A Proportionate Response: Multi-hash Mining for Bitcoin

What’s new in Bitcoin? Not much… oh yeah, that. The Bitcoin Social War of 2017 is admittedly fun to watch, but I think it’s fair to say that many of the participants are getting a bit stressed.  Here is an idea that might reduce some of the tension, courtesy of me and Adam Perlow—who started thinking about this idea some time ago, and who has his own views on how it could be used.

The tl/dr:
For anyone thinking about changing Bitcoin’s proof of work: Instead of forking to a single proof of work, we propose forking to multiple proofs of work, with Bitcoin holders able to vote their coins on what the mix of PoWs should be in each two-week period. That means that existing miners don’t have to be completely shut out.

For any Bitcoin holder thinking about some other hard fork of Bitcoin: you may want to follow the miners’ lead right now, but that won’t always be the case. Incorporate multiple proofs of work and coin voting, but leave the other PoWs dormant until you need them. Your miners won’t lose any income, and you’ll have more control. Even if you get into conflict later, you can send a strong message to miners without hurting their bottom line too much.

For anyone who doesn’t want to do a hard fork: I don’t think you should do one just for this. Still, this is a nice idea to have in your back pocket.

The paper:

A Proportionate Response


Minimal solution

Suppose an evil happens, and you don’t want anything like it to happen again. A proposal is made. The minimal criterion for such a proposal is that, enacted in good time, the evil from which you are now suffering would have been prevented.

For instance, the Challenger disaster, caused by a brittle O-ring, could have been prevented by an O-ring embrittlement prevention programme. This would not have been sufficient; the O-ring failure was the outcome of a chain of cause and effect, beginning in NASA’s culture, that could easily have produced some completely different technical outcome; however, any solution that would not have prevented a brittle O-ring is no solution at all.

Forty-nine people were killed yesterday by an Islamist terrorist in an Orlando gay nightclub. The terrorist was a natural-born citizen of the United States, working as a security guard, with a concealed carry firearms licence. He beat his ex-wife. He also happened to be of Afghani descent. His father, Seddique Mateen, was last year running for the presidency of Afghanistan! What? Anyway, under Afghan law, the terrorist, Omar Mateen, therefore held a second, jus sanguinis, Afghan citizenship – assuming he never renounced it. Continue reading “Minimal solution”

Bitcoin reifies – an old post

I wrote this just over one year ago, but only made it public for a few days. Here it is. I still agree with perhaps 80% of the content. As for the style? Pfah.

Bitcoin Reifies

Blockchains as a natural phenomenon

Bitcoin is real. We can keep it, lose it, give it away or receive it — but we can’t counterfeit it. There is no such thing as a fake bitcoin, nor will there ever be, radical developments in cryptography or quantum computation notwithstanding. Yes, this makes it similar to gold or crude oil. That’s not important. Gold’s been around for a while already; it’s shiny, but then again, it’s rather dull.

What I want to argue is that owning and using Bitcoin is fundamentally different from owning and using fiat currencies, precious metals or any other asset. Bitcoin turns social relations into effectively innate objects and properties. These include “transferable property”, “trade” and “autonomy”.

Continue reading “Bitcoin reifies – an old post”