A consequence of that is that bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies really aren't as decentralized as claimed.
It's fascinating how things just seem to have a way of becoming centralized once enough money is involved, even when engineers thought hard about how to avoid that (see also: the internet).
- fraud/abuse (spam)
- outsized influence of providers who make it easy to get on board without having to self host (gmail)
- inability to easily change your protocols to handle new features (IMAP4 is from the 90s)
- inflexibility to easily fix bugs and distribute patches across the entire fleet
- unequal footing in both feature capacity and security posture from node to node
Email, Matrix/Riot, etc all suffer from these problems. As does bitcoin. That's not to say that they're not overcomeable, but many of the challenges (especially fraud/abuse) require close collaboration between different decentralized node owners - which to some, defeats the purpose. I ask, what is the internet if not a way to communicate, so I guess I don't think it defeats the purpose.
I'm actually interested to see what matrix is doing, because they seem to realize that a platform of decentralized nodes that handles a lot of the challenges (updates, auth, etc) means that people will be able to build their own new use-cases on top of the network, or diverge.
Anyways, despite these problems, despite the uphill battle in user experience, despite the pain of self-hosting, despite all of the challenges: I still do it.
The internet is a miracle and one way to keep it a miracle is to take the reins of your presence on it.
What are we consensing on, if not a mutually agreeable set of facts (state) that we can use as a basis for future decisions?
If the answer is “nothing” then you by definition have a toy, not a tool.
For scalability with small transaction volume, Coda is the best.
Here's an example how you can validate the current state without knowing the past.
Imagine there are 100 coins made form something that does not exist beside in these coins.
Someone wants to pay something to you using 2 of these coins. Do you need to know where he got them from and where the person before got them from and so on?
If you know there are only 100 in total. (state is public)
And no way to change that. (rules/code is known)
And you know that if you take the 2 no one can force you to give it back. (transactions are irreversible)
Then no, you don't need to know the past transactions at all. Maybe they where stolen in the past a thousand times also lost and found by someone else many times. Does it matter? Not at all.
Matrix is exciting, but still has the hosting problem. Even with the easy ability to get a host from them for $10/month you're still going to have a handful of players providing most of the hosting.
I think Urbit's design is actually really interesting and makes some progress on a few of these problems.
> Fraud/abuse (spam)
Their ID model that has inexpensive and limited IDs that require some cost ($10-20) change the economics on spam. IDs carry a reputation.
> Outsized influence of providers
Urbit still has some of this in the sense that where you host your 'planet' (basically your private server) will probably end up being dominated by centralized groups that do this work for you. Where it's different though is the design of urbit means your server is only accessible by you and the communication is still p2p/encrypted. It's a little like Matrix in that way, but the design makes install and updates way easier.
The other cool bit is that the p2p complexity is abstracted away at the application layer, so things are decentralized by default without the users having to be aware of any of that complexity. You'll eventually be able to share photos from one user to the other and no centralized server is required.
> Bug fixing across fleet
Urbit's hierarchical structure is a good solution to this too. There are 256 'galaxies' which are voting governance nodes in the network. Each of these spawn 256 'stars' (basically infrastructure nodes) and each star can span 65,536 'planets' (individuals IDs or private servers for users). Updates come down the pipe from stars and get seamlessly applied to all users on the fleet.
User planets can escape to a different star if their star becomes a problem. Stars are incentivized to remain up and neutral in order to stay relevant. Similarly stars can escape to different galaxies if there's an issue with theirs. In an extreme case a 'stellar congress' could push back against the galaxy governance body if they had to and start reporting to their own.
The OTA approach and functional VM design solve this for Urbit.
A more detailed introduction: http://hyperstition.al/post/urbit-an-introduction/
Anyway - I've playing with it for the last few months during lock down and it's the most interesting thing I've seen in a while.
Thanks for writing it.
It's not about equality but fairness. Anyone can invest and purchase CPUs whereas the allocation of IPs is political. Satoshi never stated or expected one CPU should map to one individual person.
Satoshi said "At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with server farms of specialized hardware.” – https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/emails/cryptography/2/
“The design supports letting users just be users. The more burden it is to run a node, the fewer nodes there will be. Those few nodes will be big server farms. The rest will be client nodes that only do transactions and don’t generate." – https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/posts/bitcointalk/287/
I think my broader point stands, though: despite engineering efforts towards decentralization, market forces push Bitcoin towards centralization (due to mining pools and due to consolidation amongst manufacturers of mining hardware).
The most important counterbalance to this is not in the Bitcoin protocol, but also an economic one: large mining operations have an interest in keeping up (at least the perception of) decentralization, because that's why people like Bitcoin.
At that point however, you're back to a system where the safeguards are not of a technical nature at all. Maybe Satoshi foresaw that to some degree, but apparently he wasn't able to engineer around it.
The fact that mining is a capital intensive operation has little to do with Bitcoin’s decentralization. Nodes cannot change the supply. When I wake up tomorrow I’m reasonably certain there will still be ~21,000,000 bitcoins, while the central bank will have further inflated the money supply https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c4/Co...
But more generally, I don’t see the point. We’ve established that the people who end up with lots of bitcoin are people with lots of fiat money (and some early investors), so all you’re doing here is perpetuating the current economic distribution, and frankly fiat currency and the corresponding banking system is very effective at that already.
You’re right, gold and stocks can also preserve capital against the constant depreciation of fiat currencies. I prefer bitcoin to gold because I can more easily hold my own bitcoin and transfer it globally. I don’t own stocks because I don’t care to tie my savings to the performance of various businesses.
Huge advantage, no electricity waste.
Should allow for much larger transaction volume as well.
IP-address vote flows naturally since well we are still using IPv4 to communicate.
The only downside would be that there would be some big winners in Apple,MIT,US Postal Service that is anyone else with 8/block.
Countries like Chad with 4096 addresses for population of 10M would benefit much less but they would still be in the game.
You can exchange money for CPUs, so the system was built so that those with more money have more influence over the blockchain.
The idea of votes being proportional to the dollars you control is very popular in some circles.
In contrast, one-person-one-vote systems tend to create regulation for financial institutions, which is something crypto currencies often like to avoid.
Even if ASICs were not mentioned by name, Sastoshi wrote about how mining was expected in the future to be the work of large bank-like organizations, but apparently did not worry that this would harm the project.
What he may not have foreseen was the emergence of mining pools, separate from miners themselves, that in certain ways can behave like cartels. That could have been avoided with a mining pool protocol where miners are the ones to form blocks, but the software included no possibility to pool mining power at all.
Miner's would identify themselves
This is a vague notion that doesn't make any sense. The purpose of the design of Bitcoin was not to give equal representation to every CPU. It is to prevent undue interference in transactions by third parties. And by that measure Bitcoin is definitely decentralized enough.
To do anything nefarious you need at least 51% of hash power and to not care that you are damaging the integrity of the blockchain, and even then you can't steal from or rewrite the blockchain - you can only prevent future transactions from going through.
"An attacker that controls more than 50% of the network's computing power can, for the time that he is in control, exclude and modify the ordering of transactions. This allows him to:
* Reverse transactions that he sends while he's in control
Prevent some or all transactions from gaining any confirmations
* Prevent some or all other generators from getting any generations
The attacker can't:
* Reverse other people's transactions
* Prevent transactions from being sent at all (they'll show as 0/unconfirmed)
* Change the number of coins generated per block
* Create coins out of thin air
* Send coins that never belonged to him"
Doing a reorg of the blockchain can cause all sorts of problems, and reverse all sorts of things, depending on what those transactions were, and how they are re-ordered.
This phenomenon even has three distinct names: grift, cronyism, and nepotism.
Proof-of-Work relies on miners investing and competing. Miners that continually invest generally win - and those that do not, die. The stronger the system, the harder for Bitcoin enemies to subvert/takeover the system.
In 2008, miners used CPU's, several years later miners moved to GPU's, several years later miners moved to ASICs, and recently miners moved to data centers.
Umm. It's not that old, testnet maybe but not the public blockchain.
What is decentralized is the currency at the user level. It has taken the power of control away from a central authority.
"At that stage, most users should start running client-only software and only the specialist server farms keep running full network nodes, kind of like how the usenet network has consolidated." [1, emphasis added]
"The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server. The design supports letting users just be users. The more burden it is to run a node, the fewer nodes there will be. Those few nodes will be big server farms." [2, emphasis added]
To clarify, these are excerpts of satoshi's comment that were in a thread. They've been kept through the Nakamoto Institute website (i.e. my source is a secondary source). I chose this and not the bitcointalk threads because it's Satoshi's writings only.
A few points to note, 'full network nodes' are nodes that do both mining and validating of wallets; not just validating like the Lightning Network or SPV clients. First quote talks about 'like how usenet network has consolidated' which hints at knowing about centralized farming. Second quote is more direct to rebuff the above opinion, fairly directly.
> the biggest thing Satoshi didn't know (or didn't foresee) was that the idea of "one CPU, one vote" was flawed, a victim of its own success, because of mining ASICS.
He knew. In the beginning, it wasn't truly one CPU, one vote. If you had a higher-end single cpu, you definitely got more than one vote since most people don't have the average CPU (it's high-end for a reason). Satoshi clearly had this in mind. Early adopters were awarded more bitcoins with their average CPUs then, than high-end ASICs today. This was all thought out in the economic sense and security sense, attempting to balance both.
>A consequence of that is that bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies really aren't as decentralized as claimed.
I feel this opinion is based on the crypto-twitter opinions. Or based on many 'bitcoin maximalists'. Basically, a narrow-minded group that isn't really seeking to inform the public, they just want to 'moon' and meme.
But looking at this critique from a different perspective, it's extremely decentralized in it's mining function. How many people have mined bitcoins? Throughout time? Has it always been one central authority (Satoshi, Gavin, etc)? Or have people from all stripes been able to? Yes. Many regular working people could buy an ASIC and mine today. That's fairly decentralized, no FED needed to inject a new QE.
Will you make a profit? That's not the question. Decentralization mining exists but at what cost?
I could also unpack the idea that buying coins in 2009 would be considered a decentralization of the currency, since there would be more people (not less/centralized) holding the currency, therefore more dispersed.
But let's return back to Satoshi to conclude. Satoshi thought about CPUs, FPGAs, GPUs, and ASICs. Look at his writings. Look at the OG code. Look at the whitepaper. He created an architecture that creates cryptographic trust through a proof of work function. He knew about Moore's Law and incorporated it. The specifics were quoted above but this conclusion is to bring everything together that bitcoin was thoroughly designed in such a way that thought through ten, twenty years in the future, based on the best science available then. My final thought is that Satoshi 'didn't think about______' is an opinion based on ignorance or it's something outside of the scope of Satoshi's intent with bitcoin. He has many posts that explain enough to settle most debates. Please read more, do less criticizing and when you're informed, let's have a mature discussion.
 - https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/posts/bitcointalk/105/...
 - https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/posts/bitcointalk/287/...
P.S. I'm not a Satoshi worshipper. I've done extensive research and came to my own conclusions. You can debate my auxiliary points but without reading Satoshi's writings, you're missing the context of the actual debate.
How does it work privacy-wise? Can I see other peoples wallets and who they've sent money to, received money from, etc, like Bitcoin or is it closer to Monero in that regard?
"I love the concept of privacy in the network and it's a hard thing to do right. Any solution used would need to be compatible with our balance-weighted-voting method which means at least we'd have to know how much weight a representative has even if we're hiding actual account balances. To be fully anonymous it would have to be hide accounts, amounts, endpoints, and also timing information; with advanced network analysis the timing is the hardest thing to hide. Hopefully some day we can figure out an efficient privacy solution though the immediate problem we can solve is making a transactional cryptocurrency so we're focusing on that." 
What are the trade-offs being made by using this rather than a blockchain? I'd imagine the consistency guarantees would be lower?
>There is no mining involved, so Nano is environmentally friend and voting is done using a system called ORV (open representative voting) which is similar to delegated proof of stake, but doesn't require actually staking and risking coins.
If there's no staking/risk involved, what's the disincentive for bad actors to fork the chain? The whole point of staking (and putting coins at risk) is to disincentivize that from happening.
Since there isn't a single chain in Nano, I don't think Nano can be forked (in the BTC blockchain sense) by bad actors. Instead, a bad actor would need to have 51% of the online supply of Nano delegated to representatives they control. At that point, the bad actor could start blocking transactions. Of course, there are risks with any decentralized system. For BTC, this risk is about controlling hash rate (which can be done by controlling mining pools, not just mining hardware).
To get proper answers from the devs to these questions, your best bet would be to post them on the official Nano forum at https://forum.nano.org/
Without the consistency part, its trivial to make an asset that is billions of times faster/scalable/etc than nano.
"51% attack" is an attack. The corresponding security property would be something along the lines of "A malicious party that controls < 50% of the network hash power can make a transaction that is confirmed by the network n times and then make another conflicting transaction on an alternative chain, and have that chain eventually become the canonical chain, with probability negligible in n" (i probably messed up details but that is the gist).
A consistency garuntee isn't a specific attack, but the general properties of the system, what it can do and what it cannot do. The fact that nobody has done a double spend is pretty meaningless. We don't know if that's because nobody has tried/cared or if that's because its really hard.
To put it another way: say there were two engineers who designed two bridges. Someone asks the engineers, is your bridge safe? Engineer 1 says: we made a careful design and extensive testing, as long as no more than 100 tons is on the bridge, it won't collapse. Engineer 2 says: the bridge has been there for 5 years. In that time not a single person has died from the bridge collapsing on them. Which bridge would you trust more?
If not a whitepaper, then what do you consider Bitcoin's (or any cryptocurrency's) consistency guarantee to be?
That said, the whitepaper does contain arguments in that direction. It would be nice to see more in depth formal arguments though, as well as some independent analysis.
E.g. how do we know which blocklattice is the correct one? (in Bitcoin it's the longest chain, which contains most energy and thus can't be created from thin air). Are there enough incentives to keep the network running and decentralized? Etc.
In terms of the incentives to keep the network running without mining fees or proof of stake rewards, the Nano community and devs think that merchants and other services using Nano will save significant amounts of money by not having to pay credit card processing fees. This will incentivize those merchants and service providers to run their own node (which only costs around $60 per month) in order to keep the network healthy and decentralized. The lack of mining fees and proof of stake actually disincentivizes the kind of centralization we are seeing with Bitcoin mining.
The biggest hurdle for cryptocurrency adoption is a medium of exchange. Most investors waste their time playing around with buzzwords like DeFi.
Not as long as the Bitcoin core developers are actively sabotaging BTC's development so Blockstream can sell you the solution. Bitcoin was hijacked and it may never recover.
Here is a challenge to test this theory, computer hacking is illegal right, but satoshi's identity remains a mystery, they cant prove their identity in a court of law, so hack "his" bitcoin account and move his bitcoins to another bitcoin account. "He" will have to come forward to garner the help of the authorities to get his bitcoins back, ergo we will get to find out who Satoshi really is!
Put it like this, as an exercise, it will be interesting to see in court how "he" proves his identity. Do you see the problem?
Whats that Thomas Pynchon quote?
That's a feature, not a bug. The government cannot hand over ownership of your btc. That's the whole point of decentralized.
The forgetting your password thing may be an issue for the person who forgets their password, but it is not an issue for the network. Those btc are out of circulation, sure, but there's lots more out there that people can exchange. Just don't forget your password and you'll be fine.
(File under "hunch, but just guessing.")
Layer 2 is not necessary until Layer 1 has some kind of stability. Layer 2 can also malfunction during volatility. Ethereum has demonstrated this.
Volatility is a result of lack of actual usage of the currency. And yes, bitcoin has virtually no actual usage, save for speculation/investing. Any normal currency has hundreds of millions of contracts attached to it (starting from short term offers on groceries in your local shop). Each of those contracts is a volatility dampener. Saying that Bitcoin is not used because it's volatile it's like saying that x=y because x=y.
Actually that is not true. Gold by weight as a currency has been used at times, but many other forms of currency were used historically even by people who had gold available to them. There is a lot of historical precedent for credit money (i.e. people using debts owed to them as currency) and for coins minted with non-gold metals like iron and bronze. The earliest known currencies were "virtual," taking the form of clay tokens that were used for accounting in the ancient near east -- a civilization that was well aware of gold but considered it to be more useful for producing ceremonial objects. Shortly after inventing paper the Chinese started using paper money.
Gold is actually a terrible currency that makes trade much less efficient. Historically gold was most useful as a currency when empires were able to procure a growing supply of the metal, and when the gold stopped coming in people would switch to some other currency (typically some form of credit money).
Why do you think the second paragraph is true?
Gold has been disconnected from currencies only since 1971, and this detachment clearly has had significant impact: https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/
Historically the pattern has generally been for a metal standard to be introduced only to be abandoned when the state is unable to procure more of the metal. The Romans abandoned their silver standard and started debasing their coins shortly after the empire reached its greatest extent, almost certainly because they could not find enough silver to keep the system going (though nobody bothered to write this detail down). In ancient China various dynasties are known to have started issuing iron and bronze coins when they could not find enough gold/silver/copper to meet their monetary needs (and when the weight of coins became impractical they issued paper money).
There is no question that using weights of gold as a currency makes trade less efficient. Most merchants and most consumers do not have the equipment or expertise needed to evaluate whether or not a given weight is pure gold, and having to pay someone to evaluate a sample amounts to a tax on every transaction. The inability for a central bank to adjust the supply of money in response to changing economic conditions actually led to greater price instability when the gold standard was in place (deflation during a banking crisis). It is economically inefficient to pay people to guard vaults filled with gold bars that are never going to do anything but collect dust. Leaving the gold standard was the right thing to do every time it happened, and going back to it was in every case the wrong thing to do (motivated more by alchemy and tradition than by any serious economic considerations).
Also this: https://wtfhappenedin1971.com/
The dollar is a highly decentralised currency in actual practice. Yes, the federal reserve or treasury can increase or decrease supply of dollars but in practice in recent years the value of a dollar is set by its usability in the real world not the actions of a central authority at the margins. In fact I would venture to say that if the central authorities started to undermine the value of the dollar for global commerce the central authorities would lose their power over the dollar before the dollar lost its value. Many more countries than the USA use dollars. In fact the vast majority of physical dollars, if not dollar balances exist outside of US jurisdiction.
The only way that the dollar can and will be dethroned is if some other currency becomes widely used in commerce. That certainly wont be Bitcoin but it could be another digital currency like maybe Ripple. Bitcoin is not very useable in actual commerce. The processing time of transactions is tremendous, and the deflationary and volatile nature of the currency makes it an unsuitable store of value or unit of account. There is no reason to expect in the future bitcoin will stabilise. Its price is set by exchange speculation and a decreasing rate of new coin supply. Unless commerce overtakes exchange speculation as the price setting mechanism for bitcoin it wont be very useable for legitmate commerce.
Bitcoin is not really like digital gold because gold has unique properties that can not be duplicated. Anybody can create a new cryptocurrency at any time. There is no scarcity of cryptocurrency as a whole.
It's "not a problem" in the sense that you won't be struggling to buy food with your worthless dollars, but it's still problematic because it exacerbates inequality (rich people tend to have more assets that would appreciate in value).
Network effect. Same with Bitcoin.
There's that word again. Bitcoin is fiat. You can't turn it back into electricity.
Ultimately, it boils down to: 'do the people want a deflationary or inflationary currency?' Stability is subjective but purchasing power isn't. What's a fair function of money for society? Not a clue.
The Roman Empire was unstoppable until they over extended themselves with endless war and tried to solve it by debasing their currency. It may not happen anytime soon, but America won't lead the world indefinitely forever, its only 244 years old for shit sake.
Sure, but Britain didn't lead the world forever, either, and it's not exactly like the £ collapsed leaving everyone who held it in ruin.
American won't lead the world forever doesn't mean much unless but it's collapse will be so sudden and unexpected as to leave no opportunity to unwind dollar positions without catastrophic loss.
It might be worth hedging against that, but digital collectibles are a poor hedge for that circumstance. Physical resources for community self-sufficiency and physical defense against the ravening hordes are the hedge you need if you take that threat seriously.
>but America won't lead the world indefinitely forever
I'm not talking about America. I'm talking about the dollar. In our highly tied global economy- those are very much two different things. Do you think any wealthy person in the world does NOT hold dollars or have direct exposure to it?
I was a bit disappointed to see that he punted* on one of the more well-known “shallow” problems: the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining, and the wasted computing power therein. The problem is much easier to understand than to solve, and I appreciate there is only so much room in the text. However I did hope he might at least acknowledge that this is among the more important technical hurdles for Bitcoin to overcome.
[*] there is a rather cheeky dismissal of Proof of Stake which obliquely addresses this issue
Most Bitcoin miners run on renewables nowadays, because renewables are the cheapest sources of energy when miners can locate to them.
Also, the main assumption of Bitcoin's security model is that it's rather impossible to centralize energy production on this planet (or in the universe). Proof-of-stake assumes decentralization of ownership, which is a flimsier assumption, and will fail asymptotically.
I don't think that is true. At least not here in Montana. We've had several large farms pop up in old industrial parks due to the very low cost of electricity here. It's from coal.
Andresen, along with Roger Ver, laid much of the ground work for Bitcoin's massive run up in adoption, brand recognition and price.
Their subsequent ousting by a group that basically acted like trolls, to sabotage Bitcoin's plan to hard fork to remove the 1 MB block size limit, and thereby prevent it from becoming a ubiquitous electronic cash, has irked me to no end.
Love or hate Roget Ver, you'd be hard pressed to find any historical accounting of Bitcoin's rise to fame where he's not mentioned in a favorable light.
Gavin Andersen was the best steward that Bitcoin core ever had. He managed to keep the more toxic contributors at bay for a long time although they eventually forced him out through highly unethical means ( https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/core-developer-calls-andrese... )
> Their subsequent ousting by a group that basically acted like trolls
Gavin thought so too ( https://cointelegraph.com/news/former-bitcoin-cores-gavin-an... )
> to sabotage Bitcoin's plan to hard fork to remove the 1 MB block size limit, and thereby prevent it from becoming a ubiquitous electronic cash
Here's part of the story as told by one of the more honest core devs: https://blog.plan99.net/the-resolution-of-the-bitcoin-experi...
Satoshi is great proof that you don't need to know everything to understand something enough to make something, read some David Deutsch.
Segwit adoption plateaued around 60% and has been steadily decreasing ever since. It's a piss poor substitute for real scaling by increasing the block size like Satoshi had intended. Even if it had been a good idea, the core devs butchered the implementation.
> The lightning network is growing.
Not even close. The lightning network is the ultimate vaporware. It was promised as the solution to Bitcoin's scaling problems NINE YEARS AGO ( https://twitter.com/starkness/status/676599570898419712 ) and is to this day considered unsafe and "experimental". It failed to deliver on just about every promise it made. Even the core devs have abandoned it for Liquid.
> No mention of sidechains like Liquid
Finally, we get to see the reason that a handful of Bitcoin core devs have been holding Bitcoin hostage for ten years. Liquid is a centralized Bitcoin sidechain that allows exchanges to pay extra in order to clear their transactions faster than would otherwise be possible on Bitcoin's now neutered base layer. Liquid was recently criticized for being fundamentally insecure after this embarrassment ( https://www.coindesk.com/blockstreams-liquid-network-sent-8m... )
> No mention of Taproot.
Wake me when it's merged. The sad truth is, ever since some of the core devs formed Blockstream and hijacked BTC, they have added almost no new features on the protocol level. The only one they were willing to work on is Segwit and only because it solidified their power over BTC. They have no incentive to make BTC better. If BTC worked well, nobody would want to buy Liquid.
Because right now, the only merchant point of sale system that has any non-negligible amount of adoption, is BitPay, and the only thing they might be using is Segwit, which gives pretty minimal fee savings.
They aren't even close to using anything like lighting, or liquid, or any of that other nonsense that is not implemented by any significant payment processor, or user wallet with any significant amount of adoption.
EDIT: (probably) No 
1. No clear security definition, making it hard to know what counts as a successful attack against the system he proposed. Moreover, Bitcoin requires the honest parties to do more work than the attacker, which would appear backwards to most cryptographers and further complicates efforts to precisely define the security goal.
2. No mention of the mountain of previous research on cryptographic payments. He makes claims that "all" previous systems require an intermediary for each transaction, which is not true (see: offline+transferable ecash does not, but this is not mentioned anywhere). This is not just a stylistic issue; the whitepaper has a bibliography, it simply failed to mention anything that a cryptographer would have considered related work. When Satoshi announced his idea to the cryptography mailing list a great deal of confusion ensued because the cryptographers on the list were familiar with the previous research and assumed this was in some way related.
3. Specifying algorithms and data structures with C++ code without giving higher level descriptions. This makes it hard to analyze the system because of the various ambiguities of C++ and the unnecessary and often confusing syntax. I would also add the various, entirely arbitrary constants chosen for the system, which seem to have just been chosen at random (given the lack of formal analysis it is unlikely that these are fundamental to security). This is not how cryptographers typically communicate their designs.
I would say Satoshi was an enthusiast/hobbyist who had a passing knowledge of a few cryptographic constructions he read about in books or forums. At best his formal education on the topic was likely an undergrad level course, probably taught by someone whose expertise was applied security rather than cryptography; it is more likely that he had no formal education in cryptography at all.
- Bitcoin (and the remarkably-written whitepaper) does enough things right that it's hard to imagine a single programmer delivering that whole package (writing, math, cryptography, programming). Calling it enthusiast or hobbyist level work really downplays it.
- Great attention to detail, like base58 and the checksum (even Ethereum years later went with hex and no checksum like most people would). Or proving he didn't premine by including the newspaper headline in the genesis block.
- Really good picks of crypto primitives off the beaten path. e.g. at the time, sha-1 was more popular and has since fallen apart, the same with the more popular elliptic curves.
- Even just the script system is interesting to include in a v1 like Bitcoin. You'd expect most of us HNers to just hardcode a pay-to-pub/privkey system, not detour with a script system.
- Obsession with compression. Made his own lil compressed floating point spec. How many people would include their own FP compression to save a few bits in a v1? Especially when it just saves like one byte per block. Usually the sort of programmer who goes down these paths isn't the one shipping software.
- World-class opsec. I mean, c'mon. We're still left to folk-theory and superstitions about who Satoshi could be. Never let his guard down. No one has caught him not using Tor. Even bought his domains with cash in the mail. People doing some of the most illegal things in the world couldn't be bothered to go to half of his measures. It's mind-bending. Text analysis hasn't even found good matches on his writing or programming style. All for a project that was overwhelmingly likely to get zero traction. It's like the project was partially compelled by a time traveler from the future.
- Though there are fuck ups too in Bitcoin, like the sequence number in transaction input. Has no point, an idea that didn't pan out.
It's hard to have a real theory here. Mine is that Satoshi was a pet project that someone with some political capital at NSA or something was able to get funded for a couple years.
Either way, the mysterious origin story is exactly what a project like Bitcoin needs and deserves, I think. It's hard to imagine any other origin being quite as compelling.
but also had known limitations; the 'writing was on the wall' at the time that it would be obsolete 'soon' by most people reasonably up to date on the current state of the art - I wouldn't take this as too much of a 'sign' on its own.
Unless he was found after all and made an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Where is source for that information. Mail can be traced easily I'm pretty sure.
Not necessarily. Satoshi obviously planned his pseudonymity from the start. The decision to leave the project may very well have been taken long before it was carried out.
Satoshi could be alive and well. Maybe he carried on his work under his real name, as one developer among many, or maybe not. He obviously thought fairness and trust was important enough to value to form for him to prove the non-possbility of backdating the chain (later known as premining). Planned obsolescence for the creator plays well into this scenario.
In hindsight, having no real creator has served Bitcoin well. People would have listened too much to the creator for a decentralized decision process by consensus to form.
I don't think so. I can't disprove your claim, but people aren't very good at that kind of planning and execution. Too many things can go wrong for them to either maintain anonymity or prevent others from maintaining this anonymity.
It comes off as a bad Hollywood movie. I think the person behind Satoshi has died.
>In hindsight, having no real creator has served Bitcoin well.
We'll see. It's too early to tell. One thing's for sure, I see a lot of less places that take bitcoin as currency then I did a few years ago. Also, the community is much more divided, and there are massive structural issues with bitcoin, from technical issues around the protocol itself, to lack of unified vision leading to forks and arguments, to massive amount of illegal behaviour.
>People would have listened too much to the creator for a decentralized decision process by consensus to form.
Is the leadership decentralized though? At the end of the day, someone needs to hold the keys for the code the runs the bitcoin protocol. Ultimately that individual or group has the power to do anything they want with bitcoin.
What makes you think Satoshi had any background in cryptography? Everything about the Bitcoin whitepaper and even the design of Bitcoin itself says otherwise.
Yes. That could also be the case. The individual behind 'Satoshi' has probably died.
You must be a new bitcoin user. Before Craig Wright came into the scene, has anyone heard of Kleiman? Legit question. What evidence is there of Dave? Dave wasn't even around then, zero evidence exists outside of CSW's claims.
The salient part of my argument is that the individual behind the 'Satoshi' persona has most likely died in early 2010s. I have no idea if either Kleiman or Finney (or both or others) were Satoshi, but both fit the profile of Satoshi, and both have died in that time-frame. If not them, then it would be some individual or individuals like them. If you are sure it couldn't have been Kleiman, I won't argue and I will defer to you.
I have followed Craig Wright's claims and he does strike me as a bullshitter (for one thing, he promised 'irrefutable' proof and never delivered). So I'm OK with writing his claims off as a total fabrication. I could also see him trying to take credit for the work of the deceased person behind Satoshi IF he was somehow connected to early bitcoin development and knew who Satoshi was.
And btw who heard of Jeff Bezos before Amazon? Nobody.
You can not judge somebody just by looking at their past. People change and evolve.
> He was getting interviewed by US TV stations so he had some reputation in the security industry.
The field is pretty vast. This is like saying because I've made websites, I can somehow fix your laptop. (I probably could but I couldn't come up with a solution fast and well thought out.) Satoshi was clearly meticulous about this, if you've read enough of their posts, it's clear as day.
> And btw who heard of Jeff Bezos before Amazon? Nobody.
A lot of top talent is in hedge funds. So, I'm sure many people were looking. It is fair to say I choose a weak logical argument but the point is still valid (hopefully the added clarity to my intent pushes us deeper into our actual points).
> You can not judge somebody just by looking at their past. People change and evolve.
Sure, this applies if we're trying to gauge someone's character but this doesn't apply in the expertise required to be Satoshi. Terry Tao (expert mathematician) isn't going to just randomly come up with the next bulletproof SHA function. It's out of his scope. Bitcoin is out of the scope of Kleiman's skillset. I have seen zero evidence to the contrary, other than a false narrative (perpetuated by 'news') that him and CSW created Bitcoin. Even the court has thrown out numerous dated evidence [1,2].
Being a computer forensics specialist doesn't easily port to creating a blend of PGP, Hashcash, eCash, bitgold, etc. Satoshi was an expert at this stuff. What evidence shows that Kleiman did anything? Even in the Kleiman/CSW court cases, there isn't evidence that's been produced by either party. That's the court of law. Please don't avoid this point, no evidence exists to tie Kleiman even to the ideas of digital cash. I haven't seen any and I looked into it heavily, maintaining an open mind. I got no dog in the fight, just a sizable curiosity to this mysterious character.
 - https://decrypt.co/21995/us-judge-throws-out-craig-wrights-l...
 - http://blockchaingrade.org/experts-dissect-craig-wrights-sat...
First reference in Bitcoin Whitepaper is "W. Dai, b-money". But Satoshi never heard of it, Adam Back suggested to Satoshi to read it and he decided to reference it in Bitcoin Whitepaper.
"I suggested Satoshi should look into B-Money, which he didn’t seem to know about at that time, and this is how I think B-Money was added to the paper."
Satoshi said to Wei Dai "I was very interested to read your b-money page. I’m getting ready to release a paper that expands on your ideas into a complete working system. Adam Back (hashcash.org) noticed the similarities and pointed me to your site."
Satoshi seemed to be very good C++ programmer who had interests in electronic cash and cryptography but not a cryptographer.
Look and hear what Gavin said in his presentation:
Please understand that many people talked with Satoshi through email as well. Those emails are mostly private. When someone points to an authority, the entire argument is a straw-man, even with someone very relevant to the discussion.
> Satoshi seemed to be very good C++ programmer who had interests in electronic cash and cryptography but not a cryptographer.
What physical circumstantial evidence exists that is shows Kleiman was good at anything you've described or was even interested in these during 2008 or earlier (heck, I can't find anything prior to 2013)? What about any interest into any digital cash/gold attempts?
The argument you're giving is fairly persistent in the crypto community. I'm not entirely sure why, except intellectual laziness. The irony here is 'proof of authority' argument...is an absolute contradiction to what bitcoin's primary function is (trustless 3rd party system). Why are people lifting up a 3rd party and not the code/evidence? An opinion (no matter how relevant) isn't what we're looking for, we are looking for evidence. Did scientific reasoning leave everyone?
(edited for grammar)
I won't spoil things, but what a man Paul Le Roux is.... SUrprised there aren't 10 documentaries & films on Netflix about him.
My guess is he's a single individual whose real identity has never been publicly suggested as a serious Satoshi suspect.
I do a lot of Wikipedia reading about strange folk in this world.
I had not yet come across this dude.
Wiki page is quite the interesting read. Thanks for making me aware of him.
It’s Adam Back. Watch this video and you’ll likely be convinced.
I did my research as a historian would do so I started from the basics and the first clue was Satoshi used perfect British English so most likely he is not American like some people imply. And why an American would link to British daily national newspaper cover like Satoshi did in Genesis Block?