-out fraud someday. Until then, I'd keep my money somewhere else.

Coinbase has a lot of issues - they need to raise more VC and hire some support temps to get through the current shitstorm.

My biggest issue with Coinbase is that they claim insured wallets, but actually only insure the 2% of bitcoins stored in their hot wallets. Cold storage is uninsured. If their cold storage gets lost/stolen/hacked, all holders are going to lose 98% of bitcoins. That's not insurance.

Something very important that I don't see advertised, with regard to BCH. The primary client, BitcoinABC, completely changed consensus rules a mere 5 days before the hardfork:


The important bit:

> Enforce strong replay protection (require SIGHASH_FORKID and SCRIPT_VERIFY_STRICTENC compliance)

That completely changes the consensus rules of BCH. Again, 5 days before a hardfork. 5 days.

I just ... I can't wrap my brain around why _anyone_ in their right mind would think that BCH should be worth anything, if this is the acumen of the development team.

Why would any exchange trust the code? Why would users trust the code?

If BCH is any kind of experiment, it's not an experiment of big-block vs small block (Bitcoin has had bigger block functionality for over 6 months now). It's an experiment to see if cowboy programmers can patch a live $40 billion network willy nilly and convince everyone that that's okay.

If anything the fact that things are working as intended(so far) proves that such a change is not nearly as dangerous as BCC developers make it out to be.

If you don't trust the code powering BCH then you can simply ignore all your coins on BCH and pretend they don't exist, you're in the exact same situation as you were yesterday.

The fear mongering of 'all hard forks are dangerous' is just that, fear mongering, and has no basis in actual reality.

It's been working as intended for, what, a few hours? If every flaw was guaranteed to show up in that time then five days would be more than enough - just run a few hours of testing before launch, done. The scary flaws are the ones that take weeks or months to show up, or that don't appear at all until someone starts actively exploiting them.

I agree with the fearmongering bit, but ignoring BCH is a little more difficult. BCH just caused a pretty decent dip in the price of BTC, and will likely make it drop further.

Unless it crashes and burns, in which case faith in Core will be even stronger.

5% at Bitcoin's level of volatility is not a dip.

BCC is bitconnect[0], did you mean BTC (Bitcoin) or BCH (Bitcoin-Cash)?

>If anything the fact that things are working as intended(so far) proves that such a change is not nearly as dangerous as BCC developers make it out to be.

A single round of russian roulette[1] where no one dies is not proof that guns are harmless. Things work out until they don't. We should always avoid unnecessary risks even if we have been lucky in the past.

[0]: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitconnect/

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_roulette

He seems to have meant Bitcoin Core. There is no pure "Bitcoin" any more.

Big blocker frustration has been bottled up for years and now it's all coming out at once. It's going to be messy.

To me, it seems like Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is just a cash grab (no pun intended) by a minority of misguided Bitcoin enthusiasts. From what I can tell, the main reason for the resistance to Segwit is that it reduces the power and influence of miners. That's why the people who are pushing BCH are also invested in mining. Miners earn money from transaction fees, and therefore have an incentive to artificially inflate the fees by delaying transactions (transactions are processed in order of highest to lowest fees).

There's a great blog post which summarizes the situation here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-heck-bitcoin-might-split-...

It really takes some twisted logic to paint BCH has a miner-friendly measure. It is unfriendly to miners in every way that matters, which is why miners have never achieved consensus on any of the large-block proposals so far.

Specifically, it:

- reduces the need for fees on transactions, as block space is no longer a sufficiently scarce resources

- makes orphaned blocks more likely, which means that the probability of losing a block that you already successfully mined is increased.

Although I'm a large-blocker myself, Segwit has one thing going for it, namely, fixing transaction malleability. For anyone who has to deal with bitcoin in bulk (any business using bitcoin, basically), malleability is a killer bug -- it makes it very hard to detect if your transactions have made it on to the network, and impossible to chain transactions together reliably. That's who benefits from Segwit, and it's a big benefit.

It also enables some off-chain solutions that are infeasible in a malleable-prone network.

The opposition to Segwit, in my opinion, stems mainly from the fact that it is complicated, and was given priority over the "clear and present" problem of blocks being full that had a simpler solution of hard-forking to increase block size. So it's being held up as a totem by the large-blocking crowd of the poor decisions of Core, and for alleged conflicts of interest around the off-chain solutions.

Other than the risk of a hard fork itself, the negative effects of a block size increase are so small as to be meaningless, for users and for miners.

> reduces the need for fees on transactions, as block space is no longer a sufficiently scarce resources

If bitcoin popularity grows, more transactions with lower per-tx fees will likely result in more total fees per block, compared to a world in which the block size is fixed and individual fees are higher. The induced demand will be a significant factor. This is fairly straightforward economics. This is a good thing by the way =)

Regarding orphan rates: I don't understand all of the gritty details, but I have seen some convincing explanations describing how, if block space isn't scarce, a miner's decision to include an additional tx is largely based on the likelihood that adding the tx will result in a block they find being "orphaned". So it is a self-regulating feedback loop of sorts. And as another poster said, it should affect all miner's equally, assuming they have a sufficiently sophisticated setup (low-latency, well-connected, etc).

For those don't know about orphan rates: An "orphaned" block is one that is wasted (and the reward thus lost). This happens when another miner finds a competing candidate block at a similar time and manages to propagate it more quickly through the network such that it is chosen by the majority as the next block.

> makes orphaned blocks more likely, which means that the probability of losing a block that you already successfully mined is increased

A higher orphan rate won't reduce miner profitability. Since everyone would experience the orphaning, the difficulty will stabilize at a lower level and profitability should be the same.

No, you don't have an orphaning problem on your own blocks, so it drives centralization.

This is exactly what happened when blocksize jumped from 100k to 250k: every small miner jumped to the largest pool (ghash.io) because they were seeing increased orphan rates, driving that pool over 50% of hashing power.

I don't actually see why that would happen. The chance of a block being an orphan is dependent upon the number of competing miners solving the block at the same time. Why would block size impact that at all?

Larger block size increases computation necessary to solve the block, so it is equivalent to increasing the difficulty. Another factor is that you might decide to wait longer to get more transactions in the block. This reduces your chance of solving the block, but increases your payback. I can't see how it could possibly increase the orphan rate because it increases the possible spread for solution time (some people will wait, while other won't). In other words, it should decrease the orphan rate.

I suppose block size increases the network latency for advertising solved blocks... but going from 100k to 250k every 10 minutes does not strike me as being particularly problematic.

Also, I'm trying to verify your claim and I can't see any evidence of it. It appears that different clients were using different block sizes for a long time. The maximum block size on the BTC network has been over 250K since 2013, according to [0]. Also take a look of this graph of orphaned blocks [1]. It seems to be highly variable between 2014 and 1016, but then lower since then. I see no evidence of a sudden increase in orphans. Clearly, having most of the hashing power in one miner will reduce orphans, but I just don't see a connection at all with blocksize.

So what am I missing?

[0] - http://hashingit.com/analysis/39-the-myth-of-the-megabyte-bi... [1] - https://blockchain.info/charts/n-orphaned-blocks?timespan=al...

> Larger block size increases computation necessary to solve the block

No, they're merkled, so it doesn't.

> I suppose block size increases the network latency for advertising solved blocks... but going from 100k to 250k every 10 minutes does not strike me as being particularly problematic.

Doesn't matter how often it is, I find a block, I mine the child immediately. You have to wait until you've received and validated the block. It's all about latency.

> Also, I'm trying to verify your claim and I can't see any evidence of it. It appears that different clients were using different block sizes for a long time. The maximum block size on the BTC network has been over 250K since 2013, according to [0]. Also take a look of this graph of orphaned blocks [1]

Yep, this is now ancient history. Mean blocksizes tend to mask what's really happening, but I recall the orphaning problem and ghash.io spike personally.

And blockchain.info's orphan block measurements are completely unreliable :(

More background: https://rusty.ozlabs.org/?p=535 (my blog)

Thanks for the reply. I have to say that I still can't quite understand how block sizes affect orphaning, but I'll have to think about it.

That's a fair point.

Block size increase will further centralize mining (as you mentioned, it makes orphaned blocks more likely, especially for smaller/less well-connected miners) and is a linearly scaling solution to an exponential (?) scaling problem.

There isn't a legitimate reason to restrict block sizes to 1MB. That is the primary reason for the fork.

Some claim that anything larger than 1MB will "hurt decentralization", but many others have shown this to be a very weak argument (sorry, I don't have any links handy).

You don't need every Jane Smith running a full node on a rasberry pi to have robust decentralization.

There is still a plan to activate 2MB blocks, at a later date (which is part of the Segwit2x proposal).

I actually don't fully understand the reasons for why the pro-segwit side doesn't want to increase the block size (even beyond 2MB), except that it's a slippery slope: with Bitcoin, every time you change the block size it requires a hard fork.

Increasing the block size isn't a long-term solution, because there's always going to be some new ceiling. Eventually increasing the block size will become impractical.

As an aside, some coins have a variable block size to deal with this. AFAIK Monero is the only "major" coin which features variable blocks. It's also the only coin that's actually private.

I don't understand why bitcoin is afraid of hardforks. Ethereum hard forks like there is no tomorrow, and so far the number of major block-chain-splits is equal, two. The offical implementation not forking does by no means prevent anybody else from hardforking to begin with, Bitcoin cash demonstrates.

I think ZCash is the only coin that is private in a real sense; Monero is somewhat private, but as I recall, by watching the mempool, it is possible to see the chains being built and to reconstruct the payments. That's all transient data that is not included in the blockchain itself, but for agents interested in tracing future transactions or logging current transactions there's a significant amount of pseudonymous traceability.

I think this is FUD about Monero. You don't see any more in the mempool than you do in actual blocks.

Can you cite any sources?

This was based on my own assessment of the whitepaper when it first became prominent. The way that transactions were formed was to build on an existing transaction in the mempool and mix the results together with the ring signatures. Looking at the coin now it appears that there's some optional (soon to be mandatory) protocol changes that will mask the output addresses, but I have not looked closer.

The Wikipedia article has two papers that draw similar conclusions about the traceability:



RingCT claims to conceal the amount, and "stealth addresses" claims to obscure output addresses, but I have not verified these claims because I'm reluctant to spend more time verifying a coin that I am skeptical about.

I was honestly pretty skeptical about it for a while too, and only recently came around after finally sitting down and doing some reading on it. Currently Monero is the only coin I'd trust for any sort of transaction requiring privacy.

I think you might be mistaken. Zcash is definitely NOT private for the majority of transactions. You have to opt-in to obfuscated transactions and so few of them are private that the ones that are really stand out.

Monero enforces privacy on all transactions by default. Back in the day you could send non-private transactions but during one of the previous hard-forks they removed that ability.

None have shown it to be a weak argument. None. If you could post your links so that HN can see the kind of pseudo-science the Bitcoin community has had to put up with, it would be much appreciated.

Calling it 'weak' is giving it too much consideration. The only sensible argument against larger blocks is that they boost mining centralization because larger blocks may take more time to propagate. Which may be true but it requires 1GB+ blocks. 10Gbps connection isn't a noticeable cost item for a serious mining operation, which means latency for a 1MB block and a 1GB one should be almost identical.

That's it. Remember that decentralization in bitcoin concerns miners, and miners only. 'Nodes' in the whitepaper are synonymous with miners.

Non-mining wallets need to have enough bandwidth to download blocks from miners as they appear. For 1GB blocks 20Mbps is enough. Which means a full verifying wallet for 1GB blocks is practical on a LTE connection.

Storage is also a non-problem with utxo commitments.

I thought the main concern with the block size was not typical western connections (where as you say 10 Gbps is no problem) but the limited performance of data crossing the Great Firewall of China?

That's complete FUD on several levels. On a most general level, mining itself only needs the header. Chinese miners can verify blocks and transactions elsewhere and only send headers to the actual mining sites. A dial-up should be enough.

Regardless, from what I heard it's not a problem anymore. Even if it was, allowing 'fast passage' for bitcoin blocks seems like a obvious course of action for the Chinese government, it's just another export industry at this point.

> Calling it 'weak' is giving it too much consideration

You can only say this if you're too ignorant to be worth a damn on the subject, or are insane enough to think that the people who have developed the protocol for the last 8 years are all misguided. If you launch into some conspiracy about Blockstream, Inc., then we'll know it's a combination of both.

> Remember that decentralization in bitcoin concerns miners, and miners only

And exchanges, merchants, consumers. If you have a stake in the ledger by owning or accepting BTC, then you have a stake in the monetary policy of BTC. If you have a stake in the monetary policy of BTC, then you can only hope to enforce it (or attempt to change it) by running a node.

That's before the mathematics of bigger blocks, where the decentralization of miners is threatened even by a 2 MB block size, as those with more hash rate get another bonus due to the latency increases of even a 1 MB block size increase.

If all that mattered in Bitcoin was the decentralization of miners, this game would have been over a long time ago. Anybody who thinks that even a landscape of thousands of miners, pooled by very few pools, is decentralized enough on its own, without others validating and auditing the blockchain, is too capable of assumptions to be let near engineering.

Why does every currency that has ever existed get devalued into dogshit by its policymakers? Every currency dies because those close to the mint can afford devaluation more than those further from it.

> the decentralization of miners is threatened even by a 2 MB block size, as those with more hash rate get another bonus due to the latency increases of even a 1 MB block size increase

This is completely ridiculous. If someone can't send 2MB of data across the network in less than a few seconds, then of course they shouldn't be mining.

>You can only say this if you're too ignorant to be worth a damn on the subject, or are insane enough to think that the people who have developed the protocol for the last 8 years are all misguided

Argument from authority

>where the decentralization of miners is threatened even by a 2 MB block size

proof by assertion

>is too capable of assumptions to be let near engineering.

ie 'u dumb'

I'm sure you convinced many people with your thoughtful comment. :)

"Argument from authority" i.e. you dismiss arguments by people worth listening to as 'weak' because you don't like that they are relevant, authorities on a subject and you are not.

Proof by assertion i.e. leaving off the second half of a sentence and leaving only the assertion.

ie 'u dumb' i.e. I have picked up on that you are calling me dumb and can only reply by misusing Debate 101 nomenclature.

as someone who was involved with bitcoin since 2009. you are VERY wrong.

this article will probably cover it better than I can. https://coingeek.com/core-think-bitcoin-cash/

but there was only ever the "big blocks" camp to begin with. Starting with Satoshi and Gavin Andresen. The "small block" movement is the newer "vision" and didn't/wouldn't exist if not for the financial interest suddenly employing the core developers.

The market has wanted bigger blocks for YEARS, and each attempt was slandered/DDoS'ed/attacked. Bitcoin Cash is the result of the market finally getting what it wants.

Why would a larger block size increase fees?

ASICBoost might be a reason miners are against segwit. But enabling offchain payments kills the P2P aspect pretty hard.

There's no good reason for not having had at least 2MB blocks years ago. And it'd have provided solid info on the real impact, not just fear mongering.

I addressed this in another reply, but I'll repeat: it's a temporary solution. You're merely delaying the inevitable, since the block size limit can't be changed without a hard fork.

I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise. But 2x or 8x'ing the capacity would be welcome, especially a while ago when the mempool was dozens of MB.

It's silly to say it's not a permanent solution therefore not worth doing at all.

Yup you got it. Bitcoin cash is a game of musical chairs - you can only raise the block size so much before its completely centralized (even more than it already is), by hardware requirements.

How centralized does 8mb blocks (the max for BCC) make bitcoin? Seems decentralized enough for me.

Blocksize should be growing at the same rate that bandwidth availability is growing, but is isnt. Why not? That wouldnt affect decentralization at all.

Bigger blocks take more time to process if they are stuffed with transactions that take a long time for a node to process because of quadratic hashing problems. A miner could make blocks like this and then also delay the release of the block to gain an advantage finding the next block. Also add in the whole asicboost advantage and the GFC lag and it would be a nice attack for the Chinese miners. It seems like this is why they want big blocks and no segwit.

Well first of all, segwit doesnt affect the quadratic hashing attack vector because legacy non-segwit transactions are still valid even with segwit activated, so the attacker would just use non-segwit transactions for his attack. Flextrans (a bitcoin classic proposal) on the other hand could actually solve quadratic hashing.

Secondly, the Chinese miners overwhelmingly support segwit2x, including the 2mb HF that comes with it. If they are trying to keep asicboost (which has not been proven to actually being used), why would they support segwit2x instead of trying to force BU instead? Segwit2x includes....you guessed it....segwit...which disables covert asicboost.

We still have to wait and see if segwit2x actually happens. I guess we don't have much longer to wait.

It has a lot more hashrate than I expected, I've been pretty surprised. Last number I saw was 3.9% and 247 petahash/s and climbing. I hope it can survive, I actually prefer it to the segwit Bitcoin plan and it seems to follow the original Satoshi plan.

There are some key words that are copy pasted into every conversation of Bitcoin lately. "Satoshi's plan" is one of them. Make of that what you will. Personally I find it a tad bit creepy. Bitcoin is innovative, but it attracts penny stock-like investment schemes like sugar to ants.

Of all the sales pitches for this coin, Satoshi's original plan makes the least possible sense. This is a fork from Satoshi's coin that removes features, the most important of which is the enabler of payment channels, which if anything was Satoshi's plan.

It's not like it's hard to read Satoshi's writings directly from the source. It's seven years ago, not ancient Rome. The forum has almost all of it intact verbatim and then there's the wiki. In what little sense there ever was a "plan" it's in plain view for everyone to see and read all about what people thought of payment channels, fraud proofs, and everything else.


I'm not for or against either side, but what you just said is just plain wrong and it looks as if you are the one who has not read either the paper or the forum post. He did not mention payment chains either in the paper or the old original post about block size.

The very first version of bitcoin had payment channels in the code. That's what sequence numbers are for. That's why there are sighash flags and weird rules for blanking sequence numbers. That's why the first version of bitcoin had transaction replacement.

It just happens to also be the case that the design Satoshi had for payment channels at that time was horribly broken and left nodes open to DoS attacks. So it was removed by other developers and slowly over time safe versions of the features were added again in the form of BIP68 (sequence number transaction replacement) and BIP141 (segwit).

It did not have payment channel code. There is nothing to indicate that the nLockTime field was originally intended for use in payment channels. There is no source for when the conversation between Satoshi and the developer, in which Satoshi describes payment channel functionality, took place.

And large blocks were very much part of Bitcoin's original plan. They were described even before the initial release of the software:


What did you think the purpose of time locked smart contracts was? You can either believe Nakamoto Transactions originated with Satoshi, or you can ask just about anyone who was around at the time. Why do you think there was a scripting language at all? If simple payments was all that was envisioned we wouldn't have needed that.

It's strange thing to try to summarize something and have someone question it happened at all. The subtext of this confuses me. This is a public mailing list and most of the people are still around and can answer much better than I can why the design of the opcodes are the way they are. There have been surprisingly many blind alleys in the short life of Bitcoin.

Payment channels are what Satoshi advocated, but it was my impression at the time that many others were more interested in things like sidechains and bearer proofs. The scalability of a system where everyone stores everyone else's transactions for all eternity was and still is the first thing people comment on. The second is the feasibility of everyday payments when the recommended confirmation time is up to an hour, best case. That's the reason people took interest in these proposals, even at a time when there was no economic pressure to do so, as transactions were completely free.

There's was no "original plan" as much as there were discussions. That doesn't mean Satoshi didn't have opinions. If your impression of the block size is shaped by the carnival mirror that is Reddit, it might be interesting to look at the reasoning why this limit was kept in place. But none of that matters in practice right now, because there is overwhelming consensus to double the block size (or quadruple, thinking adversarially) in a backwards compatible way and this will be active in a matter of weeks.

>If simple payments was all that was envisioned we wouldn't have needed that.

I didn't say that. I said there was no code added with the intention of making payment channels possible. The claim that there was is based on nothing more than conjecture on what the intended purpose of the script was, and the dating of an undated email from Satoshi that was first made public in late 2013.

>There's was no "original plan" as much as there were discussions.

There were multiple statements by Nakamoto explaining how Bitcoin could and would scale. This was widely understood to be the scaling plan, as evidenced by what the Bitcoin Wiki said about scaling all the way up to late 2014. [1]

It's odd for you to describe your conjecture about the intended use for op codes and data fields as facts, while dismissing clear statements of intent by Nakamoto regarding how Bitcoin would be able to scale.

[1] https://en.bitcoin.it/w/index.php?title=Scalability&oldid=53...

I think we misunderstand each other. I'm not here to present arguments to convince you of anything as there seems to be the subtext of a conflict that I'm not interested in being a part of.

I merely summarized some of the many discussions that took place on a mailing list a few years ago. There are several pointers to notable posts in the wiki, and the archive contains all the source material.

If you or anyone else were also present in those discussions and wishes to analyze what was said and what could have been, I'll gladly take that discussion private. But I'm not interested in discussing the equivalent of whether the moon landing was staged.

Ok, well I HAVE the early code and it very much does have transaction replacement code using the sequence field.

is this the original code - https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/commit/4405b78d6059e536c3... ? or can you point to earlier version?

It doesn't have anything that could be argued to be intended for payment channels.

There are not "sides" as much as there are countless copies of Bitcoin.

There were lots of discussions around applications of Bitcoin at the time. Payment channels were only one of the suggestions, but it was what Satoshi advocated. Why do you think opcodes for lock times were put in there?

See my answer below. There is no reason to lash out with misguided accusations when everyone can read the discussions in verbatim.

out of curiosity which part? the 9 year old white paper never mentions payment channels

this isn't an opinion about any bitcoin fork, just curiosity about what you are referring to. you say its not hard to read satoshi's words, but you rely on having to read and interpret every single forum post scattered around the internet?

Many of us as has hung around the forum for some time, and followed the discussions as they went along. (If it's any consolation, most with only intellenctual interest and not based on any desire to wire money to some gung-ho Japanese corporation without proper business accounts, which is easy to regret now. But I disgress.) Satoshi posted under that username to mailing lists and forum. They contain everything and it's all open to search, but if you're not looking for something specific it might seem overwhelming.

The white paper is only the overview of the underlying system. You're not going to find anything about the marketplace (look that up, it's funny), payment systems or other applications of Bitcoin in there.

That's why I mentioned the wiki. Like all wikis it's bit rotten and outdated, but it contains a lot of good pointers to the source material, both code and discussions. The page about "Payment channels" isn't a bad first guess. It is too old to help you understand modern systems like Lightning, but it will contain pointers to several other payment channels that have been proposed. Including Nakamoto fast transactions, which as the name might suggest was suggested by Satoshi. It turned out to be a flawed design, but the underlying ideas are basically the same as today.

As an interesting side note, that design was based on replaceable transactions. Another popular thing to copy paste into Bitcoin discussions is some conspiracy why this was developed (and it was indeed proposed for removal in the altcoin chain released today), but here you can see it was actually in Bitcoin from the beginning and how it was supposed to work.

You will also note that many other developers were sceptical about payment channels and preferred instead to work on sidechains, ecash bonds, and other methods. It's not like Poon and Dryja worked in a vacuum, but their work looks like it could actually be useful. Personally I don't expect it to be the final design for payment channels, and there are still much work to do on other methods of zero-confirmation high-throughput payment networks for Bitcoin (such as the above mentioned).

There's still a tremendous amount of work on the technical side of Bitcoin almost every day. Much of it just isn't end user visible because people are still laying the ground work for things to come. We're still very early. This is probably also the reason why these types of work doesn't stir up so much discussion on the mailing list. People are not going to re-base their ongoing work to some other codebase just because someone on Twitter threw a tantrum.

Literally the first sentence:

Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments.

So an interpretation to support an ideal despite the optional nature of payment channels, got it. I had ctrl+f "payment channels" and got zero results.

Payment channels, as described by the lightning network, are optional.

The mempool on both chains are practically empty and both chains function the same, until the mempool is full.

One chain will allow for optionally greater throughput via payment channels and possible a block size expansion.

One chain will allow for block propagation upwards of 8 megabytes.

Neither relies exclusively on third parties. The first mentioned chain has an optional ironic future where everyone operates a payment channel and eventually consolidates into one payment channel provider, I guess.

Both chains have other "threats" towards centralization.

If anyone wants to see what the "practically empty" mempools look like over time, this is a great resource:


The connection between full blocks and transaction fees is here:


yep, when full (or when there are more than 1mb of unconfirmed tx) these chains function differently.

if it wasn't clear, I was writing that they are practically empty right now. at the time of writing.

How are "payment channels" part of Satoshi's plan?

Satoshi's plan is defined by his original whitepaper and his public comments, which are pretty specifci.

Bitcoin's original codebase is presumably part of Satoshi's plan. It contained sequence numbers, lock times, and transaction replacement.

the whole thing reminds me of religion. "He intended this, he intended that"

Thou shalt not speak His name in vain! :D

That gets the chain un-stuck. The difficulty starts off with the old, huge value. The next difficulty adjustment will be at ceil(478560 / 2016), correct? That's 1248 blocks ahead. Check me on this, please.

If mining of that chain is very low, it will take a long time before the difficulty adjusts downward. So far 6 blocks have been mined on that chain.[1] Rate is maybe one per hour, instead of the usual one every 10 minutes. That puts the difficulty adjustment maybe six weeks out. We'll have to see who mines on that chain. The hash rate may go up or down, depending on what the big miners do. Mining will be unprofitable until the next difficulty adjustment, because the price of the coin is lower than the "mainstream" coin. Confirmations will be really slow. After the next adjustment, the chain will work better.

Something similar happened to some altcoins. Some big miner mined for a while, made some money, ran up the difficulty adjustment way up, and then stopped. Block generation then stalled. This thing self-adjusts, but adjusts to big changes in hash rate very slowly.

[1] http://blockdozer.com/insight/

11 blocks in the last 10 hours. Looks like the mining rate really is about one block per hour. That's an 83% drop in hash rate. Not enough to trigger an early hash rate reduction.

Whoever is mining should take about 20% of their capacity off line (presumably devoting it to the other Bitcoin) for a day to force the early hash rate reduction.

IIRC, this particular hardfork has a change to allow for fast downward adjustments of its difficulty after just a few blocks, in case too few blocks were found in the last 12 hours. It should already have enough blocks for this special code to get triggered.

Here's the code change.[1] "Triggering it require to lose 92% of the hashrate abruptly." That's protection against a total stall. It looks like hash rate is down, but not by that much. It may still take a while to get to the next difficulty adjustment. It's up to the big miners.

[1] https://reviews.bitcoinabc.org/D298

The emergency difficulty adjustment finally tripped, and block times are now around 25 minutes.[1] 40 blocks mined so far, 1208 to the next difficulty adjustment. So about 3 weeks to go until the next regular difficulty adjustment, which should bring block times down to the usual 10 minutes.

After that, BCC should function normally. The financial end is a separate issue; that won't be clear until BCC markets are fully functional.

[1] https://medium.com/@SimpleCrypto/bitcoin-cash-difficulty-adj...

1.9 MByte in size / 6985 transactions.

This is about twice as much as is possible in a block of the old Bitcoin chain.

This will become super interesting.

Yeah, if the fees are lower and the network is less congested I wonder if legacy Bitcoin could get overtaken for small transactions?

If so, that would be a historic victory of pragmatism.

A lot of popular engineers in powerful positions have been working for years on how to scale Bitcoin.

Now some people said "Fuck that! We will just increase this integer from 1 to 8".

Reminds me of how Linus Torvalds created a simple monolithic Kernel while GNU&Co were working on sophisticated microkernels. Now, 26 years later, everything from servers to smartphones runs on Linux. And GNU Herd is still considered experimental.

And here I thought Linux won out because BSD was wrapped up in a lawsuit.


I've heard that's one of the big reasons Linux succeeded over 386BSD (?), but GP is right that GNU could have just made their own OS a few times over in the time Linux has been around and they've barely achieved anything other than starting over at least once with a new kernel.

GNU has made an OS, and it is frequently used in conjunction with Linux. HURD on the other hand according to Stallman is of lower priority because there is already a major copyleft kernel and so the pressure of necessity is much lower, leading developers to want to spend more time on other projects.

GNU is not an operating system, but a collection of mostly commandline tools.

If you look at Linux distributions, GNU ist just a relatively small part if you look at lines of code. And of that most is GCC and GDB:


GNU is often used with Linux in order to comprise a full OS as defined by POSIX. It so happens that GNU can also be used by itself to do the same thing (by using GNU HURD and GNU MACH).

>GNU is not an operating system

Could you please elaborate on this position?

>but a collection of mostly commandline tools.

"Mostly" being the keyword, it also contains multiple implementations of different programming languages as well as their standard libraries, a kernel as well as a package manager. Also in the commandline tools it includes most (if not all) of the tools that are required by POSIX.

> If you look at Linux distributions, GNU ist just a relatively small part if you look at lines of code

I am unsure how this is relevant. In fact, I would argue that this is to be expected, especially when considering that the link checked everything in the main repository.

That's like saying busybox is an operating system, because it helps Linux to comprise a full OS as defined by POSIX

> Could you please elaborate on this position?

GNU is not an operating system, but some small projects that are used as minor components of Linux distributions


Nobody uses them. They are as relevant as the Windows Services for UNIX

> That's like saying busybox is an operating system

I think that I will have to disagree with that. Instead I would argue that it is actually like saying that Busybox + Linux is an operating system as defined by POSIX or like saying that if Busybox had its own kernel it would be its own operating system as defined by POSIX.

> GNU is not an operating system, but some small projects that are used as minor components of Linux distributions

In my previous post I mentioned some of the components that allow GNU to be used as a modern and POSIX compatible OS. It just so happens that most Bash distributions instead of using GNU Mach use Linux as their kernel.

> as minor components of Linux distributions

I think that calling them as "minor components" is quite a bold claim.

> Nobody uses them

Does not change the fact that they are both part of the GNU project. Nor does it change the fact that one can use them in order to run the GNU operating system without 3rd party software.

Pretty sure busybox doesn't implement enough to be considered POSIX.

Hell, neither does GNU/Linux for that matter (it's not technically POSIX) but busybox is really way too minimalistic to be considered an OS.

Ultimately, the legal drama did not undercut programmers' ability to use or redistribute BSD. However, it did stunt adoption of the operating system by creating doubts about BSD's legal future.

In the time frame they are talking about, 1993-1994, almost nobody was using Linux commercially (except tjhe distros selling it). Even after that, Linux was fairly immature. If BSD was going to be a real contender, it still had a sizable lead. That it didn't win in the end leads me to believe other factors were more important, such as the license (which the article you linked also notes).

The BSD license is more permissive and appealing to a lot of organizations, but the requirement of the GPL to give back ultimately lead to a virtuous cycle where companies moved portions of their code in-kernel, because out of kernel is more problematic if it's also not proprietary.

Except nobody was "investing" (speculating) on GNU Herd. It should give a lot of people pause that Bitcoin can just suddenly split like this. What's to stop it from being split again and again?

It's not so sudden, it's been a continuous debate for years. It's likely that there will be future splits as well. The split is only successful if enough people start using it. It involves a lot of trust, but no more than one has had to have from the beginning of bitcoin.

What should give us pause about that?

The split itself is not damaging. It's like if 100 bars of your gold were suddenly 100 bars of gold and 100 bars of gold cash. The original gold marketplace is only affected as much as it is replaced by the gold cash marketplace. So it doesn't matter how many times the coin gets split in this fashion

While This analgy works only to some limited degree - gold has a value in itself, you can use it to build some jewels, an electric conductor or a door stopper among other things. A Bitcoin has no inherent value. If nobody is interested in Bitcoin (or Bitcoin cash) anymore it's just a few bits in a disk which can be overwritten.

simple. The cost of pulling it off.

Even if I had a million dollars in funding, that would buy me mining power for oh so long. All the meanwhile, If I change the rules too much no one would even attempt to join my fork.

Even If I had another million dollars to pay developers to build services on my new fork, there'd be no users and no economic activity. The fork would die.

There SHOULD be a lot of hard forks. Why? Because they're voluntary and most will fail without doing harm (they require consensus to matter). The good ones will survive on merit and act as protocol upgrades.

With the same success you could have forked bitcoin with the same block size, or just minor increase.

BCC is currently not congested only due to small number of transactions happening there.

No, Litecoin already exists.

The killer feature is having the same UTXO history as legacy Bitcoin. That is a genius way of on-boarding a huge array of users without having to worry about a premine/crowdsale considering those are ridiculously overcrowded at the moment.

The other genius part was doing this today, when the small-blockers and segwit proponents already had marketed this day for their supposed "USAF" - the anti-miner consensus-by-amount-of-nodes change.

Had this fork been done months before, not many would have noticed or cared. Well played.

Unfortunately the following 3 blocks were tiny in comparison, whether due to a malicious miner or lack of transactions is unclear.

Lack of transactions. The mempool is almost empty: https://jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/uahf/#2h

I don't think increasing the block size is an obvious win. I've seen others say it won't in fact do much to increase scalability, and there are also these arguments against it:



It's been an obvious win for a long time. If Chinese miners want to delay propagation, they can just do that.

The other complaints about expensive nodes are unfounded. Just downloading existing blocks is still very feasible at 8MB even with data caps.

This could have been prevented by going to 2 or 4 megs years back, avoiding the stupid arguments and providing real solid experimental data in the process. It'd have alleviated some of the congestion, too.

But segwit did go to 4MB (worst case), except done in a backwards compatible way, and removing the current unfortunate bias that creating new outputs is cheaper for transactions than consuming old outputs, though obviously the latter is better for the network as a whole.

That's surprisingly fast. Much more hashing power than anticipated is backing the fork.

Wasn't the fork scheduled to happen ~7 hours ago? Why did the first block take so long if the hashrate is high enough to produce 4 blocks in the subsequent half hour?

The last common block was #478558 mined at 3:16:14 PM UTC

The first BCC fork block was mined at 8:12:41 PM, almost 5 hours later.

The 2nd one was mined at 8:33:06 PM, 20 minutes later.

And then an other one not 5 minutes later.

Meanwhile the difficulty remained constant at 860221984436.2223

Clearly there's been a sudden surge in the hash rate.

No, the first block in the fork needed to be > 1MB. But it also changed the format, so they dropped all pending transactions from the mempool. ViaBTC did mine the first bcash block, but it was rejected because it was too small!

Someone had to figure out the problem and stuff a block so it could make progress.

The new chain inherited the difficulty from the previous chain. Now that the network realized there isn't as much hash rate the difficulty has been reduced and a more normal rate of block creation restored.

Edit: that didn't happen yet, I stand corrected

That didn't have time to trigger. Difficulty didn't change.

My understanding is that it will take much longer than that for the BCC chain difficulty to significantly adjust.

2016 blocks from what I understand. That's 14 days at 10 minute blocktimes.

As someone who missed the Bitcoin boat, I admit to having to read up to figure out what was going on here.

From what I read, Bitcoin Cash is an alternative cryptocurrency like Ethereum, but based on a change to the original design of Bitcoin algorithms, which increased the basic block size of the transactions. It seems this was done to increase transaction performance.

Also it seems there were competing proposals in the community about how to accomplish the goal of increasing transaction performance, "SegWit2x" and "BitCoin Cash" - and the folks who started the BitCoin Cash fork didn't agree with the SegWit2x strategy.

Anybody else more in the know, can explain it like I'm 5?

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Are people exploiting this via some sort of arbitrage or whatever to try to make money again? It seems risky?

EDIT: Removed quotes around the word "fork".

> From what I read, Bitcoin Cash is an alternative cryptocurrency like Ethereum

No, it's a fork. The fact that you put quotation marks around the word makes it seem like you think it's some kind of allegory. It's as much a fork as it gets. Ethereum was a whole new chain, not a fork.

I removed the quotes per your suggestion. Nothing in particular was implied, I just thought it was an interesting context/use of the term, which is why I put it in quotes.

This is a good overview:


There's a bunch of political reasons on both sizes as well.

> From what I read, Bitcoin Cash is an alternative cryptocurrency like Ethereum, but based on a change to the original design of Bitcoin algorithms, which increased the basic block size of the transactions. It seems this was done to increase transaction performance.

It is an altcoin, but unlike most altcoins it has a shared history with Bitcoin. Basically, at the moment of it's creation (today, August 1st), everone who owned bitcoins owned an equal number of Bitcoin Cash. So now they are two separate coins and two separate chains, but with a shared history.

> Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

It's hard to give a judgement. When Apple started working on a self-driving car, was that a good thing or a bad thing? Hard to say, it more of just was a thing to know, unless you had a horse in the self-driving car race. Bitcoin Cash will either be successful in some capacity or it will flop altogether, but the original Bitcoin certainly isn't going anywhere.

If you don't have a horse in the race, I wouldn't think of it as a good or bad thing. It's just an event that doesn't mean too much unless you are excited about Bitcoin Cash and the principles it stands for, or if you have Bitcoin and don't realize that you also have an equivalent number of Bitcoin Cash (currently trading at like $200 each - a nontrivial sum!)

Labels such as "altcoin" are propaganda. It does nothing to describe actual physical/technical properties of a chain. It is only meant as a tool to alter people's perceptions of a coin.

Is this kind of like having a new denomination of currency? For example, why carry around 10 $1 bills when I can carry around one $10 bill?

If the number of bitcoins you have stays the same, but just the block size of storage in transaction changes, then I'd guess it's very similar to a bigger unit of currency.

No, not quite. It's like having $25 in your wallet in USD, and then next time you look at your wallet you have $25 in USD and also $25 in USD-different. Then you go to the store and find out they only accept USD, and not USD-different, but if you go to a currency exchange you can trade your USD-different for $1 or $2 in USD each.

Not a great analogy I guess, but the point is that it's definitely not the same as having a new denomination of currency. It's a whole new currency entirely, it's just that everyone who had Bitcoin was "granted" (sorta) this new currency too, in the same volume that they had the old currency.

I understand - thank you for sharing!

I find it interesting that the two split and then essentially float as different currencies at different rates. Surely, there will be some inter-relationship between them as well.

>but the original Bitcoin certainly isn't going anywhere.

I don't know much about Bitcoin, so I am curious why you think that? Mostly because I own a (miniscule) amount of Bitcoin..

It has the momentum and the majority mining (hash) power behind it, which is the most important thing in a cryptocurrency using proof of work. That said, nothing in this life is actually certain, and major flaws in Segwit could be found that cause the power to flip over to BCC and BTC could end up going down the drain. Or both BTC and BCC could lose out to Etherium or the USD or gold. Nobody knows the future, but the easy money is on BTC remaining the lead horse in this race.

Nobody thought MySpace or GeoCities were going anywhere either...

Please listen to this podcast to understand better. Naval Ravikant and Nick Szabo have done a great job explaining the basics.


Szabo sure seems like Satoshi. Interesting that they bash Litecoin though.

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