The article isn't really detailed at all, so it's hard to know where to start with why these "services" aren't in fact "centralized."
It's effectively the equivalent of someone saying "you can't keep your password secure from hackers if you store it in a database, if someone hacks it then they can steal it and use every site you used that password on": it's just obviously false to people who know how this works, but now I have to explain how hashing works and such.
I'd just encourage reading up on how Ethereum transaction mining works before just taking the article's claims at face value.
The point is smart contracts. They are code, and they have to get updated if there are bugs. How do they get updated? Well, in the simple (and common) case somebody holds the private key and updates it. That's centralization, obviously.
You can get arbitrarily complex with how smart contracts are updated. You can have multisig, where 2:3 have to vote to update, or you can have actual voting, or you can even do voting by stakeholder in the contract.
But whatever you choose, it's fully a function of the smart contract itself what level of decentralization it achieves, and not at all about Ethereum.
Plenty of popular smart contracts do not do this though, and are fully immutable. Rather than updates, the developers upload a new version. Users can use the new version, or stay on the old one forever (the developers cannot delete it).
Regardless of which one, though, this is known ahead of time. A user (or, more likely, a community of users) can inspect the code and see to what extent the key holders can modify functionality.
Eth is immutable unless the central players lose too much money then they can roll it back
Imagine a first past the post election, where there is no official list of candidates (one simply writes in a name), but where a particular person has the position that they are always the first person to publicly recommend any candidate, and all voters hear this recommendation.
This would be a powerful position, even if that person was not eligible as a candidate, and even though everyone can vote for whatever candidate they want.
When in a position of significant power, even if this power is only of the form of one’s reputation and/or one’s influence on Schelling points, one has a responsibility to, when exercising this power, to take into account the effect it will have on others.
I don’t mean that he failed to do so. I imagine it must have been a difficult decision! And I do hold Vitalik in high regard.
But if one presents such a fork as being merely the the result of independent choices of each user, I think one is mistakenly omitting the power used by big names which promote one fork or another.
I don’t mean to say that this power being present is a problem that needs to be solved, making this power not present. I don’t think that is possible.
Like I said, I do largely agree with much of the “people are free to choose what fork they use” framing.
But while I think it is probably basically the best that can be achieved, I do think it is best to acknowledge that even without authority from things other than social influence and such, that there is still power through said social influence + Schelling point influence + etc. , and it is possible for this power to be misused (though I don’t claim that it was misused in this particular case).
In addition, I do think it seems prudent and good to avoid exercising this power unless the reason to use it is especially compelling (e.g. either part of an upgrade which basically the whole community has been expecting for a long time, or which has overwhelming support, or to handle something which , if not handled, could have an existential impact on the chain, or things like this) . (And, while I haven’t kept up with his latest writings and actions, I suspect he kind of agrees?)
The Ethereum developers convinced enough players of the crypto ecosystem to change what chain the name "Ethereum" refers to, not unlike a dns change (but to a large extent, done manually; there were humans in the loop to activate the hard fork). So wallets and exchanges changed the chain that the name "Ethereum" pointed to. Nodes migrated, and miners too. And it just happened that this fork was made specifically to revert a certain transaction.
Those that were left on the original chain had to pick another name for it, and build another branding. It was now called ETC instead of ETH, even though it was ETH that changed; ETC points to the old chain that used to be called ETH.
From the perspective of users, the transactions on ETH were truly reversed. Immutability is a mirage. (This is not necessarily a bad thing though.)
The developers of the clients do have a massive advantage here.
The Oculus Quest runs an Android fork for example. Are you saying if Google gets into VR Facebook will not be able to compete because of the fact they are using Android?
Bitcoin folks think the DAO fuckup perfectly illustrates Ethereums weakest link: the creator.
The weakest link is and always will be Mr Buterin. Satoshi did it correctly by disappearing
Hi Vitalik! I bought into your nonsense too. I’m even staking for you so whatever
I did not know that popular major projects were using immutable smart contracts.
This seems crazy to me, but it does at least address the question of centralization (while introducing massive bug risk).
I will grant you "simple", and maybe even "common"... but only because most people don't really understand decentralization and many of the ones who do don't care about it.
The "actual" way this happens, for the protocols and contracts that "actually matter" (certainly almost everything you would have heard of, as opposed to the long tail of tiny pet projects) is that, in the case that a bug is found, all of the users have to vote with their feet to move to and accept a new one.
Essentially, this is equivalent to saying "decentralized contracts simply aren't upgradable", but of course everything is upgradable if you accept the idea of people giving up on old software and using new software ;P.
(If this sounds familiar, it should be: this is in a very real sense similar to how Wireguard intends to deal with cryptographic breaks in its chosen cipher suite, as they aren't some centralized power able to upgrade everyone's computers remotely.)
(FWIW, there is something else you can do, but as it would be implemented by still more contracts that themselves might have bugs I don't consider it the answer here as it begs the question: you make a contract--hopefully a simpler one that is less likely to have a bug--that lets people vote on which contract is the current accepted one, assuming they can all have compatible APIs.)
So assuming that this is mainly an issue of people not understanding versus understanding and not caring (though you said there’s some of that) how is the Ethereum community going to get the word out so that this becomes a mainstream success versus mainly for speculation as it is now?
A common issue and one that I personally feel crypto in general suffers from is that neat tech isnt a a criteria on which most people flock to use something so what are the reasons end users need to know to be like ah yup I will drop my regular finance interactions for this or heavily augment them with this?
That said, I was paid in crypto the other day through a DAO. I was told how to submit a proposal to be paid, and then the funds were released through a vote within hours. It was transparent and the only hiccup was in needing a 70 cent bond fee to submit the proposal - it wasn't "controlled" in the usual sense of assigning a person to handle funds. So I already see some benefit in organizational structure.
To your point about transparency and trust for general transactions, I can see how that will be useful but don't you lose the ability that most trusted entities have now which is to roll back the transaction or correct a situation if fraud has occurred, given what I understand to be the finality of a contract? That said, I'm personally not really worried about making a transaction over say VISA's network but I am concerned about the end party I'm interacting with and I feel like crypto in general doesn't do well to address that, which I almost feel like is the real issue. I don't think I understand why people feel like it's an issue if they have to transact over a bigger central authority, perhaps I'm just too far removed from the group of people not served by classical finance.
That there are a large number of silly projects most people haven't heard of, or random tutorials on the web for getting started in crypto, that involve building contracts with backdoors is no different from any technology... most stuff isn't scalable or even slightly secure, even if the products from the biggest companies and used by the most people tend to be: like think how many websites have ubiquitous SQL or HTML injection attacks... only "by volume" (looking at the total number of such websites, irrespective of how much use they get) as "by weight" (looking at the websites you use during the course of a day by how much you use them) I bet almost none of them do.
Interestingly, this is actually almost doable in the context of a decentralized contract/computing system (with bug bounties to incentivise reporting). You can include in the contract a interface where someone provides a proof that a given cryptographic primitive is broken (eg a pair of colliding messages for a hash function), and the contract self-modifies to no longer trust that hash function.
The other half of the process - adding new primitives - is harder, since you want to prevent the addition of deliberately broken primitives. Obvious ideas include requiring a machine-checkable proof of hardness from some reasonable axioms (eg ZFC + P!=NP + whatever else), although most primitives don't have such proofs, and that doesn't look likely to change. Or requiring a quorum of reliable-seeming cryptographers to vouch for it (refutation: NIST endorsed Dual_EC_DRBG). A escrow period, where a new primitive is accompanied by a deposit that's paid out to anyone who breaks it, might help, but you'd need a seperate mechanism to prevent NOBUS backdoors (again, see Dual_EC_DRBG).
0: Ideally, you want a semi-zero-knowledge proof such that someone who has the option of putting in a tractable but significant amount of work to prove it (eg hash collision in 2^64 operations) will expect to be able to recoup their losses without getting sniped by front-runners, but once such a proof has been used, it's only a matter of time before front runners recover it and warn every contract.
For hash collisions, probably the easiest design is a two-phase model, where the reporter provides a zero-knowledge proof to commit to a particular hash collision, but then has to provide the actual collision to get the bounty. This can also work for preimages of a Schelling point like all-bits-zero. I'm not sure what a good Schelling point for typical public-key cryptography like curve25519 would be though; zero is almost always algebraicly special.
1: Cryptographic primitives are generally broken incrementally, so this incentivises even malicious parties to report a not-yet-exploitable break immediately (and thereby neuter it), rather than spend time trying to develop a working exploit (and risk both the large and small rewards disappearing out from under them because someone else was either honest or just less patient).
Whatever blockchain (supposedly) giveth, Axie taketh away
There’s some fancy complex stuff where you can deploy 2 smart contracts with one being a proxy contract. Here, the proxy contract functions a lot like DNS does on the Internet. In this case, the contract CAN be (almost) fully updated but the proxy contract has to be setup at the very beginning. In like 80% or more of the smart contracts I’ve seen, smart contracts do not utilize proxy contracts for (almost) full updatability due to the extra complexity it adds, the less trustworthyness, and some other reasons.
Source: I am a smart contract developer.
It seems like for any contract that holds significant value it would be insane to make it immutable, particularly when it's written in a turing complete language like Solidity.
This part does talk about Ethereum itself. It's just a conflation that, I agree, the author probably didn't intend, but nonetheless demonstrates the lack of understanding.
Decentralized communities choose to use a different contract or not.
I’m not really sure the point of the goal posts here.
I'm looking for interesting takes, generally growing exhausted from the various eth subreddits, cryptocurrency and bitcoin that are commentary on pricing. Sites like cointelgraph are also just barren of anything interesting. It seems like such an exciting time for cryptocurrency but not seeing the level of rigorous thinking I want.
Yeah this article is complete trash. No comment.
There are also some decent selections here: https://danromero.org/crypto-reading/
In my post I write about an open source project I implemented using smart contracts that acts as an options (derivatives) exchange, and all the components required for making it work (ex: stablecoins, price oracles, collateral management, liquidity pools, etc).
https://decrypt.co/ is also pretty decent.
I would have fleshed this out more if I knew this was going to reach the front page. Yes, many smart contracts are deployed with distributed upgrade mechanisms, and I mention them briefly at the end of the post. I mostly wrote this to start a conversation with friends about a) how many internet services can be practically operated with the friction that such upgrade mechanisms create, and b) the potential to use the blockchain only for the voting protocol, then to sign and deploy the service on a traditional cloud.
I can read the article, gather my initial thoughts and come to some sensible comments within that articles posting to further navigate.
If this article is garbage, the way to dispense with it is with comments such as these. (I'm not making any claim to the validity or lack-thereof of the article)
Metamask is a centralized service with centralized team, if Google removed this extension from Chrome as they temporarily did before, it would make adoption for new users harder.
Open Sea has centralized operators, the orderbook is not on the blockchain I believe.
Uniswap the "decentralized exchange" has acentralized team with vc funding and registration with the SEC.
Infura is another centralized service, that so many Ethereum projects depend on.
It is hard to call these services decentralized. Although the small mainstream success of these services and markets, show that fully decentralization is probably not needed for most mainstream users.
Also, I think OpenSea does post all orders public: https://etherscan.io/address/0x7be8076f4ea4a4ad08075c2508e48...
The option to use other front-ends, and the inability of any central authority to shut down the Uniswap smart contract, is what makes it censorship resistant.
It is possible for smart contracts to contain code that allows them to update themselves when receiving a message signed by a certain key, but if this is the case, then it is obvious to anyone inspecting the contract.
Most heavily used Ethereum contracts such as Uniswap and Compound for example do not contain any updating code because users do not trust it.
Upgradeble proxy contracts with an active admin completely change the premise of a decentralized service. At that point it's just using the blockchain as a database, which is the worst choice of db for a centralized service
> I'm trying to do anything I can to help the community get some of its COMP back, and this was a bone-headed tweet / approach. That's on me.
> Luckily, the community is much bigger, and smarter, than just me.
> I appreciate your ridicule and support.
> — Robert Leshner (@rleshner) October 1, 2021
FWIW, I'm fairly sure Compound does have an update mechanism, from a brief perusal of their source code.
All the rules and regulations were created because someone was bad enough for people to agree on a rule to prevent something from happening again.
Block chain money loses all of those protections to stop a bad actor from, say, a hacker draining your wallet with no recourse.
So we find ourselves back to step one. I do think it's inevitable layers of regulations and rules will crop up, either from governments, or power holders requiring layers of smart contracts to respect transactions.
It will just be a matter of time till the modern banking systems "port" themselves onto the chain.
Instead, it's a rock solid foundation for a new global financial/monetary system in which every nation state, organization, and individual can participate without the permission of any privileged group.
It's a neutral, digital money, like gold was a neutral, physical money.
I fully expect that if it becomes a new money standard, we will in fact see higher layer payment networks (like Visa, Paypal, etc) that provide consumer protection services (for a fat fee) on top of the bitcoin network. Those people who don't want the responsibility of self custodying their money in a way that can't be recovered if they are robbed, can choose to bank with these services.
The validation of transactions is a red herring in these discussions - the real question of decentralisation is who is responsible for making decisions about the future of the tech and what happens when people disagree. In that respect Bitcoin is neither decentralised nor neutral. Same as Ethereum.
Every change to the network is a complex dance between the power of the developers, the miners, the exchanges and services, and the actual coin holders. If any significant segment of these forces don't agree with the direction, then the default is to change nothing and maintain the status quo.
This is what makes it neutral. No major changes to the network can happen without supermajority support among all players, otherwise you risk severely fracturing the network, which is bad for everyone.
If a second "development team" sprung up and had more user support than the existing team, there is literally no advantage the current team has to control the software.
I don't think we can simply discount the power these developers wield. They have a lot of explicit and implicit (as in "just install the latest version") trust. Sure, they could loose it, but they can do a lot of damage before doing so.
The development team has no such power. They can raise a BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal), which goes through rigorous cycles of analysis. A huge amount of paranoid eyes will obsess over any change proposed.
As for the development team itself, there's no THE development team. Rather, it's a highly diverse set of crypto businesses, non-profits, and individual volunteers. This diversity too helps to preserve common interests, rather than specific ones.
Should the BIP survive the first round of extreme scrutiny, next a whopping 95% of miners need to signal that they support the change. But not even that is enough, nodes (validators, of which there are an extreme amount) can still reject the change. Which is what happened in 2017, when miners wanted to increase block size (which reduces decentralization) and the community blocked it, despite a 95% miner approval.
Surely there's no such thing as 100% decentralization or neutrality at a theoretical level, but this is as close as it gets.
I personally prefer the former for that reason, but by your critique, Ethereum is practically conducive to keeping the people who control the protocol small. Bitcoin is probably headed to a version freeze this decade, which is great.
Eventually, we'll see the ideas behind Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) mature and become a viable alternative to centralized authority.
I think that's the plan at least with Ethereum. However, Ethereum 2.0 is still being deployed and what I'm talking about is probably more like 4.0 or beyond.
However, right now there is just no mature alternative. Someone has to own the keys.
Edit: Also, what others have said regarding being able to choose your development team. That's one of the cool things about crypto. Blockchains can be forked with enough support.
I'd argue that that is true of effectively any currency system that has ever existed.
Maybe many are now managed by people who "understand" monetary economics, but they weren't created by those people.
I will rephrase it. The unit of account should remain stable in respect to what it tracks. If the unit of account is grains and grains spoil then capturing that spoilage in the unit of account does not constitute a breach in stability. E.g. persistent background inflation is often caused by "natural" processes.
If you have a limited quantity of the unit of account then the unit of account will have to change and then people start betting on how the unit of account changes, rather than do productive work.
Here is a makeshift analogy:
A court is in charge of the unit of account and can set it directly and arbitrarily.
A family has borrowed 120 units (representing 10 years of labor) to build a house.
One year later the judge changes the unit of account so that 1 unit = 2 months of labor.
The family has to pay back 20 years of labor to pay off the house.
People now stop borrowing and start speculating on the unit of account because it is other people who have to work and they hope that the unit of account goes up to 1 unit = 10 months of labor so that they can retire.
There is an obvious problem. The family can simply default and the obligation to work 100 years vanishes into thin air.
The lesson here is that work should be more profitable than speculation.
I'd say deflation is okay as long as it is consistent with deflationary expectations. Unexpected deflation is bad, expected inflation is built into borrowing costs.
I don't understand how this is in contradiction with what I'm saying.
Bitcoin is the trust machine. That's the problem it solves.
It's a sort of stable system if everyone already measures value in terms of bitcoin, since the database itself works well enough, and users are incentivized to make choices that sustain it as a store of value. That's true of _any_ unit of account though, nothing inherent to bitcoin makes it more stable in that regard; the energy usage, transactions costs, and distinction between miners and users probably add risk on that account.
Also (and this is not directed at you personally, but the arbitrary bitcoin maximalist) its hard to take one with millions of glass beads seriously when they argue the world should measure value itself in terms of glass beads, which then by pure happenstance will make them fabulously wealthy.
: and I do appreciate the social and software engineering that allows a purely abstract quantity to have those properties.
Sure, if you abstract away the whole "who owns the vault" question...
But that seems facile.
I'm hardly a crypto stan but I'd love to see actually cogent critiques.
Would've been clearer to say 'pocket' or something, but that doesn't imply the level of physical security I attribute to Bitcoin.
Everybody needs "permission" from miners since they have the power to include/exclude transactions from the block chain. They can easily start using a blacklist/whitelist if they already aren't.
Of course they have to be rich enough to be able to pay the fee.
> Holding U.S. Treasurys? Beware: Uncle Sam Can't Account For $21 Trillion
> Fed Committed $7.77 Trillion To Rescue Banks [in 2008, previously undisclosed]
You can argue whether this is a bug versus benefit... but transparency seems like a general win.
Just yesterday lawmaking initiative in Russia proposed to give police and FSB an ability of pre-judicial freeze of all assets belonging to a person, including all personal accounts and all accounts of all linked businesses.
Good luck living in our increasingly cashless society where corrupt police officers can suffocate you with a single press of a button.
Lebanon is currently facing extremely high inflation whilst at the same time, governments close banks. Imagine that, your life savings being decimated whilst you're locked out of accessing it.
With a proper setup, crypto could be a solution. Access to it can't be realistically blocked and it is unconfiscatable. Furthermore, it can be used by those that are unbanked, all it takes is a smartphone.
Another story is from a guy whom recently fled from Venezuela to Colombia, and blogged about his experience. On his journey, he was shaken down by police officers, local tribes, traffickers, basically everybody.
Here too crypto could have played a humanitarian role.
> Here too crypto could have played a humanitarian role.
How would crypto help if the police officer says "we'll keep you locked up until you make a payment to this address"?
These local cops just want a quick grab of free cash from people passing by their roadblocks and to do so with as little noise as possible, as it's corruption. They don't know you and don't know what you have. For them to detain you for any length of time, they have to spend an insane amount of time and effort for a completely unknown result, whilst not being able to do shakedowns on other people passing by. It makes no sense.
With crypto, they have no idea what you have. It would probably still be wise to have tiny amounts of cash on hand to make for a believable story that you own little, rather than nothing (which is suspicious). Also, you should play dumb, like a person not remotely able to comprehend any tech.
In the rare case where such officer is somehow suspecting you own crypto and is really eager to spend a lot of time confiscating it, you go with the distraction wallet strategy. A small crypto wallet which you give up whilst your real wealth is in a bigger wallet. On the bigger wallet, you enable delayed withdrawals and multi-sig. Confiscation will be physically impossible.
Come to think of it, make 500 wallets.
It's a bit more nuanced than that. Current KYC/AML regs that you're referring to in banking, and are being applied to crypto, actually come from the Patriot Act, Title III.
Why this is relevant: KYC/AML have stuck around as a perceived common-sense thing to do, and your comment is good example though. However, that evaluation deserves some inspection with the knowledge that it comes out of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is known for some historically challenging overreach and various parts of it have been overruled, repealed, deemed unconstitutional, and generally disliked by all aspects of the political spectrum. That's not to say that a few good things came out of it - perhaps KYC/AML is an example. But, I think specifically because of the Patriot Act ties, it's a bit of a misnomer to call KYC/AML as a sort of bland, unambiguously good thing that's just always been around. The Patriot Act is very much "not that," was passed in a fairly turbulent time in US history, and has not aged well. As current KYC/AML came out of that time period and law, perhaps it should be shaded by that.
Bitcoin's power lies in its controlled supply that is absolute and guaranteed. As such, you can argue that Bitcoin is regulated in its monetary policy (by verifiable software), whilst the traditional system isn't. The entire reason Bitcoin now has a trillion dollar market cap is the unstable traditional system where savings have a negative return.
This is the step forward, not backwards. At least to those believing in Bitcoin. You gain protection against central debasement and you gain a brand new ability: Bitcoin is unconfiscatable.
You're right that crypto custody is harder than a traditional bank account, although it doesn't have to be. People can chose between die-hard self custody (cold wallet), hot wallets, and soon there will be more fool-proof mainstream options, I believe Twitter is working on one.
Bitcoin's supply limit is only as guaranteed as the community consensus around what the supply limit should be. Now that consensus is unlikely to change, but there is no magic or law of physics that makes it so.
It's just (a strong) community consensus.
One would think that people would simply invest their money instead of holding onto it. If anything, negative yields on savings are just a case study of why trickle down economics is a myth. The rich consider holding onto money more profitable than investing it.
Say you have a wallet with a balance of 10 BTC and decide to act as if you're a bank. The first lender comes, requesting a loan of 30 BTC.
You don't have 30 BTC, and it basically already stops there. You can't transfer the 20 extra BTC to the lender, since that BTC does not exist. You can't make up your own BTC as it's all on-chain.
You can make up however much fiat money you want. You can own 10 BTC and loan out the USD equivalent of 30 BTC in USD, but that's traditional fractional reserve banking, which has nothing to do with Bitcoin.
I.e. I strongly believe that any widespread mass adoption of BTC would actually result in a mass adoption of BTC-flavored-fiat and a relatively smaller use of actual on-chain BTC; simply because of the preferences of the mass consumer market which aren't really aligned with the advantages of keeping stuff directly on-chain.
Theoretically, an institution could let you buy Bitcoin that doesn't exist or which they don't own. This strategy would fall apart in mere weeks.
Say there's a new bull run and people are mass buying Bitcoin, for about 50 billion USD per week. You, the exchange, don't actually have this Bitcoin, yet in your books you pretend that you do. The customer is none the wiser. Your revenue is 50 billion USD.
Bitcoin doubles in USD value and customers are now mass selling and/or withdrawing their Bitcoin (which you made up). So now you have to either payout 100 billion USD or actively buy real BTC at its high price, which just doubled. Unless you have an additional 50 billion USD at hand, your exchange collapses and goes bankrupt.
Can an exchange sell slightly more BTC than they own? Technically, yes. Can they do many multiples of actual supply? No.
The fraction reserve banking is a bit different issue, it's mostly about working in a single type of currency but backing short-term liabilities (e.g. account balances) with long-term assets (e.g. mortgage loans). So a customer A deposits 1 BTC and on-chain it gets transfered to the institution. Then when a customer B gets a loan of 1 BTC there's still just 1 on-chain BTC but 2 BTC-denominated IOUs, so the effective supply has doubled. Obviously, both of them can't withdraw the same coin at once, but the institution is not bankrupt as it has enough assets to cover all their debts, it may be temporarily insolvent though if a bank run happens.
The key difference from ordinary banking, of course, is that noone really takes loans denominated in BTC, so right now there's not much that an institution could have on the asset side other than "real" BTC. However, in a hypothetical world where BTC becomes the "mass market money" in some countries, then there would be BTC-denominated loans which would (among many other interesting effects) drive the pressure towards an equivalent of fractional reserve banking.
Wrong. There's such a thing as fractional reserve banking in bitcoin. Any entity that takes bitcoin deposits from customers can engage in fractional reserve banking and create new bitcoins out of thin air. Fractional reserve banking works perfectly well with bitcoin just like it works perfectly well with gold or with any commodity. It doesn't rely on fiat money at all, in fact fractional reserve banking was invented long before fiat money was a thing.
Explain how it works then.
There's no such thing as loaning out a Bitcoin. You can loan out the fiat equivalent of it or a synthetic token (wrapped Bitcoin), but these are swaps, which is not the same thing as a supply increase. Truly loaning out BTC means moving the actual coin to the customer's wallet.
Say I run a bank that has 10 depositors that deposited 1 BTC each. My balance is 10K. Next, I assume they won't claim this BTC anytime soon so I "loan" out this 10K 10 times, for a total loan value of 100K BTC. Hence, I created 90K out of thin air.
This doesn't work. You didn't give the loaners BTC, you gave them something else. No new BTC was created. With fiat, actual new money would be created this way, not with BTC.
Yes, you can loan out BTC. The point is that you can't loan out BTC that you do not have.
You can't do this with gold either, despite "paper gold". It represents more gold than gold above ground, yet still within supply.
Only fiat money allows you to create new money out of debt.
You can write anything on a piece of paper, it doesn't affect Bitcoin supply. Miners mint new coins, nobody else.
That doesn't increase the BTC supply. It's just shadow book keeping outside the blockchain. You made new "money", not new BTC.
To some, "regulation" is a bad, 4-letter word. It's somebody else, some strange entity, infringing upon my freedoms. "Let us make our own decisions and use our own judgment and experience, and this will work better!".
The naive view of "regulation" as a concept, to which I subscribe, is collective memory. Something bad happened, and we said "Well let's not do THAT again". Hence regulation against pyramid schemes in many countries; sure you can say "let me make my own mistakes", but that's basically what happened: pyramid schemes were allowed, we made a mistake, and said "well that sucks". A lot of financial rules, that may be inconvenient, go back to edge cases and bad actors and real-life scenarios.
NOW... bureaucracy absolutely has a life of its own, and there are a lot of bad regulations, but the way I see it, from a high enough perspective, any fresh, naive system (whatever technology underlies it) will either:
a) Actually and seriously not have any regulations ever, which means we'll all keep repeating same mistakes and have issue with same edge cases / bad actors forever; it'll be a wild wild west and some people will have high risk appetites and some won't.
b) will eventually have regulations making it same as old system but with different technology.
An transparent open source platform with a globally decentralized payment mechanism at protocol level could be the one reason blockchains could win, despite everything else of them being "just worse AWS".
The rules and regulations were not created because they are in the public interest. They are there because control over an industry is profitable and appeals to the superficial analyses of an emotional and manipulable public.
Look at Elizabeth Warren saying cryptocurrency is dangerous because it's controlled by "shadowy super coders", when all blockchain code is open source, and developed in the open on Github, for maximum transparency, while regulatory bodies, legislative offices and traditional corporate bureaucracies are completely opaque to the public.
I mean no one in Congress has even fully read the trillion dollar plus infrastructure bill. New worrying provisions are being discovered in it every day. This is a bill that Warren had no scruples about voting for. And she has the audacity to call smart contracts "shadowy".
It's demagogues like Warren who bring regulatory restrictions, that transfer massive amounts of power to centralized bureaucracies, into force. It's not sound informed analysis. Their intervention leads to massive wealth inequality. Look at the impact of SEC involvement in token sales.
Ethereum, Cardano, Cosmos, PolkaDot, Tron, EOS and Tezos all had their initial token sale before the SEC's involvement in 2017, and consequently have majority public/community ownership of their tokens:
The rest of the platforms in the graphic, like Flow, Solana and Avalanche, had their initial token sale occur after SEC involvement, and the majority of their tokens are consequently owned by insiders, who got to monopolize the initial token sale and thus enjoy 1,000X+ gains.
This amounts to an obscene exacerbation of wealth inequality in the crypto space, due to SEC enforcement of securities regulations.
Look at the AML industry for an example of a sector that has grown to spend hundreds of billions dollars year, and impose trillions of dollars in costs in the form of financial exclusion and friction, with no evidence that it has had any effectiveness, and continues to grow unabated due to the institutional inerta that is sustained by the special interests that profit from it:
Since then Eth has proved to be a successful investment, so this is not a commentary on the performance of this digital asset. But rather a comment on the false immutable, decentralized claims of this blockchain.
It's certainly fair to debate the strength of immutability guarantees with respect to a given blockchain, but in practice no blockchain is perfectly immutable given that humans still write and deploy the clients that run them. Consider the 184 billion Bitcoin hack from 2010, a similar straw man about the _current_ immutability claims of Bitcoin.
Credibility is the fact that Ethereum has succeeded with sufficient immutability since The DAO hack to convince billions of dollars of transactions for various use cases. Proof is in the pudding.
And the idea that it doesn't seems to ignore reality as a whole. Ethereum already had thousands of nodes running when the DAO scandal was perpetrated, that didn't change a thing.
As for your second statement, it stinks of a bag holder grasping at straws. There is zero credibility in the project after the DAO scandal. But you are welcome to convince yourself otherwise.
That "credibility" metric is meaningless when the core devs can rug-pull at any time. "Jude-, go run Ethereum Classic if you're that bent out of shape about it" isn't a compelling argument either, because if the vast majority of the Ethereum economy goes along with the core devs' whims, then there's no point of having a blockchain at all. Might as well just replace Ethereum with a replicated PostgreSQL database, and give only the core devs permission to change the schema and UPDATE rows. If we're trusting core devs to not rug-pull in the future, after they have done so in the past, then there's really no need for the current low-trust environment -- after all, the things that make it low-trust also make it slow and expensive.
Weird, I didn't make an argument to use Ethereum Classic. I am arguing that given humans are still the ones who develop clients perfect immutability is impossible.
I do belive that Bitcoin is more immutable than Ethereum. I also don't buy that Ethereum is unusably mutable. But hey, looks like the market thus far agrees with my position on this.
Wake me up when it happens. The Bitcoin project's developers still get the benefit of the doubt because unlike Ethereum, they haven't betrayed the trust its users placed in them. Also, network upgrades happen through a miner voting process, which checks the power of the project's developers. Ethereum provides no such check.
> But hey, looks like the market thus far agrees with my position on this.
Bitcoin is worth considerably more than Ethereum, and that will likely be the case for the foreseeable future in part because in each Ethereum hard fork, the monetary policy changes. Why would anyone park capital in Ethereum for the long term if they can't even be sure what their dilution will be next year?
Doesn't seem like a sound argument for perfect immutability. Sounds reasonable as an argument for better immutability.
> Bitcoin is worth considerably more than Ethereum
Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency. To imply that it hasn't been successful is disingenuous. Of course Ethereum doesn't need to "flippen" Bitcoin to still have demonstrable value.
> Why would anyone park capital in Ethereum for the long term if they can't even be sure what their dilution will be next year?
I guess its $400bn of irrational market participants then. Funny, because most of the institutional world would say the same of Bitcoin. One can ignore both at their own financial peril.
It is a fact that Ethereum's developers altered the consensus rules to revert the DAO (after touting "code is law" for some time prior to it), and it is a fact that Bitcoin's developers have done no such thing. It is also a fact that subsequent Ethereum hard forks have altered the token emission policy, whereas no such alterations have occurred on Bitcoin. Furthermore, it is a fact that the whole selling point of using a blockchain -- a very slow, inefficient, expensive, power-hungry, unforgiving time-series replicated database -- to implement world-class financial instruments is that in principle, the code decides what happens, and alterations to this arrangement only happen with the support of a majority of network voting power (e.g. hashrate, stake). The Ethereum project's behavior is in violation of this core principle, whereas the Bitcoin project is not.
I'm sorry, but your attempt to convince me that Ethereum's behavior here has been in any way comparable to Bitcoin because "nothing is immutable" comes across as weak nihilism. It's like saying that Ethereum's decision doesn't matter because eventually we'll all be dead and the heat death of the universe will render mining inoperable. Like, yes, this is true, but it's also not germane.
> Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency. To imply that it hasn't been successful is disingenuous.
Where did I say that Ethereum wasn't successful in an absolute sense? All I said was that it isn't as successful as Bitcoin, and that I don't think it will never be until these unresolved governance questions get addressed.
> I guess its $400bn of irrational market participants then.
Okay, two things.
First, if everyone sold their Eth right now, would they collectively receive $400bn? Is the buy side of the market actually that deep?
Second, you're actually correct here -- markets are irrational. The crypto markets are especially so, since they lack many of the hard-won investor safeguards that traditional markets have gained over the years to defend against the bad consequences of irrational behavior. Also, markets can afford to remain irrational far longer than either of us can remain solvent, so caveat emptor, DYOR, and so on.
I've never argued that Ethereum is more successful than Bitcoin, but you've continued to deflect any point where I've indicated that it has any merit as a network at all. Seems pretty irrational -- or purely agenda driven.
> you've continued to deflect any point where I've indicated that it has any merit as a network at all.
That's because the minute the Ethereum project leaders retroactively altered the transaction history the way they did is the minute the project lost all credibility with me (and hence my original comment about why Ethereum should just switch over to a PostgreSQL database if their stance is that the devs should be able to invalidate prior transactions on a whim). I've outlined a set of reasonable governance safeguards in a sibling thread that I believe could restore confidence in the project by bringing it back in line with the aforementioned core principle of operation that justifies building it as a blockchain (and not just a database), but I'll point out that the project has enacted nothing like them to date.
I'm not opposed to hard forks on principle. I'm opposed to hard forks that get pushed through without measurable majority stakeholder consent. Even if Ethereum had done a very simple miner-based vote to upgrade the system to disable the DAO contract (something they could have done in the time between the attack and the time the attacker could have exited with the DAO's ETH), it would have been enough to satisfy this requirement. But they didn't.
Really, it just seems intellectually lazy to me to use The DAO as a way to gauge Ethereum today. Folks should instead focus on what devs are doing now (e.g. EIP 1559 would be something of concern) to have an honest debate about mutability today vs. whinging about Vitalik then.
Here are a few things Ethereum could do to reassure the world that the DAO disaster won't be repeated. I think that even if only a subset of these measures were adopted, it would at least demonstrate that the project has learned something from the experience.
* Create a representative "hard fork board" in the core developers group that procures and shepherds all future changes to the codebase that could create hard forks. Hard forks may only originate from this board, and membership in this board is decided through regular free and fair elections by individuals in the ecosystem (there would need to be a KYC-like process to verify that these individuals are actual, real Etherians).
* Make it so any hard forks proposed by this hard fork board can only take effect if a large amount of the total circulating supply of ETH to vote for the upgrade. This serves to allow the anonymous masses to check the power of the board.
* Involve miners (or block-producers in ETH 2.0) in the vote-to-upgrade procedure, such as by giving them veto power if they can muster enough mining or staking power. This ensures that developers can't make changes that would boot off marginalized miners/block-producers.
* Involve users in the vote-to-upgrade procedure. Make it so exchanges cannot vote with their users' funds; the users themselves must vote with their keys.
But it being possible is still a non-zero risk.
I'd argue he CAN indeed do it again today. Perhaps not in the exact way as the DAO fiasco, but lets be clear, the fundamental transgression was selling one story "the code is law" and then not abiding by that law when it affected him and his friends aversely.
So can he still commit such an egregious breach of trust in this timeline, despite having done it before? Absolutely, though that and the DAO instance may indeed look different from one another.
Vitalik goes on to defend against Mow's claim that he is "pivoting" by saying that it is indeed a principle. It's extremely clear with basic reading comprehension that Vitalik is claiming that as a principle of his.
Not sure how you extracted the meaning you did. If I'm being honest, you seem to not really be researching the subject in good faith, as a simple google search will turn up many times he's either stated he believes that in text or even video.
You are welcome to believe what you'd like to though, I unfortunately don't have the time to do your research for you, nor do I care to change your mind. So cheers and good luck!
For what it's worth I have passing familiarity.
Taken from wikipedia:
> The people who continued with Ethereum Classic advocate for blockchain immutability, and the concept that "code is law" against the pro-fork side (Ethereum) which largely argued for extra-protocol intentionality, decentralized decision-making, and conflict resolution.
Ethereum Classic clearly believes in code is law, that's not the chain that Vitalik works on.
I tried ~5 searches and went ~15 deep. I generally don't appreciate the "just Google it" manta, but I'd really like to know the answer to this.
"but what about eth classic?"
The ETC chain exists, yes, however it is not "Ethereum". There's a timeline where the majority was against the fork, and ETC would have remained "Ethereum", with the forked chain taking on a new name like Ethereum Cash or something.
A majority of eth miners and users decided to change the rules and ignore the promises of immutability previously made to all.
Having a majority does not make an action ethical. Hence the term: tyranny of the majority.
This serious breach of faith soured many people on the project, and the mis-trust continues to this day.
Pricing is not "tyranny of the majority." If nobody wants to buy what you are selling, you are not being oppressed.
Given that people decided they would much rather buy the coin with the altered ledger, it is more valuable.
As a meta note: Crypto seems to bring out the most low-brow critiques on either side. Maybe because it has become popular with a mass audience?
I don't see how ethics plays into it; it's a judgement call and the existence of the forked Ethereum isn't an attack on ETC.
> On 15 July 2016, a short notice on-chain vote was held on the DAO hard fork. Of the 82,054,716 ETH in existence, only 4,542,416 voted, for a total voter turn out of 5.5% of the total supply on 16 July 2016; 3,964,516 ETH (87%) voted in favor, 1/4 of which came from a single address, and 577,899 ETH (13%) opposed the DAO fork.
I don't care about the morality of rights and wrongs. I'm making a limited categorical claim: this event by itself is proof that Eth is not immutable nor is it decentralized.
That is all I am saying.
What they fail to understand is that is not important. What is important is that blockchain enables people to vote through their choices. If they prefer decentralization, they can have that. If they prefer centralized features, they can have that. Until blockchain, it wasn't even possible to have the choice of decentralization because it simply technologically didn't exist. Crypto-hopefulls believe this choice will better society. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But even a subset of society can benefit from having more choices. Just because your candidate loses doesn't invalidate the benefits of having a democracy.
This is the crux of the point, and as far as I'm aware is incorrect. A transaction to change a smart contract must be signed, a node cannot modify a transaction. A miner can in theory refuse a transaction to change a contract, but the only way to reliably prevent a change is a 51% attack. A node could refuse to accept a change, but it would fork the network and the node would be running a non canonical chain, which makes it pointless.
The author fails to define "VM" here. The only thing that makes sense is "Virtual Machine," which is a thing, but only barely makes sense in this context.
The fact that node operators have little incentive or ability to inspect or reject changes to contracts beyond what the protocol dictates isn't a problem in itself. That is, after all, the entire idea. Code is law. It doesn't matter how desperately a single miner might want to change the rules. At least in principle.
This is more of a problem on systems like Bitcoin where miners of side chains literally have no knowledge, from the protocol itself, of what the hashes representing transactions on other chains mean.
The bigger problem, not addressed in this article, is that the vast majority of things you want to do to make a block chain useful outside of financial transactions requires something called an "oracle."
What does that NFT actually secure? Go consult the oracle. Want to know the exchange rate of some non-ethereum token? Go ask the oracle. Want to know what that land title says? Go ask the oracle.
The problem is that an oracle is just a server. Maybe it's a group of servers - doesn't matter. Servers are corruptible in ways that Ethereum is not (or at least should not be) through hash chains and proof-of-work. Servers use logins, admins, and undocumented security procedures. And they offer little protection against Sybil attack.
How long would it take you to write a script which DDOS all of them? How many are run by organizations which can protect against attacks? My guess is not enough. Considering the amount of money relying on those measly ~3k servers out there? It's truly frightening.
"Ethereum nodes can in theory filter modifications to the smart contracts they execute, but in practice, node operators have no reason to inspect or reject these upgrades, because they have relatively little stake in the success of individual contracts or their ecosystems."
This has already happened once when the original DAO project got hacked and the community decided to undo all of those transactions with a fork. The changes on chain were completely valid from a code point of view, but the community around the project decided to undo it.
Utter nonsense, contracts can be both immutable and mutable. There's inbuilt owner capability, code has to explicitly implement upgrade capability. All nodes do is run code.
Uniswap for example has no upgrade capability.
should have been "no inbuilt owner capability". Noticed this too late to edit
That’s the whole point of DeFi. Uniswap is a great example, which is a fully decentralized exchange.
So far the best person that has that intersection I have found is Angela Walsh.
That's why general purpose blockchains like Ethereum are doomed to fail. They can never be both competitive with centralized trust-based services and lightweight enough to be run by end users.
It's looking like L2 scaling will end up mostly zkrollups, which are easy for modest clients to verify. The only heavyweight hardware then would be zkrollup block producers, who could potentially engage in censorship, but the nice thing about zkrollups is that users have a cryptographic guarantee that they can exit with their funds without a waiting period.
All this together would take Ethereum well into transaction rates comparable to legacy banking.
We’ve already seen how that worked with bankers. Nope.
I’m really looking forward to the day computer science folks finally accept if it involves human participation it will come along with human bias.
Biology has not gone anywhere, folks. We cannot decouple ourselves from this existence and be information; yet? Maybe. For sure not now.
And networks like Ethereum are not going to enable that.
It may be a nice and clean abstract in their head, but everyone has that privilege. Bringing people aboard Ethereum is putting a new cognitive burden on people. But the goal is to not do that?
Environment issues aside, blockchain is like nuclear powered rocket car hype and not anywhere near as cool.
I’ll stick to a Wireguard tunnel between people I trust literally before running this stuff for a bunch of randos profiting big off my effort.
yeah, that's actually a good enough explanation of what's going on there. yet, this doesn't seem to be enough for the author. i guess my biggest annoyance is that they seem to think a smart contract is just a series of if/else conditionals that can be ported onto an AWS instance.
It's been over a decade. Couldn't they have written some kind of open source service which exposes the Ethereum node's data via a simple REST HTTP API? This would not be a difficult project to implement.
Ethereum launched six years ago, by the way (not a decade).
But doesn't geth require me to setup and sync my own Ethereum node from scratch? I heard it consumes 300GB minimum. It would be great if I could just query some random node on testnet for example for testing my service before I commit to launching a node.
> The real risk is that blockchain Twitter will begin to censor dubiously defined “hate speech”, or that blockchain Mastercard will add support for chargebacks.
This is just culture warism. In fact moderated discussion forums and reversible payments are DESIRED FEATURES of products in the real world. Of course that's going to happen. But to the author that constitutes "centralization", but what it really means is "not the libertarian utopia I imagined".
 We're posting on one!
My critique of most crypto projects is that they aren't partition tolerant. Does that mean that they aren't decentralized? I don't know.
I'd love a taxonomy of decentralization techniques so I can say: "crypto project X has decentralization characteristics Y and Z, but only Y is consistent with its stated mission so it's less viable then project W which...
But instead we just decentralize=good centralize=bad and continue with politics as usual.
If you are exchanging time for food and shelter, you need to be building smart contracts. That's where we are right now, it is the most lucrative use of time possible.
Put down the Shopify widget development book, put down the dropshipping tutorial, and start deploying smart contracts.
Ethereum itself is more decentralized than all traditional value-transfer networks of the old centralized financial world, and the applications built on top of Ethereum are also a spectrum of decentralization.
So it's not really worth the time trying to classify systems based on some theoretical purity rating. It doesn't gain us anything.
As far as I know, there's no technical metric to measure decentralization, instead it's something to reason about, as it can touch many aspects.
However, if you insist on finding a key aspect that indicates how centralized or decentralized a protocol is, the answer typically lies in nodes. How many are there and more importantly, how accessible is it to run your own?
With Bitcoin, anybody can run their own node, even on modest hardware.
With Ethereum, considering the future PoS switch, only rich people can run a node, unless you join a pool. The minimum ETH required is 32 ETH, which make it an elite thing. Worse, those elites will get even more ETH as a reward. This doesn't necessarily mean ethereum is not decentralized at all, just less so compared to Bitcoin.
A worst example may be ICP (Internet Computer) where running your own node is close to impossible.
Are people so out of touch on this topic that they would ask "source?" after being presented with negative information that matched what they wanted to read
This is only true if the contract specifically allows that, right? And that's disclosed in the contract itself. So if you don't want that, don't use that contract.
For Bitcoin, it was at one time 5, all in China, and there's a group photo.
Here’s foone complaining about it:
If there are other links I'd be happy to take a look.
“There are endless Twitter bots which do exactly the same thing; scrape all the HN links and cross-post them to Twitter”
Here’s a single account example I found… and I’ve seen more like it before.
You’ll notice that, that account also has numerous random links to products, probably farming traffic to those as well. In the ad business this is a strategy to foster network effect traffic signals.
And then there’s karma. I don’t have direct evidence because I don’t have the time to investigate, but this quote rings true to me, and I’m sure other here:
“hacker news is a nexus of karma farming bot activity”
Here’s an example of what I’m referring too. In this case it’s not a bot, but a human run vote system:
I’ve been in the advertising space for a long time. It’s very hard to combat this type of stuff. There are basically sweat shops in places like India devoted to these things, and it took google years to rid its ad system of it, and they threw enormous money and AI at the problem.
So when you say with 100% certainty it’s not happening, but you have many serious users complaining, it feels like an issue.
I truly think that social media companies are not really aware of the depth of what they are fighting. Here’s a report from Oxford university:
Your first and third links don't seem to me to have any specific relevance to HN. Your second link certainly does (thank you!) - on the other hand I can tell you that in other cases when people have used such spam outfits to buy upvotes on HN, the result is that their accounts and sites have gotten banned here.
I'd never claim that there's no abuse happening on HN that we don't know about. That would be absurd! We don't know what we don't know. All I can tell you is that we put a high priority on catching it, and we do catch a lot. Also, I can tell you that many people come up with all sorts of fanciful imaginations and grand, but substanceless, claims about this—that's an internet pastime. Whether or not they're serious users I'll leave to you, but the prevalance of imagination in this area is why we need concrete evidence to go on. When we get it, we take it seriously and act on it.
That first link is a Twitter bot account. There’s a bunch of them under different names. You’ll notice the #HackerNews hashtag, and all the links are HN posted articles. Again, the same bots also seem to double duty product traffic spam.
The third link’s relevance is that there is a very large body of evidence from respected institutions that social media is targeted by influence campaigns. I don’t know why anyone would think that the campaigns are targeting Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, but not HN.
From that article
“The platforms removed more than 317,000 accounts and pages from ‘cyber troops’ actors between January 2019 and November 2020.”
Perhaps you guys don’t believe these studies? They aren’t always obvious things, that’s the whole point. For instance with Facebook foreign governments were pushing not just obvious political misinformation but trying to marginalize groups by making them seem less rational in online topics.
Perhaps you might want to survey the HN community. I honestly believe that it’s become more toxic and divided, and it’s becoming clear to anyone paying attention that social media is being manipulated by large well funded groups.
Again, not sure if your in a position to do anything about it. But maybe do some hard research in the area. It’s not “fanciful imagination” when there are studies from respected outlets.
Here’s a starting point I’ve used for my own research:
From one of these studies..
“Specifically, this study examines a collection of tweets relating to a much-publicized fan dispute over the Star Wars franchise film Episode VII: The Last Jedi. This study finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments. The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society”
And from another.
“Despite being outnumbered by several orders of magnitude, just a few thousands of bots generated spikes of conversations around real-world political events in all comparable with the volume of activity of humans. We discover that bots also exacerbate the consumption of content produced by users with their same political views, worsening the issue of political echo chambers. ”
> Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, but not HN
HN is orders of magnitude smaller. Sites face qualitatively different problems at each order of magnitude. I'm not saying that proves anything, but it's a sensible reason why we don't see the data they do.
> just a few thousands of bots generated spikes of conversations
I can tell you from deep familiarity with HN's data that it isn't bots that are generating these conversations on HN. It's established users, who are divided on divisive topics. It's easy enough for us to ban accounts that are behaving like bots, and we certainly do. But the odds that a bot was posting about Julia in 2014 (I always use this example) are minuscule—no?
> I honestly believe that it’s become more toxic and divided
Yes, but because of the point I just made about established users, I believe this is explicable by divisions in the society at large. People (and especially internet users!) have a strong tendency to look for external factors here—blaming outside enemies, spies, shills, foreign agents, and so on—for our own problems. This is also a well-established historical pattern. I'm not saying it doesn't happen! I'm just saying we need to see specific evidence. If anyone has a link they think might lead to that, we're always willing to take a close look. But people should at least look at the public commenting history of such accounts before jumping to conclusions.
I wrote a bunch about this here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27398725. If you think there's a problem with the argument there, I'd like to hear what it is. I'm not closed at all to the possibility that we're missing something and we need to do more. I just know what we've found after the last several hundred (if not thousand) requests for investigation that people have sent to us.
Second, a lot of this comes from non bot traffic, and regular user accounts. Even regular users on other services have admitted being paid by various “advertising agencies” to post or comment on certain topics.
And I do get that HN is not the size of Facebook or Twitter, and so the issues are not the same. However, again, HN reaches some of the brightest minds in an important field of the US economy, so it’s not exactly an unimportant target.
Anyways, if you see my comment history you’ll notice I’m extremely skeptical and science minded. I appreciate and applaud your need for hard evidence, which I can’t offer since I don’t have all the data.
I do have experience with this stuff though, and on top of that, if you’ve gotten several thousand requests for recent investigation, I wouldn’t be so quick to chalk it all up to increased divisions in society. In fact it certainly is part of it, since that’s the whole point. It’s a feedback loop.
Thanks for taking the time reading this and replying. I do appreciate it.
Something I've noticed spending time online is that people tend to really over-estimate when this is actually happening.
These accusations seem to have accelerated a lot since the 2016 election and related claims around astroturfing.
Regardless, your comment is against HN rules.
It’s one thing to just randomly spout accusations, but if a number of users are seeing consistent problems, I think people and mods would want to know.
Anyway, see my other reply to dang. If you search on Twitter you’ll see rando accounts posting weird formated links to HN articles, and things auto posting to HN, etc etc. I avoid Facebook alltogether, but I can only imagine there’s more of the same.
> These accusations seem to have accelerated a lot since the 2016 election and related claims around astroturfing.
Don’t we know for a fact that social media sites have been and are targets of influence campaigns?
Since 2016 these issues have rightly had more light shined on them.
It’s better that people at least discuss openly that social media is being targeted and gamed for money than have us all stick our heads in the sand.
As for what's happening on HN - it seems to be just the usual stochastic churn. Who knows why people post old things? if they're interesting they're welcome, and a lot of people decided that one was interesting.