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Regarding the link, The proof of work requirement exists to keep the network from being flooded too easily. It has the side benefit that it may make sending spam uneconomic. That said, any attacker with a good GPU without a financial incentive could send a very inconvenient number of messages through the network as has happened before. About the paper "On the Sybil-Proofness of Accounting Mechanisms", I'm not sure of its relevance as Bitmessage uses neither accounting nor reputation. The stream branching algorithm will indeed require a good group size estimation algorithm. My current best thought is to use child streams whenever there are a certain number of messages already going through each of one's current streams per unit time. "So how group consensus is formed to do a break-up is difficult and prone to attacks." Luckily using child streams doesn't require consensus; one can decide for one's self. To join a child stream, all one does is say that they are a member of that stream in version messages, create Bitmessage addresses with that stream number imbedded therein, and advertise the node's existence in the parent stream from time to time. But malicious attackers could cause problems by flooding a stream and getting others to make a bad decision about when to start using a child stream. "I have seen no mechanism to prevent it's users broadcasting Blueray rips. This would bring down the system, one cluster at a time." The proof of work mechanism is supposed to prevent that. Broadcasting torrent files in Bitmessage broadcasts would require much less computing resources for the sender. "Please check this work, it shows how to bring this type of P2P networks down..". Which attack specifically? And why hasn't anyone used it to take down Bitcoin?

Regarding your last question, if someone throws an FPGA at the PoW algorithm, they could flood the network with a lot of data and that concerns me. And, as mentioned above, deciding when to use child streams in the context of a hostile environment remains and open question.

-Atheros




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