Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues
Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues
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Greg Maxwell /u/nullc (CTO of Blockstream) has sent me two private messages in response to my other post today (where I said "Chinese miners can only win big by following the market - not by following Core/Blockstream."). In response to his private messages, I am publicly posting my reply, here:
Note: Greg Maxell nullc sent me 2 short private messages criticizing me today. For whatever reason, he seems to prefer messaging me privately these days, rather than responding publicly on these forums. Without asking him for permission to publish his private messages, I do think it should be fine for me to respond to them publicly here - only quoting 3 phrases from them, namely: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity" LOL. There was nothing particularly new or revealing in his messages - just more of the same stuff we've all heard before. I have no idea why he prefers responding to me privately these days. Everything below is written by me - I haven't tried to upload his 2 PMs to me, since he didn't give permission (and I didn't ask). The only stuff below from his 2 PMs is the 3 phrases already mentioned: "340GB", "paid off", and "integrity". The rest of this long wall of text is just my "open letter to Greg." TL;DR: The code that maximally uses the available hardware and infrastructure will win - and there is nothing Core/Blockstream can do to stop that. Also, things like the Berlin Wall or the Soviet Union lasted for a lot longer than people expected - but, conversely, the also got swept away a lot faster than anyone expected. The "vote" for bigger blocks is an ongoing referendum - and Classic is running on 20-25% of the network (and can and will jump up to the needed 75% very fast, when investors demand it due to the inevitable "congestion crisis") - which must be a massive worry for Greg/Adam/Austin and their backers from the Bilderberg Group. The debate will inevitably be decided in favor of bigger blocks - simply because the market demands it, and the hardware / infrastructure supports it. Hello Greg Maxwell nullc (CTO of Blockstream) - Thank you for your private messages in response to my post. I respect (most of) your work on Bitcoin, but I think you were wrong on several major points in your messages, and in your overall economic approach to Bitcoin - as I explain in greater detail below: Correcting some inappropriate terminology you used As everybody knows, Classic or Unlimited or Adaptive (all of which I did mention specifically in my post) do not support "340GB" blocks (which I did not mention in my post). It is therefore a straw-man for you to claim that big-block supporters want "340GB" blocks. Craig Wright may want that - but nobody else supports his crazy posturing and ridiculous ideas. You should know that what actual users / investors (and Satoshi) actually do want, is to let the market and the infrastructure decide on the size of actual blocks - which could be around 2 MB, or 4 MB, etc. - gradually growing in accordance with market needs and infrastructure capabilities (free from any arbitrary, artificial central planning and obstructionism on the part of Core/Blockstream, and its investors - many of whom have a vested interest in maintaining the current debt-backed fiat system). You yourself (nullc) once said somewhere that bigger blocks would probably be fine - ie, they would not pose a decentralization risk. (I can't find the link now - maybe I'll have time to look for it later.) I found the link: https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/43mond/even_a_year_ago_i_said_i_though_we_could_probably/ I am also surprised that you now seem to be among those making unfounded insinuations that posters such as myself must somehow be "paid off" - as if intelligent observers and participants could not decide on their own, based on the empirical evidence, that bigger blocks are needed, when the network is obviously becoming congested and additional infrastructure is obviously available. Random posters on Reddit might say and believe such conspiratorial nonsense - but I had always thought that you, given your intellectual abilities, would have been able to determine that people like me are able to arrive at supporting bigger blocks quite entirely on our own, based on two simple empirical facts, ie:
the infrastructure supports bigger blocks now;
the market needs bigger blocks now.
In the present case, I will simply assume that you might be having a bad day, for you to erroneously and groundlessly insinuate that I must be "paid off" in order to support bigger blocks. Using Occam's Razor The much simpler explanation is that bigger-block supporters believe will get "paid off" from bigger gains for their investment in Bitcoin. Rational investors and users understand that bigger blocks are necessary, based on the apparent correlation (not necessarily causation!) between volume and price (as mentioned in my other post, and backed up with graphs). And rational network capacity planners (a group which you should be in - but for some mysterious reason, you're not) also understand that bigger blocks are necessary, and quite feasible (and do not pose any undue "centralization risk".) As I have been on the record for months publicly stating, I understand that bigger blocks are necessary based on the following two objective, rational reasons:
because I've seen the empirical research in the field (from guys like Gavin and Toomim) showing that the network infrastructure (primarily bandwidth and latency - but also RAM and CPU) would also support bigger blocks now (I believe they showed that 3-4MB blocks would definitely work fine on the network now - possibly even 8 MB - without causing undue centralization).
Bigger-block supporters are being objective; smaller-block supporters are not I am surprised that you no longer talk about this debate in those kind of objective terms:
bandwidth, latency (including Great Firewall of China), RAM, CPU;
At this point, the burden is on guys like you (nullc) to explain why you support a so-called scaling "roadmap" which is not aligned with:
simple, rational investment policy; and
simple, rational capacity planning
The burden is also on guys like you to show that you do not have a conflict of interest, due to Blockstream's highly-publicized connections (via insurance giant AXA - whose CED is also the Chairman of the Bilderberg Group; and companies such as the "Big 4" accounting firm PwC) to the global cartel of debt-based central banks with their infinite money-printing. In a nutshell, the argument of big-block supporters is simple: If the hardware / network infrastructure supports bigger blocks (and it does), and if the market demands it (and it does), then we certainly should use bigger blocks - now. You have never provided a counter-argument to this simple, rational proposition - for the past few years. If you have actual numbers or evidence or facts or even legitimate concerns (regarding "centralization risk" - presumably your only argument) then you should show such evidence. But you never have. So we can only assume either incompetence or malfeasance on your part. As I have also publicly and privately stated to you many times, with the utmost of sincerity: We do of course appreciate the wealth of stellar coding skills which you bring to Bitcoin's cryptographic and networking aspects. But we do not appreciate the obstructionism and centralization which you also bring to Bitcoin's economic and scaling aspects. Bitcoin is bigger than you. The simple reality is this: If you can't / won't let Bitcoin grow naturally, then the market is going to eventually route around you, and billions (eventually trillions) of investor capital and user payments will naturally flow elsewhere. So: You can either be the guy who wrote the software to provide simple and safe Bitcoin scaling (while maintaining "reasonable" decentralization) - or the guy who didn't. The choice is yours. The market, and history, don't really care about:
whether you yourself might have been "paid off" (or under a non-disclosure agreement written perhaps by some investors associated the Bilderberg Group and the legacy debt-based fiat money system which they support), or
whether or not you might be clueless about economics.
Crypto and/or Bitcoin will move on - with or without you and your obstructionism. Bigger-block supporters, including myself, are impartial By the way, my two recent posts this past week on the Craig Wright extravaganza...
...should have given you some indication that I am being impartial and objective, and I do have "integrity" (and I am not "paid off" by anybody, as you so insultingly insinuated). In other words, much like the market and investors, I don't care who provides bigger blocks - whether it would be Core/Blockstream, or Bitcoin Classic, or (the perhaps confusingly-named) "Bitcoin Unlimited" (which isn't necessarily about some kind of "unlimited" blocksize, but rather simply about liberating users and miners from being "limited" by controls imposed by any centralized group of developers, such as Core/Blockstream and the Bilderbergers who fund you). So, it should be clear by now I don't care one way or the other about Gavin personally - or about you, or about any other coders. I care about code, and arguments - regardless of who is providing such things - eg:
When Gavin didn't demand crypto proof from Craig, and you said you would have: I publicly criticized Gavin - and I supported you.
When you continue to impose needless obstactles to bigger blocks, then I continue to criticize you.
In other words, as we all know, it's not about the people. It's about the code - and what the market wants, and what the infrastructure will bear. You of all people should know that that's how these things should be decided. Fortunately, we can take what we need, and throw away the rest. Your crypto/networking expertise is appreciated; your dictating of economic parameters is not. As I have also repeatedly stated in the past, I pretty much support everything coming from you, nullc:
your crypto and networking and game-theoretical expertise,
your extremely important work on Confidential Transactions / homomorphic encryption.
your desire to keep Bitcoin decentralized.
And I (and the network, and the market/investors) will always thank you profusely and quite sincerely for these massive contributions which you make. But open-source code is (fortunately) à la carte. It's mix-and-match. We can use your crypto and networking code (which is great) - and we can reject your cripple-code (artificially small 1 MB blocks), throwing it where it belongs: in the garbage heap of history. So I hope you see that I am being rational and objective about what I support (the code) - and that I am also always neutral and impartial regarding who may (or may not) provide it. And by the way: Bitcoin is actually not as complicated as certain people make it out to be. This is another point which might be lost on certain people, including:
And that point is this: The crypto code behind Bitcoin actually is very simple. And the networking code behind Bitcoin is actually also fairly simple as well. Right now you may be feeling rather important and special, because you're part of the first wave of development of cryptocurrencies. But if the cryptocurrency which you're coding (Core/Blockstream's version of Bitcoin, as funded by the Bilderberg Group) fails to deliver what investors want, then investors will dump you so fast your head will spin. Investors care about money, not code. So bigger blocks will eventually, inevitably come - simply because the market demand is there, and the infrastructure capacity is there. It might be nice if bigger blocks would come from Core/Blockstream. But who knows - it might actually be nicer (in terms of anti-fragility and decentralization of development) if bigger blocks were to come from someone other than Core/Blockstream. So I'm really not begging you - I'm warning you, for your own benefit (your reputation and place in history), that: Either way, we are going to get bigger blocks. Simply because the market wants them, and the hardware / infrastructre can provide them. And there is nothing you can do to stop us. So the market will inevitably adopt bigger blocks either with or without you guys - given that the crypto and networking tech behind Bitcoin is not all that complex, and it's open-source, and there is massive pent-up investor demand for cryptocurrency - to the tune of multiple billions (or eventually trillions) of dollars. It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Regarding the "success" which certain small-block supports are (prematurely) gloating about, during this time when a hard-fork has not happened yet: they should bear in mind that the market has only begun to speak. And the first thing it did when it spoke was to dump about 20-25% of Core/Blockstream nodes in a matter of weeks. (And the next thing it did was Gemini added Ethereum trading.) So a sizable percentage of nodes are already using Classic. Despite desperate, irrelevant attempts of certain posters on these forums to "spin" the current situation as a "win" for Core - it is actually a major "fail" for Core. Because if Core/Blocksteam were not "blocking" Bitcoin's natural, organic growth with that crappy little line of temporary anti-spam kludge-code which you and your minions have refused to delete despite Satoshi explicitly telling you to back in 2010 ("MAX_BLOCKSIZE = 1000000"), then there would be something close to 0% nodes running Classic - not 25% (and many more addable at the drop of a hat). This vote is ongoing. This "voting" is not like a normal vote in a national election, which is over in one day. Unfortunately for Core/Blockstream, the "voting" for Classic and against Core is actually two-year-long referendum. It is still ongoing, and it can rapidly swing in favor of Classic at any time between now and Classic's install-by date (around January 1, 2018 I believe) - at any point when the market decides that it needs and wants bigger blocks (ie, due to a congestion crisis). You know this, Adam Back knows this, Austin Hill knows this, and some of your brainwashed supporters on censored forums probably know this too. This is probably the main reason why you're all so freaked out and feel the need to even respond to us unwashed bigger-block supporters, instead of simply ignoring us. This is probably the main reason why Adam Back feels the need to keep flying around the world, holding meetings with miners, making PowerPoint presentations in English and Chinese, and possibly also making secret deals behind the scenes. This is also why Theymos feels the need to censor. And this is perhaps also why your brainwashed supporters from censored forums feel the need to constantly make their juvenile, content-free, drive-by comments (and perhaps also why you evidently feel the need to privately message me your own comments now). Because, once again, for the umpteenth time in years, you've seen that we are not going away. Every day you get another worrisome, painful reminder from us that Classic is still running on 25% of "your" network. And everyday get another worrisome, painful reminder that Classic could easily jump to 75% in a matter of days - as soon as investors see their $7 billion wealth starting to evaporate when the network goes into a congestion crisis due to your obstructionism and insistence on artificially small 1 MB blocks. If your code were good enough to stand on its own, then all of Core's globetrotting and campaigning and censorship would be necessary. But you know, and everyone else knows, that your cripple-code does not include simple and safe scaling - and the competing code (Classic, Unlimited) does. So your code cannot stand on its own - and that's why you and your supporters feel that it's necessary to keep up the censorship and and the lies and the snark. It's shameful that a smart coder like you would be involved with such tactics. Oppressive regimes always last longer than everyone expects - but they also also collapse faster than anyone expects. We already have interesting historical precedents showing how grassroots resistance to centralized oppression and obstructionism tends to work out in the end. The phenomenon is two-fold:
The oppression usually drags on much longer than anyone expects; and
The liberation usually happens quite abruptly - much faster than anyone expects.
The Berlin Wall stayed up much longer than everyone expected - but it also came tumbling down much faster than everyone expected. Examples of opporessive regimes that held on surprisingly long, and collapsed surpisingly fast, are rather common - eg, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Both examples are actually quite germane to the case of Blockstream/Core/Theymos - as those despotic regimes were also held together by the fragile chewing gum and paper clips of denialism and censorship, and the brainwashed but ultimately complacent and fragile yes-men that inevitably arise in such an environment.) The Berlin Wall did indeed seem like it would never come down. But the grassroots resistance against it was always there, in the wings, chipping away at the oppression, trying to break free. And then when it did come down, it happened in a matter of days - much faster than anyone had expected. That's generally how these things tend to go:
oppression and obstructionism drag on forever, and the people oppressing freedom and progress erroneously believe that Core/Blockstream is "winning" (in this case: Blockstream/Core and you and Adam and Austin - and the clueless yes-men on censored forums like r\bitcoin who mindlessly support you, and the obedient Chinese miners who, thus far, have apparently been to polite to oppose you) ;
then one fine day, the market (or society) mysteriously and abruptly decides one day that "enough is enough" - and the tsunami comes in and washes the oppressors away in the blink of an eye.
So all these non-entities with their drive-by comments on these threads and their premature gloating and triumphalism are irrelevant in the long term. The only thing that really matters is investors and users - who are continually applying grassroots pressure on the network, demanding increased capacity to keep the transactions flowing (and the price rising). And then one day: the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down - or in the case of Bitcoin: a bunch of mining pools have to switch to Classic, and they will do switch so fast it will make your head spin. Because there will be an emergency congestion crisis where the network is causing the price to crash and threatening to destroy $7 billion in investor wealth. So it is understandable that your supports might sometimes prematurely gloat, or you might feel the need to try to comment publicly or privately, or Adam might feel the need to jet around the world. Because a large chunk of people have rejected your code. And because many more can and will - and they'll do in the blink of an eye. Classic is still out there, "waiting in the wings", ready to be installed, whenever the investors tell the miners that it is needed. Fortunately for big-block supporters, in this "election", the polls don't stay open for just one day, like in national elections. The voting for Classic is on-going - it runs for two years. It is happening now, and it will continue to happen until around January 1, 2018 (which is when Classic-as-an-option has been set to officially "expire"). To make a weird comparison with American presidential politics: It's kinda like if either Hillary or Trump were already in office - but meanwhile there was also an ongoing election (where people could change their votes as often as they want), and the day when people got fed up with the incompetent incumbent, they can throw them out (and install someone like Bernie instead) in the blink of an eye. So while the inertia does favor the incumbent (because people are lazy: it takes them a while to become informed, or fed up, or panicked), this kind of long-running, basically never-ending election favors the insurgent (because once the incumbent visibly screws up, the insurgent gets adopted - permanently). Everyone knows that Satoshi explicitly defined Bitcoin to be a voting system, in and of itself. Not only does the network vote on which valid block to append next to the chain - the network also votes on the very definition of what a "valid block" is. Go ahead and re-read the anonymous PDF that was recently posted on the subject of how you are dangerously centralizing Bitcoin by trying to prevent any votes from taking place: https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4hxlquhoh_a_warning_regarding_the_onset_of_centralised/ The insurgent (Classic, Unlimited) is right (they maximally use available bandwidth) - while the incumbent (Core) is wrong (it needlessly throws bandwidth out the window, choking the network, suppressing volume, and hurting the price). And you, and Adam, and Austin Hill - and your funders from the Bilderberg Group - must be freaking out that there is no way you can get rid of Classic (due to the open-source nature of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin). Cripple-code will always be rejected by the network. Classic is already running on about 20%-25% of nodes, and there is nothing you can do to stop it - except commenting on these threads, or having guys like Adam flying around the world doing PowerPoints, etc. Everything you do is irrelevant when compared against billions of dollars in current wealth (and possibly trillions more down the road) which needs and wants and will get bigger blocks. You guys no longer even make technical arguments against bigger blocks - because there are none: Classic's codebase is 99% the same as Core, except with bigger blocks. So when we do finally get bigger blocks, we will get them very, very fast: because it only takes a few hours to upgrade the software to keep all the good crypto and networking code that Core/Blockstream wrote - while tossing that single line of 1 MB "max blocksize" cripple-code from Core/Blockstream into the dustbin of history - just like people did with the Berlin Wall.
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