The Strange Birth & History of Monero, Part III: Decentralized team
You can read here part I (by americanpegaus). This is the post that motivated me to make the part II. Now i'm doing a third part, and there'll be a final 4th part. This is probably too much but i wasn't able to make it shorter. Some will be interested in going through all them, and maybe someone is even willing to make a summary of the whole serie :D. Monero - an anonymous coin based on CryptoNote technology https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.0 Comentarios de interés: -4: "No change, this is just a renaming. In the future, the binaries will have to be changed, as well as some URL, but that's all. By the way, this very account (monero) is shared by several user and is meant to make it easier to change the OP in case of vacancy of the OP. This idea of a shared OP comes from Karmacoin. Some more things to come:
A website (URL will be monero.cc)
A GUI wallet
" (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6362672#msg6362672) -5: “Before this thread is too big, I would like to state that a bug has been identified in the emission curve and we are currently in the process of fixing it (me, TFT, and smooth). Currently coins are emitted at double the rate that was intended. We will correct this in the future, likely by bitshifting values of outputs before a certain height, and then correcting 1 min blocks to 2 min blocks. The changes proposed will be published to a Monero Improvement Protocol on github.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6363016#msg6363016) [tacotime make public the bug in the emission curve: token creation is currently 2 times what was intended to be, see this chart BTC vs the actual XMR curve, as it was and it is now, vs the curve that was initially planned in yellow see chart] -14: “Moving discussion to more relevant thread, previous found here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=578192.msg6364026#msg6364026 I have to say that I am surprised that such an idea [halving current balances and then changing block target to 2 min with same block reward to solve the emission curve issue] is even being countenanced - there are several obvious arguments against it. Perception - what kind of uproar would happen if this was tried on a more established coin? How can users be expected to trust a coin where it is perceived that the devs are able and willing to "dip" into people's wallets to solve problems? Technically - people are trying to suggest that this will make no difference since it applies to reward and supply, which might be fair enough if the cap was halved also, but it isn't. People's holdings in the coin are being halved, however it is dressed up. Market price - How can introducing uncertainty in the contents of people's wallets possibly help market price? I may well be making a fool of myself here, but I have never heard of such a fix before, unless you had savings in a Cypriot bank - has this ever been done for another coin?” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364174#msg6364174) -15: “You make good points but unfortunately conflicting statements were made and it isn't possible to stick to them all. It was said that this coin had a mining reward schedule similar to bitcoin. In fact it is twice as fast as intended, even even a bit more than twice as fast as bitcoin. If you acquired your coins on the basis of the advertised reward schedule, you would be disappointed, and rightfully so, as more coins come to into existence more quickly than you were led to believe. To simply ignore that aspect of the bug is highly problematic. Every solution may be highly problematic, but the one being proposed was agreed as being the least bad by most of the major stakeholders. Maybe it will still not work, this coin will collapse, and there will need to be a relaunch, in which case all your coins will likely be worthless. I hope that doesn't happen.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364242#msg6364242) [smooth tries to justify his proposal to solve the emission curve issue: halve every current balance and change block target to 2 min with same block reward] -16: “This coin wasn't working as advertised. It was supposed to be mined slowly like BTC but under the current emission schedule, 39% would be mined by the first year and 86% by the fourth year. Those targets have been moved out by a factor of 2, i.e. 86% mined by year 8, which is more like BTC's 75% by year 8. So the cap has been moved out much further into the future, constraining present and near-term supply, which is what determines the price.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364257#msg6364257) [eizh supports smooth’s plan] -20: “So long as the process is fair and transparent it makes no difference what the number is... n or n/2 is the same relative value so long as the /2 is applied to everyone. Correcting this now will avoid people accusing the coin of a favourable premine for people who mined in the first week.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364338#msg6364338) [random user supporting smooth’s idea] -21: “Why not a reduction in block reward of slightly more than half to bring it into line with the proposed graph? That would avoid all sorts of perceptual problems, would not upset present coin holders and be barely noticeable to future miners since less than one percent of coins have been mined so far, the alteration would be very small?” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364348#msg6364348) -22: “Because that still turns into a pre-mine or instamine where a few people got twice as many coins as everyone else in the first week. This was always a bug, and should be treated as such.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364370#msg6364370) [smooth wants to be sure they can’t be stigmatized as “premine”] -23: “No, not true [answering to "it makes no difference what the number is... n or n/2 is the same relative value so long as the /2 is applied to everyone"]. Your share of the 18,000,000 coins is being halved - rightly or wrongly.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364382#msg6364382) [good point made by a user that is battling “hard” with smooth and his proposal] -28: “+1 for halving all coins in circulation. Would they completely disappear? What would the process be?” -31: “I will wait for the next coin based on CryptoNote. Many people, including myself, avoided BMR because TFT released without accepting input from anyone (afaik). I pm'ed TFT 8 days before launch to help and didn't get response until after launch. Based on posting within the thread, I bet there were other people. Now the broken code gets "fixed" by taking away coins.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364531#msg6364531) -32: “What you say is true, and I can't blame anyone from simply dropping this coin and wanting a complete fresh start instead. On the other hand, this coin is still gaining in popularity and is already getting close to bytecoin in hash rate, while avoiding its ninja premine. There is a lot done right here, and definitely a few mistakes.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364574#msg6364574) [smooth stands for the project legitimacy despite the bugs] -37: “Since everything is scaled and retroactive, the only person to be affected is... me. Tongue Because I bought BMR with BTC, priced it with incorrect information, and my share relative to the eventual maximum has been halved. Oh well. The rest merely mined coins that never should have been mined. The "taking away coins" isn't a symptom of the fix: it's the fundamental thing that needed fixing. The result is more egalitarian and follows the original intention. Software is always a work-in-progress. Waiting for something ideal at launch is pretty hopeless. edit: Let me point out that most top cryptocurrencies today were released before KGW and other new difficulty retargeting algorithms became widespread. Consequently they had massive instamines on the first day, even favorites in good standing like LTC. Here the early miners are voluntarily reducing their eventual stake for the sake of fairness. How cool is that?” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6364886#msg6364886) [this is eizh supporting the project too] -43: “I'm baffled that people are arguing about us making the emission schedule more fair. I'm an early adopter. This halves my money, and it's what I want to do. There's another change that needs to be talked about too: we don't believe that microscopic levels of inflation achieved at 9 or 10 years will secure a proof-of-work network. In fact, there's a vast amount of evidence from DogeCoin and InfiniteCoin that it will not. So, we'd like to fix reward when it goes between 0.25 - 1.00 coins. To do so, we need to further bitshift values to decrease the supply under 264-1 atomic units to accommodate this. Again, this hurts early adopters (like me), but is designed to ensure the correct operation of the chain in the long run. It's less than a week old, and if we're going to hardfork in economic changes that make sense we should do it now. We're real devs turning monero into the coin it should have been, and our active commitment should be nothing but good news. Fuck the pump and dumps, we're here to create something with value that people can use.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6366134#msg6366134) [tacotime brings to the public for first time the tail emission proposal and writes what is my favourite sentence of the whole monero history: “Fuck the pump and dumps, we're here to create something with value that people can use”] -51: “I think this is the right attitude. Like you I stand to "lose" from this decision in having my early mining halved, but I welcome it. Given how scammy the average coin launch is, I think maximizing fairness for everyone is the right move. Combining a fair distribution with the innovation of Cryptonote tech could be what differentiates Monero from other coins.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6366346#msg6366346) -59: “Hello! It is very good that you've created this thread. I'm ok about renaming. But I can't agree with any protocol changes based only on decisions made by bitcointalk.org people. This is because not all miners are continiously reading forum. Any decision about protocol changes are to be made by hashpower-based voting. From my side I will agree on such a decision only if more than 50% of miners will agree. Without even such a simple majority from miners such changes are meaningless. In case of hardfork that isn't supported by majority of miners the network will split into two nets with low-power fork and high-power not-forking branches. I don't think that this will be good for anybody. Such a voting is easy to be implemented by setting minor_version of blocks to a specific value and counting decisions made after 1000 of blocks. Do you agree with such a procedure?” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6368478#msg6368478) [TFT appears after a couple days of inactivity] -63: “In few days I will publish a code with merged mining support. This code will be turned ON only by voting process from miners. What does it mean:
miners supporting merged mining are to update their nodes and miners. New miners will issue blocks with modified minor_version field indicating they are ready to accept AuxPoW blocks. But no AuxPoW blocks will be issued before 75% of last 1000 blocks will have a positive vote (a changed minor_version).
miners not supporting will not update but will still be able to mine and accept blocks. In case of successful voting they will have to switch to new code. In case of voting failed they can stay on old version.
The same procedure is suitable for all other protocol changes.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6368720#msg6368720) [And now he is back, TFT is all about merged mining] -67: “We don't agree that a reverse split amounts to "taking" coins. I also wouldn't agree that a regular forward split would be "giving" coins. It's an exchange of old coins with new coins, with very nearly the exact same value. There is a very slight difference in value due to the way the reward schedule is capped, but that won't be relevant for years or decades. Such a change is entirely reasonable to fix an error in a in coin that has only existed for a week.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6368861#msg6368861) -68: “There were no error made in this coin but now there is an initiative to make some changes. Changes are always bad and changes destroy participant confidence even in case these changes are looking as useful. We have to be very careful before making any changes in coins” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6368939#msg6368939) [TFT does not accept the unexpected emission curve as a bug] -72: “You are wrong TFT. The original announcement described the coin as having a reward curve "close to Bitcoin's original curve" (those are your exact words). The code as implemented has a reward curve that is nothing like bitcoin. It will be 86% mined in 4 years. It will be 98% mined in 8 years. Bitcoin is 50% mined in 4 years, and 75% in 8 years. With respect TFT, you did the original fork, and you deserve credit for that. But this coin has now gone beyond your initial vision. It isn't just a question of whether miners are on bitcointalk or not. There is a great team of people who are working hard to make this coin a success, and this team is collaborating regularly through forum posts, IRC, PM and email. And beyond that a community of users who by and large have been very supportive of the efforts we've taken to move this forward. Also, miners aren't the only stakeholders, and while a miner voting process is great, it isn't the answer to every question. Though I do agree that miners need to be on board with any hard fork to avoid a harmful split.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6369137#msg6369137) [smooth breaks out publicily for first time against TFT] -75: “I suppose that merged mining as a possible option is a good idea as soon as nobody is forced to use it. MM is a possibility to accept PoW calculated for some other network. It helps to increase a security of both networks and makes it possible for miners not to choose between two networks if they want both:
BCN only miners will continue to mine BCN
BMMRO only miners will continue to mine BMMRO
merge miners will mine both at the same time (now some of them mine BCN only and other - BMR only)
Important things to know about MM:
MM doesn't imply that BMR is smaller or has a less hashpower. In case BMR will has more mining power than BCN it will simply accept less BCN blocks.
MM doesn't force BMR users to have BCN chain on their HDD - BCN chain isn't neede to verify blocks
MM doesn't require any specific parent chain. Miner decides himself which parent chain to use: BCN or any other chain supporting the same PoW method.
Actually the only change that goes with MM is that we are able to accept PoW from some other net with same hash-function. Each miner can decide his own other net he will merge mine BMR with. And this is still very secure. This way I don't see any disadvantage in merged mining. What disadvantages do you see in MM?” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6369255#msg6369255) [TFT stands for merged mining] -77: “Merged mining essentially forces people to merge both coins because that is the only economically rational decision. I do not want to support the ninja-premined coin with our hash rate. Merged mining makes perfect sense for a coin with a very low hash rate, otherwise unable to secure itself effectively. That is the case with coins that merge mine with bitcoin. This coin already has 60% of the hash rate of bytecoin, and has no need to attach itself to another coin and encourage sharing of hash rate between the two. It stands well on its own and will likely eclipse bytecoin very soon. I want people to make a clear choice between the fair launched coin and the ninja-premine that was already 80% mined before it was made public. Given such a choice I believe most will just choose this coin. Letting them choose both allows bytecoin to free ride on what we are doing here. Let the ninja-preminers go their own way.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6369386#msg6369386) [smooth again] -85: “One of you is saying that there was no mistake in the emission formula, while the other is. I'm not asking which I should believe . . I'm asking for a way to verify this” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6369874#msg6369874) [those that have not been paying attention to the soap opera since the beginning do not understand anything at all] -86: “The quote I posted "close to Bitcoin's original curve" is from the original announcement here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=563821.0 I think there was also some discussion on the thread about it being desirable to do that. At one point in that discussion, I suggested increasing the denominator by a factor of 4, which is what ended up being done, but I also suggested retaining the block target at 2 minutes, which was not done. The effect of making one change without the other is to double the emission rate from something close to bitcoin to something much faster (see chart a few pages back on this thread).” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6369935#msg6369935) [smooth answers just a few minutes later] -92: “I'm happy the Bitmonero attracts so much interest. I'm not happy that some people want to destroy it. Here is a simple a clear statement about plans: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582670 We have two kind of stakeholders we have respect: miders and coin owners. Before any protocol changes we will ask miners for agreement. No changes without explicit agreement of miners is possible. We will never take away or discount any coins that are already emitted. This is the way we respect coin owners. All other issues can be discussed, proposed and voted for. I understand that there are other opinions. All decisions that aren't supported in this coin can be introduced in any new coin. It's ok to start a new fork. It's not ok to try to destroy an existsing network.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6370324#msg6370324) [TFT is kinda upset – he can see how the community is “somehow” taking over] -94: “Sounds like there's probably going to be another fork then. Sigh. I guess it will take a few tries to get this coin right. The problem with not adjusting existing coins is that it make this a premine/instamine. If the emission schedule is changed but not as a bug fix, then earlier miners got an unfair advantage over everyone else. Certainly there are coins with premines and instamines, but there's a huge stigma and such a coin will never achieve the level of success we see for this coin. This was carefully discussed during the team meeting, which was announced a day ahead of time, and everyone with any visible involvement with the coin, you included, was invited. It is unfortunate you couldn't make it to that meeting TFT.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6370411#msg6370411) [smooth is desperate due to TFT lack of interest in collaboration, and he publicly speaks about an scission for first time] -115: “Very rough website online, monero.cc (in case you asked, the domain name was voted on IRC, like the crypto name and its code). Webdesigner, webmaster, writers... wanted.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6374702#msg6374702) [Even though the lack of consensus and the obvious chaos, the community keeps going on: Monero already has his own site] -152: “Here's one idea on fixing the emissions without adjusting coin balances. We temporarily reduce the emission rate to half of the new target for as long as it takes for the total emission from 0 to match the new curve. Thus there will be a temporary period when mining is very slow, and during that period there was a premine. But once that period is compete, from the perspective of new adopters, there was no premine -- the total amount of coins emitted is exactly what the slow curve says it should be (and the average rate since genesis is almost the same as the rate at which they are mining, for the first year or so at least). This means the mining rewards will be very low for a while (if done now then roughly two weeks), and may not attract many new miners. However, I think there enough of us early adopters (and even some new adopters who are willing to make a temporary sacrifice) who want to see this coin succeed to carry it through this period. The sooner this is done the shorter the catch up period needs to be.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6378032#msg6378032) [smooth makes a proposal to solve the “emission curve bug” without changing users balances and without favoring the early miners] -182: “We have added a poll in the freenode IRC room "Poll #2: "Emission future of Monero, please vote!!" started by stickh3ad. Options: #1: "Keep emission like now"; #2: "Keep emission but change blocktime and final reward"; #3: "Keep emission but change blocktime"; #4: "Keep emission but change final reward"; #5: "Change emission"; #6: "Change emission and block time"; #7: "Change emission and block time and final reward" Right now everyone is voting for #4, including me.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6379518#msg6379518) [tacotime announces an ongoing votation on IRC] -184: “ change emission: need to bitshift old values on the network or double values after a certain block. controversial. not sure if necessary. can be difficult to implement. keep emission: straightforward, we don't keep change emission or block time. change final reward is simple. if (blockSubsidy < finalSubsidy) return finalSubsidy; else return blockSubsidy;” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6379562#msg6379562) -188: “Yeah, well. We need to change the front page to reflect this if we can all agree on it. We should post the emissions curve and the height and value that subsidy will be locked in to. In my opinion this is the least disruptive thing we can do at the moment, and should ensure that the fork continues to be mineable and secure in about 8 years time without relying on fees to secure it (which I think you agree is a bad idea).” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6379871#msg6379871) [tacotime] -190: “I don't think the proposed reward curve is bad by any means. I do think it is bad to change the overall intent of a coin's structure and being close to bitcoins reward curve was a bit part of the intent of this coin. It was launched in response to the observation that bytecoin was 80% mined in less than two years (too fast) and also that it was ninja premined, with a stated goal that the new coin have a reward curve close to bitcoin. At this point I'm pretty much willing to throw in the towel on this launch:
No web site
Botched reward curve (at least botched relative to stated intent)
No pool (and people who are enthusiastically trying to mine having trouble getting any blocks; some of them have probably given up and moved on).
No effective team behind it at launch
No Mac binaries (I don't think this is all that big a deal, but its another nail)
I thought this could be fixed but with all the confusion and lack of clear direction or any consistent vision, now I'm not so sure. I also believe that merged mining is basically a disaster for this coin, and is probably being quietly promoted by the ninjas holding 80% of bytecoin, because they know it keeps their coin from being left behind, and by virtue of first mover advantage, probably relegates any successors to effective irrelevance (like namecoin, etc.). We can do better. It's probably time to just do better.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6380065#msg6380065) [smooth is disappointed] -191: “The website does exist now, it's just not particularly informative yet. :) But, I agree that thankful_for_today has severely mislead everyone by stating the emission was "close to Bitcoin's" (if he's denying that /2 rather than /4 emission schedule was unintentional, as he seems to be). I'm also against BCN merge mining. It works against the goal of overtaking BCN and if that's not a goal, I don't know what we're even doing here. I'll dedicate my meagre mining to voting against that. That said, you yourself have previously outlined why relaunches and further clones fail. I'd rather stick with this one and fix it.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6380235#msg6380235) [eizh tries to keep smooth on board] -196: “BCN is still growing as well. It is up to 1.2 million now. If merged mining happens, (almost) everyone will just mine both. The difficulty on this coin will jump up to match BCN (in fact both will likely go higher since the hash rate will be combined) and again it is an instamine situation. (Those here the first week get the benefit of easy non-merged mining, everyone else does not.) Comments were made on this thread about this not being yet another pump-and-dump alt. I think that could have been the case, but sadly, I don't really believe that it is.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6380778#msg6380778) -198: “There's no point in fragmenting talent. If you don't think merge mining is a good idea, I'd prefer we just not add it to the code. Bitcoin had no web site or GUI either initially. Bitcoin-QT was the third Bitcoin client. If people want a pool, they can make one. There's no point in centralizing the network when it's just began, though. Surely you must feel this way.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6381866#msg6381866) [tacotime also wants smooth on board] -201: “My personal opinion is that I will abandon the fork if merge mining is added. And then we can discuss a new fork. Until then I don't think Monero will be taken over by another fork.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6381970#msg6381970) [tacotime opens the season: if merged mining is implemented, he will leave the ship] -203: “Ditto on this. If the intention wasn't to provide a clearweb launched alternative to BCN, then I don't see a reason for this fork to exist. BCN is competition and miners should make a choice.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6382097#msg6382097) [eizh supports tacotime] -204: “+1 Even at the expense of how much I already "invested" in this coin.” (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=582080.msg6382177#msg6382177) [NoodleDoodle is also against merged mining] This is basically everything worth reading in this thread. This thread was created in the wrong category, and its short life of about 2 days was pretty interesting. Merged mining was rejected and it ended up with the inactivity of TFT for +7 days and the creation of a new github repo the 30th of April. It is only 12 days since launch and a decentralized team is being built. Basically the community had forked (but not the chain) and it was evolving and moving forward to its still unclear future. These are the main takeaways of this thread:
The legitimacy of the "leaders" of the community is proven when they proposed and supported the idea of halving the balances for the greater good to solve the emission curve issue without any possible instamine accusation. Also their long-term goals and values rejecting merged-mining with a "primined scam"
It is decided that, as for now, it is “too late” to change the emission curve, and finally monero will mint 50% of its coin in ~1.3 years (bitcoin did it after 3.66 years) and 86% of its coins in 4 years (bitcoin does it in ~11 years) (was also voted here) (see also this chart)
It is decided that a “minimum subsidy” or “tail emission” to incentivize miners “forever” and avoid scaling fees will be added (it will be finally added to the code march 2015)
Merged mining is plainly rejected by the future “core team” and soon rejected by "everyone". This will trigger TFT inactivity.
The future “core team” is somehow being formed in a decentralized way: tacotime, eizh, NoodleDoodle, smooth and many others
And the most important. All this (and what is coming soon) is a proof of the decentralization of Monero. Probably comparable to Bitcoin first days. This is not a company building a for-profit project (even if on the paper it is not for-profit), this a group of disconnected individuals sharing a goal and working together to reach it. Soon will be following a final part where i'll collect the bitcointalk logs in the current official announcement threads. There you'll be able to follow the decentralized first steps of develoment (open source pool, miner optimizations and exchanges, all surrounded by fud trolls, lots of excitmen and a rapidly growing collaborative community.
Hello cryptocurrency lovers! Welcome to Coin-a-Year, the laziest series yet in the Coin-a-Day publishing empire. This year's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). I originally covered Nyancoin in an article here in /cryptocurrency published January 4th, 2015. Without (much) further ado, I'm going to include the original report next, unmodified. This is unlike my Coin-a-Week series, where I use strikeout and update in-text. Because this is going to be a longer update, I'll just make all further comments and updates below, just realize that all information below is as of January 4th, 2015 and thus is more than a year out of date as of posting now, at the end of February 2016. Since I use horizontal rules as internal dividers in the original post, I'll use a double horizontal rule to divide the original text from this prelude and the following update. Coin-a-Day Jan 4th Welcome to the fourth installment of Coin-a-Day! To see convenient links to the introduction and the previous entries, please see /coinaday. Today's coin is Nyancoin (NYAN). Summary • ~173.6 million available currently ; 337 million limit  • All-time high: ~0.000024 BTC on February 16, 2014  • Current price: ~3 satoshi  • Current market cap: ~$1,275  • Block rate (average): 1 minute   • Transaction rate: ~25? / last 24 hours; estimated $3-4  • Transaction limit: 70 / second  • Transaction cost: 0 for most transactions  • Rich list: ???  • Exchanges: Cryptsy  • Processing method: Mining  • Distribution method: proof-of-work block rewards and 1% premine for "bounties, giveaways & dev support"   • Community: Comatose  • Code/development: https://github.com/nyancoin-release/nyancoin ; there hasn't been a released code change in 10 months. The new developer has talked about some changes, but has not made a new release. He has given advice about how to keep the network running and operate the client.  • Innovation or special feature: First officially licensed cryptocurrency (from Nyancat) ; "zombie"-coin  Description / Community: So you're probably wondering why in the world we're talking about a coin which has been declared dead and already written off. I actually first selected this coin to illustrate a "deadcoin", but the more I dug into it, the more I was amazed at the shambles I discovered. I am combining the description and community sections for this coin, because the community (or lack thereof) is the central issue for Nyancoin. Substantially all, if not literally all, of the original infrastructure is gone. From the announcement post, the original website has expired. The nyan.cat site itself survives, but has no reference to the coin. The github repo remains, but then there was never much changed from the bitcoin/litecoin original. In fact, the COPYING file doesn't even list "Nyancoin Developers". None of the original nodes seem to be running anymore. @Nyan_Coin hasn't tweeted since July 6th. And that was just to announce posting an admittedly cute picture to facebook which makes a claim for a future which seems never to have developed. Of the original 15 pools, I think all are dead except p2pool, for which at least one node still supports NYAN. The original blockchain explorer, nyancha.in, is still running. The faucet is dead or broken. The original exchanges no longer list it (two of the three having died; SwissCEX having ended its trading as of the first of this year). And so forth. And yet:
[Of course, that scene finishes with knocking out the "recovering" patient so he can be taken away...not to mention the absurdity of including Monty Python in a financial article, but moving right along.] There is still just enough left to Nyancoin to keep it twitching, even if it is on life-support. Whether it's an individual node or whether it's a pool, there are blocks being produced at a steady rate as intended. Transactions are being processed. There is still a market. There is still a block explorer. And there is a dev. It is like a case study in the absolute minimum necessary to keep a coin alive. The most likely outcome is almost certainly a final collapse when one critical piece or another of the infrastructure goes away. And yet in the meantime, a person can own a million NYAN for $8 , and then move this coin quickly and easy, albeit with no particular external demand. It's like the world's most hyped testnet. I think this case presents an interesting example of what happens to an altcoin when its initial support dries up. NYAN coin is more fortunate than some, actually, as there are some where there are no longer any nodes running it nor the original announcement thread (in fact, there was actually a second Nyancoin launched around the same time. But it died hard and its original announcement thread was deleted and at this point I would have no idea how to access it; so "Nyancoin" thus illustrates how hard a coin can die (Nyancoin 2) as well as how it can hang around despite being proclaimed dead, with far more justification behind that pronouncement than there has been for bitcoin (NYAN) ). Footnotes  http://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=402085.0 Regarding the premine, it's unclear to me where this money is now, since the original poster hasn't been active on BCT since May and the original site is down. However, given that it's only 1%, and about $25 in value right now, there seem to be more significant concerns for NYAN.  http://nyancha.in/chain/Nyancoin - Nyan blockchain explorer; blocks are somewhat inconsistent but somewhere around the 1 minute average  There doesn't seem to be anything automatically doing these stats, so I did visual inspection on about 1500 blocks (about one day) excluding the block generation reward (~250k/day). Most blocks are otherwise empty. I counted about 24 transactions or so scrolling through, with an outlier around 300k NYAN and another around 100k NYAN. In total, about 500k NYAN, excluding the block rewards. This is very approximately $3-4.  Nyancoin is a basically unmodified, slightly out-of-date bitcoin as far as code goes, and ignoring the change in block rate and total coin supply, as well as the difficulty retarget after every block. So for purposes of estimating maximum possible transaction throughput, I start with bitcoin's estimated 7 transactions per second, and multiply by 10 for having a block on average every minute rather than every 10 minutes. In any event, this limit is not likely to be reached in the foreseeable future.  Like bitcoin, transaction fees appear to be optional in Nyancoin. Unlike bitcoin, there is almost no transaction volume, and coins tend to sit for a relatively long time before being moved. So zero-fee transactions appear to be the norm from looking at a couple transactions on the block explorer.  I couldn't find one. See the disclosure section of this article: your humble correspondent is likely represented in some way on a top 100 if one were to be made or if one exists, despite not holding it directly, depending on how the exchange holds it.  I could not find any other exchanges still listing Nyancoin. SwissCex appears to have disabled it as of a couple days ago. Cryptsy has a notice that the NYAN/BTC market will be closing, but its NYAN/LTC market appears strong.  Essentially all of the original sites, pools, faucets, etc. are dead and there has been very little to replace it. There is basically a single node, or perhaps a very few, which are running the blockchain. However, there is a developer still trying to hold things together, maxvall_dev, maxvall on BCT. He is the last hope for the NYAN.  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=597877.0 This is the thread where maxvall took over as dev, and it also discusses switching to PoS, which hasn't happened as far as I know.  "zombie"-coin: Not to be confused with ZMB (my god, does it ever end?). This is my term to describe a coin which is "undead": by rights it should be dead. And yet it's still walking around and acting like it's alive. What is it? What's going on? It's quite debatable whether this gives it any special value, but I find it an interesting state, and it's why this was chosen for early coverage. There are plenty of actually popular and successful coins, and we will go onto covering more normal selections; we're looking for variety rather than repetition. But I think this is an interesting example for what can go wrong, and yet in the midst of that, how little it takes for a coin to survive. In fact, it's almost like an alternate history bitcoin to me; this shows the concept that "it was run on one computer before; it can be run on one computer again" to some extent. And there are even some strange pragmatic benefits as well, like having no competition for getting a transaction into a block and thus zero transaction fees.  And, in fact, the author chose to do so today, spending about 0.03 BTC for about 1 million NYAN. Additional Reading • /nyancoins - Like NYAN: mostly dead, but not quite • http://nyan-coin.org/ - new official website • BCT thread listing nodes, xpool (p2pool), for mining information. • americanpegasus predicting in February that NYAN will hit $1; always an entertaining read Giveaway Instead of a challenge today, since NYAN has enough challenges, I decided I would give away 10,000 NYAN to at least the first ten people who ask for it. This still remains at my discretion, but honestly, if you really want, say, 50,000 NYAN and create four new accounts to do so, I'll probably be too amused to say no. I don't expect to get ten requests. If I get more, I'll probably still fulfill them, but as with everything else, this is left to my whim. Donations and Disclosure Okay, this is an important one today because of the tiny market here. I actually hold less USD value in NYAN than in BTC, DOGE, and PPC (although my value in PPC might be about equivalent actually), but I hold more of the total market in NYAN than any of those three. And I'll probably be buying more. So I have a conflict of interest in writing this article. I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice. I personally hold just over 1 million NYAN on Cryptsy right now. Perhaps it would be better if I didn't write any articles about anything I were invested inspeculating on, but I started this series for my own education to further my speculation, so unfortunately, dear reader, your needs come second to my own. tanstaafl; you get what you pay for, and I'm giving you my thoughts. If by some strange quirk of fate you actually own NYAN and enjoyed this article and wished to donate some to me, K7Ho9HghBF6xWwS6JsepE6RAEPyAXbsQCV is mine (first non-empty account I've posted; transferred 1000 NYAN into here earlier from Cryptsy to test that the network and my wallet were actually working). Thank you all for reading and commenting! I've already learned a lot from this process and I look forward to more! Upcoming coins: • January 5th: Nxt • January 6th: Darkcoin • January 7th: Namecoin I'll use alphabetic labeling for footnotes in the updates to avoid any confusion with the footnotes in the original. For simplicity, unchanged items, like the 337 million limit and the 1 minute will not be mentioned, and we'll start with the summary changes. Updates: Summary
Community: We're not quite dead yet; in fact, I think we're getting better! [f]
Code/Development: I have an early draft of NYAN2, but I'm about six months past my initial goal for having it available to use. Life/work/lack of build machine/procrastination. NYAN2 will be a rebase onto a modern LTC codebase which will soft fork to fix a current vulnerability to a fork bug. For now, the network still runs on the same code that it did when I wrote the first article.
Discussion I'm going to consider the community first, since I pointed it out as the weakness and central topic in the last one, then talk about the technical situation briefly, and then review the financial results. The community has been excellent, if I do say so myself. We've got working infrastructure going thanks to the contributions of many Nekonauts (see [f]). Some original Nekonauts have returned or at least popped in from time to time, and new ones like myself have found Nyancoin (I would say given what I wrote in the original, I was still a skeptic of it at that point. Not that skeptics can't be Nekonauts, but I think I'd put my conversion to the cult of nyan shortly after writing that, even though I was already a nillionaire then for the heck of it.) While I do look forward to seeing the community continue to grow in future years and consider that important, I don't think the community is our weakest point any longer; I think it's now our strongest point. I've tried to encourage the community's revival as best I could, including giving away tens of nillions in total, and lots of long rambling articles on my views on ethics and philosophy and frankly it's worked better than I would've really expected (or at least it has coincided with an effective recovery of the community). The community also helped me through at least a couple hard times personally in there as well. The technical situation in Nyancoin is mostly unchanged but slightly improved, although with two additional known vulnerabilities. It's unchanged in that it's the same client. It's improved in that we have an active nyanchain explorer host (nyan.space), and we have a public draft of a plan for a soft forking security fix update in the near future (hopefully by the end of March (although I've slipped these deadlines before and may well miss March for release by a bit, I do think I'm inching closer now and then)). The most serious vulnerability is to forking. This is the bug which hit Peercoin if I recall correctly. NYAN2 is intended to solve this through its soft fork from the LTC fix upstream (from the BTC fix upstream). In the meantime, we've been lucky we haven't been attacked. The tiny marketcap probably helps with not being a particularly attractive attack target. We're not exactly about to pay ransom to move faucet outputs. But that's no excuse; we want this fixed and should have it finally done "soon" (tm). The less serious vulnerability is to a time warp attack in the difficulty function (Kimoto Gravity Well), which relates to general weaknesses it has and issues we've had with large gaps in the block chain because of spikes in the difficulty function causing it to be unprofitable and driving away most of the hash, and then low difficulty and price rise making it attractive to more hash, creating a spike and causing it again. While this is irritating, the chain still works, even if there are fits and starts at times. An important part of the reason I can get away with this is because there is at least one Nekonaut-supporting miner, CartmanSPC, who rescues us from time to time, and did so during the course of this article being written. We have a bunch of pools, but sometimes the hash just isn't there to get us unstuck when the difficulty goes high enough. Another part of the reason I consider it not an especially serious issue is because there's a workaround which works for me (classic bad developer logic): I use a large transaction fee (generally 337 NYAN, although I might have halved it after the most recent halving, I'll probably use 337 again) on my personal wallet by default. If necessary, I use a couple of them. It can make NYAN profitable to mine again despite the higher difficulty and "unstick" the chain. The difficulty function can go back down again in the next block if the gap has been long enough, so that can be enough to keep it going again for a while (although it can also get stuck again irritatingly fast at times). A fix for this will be putting in a better difficulty function for NYAN3, which will require a hard fork. This is tentatively scheduled for feature freeze around the middle of this year, coding to follow, activation sometime early 2017. Financial has been our most disappointing performance. A graph of the 1 year performance right now on coinmarketcap looks pretty sad, showing our fall from a little over 60 satoshi down to around 7 satoshi now. We rose too high, too fast, and I didn't stick with the safe high paying job like a sane person. Instead I hit the road, went to jail, and worked minimum wage. That doesn't sound like a sentence from a cryptocurrency financial review, does it? But the performance of NYAN since the article has been the story of my personal finances, which is the story of my life since then. So, autobiographical coinaday interlude, trying to keep it generally to the most salient points. Well, in 2014 I had been on my way home to Minnesota from California when I was pulled over leaving Eureka, Nevada for speeding (got sloppy and went 45 approaching the 45 sign and thus technically still in the 35; bored cop seeing out-of-state plates). My vehicle reeked of weed, what with having been in Mendocino County previously with no intention of traveling out of the county much less state anytime soon but family emergency brought me back, and the end result was a citation for possession of cannabis and paraphernalia along with the speeding. Fast forward to the beginning of 2015, I'm settled into a good software position and start looking more at cryptocurrency in my spare time. I write the coin-a-day series for a bit and then got annoyed and quit after a while when trying to do one a day on top of an actual job was too much for me (along with some annoyance over criticism; I can be rather thin-skinned at times). But I had gotten interested in Nyancoin, and started buying it up more and more with extra money I was making. And then comes the crash. I had to stop putting as much in as I realized that where I was living and what I was working on wasn't going to work out for me and I needed to figure something else out. So, as I seem wont to do, I went on a roadtrip. I quit my job. And I went back for the court date for my citations and refused to pay, instead spending 10 days in jail rather than pay ~$1400 (I actually had the money in cash available to me if I chose to pay as a backup if I chickened out, but the judge annoyed me enough that I really preferred to be jailed instead of paying, as stupid as that sounds since I'm quite sure the judge didn't care in the least one way or another). After that, I went back to roadtrip lifestyle for a while. It was a nice period. A lot of beautiful scenery; a lot of reading. Eventually, I busted up my car pretty badly...a couple times actually, the second time for good. Fast forwarding through the rest of the year, I worked a couple minimum wage jobs to pay bills and avoid cubicle life and kill some time until I figured out what I was going to do next. Just recently I quit as delivery boy after getting a speeding ticket (I swear, I'm not as horrible of a driver as this makes me sounds, although I have had a bad tendency to speed in the past, which I really have curbed to almost nothing; but I'm clearly not good enough) and am currently writing a Coin-a-Year article with a friend's incentive and applying to do documentation and development with the Nu project. Okay, so what did any of that have to do with NYAN? Well, it's the mess of a life that has led to the fall of the price from 60 satoshi to 7 satoshi. If instead my life history for the time since the article had been simply "I was happily employed writing software", then I don't believe we would have dropped below 20 satoshi. It's easy to see in hindsight. If anyone can lend me a time machine, I'm sure I can get some condensed instructions which should improve performance significantly. Otherwise, just going to have more chalked up for the "character building" tally. So, lessons learned if you are the major buy support for your coin: you need long-term reserves. Whatever you put in bids can be taken out in a moment by a dump for no apparent reason. This is particularly true if you may be quitting your cushy, high-paying job and wandering around without income for an extended period of time. Rather obvious, but hey, maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes. If I'd been bidding as cautiously as I am now from the beginning, I think the price would probably be somewhere from 10-20 satoshi now instead of around 7 satoshi. It's especially unfortunate given that I wanted to be able to demonstrate the more consistent growth possible building a stable store of value, as opposed to the pump and dumps common in altcoins. And instead we had a pump-and-dump looking graph ourselves after I bid up higher than I was able to sustain, and a large (10+ nillion) instadump crashed the market all the way back down to 1 satoshi momentarily. We've had a few large (2+ nillion) dumps since, but nothing that large. We haven't generally had that large of bids though either. It's hard to know when I've exhausted the supply at a price level, when it sometimes waits for a couple weeks or even more and then fills all the bids at once. But I want to maximize the minimum price paid because I think that's important for building confidence in a store of value long-term, which is one of my core goals for NYAN. At the same time, we're still up from the lowest parts of the floor and where I found it. Since I own about 30% [g], the very cheapest supply has been taken off the market. I plan to keep on buying up "cheap NYAN" as much as I can. I've bought up to 60 satoshi before, I'll probably buy up that high this time around. I've got a token 100,000 NYAN ask at 300 satoshi; I hope never to sell lower. Conclusions Now I try to wrap it all together as if I saw this all coming and am the wise expert, despite having had about 90% drop in price in the last year after bidding too high. My original concept was taking the "minimum viable coin" and reviving it to a powerhouse as a textbook example in how to do it. Part of my core concept in this is the arbitrariness of value: throughout history, humans have chosen any number of things as a store of value for the time: salt, large rocks, certain metals, disks, marked sticks, and so forth. While there has generally been a certain logic in the choice, in that there is a locally restricted supply in one way or another, and so forth, from the perspective of other centuries or cultures the choices can seem quite strange. Growing up, I was always struck by how strange the notion of salt being limited and valuable seemed in a world where people were trying to reduce intake and large amounts could be bought for trivial sums. And yet, a key nutrient necessary for life fundamentally makes more sense as being valuable than notched sticks or printed paper or a piece of plastic with some encoded information. Humans have perpetually come up with stranger and stranger ways of storing and transferring value. Each new step, as always, comes with its own disadvantages and, frankly, has generally appeared nonsensical at best and fraudulent at worst to the status quo. Which doesn't mean that each new attempt is valuable. The gold bugs always like to point out that every fiat currency ultimately returns to its true value of zero. And the skeptics of cryptocurrency argue that all cryptocurrencies will eventually return to their true value of zero. It's certainly possible. And it's possible the USD will hyperinflate someday. I tend to try the moderate view for a plausible guess of the future. By that type of logic, I would guess that over the course of decades, USD will in general lose value, and cryptocurrency will tend to slowly gain value. That might not seem the moderate view, but USD not losing value over decades would be truly shocking. And hyperinflation has been predicted since the USD went off the gold standard, or before. So some amount of inflation less than hyperinflation seems like the safe guess (but then, the Titanic arriving would also have seemed like the safe guess to me). And with cryptocurrency, I think it's clear by now the technology will continue to survive. So my first question is with what overall value as a market? It could go down, of course, but that seems unlikely in an already small, young market. Even if all the current crop die off and are replaced, whatever cryptocurrencies are around should be able to do better than a handful of billion in market cap in my view. I believe that cryptocurrency has a bright future ahead of it. The best coins should ultimately survive and thrive. But I've been wrong on most of my major calls so far, like for instance when I thought BTC was over-priced around $5-$10. I think Nyancoin can have an important role to play in the future of cryptocurrency in the years and decades to come, but it's a massively speculative long-shot. See also Nyancoin risks document. But like Linus Torvalds' autobiography, I try to keep "Just for Fun" as a core motto and principle. It's makes for a good hobby project because there will always be more to work on, with a core community motto of TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! Disclaimers / Sponsorship: As I said before:
I am not providing financial advice and I do not make any recommendations of any sort on any matters. Make your own decisions; do your own research. Please, I do not want to hear about anyone doing anything "on my advice." I am not offering advice.
And I'll reiterate that I own about 30% [g] of the current supply of NYAN, which makes me by definition maximally biased. Also, I'm not sure what's up with the address from the first post. It doesn't show up in my current wallet as a recognized address. So, anyhow, don't send there. :-) If you'd like to donate, please consider sponsoring a coin-a-day or coin-a-week article. This is the first sponsored article. This Coin-a-Year article has been brought to you by spydud22 's generous patronage. I'd been meaning to do a Coin-a-Week article on Nyancoin for a while, but between wanting to "wait until the price recovered a bit" and general procrastination, then it seemed like it would make a good Coin-a-Year article, and then I wanted to wait until the price recovered a bit more...anyhow, so thank you spydud22, for causing me to finally do this. :-) Footnotes
[a] nyan.space/chain/Nyancoin ; as of block 1091430, 263738786.71890615 NYAN outstanding. This is slightly over 50% more than the last report, which is what we would expect, since it had existed for about a year then, and has approximately annual halvings. The first year generated about 50% of total supply; the second year generated about 25% of total supply. We should expect in a year to have about 17% (one-sixth) more than we have now.
[b] https://www.cryptopia.co.nz/Exchange?market=NYAN_BTC ; this is the only market reflected in coinmarketcap and it is the primary one on which I trade. Cryptopia also has other base pairs which operate at significantly higher spreads (lower bids; higher asks) and have minimal volume. In the time since the last report, NYAN has traded as high as 60 satoshi (and briefly a little higher at times), but over the last almost twelve months since a peak about a year ago, the price has been generally declining overall, as a gross oversimplification of a lot of movements. This has been an effect of me not being able to keep buying as much and there being large dumps I wasn't expecting from time-to-time. Now I'm taking the approach of building large (one or more nillion (million NYAN)) bids on each price as I slowly work my way back up again in order to be able to handle possible dumps with less price shock.
[c] coinmarketcap.com/currencies/nyancoin/ ; as noted in [b], this only reflects the /BTC basepair on Cryptopia but that's where most of the volume is anyhow. Of course, the market is also not particularly liquid since I'm the primary buyer and have rather limited means currently.
[d] I haven't setup a script to count this yet, among many things on my to-do list for someday, so I went through by hand from what was the then-latest block of 1091430 on nyan.space back to 1089766 which was the first block generated less than 24 hours before. There was actually a three and a half hour block gap at that point, such that the next prior block was about 24 hours and 15 minutes before 1091430 while 1089766 was only about 20 hours and 45 minutes prior, and has a disproportionate number of transactions and value compared to a typical block (8 and ~313,000 NYAN respectively) from the build-up during the gap. But since that gap conveniently started right about at the start of the 24 hour period, doesn't really skew our results here.
Note that there are often times where the UTXO created during one transaction during the day is spent during a later transaction in the day. This can be considered the "same" Nyancoin being "spent" twice in the same day in our total. But in practice, I believe what's happening here is the faucet is breaking off small (10-50 NYAN) pieces from a larger (~40,000 NYAN) chunk, and so that pops up a bunch of times. So the total NYAN blockchain volume as counted for this topline number should not be interpreted as "NYAN spent in the day" but "NYAN moved on the chain", where the "same coin" can move many times. So it's a very easily gamed metric and not a strong / resistant metric like the market price tends to be (at least relatively speaking), but it's a fun number to calculate and provides a little bit of information. The transaction count can also be easily inflated and certainly, for instance, having the faucet does generate transactions which are a very common transaction. And this is also just an arbitrary 24 hour period compared to a previous arbitrary 24 hour period. Nonetheless, I do think there's clearly a bit more activity on the Nyanchain, even though the typical block is still empty and the number of transactions and volume is still tiny compared to the major cryptocurrencies. Here's an arbitrary example of the faucet transactions Note the zero transaction fee, which I love that the miners support (the defaults are all quite low as well). Here's an example of what may be the smallest transaction by NYAN volume of the day; but no, I followed its small, spent output, and it led to this gem which also links to this. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's hilarious and I love it. How's that for microtransaction support? :-)
[e] Obviously Cryptsy went down. We had had more than enough red flags with Cryptsy (including one time where I was able to withdraw 6 nillion more than I had in my balance) and got onto Cryptopia. spydud22 basically accomplished that for us, although I helped out in the tail end of the campaigning.
[f] Our community is still small (I wish there were literally dozens of us!) but we've had valuable activity from multiple people, including, just as highlights, vmp32k who hosts nyan.space, a clone of the original nyancha.in, jwflame who created the excellent nyancoin.info intro site, with the awesome status page (which currently notes that "the last 500 blocks actually took 111 minutes, which is approaching the speed of light, causing the universe to become unstable"), KojoSlayer who runs the faucet and dice, spydud22 who got us on Cryptopia, and many other Nekonauts have made worthy contributions, and the Nekonauts mentioned have done more than just that listed. So while we are small, we are active at least from time to time and technically capable.
Using the Bitcoin protocol for more than just money
I think Bitcoin is a very interesting technology, and I'm glad to see it's taking off. But at the same time, I think it could be so much more. The real interesting technology is the block chain. With a few improvements and minor modifications, it could be the basis of much more than a digital currency. Namecoin and Bitmessage are two examples of other uses for a block chain, but AFAIK each uses their own, independent chain and network. I feel like should be possible to combine them. Please mind that I haven't studied the protocol in extreme detail and I'm not a mathematician or a cryptographer, so I might be wrong on some understandings of the details. Corrections are highly welcomed. Please also don't just view this as another "Bitcoin protocol sux, here's how it should be done" post. That's only the first section. ;-)
Improving the protocol
Firstly, I think the biggest issue Bitcoin (and all alternatives I know of) has is overhead. The block chain is several gigabytes, and bitcoind likes to choke my network with a lot of connections and big uploads. Maybe the growth of technology will outpace the growth of Bitcoin's resource needs, but I don't think we can rely on that. Phones have been stuck at ~16GB of internal storage for quite a while now (maybe there are some reaching 32 and 64GB, but I don't know of any), and internet service is actually making backward progress in much of the western world - slower connections and tighter caps. One of Bitcoin's goals is also to prevent being controlled by any government or central authority - but if it relies on fast network connections, that's something an oppressive government can easily restrict to choke it. Especially for a new client, to have to download the entire block chain can be daunting. And for a mobile client, the amount of network I/O seems like far too much for the piddly data caps mobile networks have, and the block chain would quickly eat up their available storage.
Size of the block chain
My understanding is that the solution to the blockchain size issue is to create a new genesis block; essentially replace the entire chain with a single block containing a hash of all previous blocks and start chaining again from there. But as far as I know, this is something that the Bitcoin developers have to do manually with a change to the source code (which also means they have to be able to do it - what if they disappear?), and this hasn't been done yet. This new genesis block creation needs to be built into the protocol and happen automatically, so that the chain never grows too large.
As for network issues, I don't know why Bitcoin requires so much overhead, but I believe it's from clients transmitting large portions of the block chain (sometimes the entire chain) to new clients who don't have it. I think a simple solution here would be to download small chunks from many clients instead of large chunks from a few clients. The new client still has to download all the blocks it's missing, but the sending clients don't need to upload as much, so their connections won't be as strained.
Block generation rate
One thing I've never understood is why blocks are generated at 10-minute intervals. Litecoin shortens that to 2.5 minutes, but that's still fairly long. 10 minutes might be plenty of time if you're ordering online, but if you want Bitcoin to completely replace fiat currency, it needs to be as fast as fiat currency. Nobody wants to wait 2.5 minutes (let alone 10) in the grocery store or fast food drive-thru for their transaction to go through. Cash payments can be as simple as handing over a bill, and debit payments can complete in a few seconds. The usual suggestion for how to resolve this is to put some Bitcoin in an account, controlled by some payment processor, so that when you later want to actually buy something, you just ask the processor to transfer from your account and they can do so immediately, and the shopkeeper can trust that the transaction will go through. But isn't this just a bank? How can we be sure we can trust the payment processors to not just run off with the money (especially with no controlling authority), and to not pull the kinds of annoying things banks do (fees fees fees)? To me it seems like relying on some third party to handle your Bitcoins is no better than the existing system Bitcoin intends to replace.
Scientific value of computations
One altcoin that I really like is Primecoin. Instead of brute-forcing hashes, Primecoin's proof of work is finding prime numbers. I feel like this is a nice benefit - in addition to everything the network does, now it's also doing calculations that are useful to science, instead of calculations that exist solely to be difficult. Of course, if someone found a much more efficient algorithm to compute prime numbers, then this protocol would break. But the same is true of the hashing Bitcoin uses. Also, most existing cryptography is based on prime numbers, so I think there'd be a lot more to worry about than just Bitcoin. (That also implies that if the difficulty of prime numbers is trustworthy enough for everything else, it's probably good enough for Bitcoin too.) In either case, the protocol can be updated to a harder algorithm (even if it means going back to calculations that aren't scientifically valuable).
Using the block chain for messages and information
Already, every client has to download every block, and look through it for transactions involving its addresses. It should be an obvious and trivial extension to allow it to store messages sent to a Bitcoin address as well. This method of exchanging messages has a few nice advantages as well:
Since Bitcoin addresses are already public keys, it would be trivial to encrypt the message so that only the intended recipient can read it. Or you could opt not to encrypt, for a publicly readable message.
Transaction fees would help discourage spam.
Specially-formatted public messages can be used for things like publishing your public key and other contact information. Just as only you can spend your coins, only you could send a new message saying "this information replaces/supplements the information specified in message X", to update your contact info.
The distributed, decentralized nature of the network prevents censorship.
Perhaps old messages can be replaced with only their hash (to ensure the block can still be verified) to avoid taking up too much space. If a client has already done this, but then wants the original message again, it could ask other peers if they still have it - see the next section for details on that.
Making Bitcoin function as a P2P file sharing network
Expanding on the above idea: who says the messages have to be text? By using a binary format (perhaps with a container such as a zip file), it would be simple to send someone a file this way as well. Of course, once you start sending blocks containing files, the size of the block chain becomes an issue again (and the size/quantity of the blocks for a large file could push transaction fees quite high as well). I think there are various ways to resolve this. The way that appeals to me is to do what Freenet does:
To upload a file, you split it into small chunks and send them to a bunch of random peers.
Each peer may keep a copy of each chunk it receives, and may pass them to other peers.
By sending enough copies of each chunk to enough peers you can be relatively certain that the entire file can be found in the network.
To download a file, you ask several random peers for each chunk. (A file's URI identifies the chunks that belong to it.)
If a peer has a copy of that chunk it will probably send it to you.
If not, it may ask another peer for it. In this way a chunk can be passed through several nodes before reaching its destination. Each node may also keep a copy.
The downloading peer also re-broadcasts some chunks to other random peers. This helps keep the chunks of commonly accessed files from vanishing, and makes it difficult to determine which nodes are actually downloading a file, and which are only passing it along.
A peer may delete an old chunk that hasn't been requested in a while to save space.
I've emphasized may here because it's important in Freenet. Since there's no guarantee which clients will save/pass along a chunk, it's difficult to tell which clients have it. Bitcoin clients, then, would be running this sort of chunk exchange system to share files. The block chain would just keep a record of the file's existence. It would identify the chunks that belong to a particular file, and perhaps the "owner" of the file - so that just as only the owner of a coin can spend it, only the owner of a file can upload a new version of it. Clients might also periodically broadcast a public message, stating that they have (or no longer have, or know where to find) chunks X, Y and Z (which may or may not be all the chunks they have). Of course, another way to share files would be to simply broadcast a message saying "file X can be found at ftp://blah.blah.blah/X". But this isn't really sharing files, only their locations. This method doesn't give you any of the benefits of the Freenet method, but it might be suitable if you don't care about people being able to find out that it was you, in particular, who uploaded/downloaded the file. (Peers could still randomly grab copies of the file and rehost them, perhaps in chunks, to maintain availability and mask who's actually requesting it.) Again, it'd be possible to encrypt a file with someone's public key, or leave it in plaintext so everyone can see. What Freenet does is something along the lines of including the decryption key in the file's URI. That way the nodes who hang on to its chunks can't know their contents (which means you can't get in trouble if someone uploads something illegal and your node happens to cache it), but anyone can be given the URI, allowing them to decrypt the file.
Using the block chain as a generic record of object ownership
Already the block chain is essentially a big record of who owns what coins. More generally, it's a giant key-value store. Spending a coin is telling all your peers "I'm giving Bob ownership of my Foo", and having them agree that you're able to do that. There should be little reason it couldn't record the ownership of other things, and other messages than just transfers of ownership, such as:
Domain names (as is done with Litecoin), and names/addresses in general
Lists of known peers on the network (if this isn't done already), including perhaps known trustworthy or untrustworthy peers. As you download the block chain from other peers, you learn about more peers you can connect to.
Votes - everyone is issued one vote, and only its owner can say "for vote X, my choice is B". Everyone can see the votes, but they can't tell which vote belongs to which person.
TL;DR Bitcoin and its block chain technology could be not just a digital currency, but the future of decentralized networking, incorporating email, DNS, file transfer and just about anything else all in one system. (edit: add a couple more possible uses)
I'm working on enabling merge mining for the Prohashing mining pool. I've spent 45 hours trying to get the dogecoin daemon to accept a merge mined block, with no success. I'm posting my progress in this post, in the hopes that someone who has experience in merge mining can figure out what is wrong. I'll tip the first person $50 in DOGE (about 180,000 DOGE at current rates) who can tell me what is wrong with what I'm doing. If there are multiple issues, then I'll split the reward amongst all the helpers. I simplified the procedure by removing the parts of the algorithm that are irrelevant. Here is the procedure I used:
Get the latest block from the litecoin testnet and store its data in memory.
Call getauxblock against the dogecoin testnet. Since this example is only going to merge mine dogecoins, we ignore "chainid" and store only "hash" in memory. "Target" is obtained by calling getblocktemplate, because we need difficulty and other things from the full template for calculating payouts. "Target" in getauxblock and in getblocktemplate are reversed, so the appropriate conversion is made.
When a block is found for the litecoin testnet, check to see whether the target is less than the dogecoin testnet's target. If so, we call getauxblock again, passing the "hash" exactly as provided in step 2, without any modification, and the serialized block data as the second parameter. The help for the command states that the parameters are "getauxblock [hash] [auxpow]."
The result is that the litecoin blocks are always accepted, and the dogecoin blocks are always rejected with the following errors:
2014-10-09 02:37:45 ERROR: Aux POW merkle root incorrect 2014-10-09 02:37:45 ERROR: AUX POW is not valid
Here is an example "auxpow" serialized block that is submitted to the dogecoin damon. I annotated it as I think is correct, but keep in mind that the annotations could be incorrect and you shouldn't assume that I have identified the correct things to insert or the correct order. In the real submission, there are no spaces or characters between the separated sections. Litecoin coinbase transaction:
The length of the merkle branch from the litecoin block, which is the same as the branch sent out in the stratum protocol. Because this litecoin block has no transactions, the length of the merkle branch is zero:
The litecoin merkle branch, if there were one, would go here in a series of hashes. Since there are no transactions in the block other than the coinbase transaction, we append nothing here.
[There is nothing here]
The "branch side mask" of the coinbase transaction, which is always zeroes:
The auxiliary branch count, which is zero because we are only mining dogecoins in this example:
The auxiliary branch index, which is also zero because we are only mining dogecoins:
I'll also break down my understanding of what is supposed to be placed in the litecoin coinbase transaction to signify that we are merge mining dogecoins. Here is my understanding of the litecoin coinbase transaction's merge mining portion, which you can find embedded within the coinbase transaction printed above: This string signifies that we are merge mining.
The "hash" parameter obtained from the dogecoin daemon's getauxblock command, verbatim:
The following are used for when multiple merge-mined coins are being sought at the same time, but since we are only merge-mining dogecoins, this is a 4-byte 1 followed by a 4-byte 0.
Here are some of the things I tried and the references I used.
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Merged_mining_specification seems to be the primary source on merge mining. However, I noticed that some of the examples in the document don't work with dogecoins. For example, the "block hash" in the auxiliary proof of work that is submitted to namecoin in that document (the second field) looks like the proof of work hash for the block, since it ends in a string of zeroes. Looking at that, I tried placing the scrypt proof of work hash in that field, but it didn't work.
My understanding of the "block hash" is that when you call getblock from a daemon, you provide the double SHA-256 hash of the block header, not the scrypt proof of work hash. The "block hash" is not the scrypt proof of work hash.
I tried reversing various hashes in the fields of the blocks on the theory that endianness was the problem, but 16 different permutations didn't work. I tried reversing the dogecoin auxiliary hash, the block hash, the merkle branch hashes (when there are transactions in the litecoin block, which there are not in this example), and even the block header of the litecoin block. None of these things worked. I couldn't find a permutation of reversed and non-reversed hashes that made any difference. Of course, it is possible that, since there are so many permutations, that I missed the correct one and the hashes are not in the correct endianness in the example.
At http://forum.namecoin.info/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=368, there is a poster who offers advice on how to submit merge mined blocks to getauxblock, although that information is specific to namecoin. I reviewed what I was doing and it appears to be identical to what he is suggesting.
After reviewing the documentation for what a merkle tree is, it took me an entire day to figure out what happens when there are an odd number of transactions in the tree. It turns out that the algorithm is to hash the nodes with themselves. Seeing this, I took the example above and I tried specifying the length of the "merkle branch" for the coinbase transaction as "01," and then provided the hash of the coinbase transaction as the only hash in the "merkle branch." The long-shot idea was that perhaps the dogecoin daemon was looking to hash the coinbase transaction with itself, and use that as the root of the tree. It still returned the same error.
In the litecoin coinbase transaction, the 44-byte merge mining part (fabe + "mm") is preceded by the length (44, or 2c) in some examples, but not in others. Apparently, this length is not necessary if the merge mining string is provided within the first 20 characters of the script, so I left it out in this example. However, in previous iterations, I added an additional byte of "2c" before the merge mining portion and it did not result in any difference in this error.
In these examples, I always assumed that the merkle branches are double-sha256 hashes, even for scrypt coins. All the documentation I read seems to indicate that in scrypt, the only difference is the algorithm used to verify work. From what I can tell, the rest of the block still is stored using SHA-256 hashes, as is the hash of the block headers and even the hashes of the transactions. If there is some difference between scrypt and SHA-256 in how the merge mining headers are stored, that could be a clue.
Thanks to anyone who is willing to try to point out what is wrong here. We have about 15 features ready for release and merge mining is the only one that is holding back the release. Your help is greatly appreciated.
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