What to expect in the next 5-10 years. From the perspective of a long-time crypto holder.
I've been involved in crypto since reading about Bitcoin in 2010. I've seen coins come and go and everything in between. How many of you know what Solidcoin is? Yeah, I've seen a thing or two. Whether or not a coin does well in the long-term is tied to many factors. Among those factors, one of them is the emission rate of new coins. Emission rate, of itself, doesn't mean much because it is constant. However, it is a positive sign when you see a high level of demand which can be translated as the total network hashrate being rather large. At this time I see the number one Cryptonight bases coin is Monero. The Monero network hashrate is around 1000mh/s. This is very high and it is a testament to the fact that Monero is perceived to be a coin of value worth the effort to mine. Electroneum, at this time, has the next highest network hashrate of all Cryptonight coins. Currently it is bouncing between 250-300mh/s. This level of mining support tells me there is significant value in mining ETN. So, back to the emission rate. The emission rate of new coins is often pretty high. This is especially true for ETN. Like other coins, Sumocoin excluded, the emission rate is constantly decreasing. This feature isn't remarkable in itself, but in the case of ETN it will be more interesting than it is with other coins. I did the math for the ETN long-term emission rate and I figured that ETN block rewards will become effectively very small in comparison to the current reward in 10 years. In 5 years, the block reward will be about 10% of what it was at release. About 750 ETN. In another 5 years following that, it will be about 75 ETN. Understand, these rewards will be true regardless of the technology advances that occur. Even if the network hashrate grows to 1000Gh/s, the emission rate will not change and the rewards will still decrease to these numbers. In short, ETN will become much harder and expensive to mine. This will have a direct impact on the value of ETN in the future. So how much of an impact am I talking about? I'm going to throw some numbers out there. These are Very Conservative numbers, but I feel they are realistic for anyone interested in the long-term outlook. Assuming that ETN does nothing new from where they are today, it will be a safe conservative bet that ETN will be worth $0.25-0.35 in five years. If ETN can survive for five years, the five years following that will be the largest in growth. In ten years ETN will be worth $2.50-3.50. Lambos? No, not really. But for all practical purposes, a very good outlook for long-term investors. For many, these numbers are unacceptable. And I get where those people are coming from. They see coins skyrocket 10,000% in one year and they want some of that magic. The purpose and use case behind ETN could very well drive the price much higher than my predictions. But understand that my numbers are based on nothing new or remarkable happening for ETN. And with that, I should also provide a sober and alternative possibility for the future of ETN as well. This is what I call the Solidcoin Fate. Remember Solidcoin? Yeah, a lot of people don't. Solidcoin was a new coin that was introduced around the time that Namecoin was developed, although it wasn't related to NMC in any way. Solidcoin became the first new Crypto to have a significant percentage of miners drop BTC mining for mining Solidcoin. Things were looking great until the developer suddenly dropped support and abandoned everything. It wasn't a scam coin. The developer simply never intended it to take off like it did and became overwhelmed and disillusioned with technical difficulties at the same time. Thus, Solidcoin evaporated as quickly as it became a success. The lesson here is, a centralized coin can suddenly go belly-up if the developer suddenly abandons it. While I don't expect to see that with ETN, it is a possibility that could occur. Hopefully, as was the case for how Monero was born, a large group of supporters will take over and continue development as a decentralized coin. The number of supporters for ETN certainly supports a scenario like this if the worse were to happen. No matter what happens, it will be an interesting ride to take. As a holder and user of ETN (Yes, I use it. Bought several Steam games with it. It's not a currency if you don't ever spend it.) I naturally want to see the best outlook become reality. I am also a realist, and I don't subscribe to dreams of riches and "lambos". Even if magical things happen in the world of Cryptos, it isn't responsible to make investments and decisions based on fantasy. The reality for ETN, in my opinion, is that it will be a great coin to hold if you can hold for 10 years. I can hold for 10 years and I will. My investment isn't so great that I need to worry about it or that I'm always thinking about it. If yours is, you aren't investing responsibly. Best of luck to everyone.
WHAT IF: Could miners collude to only mine every other difficulty cycle?
What-If-Machine question: The difficulty threshold is changed every 2016 blocks based on the time duration of the 2016 previous blocks, correct? (Just the last 2016? No exponential averages of earlier blocks or anything like that?) So what if all the people with high-end mining machines (ASICs and the like) collude, but not in the 51%-attack sense: what if they run all their miners full-throttle during a difficulty cycle, but then turn off all their miners during the next cycle? This would produce a two-phase cycle with very low-difficulty low-cost high-yield mining in one phase, and very slow high-difficulty low-yield mining in the next (which these colluding miners would skip). Furthermore, this would discourage other miners from mining during the slow phases at all (assuming they pay for electricity). They'd be incented to join the alternating-phase crowd, exacerbating the effect even more. The main issue I see with this is that transactions would be processed extremely slowly during the longer high-difficulty phases with few miners. Is there any mechanism, disincentive, or thing I forgot that would prevent this or make it a non-issue?
Cryptocurrency mining is a broad subject, with many different facets. There are a number of different ways in which mining can be done, ranging from traditional dedicated hardware mining, like the ASICs, GPU mining, cloud mining or web browser mining, to name some. However, a very interesting and less known concept is the one of merged mining. This process entails the mining of two coins that are based on the same algorithm, simultaneously. Basically, merged mining allows a miner to mine on more than one blockchain at a time. The added benefit to this is that the miner will contribute to both of the blockchain’s hashrates, hence increasing their security (lower threat of a 51% attack) and functionality. Satoshi Nakamoto himself has written on the subject, in this Bitcointalk post from 2010 regarding Bitcoin specifically, saying: I think it would be possible for BitDNS to be a completely separate network and separate block chain, yet share CPU power with Bitcoin. The only overlap is to make it so miners can search for proof-of-work for both networks simultaneously. The networks wouldn’t need any coordination. Miners would subscribe to both networks in parallel. They would scan SHA such that if they get a hit, they potentially solve both at once. A solution may be for just one of the networks if one network has a lower difficulty. I think an external miner could call getwork on both programs and combine the work. Maybe call Bitcoin, get work from it, hand it to BitDNS getwork to combine into a combined work. Instead of fragmentation, networks share and augment each other’s total CPU power. This would solve the problem that if there are multiple networks, they are a danger to each other if the available CPU power gangs up on one. Instead, all networks in the world would share combined CPU power, increasing the total strength. It would make it easier for small networks to get started by tapping into a ready base of miners. Perhaps the most discussed examples of merged mining are the pairs Bitcoin & Namecoin and Litecoin & Dogecoin. In a merged mining process, there always has to be a parent blockchain and an auxiliary one. This process does not require any additional computing power from the miners, which is a big advantage. First, a block of transactions for each chain has to be assembled. The next step is simply starting to mine. During the process there are 3 possible outcomes:
Mining a block at Bitcoin’s difficulty level. You receive both mining rewards.
Mining a block at Namecoin’s difficulty level. You only receive the Namecoin mining reward.
Mining a block between Namecoin’s and Bitcoin’s difficulty level. Same outcome as scenario number two.
The biggest disadvantage of implementing merged mining is that within the auxiliary chain, there is implementation and development work involved and when switching, a hard fork is needed. Overall, merged mining benefits miners, not so much investors, however it does offer other perks like increased security for the actual networks. Could be the perfect approach for new projects, in terms of protecting themselves from a 51% attack for example. It is an interesting implementation which more people should be aware of.
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.
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, I summarized what I could find out about Bitcoin for my convenience, thought you might find it useful.
First introduced in 2008, Bitcoin is the first example of a peer-to-peer cryptographic currency. In Bitcoin; • Computers solve randomly created equations, whose difficulty automatically adjusts so that they are solved to the tune of one every ten minutes, regardless of processing power. • Difficulty of these equations is set to adjust every 2016 blocks, or two weeks. So after significant advances in mining technology (Such as Asic miners) up to two weeks of Bitcoins might be mined in a significantly shorter period of time. • Through solving these equations “Blocks” are created, which encode all new transactions, and impart a set number of Bitcoins to the solver. • The number of Bitcoins rewarded per block is set to halve every 210,000 blocks or approximately every four years. • The current Block reward of Bitcoins is 25 Bitcoins, the reward has been halved once so far. The next halving is set to occur in late 2016. • This reward structure means that assuming the value of Bitcoins continues to rise, while the total number of new Bitcoins minted yearly may continue to fall, their value might not. • The total number of Bitcoins is capped at 21 million units, the last of which is expected to be minted in the year 2140 AD. Regarding Bitcoin; • Bitcoins are sub-divisible up to the eighth decimal place, although this limit may easily be removed if the value of Bitcoins rises to the point of requiring it. • This smallest unit (0.00000001 Bitcoins) is currently called a Satoshi, and should cover most needs until valuations of more than a million USD, at which point a Satoshi would be worth 1 us penny. • The number of possible Bitcoin addresses is 2160 as each address is a 160 byte hash of a public key Benefits of Bitcoins; • Bitcoin allows near instant transactions with no required cost, although speeds can be expedited through a reward of approximately 1-5 US cents (0.0001-0.0005 BTC currently) attached to the transaction for the first miner who verifies it. • This is quite useful for merchants as methods of payment such as credit cards or paypal generally have high fees of up to 3%. • Wallets can be generated at will, without need of any form of credentials or verification. • Transactions are unblockable so long as the sending party has access to an internet connection. • Bitcoin Funds do not exist in any specific country (unlike regular money which even when in digital form must exist in some country) but exists on the internet, and hence essentially in all countries at once. • Lack of inflation, Bitcoin is designed to prevent any third party from being able to artificially increase the supply of Bitcoins, although minor predetermined inflation will occur through mining until approximately the year 2140. • Irreversibility of transactions, A Bitcoin transaction confirmed once is essentially irreversible from the sender’s side, reversing transactions before the first confirmation, meanwhile, is possible, but highly difficult, and only useable with goods which are dispatched instantly such as internet downloads. • Ease of movement, Bitcoin is one of the first means of Capital which is essentially perfectly mobile, as owners of Bitcoin can easily transfer funds(in Bitcoin) over any regional/political boundaries. History of Bitcoins; Intro; Bitcoin is currently one of the world’s most volatile currencies, and although the average price of a Bitcoin has been rising continuously when looked at from a yearly point of view, it has several times crashed and lost up to 68 percent of its value over a relatively short period of time. • This is commonly attributed to Bitcoins similarity to both economic bubbles in the seventeenth century, and the advent of the tcp/ip(internet) protocol in the more recent past. • After each bubble the total viability of Bitcoin as a currency grew as more people gained Bitcoins, became aware of Bitcoins, as more businesses started accepting Bitcoins, and as more services grew around Bitcoins. Crashes; • The first crash in Bitcoins value was in June2011 when Bitcoins price fell from a high of 32 USD to a low of 2 USD. • The second crash occurred approximately seven months later in January 2012 when Bitcoins price fell from a high of 7.20 USD to a low of 4.6 USD , eventually settling at around 6.23 USD • The third crash occurred another seven months later in August 2012, when Bitcoins price fell from a high of 15.25 USD to a low of 7.5 USD. • Two mini crashes occurred approximately another seven months later in March 2013, when Bitcoins price twice fell from a high of 49 USD to a low of around 34 USD, Bitcoin ended the month on a high note however at above 90 USD. • The fourth crash occurred a month after these two mini-crashes in April 2013 when Bitcoins Price fell from a high of 266 USD to a low of approximately 54 USD, before settling at a price of around 100 USD around which value it remained until early October 2013 • In early October 2013 the price of Bitcoin once again began to rise, reaching a six month high of approximately 200 USD by the end of the month. Rises in Price continued in November, where the news concerning Bitcoins senate hearing briefly propelled Bitcoins to values of over 1000 usd, before a price correction to approximately 500 USD from where it has since been rising to a current value of approximately 700 USD. Limits/Criticisms of Bitcoin;
• Bitcoin currently has a transaction limit of 7 per second, due a 1mb per block restriction on Block size, created to prevent block chain bloat. This is quite low compared to Visa’s average of 2000 transactions per second. Bitcoin is currently, however, only averaging one transaction per second, and it is expected that the limit will be removed long before the average number of Bitcoin transactions reaches this point.
• Bitcoins relatively unstable value renders it unsuitable for merchants or as a store of value.
• Supporters of Bitcoin claim that this this relative instability of value only exists as Bitcoin is currently in its introductory stage, and that these fluctuations in value will reach usual levels when Bitcoin approaches it’s true valuation.(estimates of this range from 10 thousand USD per Bitcoin to 1 Million USD per Bitcoin) • Supporters also point out that services such as Bitpay allow merchants accept Bitcoin while distancing themselves from its risks, as through these services they link the items price in Bitcoins to the conversion rate between Bitcoin and a chosen currency, and through this get paid in their chosen currency, despite accepting Bitcoin.
• Bitcoins once lost are irretrievable. If a Bitcoin key is lost, or the Bitcoins are sent to an inactive or non-existent address there is no recourse by which to re-obtain those Bitcoins.
• Ease of duplicating the Bitcoin code. Although it is impossible to generate fake Bitcoins, critics point out that there is nothing to stop the generation of new and improved versions of Bitcoin, as has already occurred through coins such as Namecoin, or Peercoin.
• Supporters point out several issues with this • The First school of thought says that Bitcoin has several advantages over altcoins, such as having the greatest amount of services and developers, which form a barrier to success for other crypto currencies. They also point out that Bitcoins great sub-divisibility renders any need for alternate crypto currencies moot, and that if a notable improvement does come out, bitcoin can just build it into their own code.(see colored coins/mastercoin/zerocoin) • The second school of thought claims that although Alternate coins debuted early enough with significant differences from Bitcoin(see Peercoin, Namecoin, Zerocoin, Primecoin) might manage to capture a portion of the crypto coin market, Bitcoins will remain the most prominent Crypto currency for the foreseeable future.
• Governments/Big banks will not allow Bitcoin to succeed.
• Supporters argue against this point on several fronts claiming; • Firstly that although some governments might decide to outlaw Bitcoin, or some Big businesses might try to stop it, Crypto currency is a new technology whose time has come and the most such actions will be able to do is to stall/delay the success of Bitcoin, and in the process lose any business generated by Bitcoin. • Secondly that it would be very difficult to legally stop Bitcoin, as laws outlawing Bitcoin leave several avenues open for lawsuits, and although it might be possible to hinder Bitcoin through inefficient legislation/red tape this would be against a countries best interests, due to potential growth offered by upcoming Bitcoin industries. edit; some formatting issues occured in the last line, the numbers should go 1 2 3 4 5 6... rather than 1 2 1 2 1 2 The dots and explanation only apply the one point(number) above them not both.
1- Primecoin is the First non Hash-Cash PoW Crypto-Currency.
"Primecoin is the first to show that a proof-of-work algorithm could exist to compute things other than cryptographic hash functions."
2- Naturally Scarce
Primecoin is naturally scarce (not artificially) -no hard limit and this is crucial for its long term continuity and its ability to adapt to market conditions.
According to the last estimations, the total supply is going to be ~55 Millions XPM. (peercointalk.org) You don't have to worry about inflation, neither facing blunt deflation (encountered in bitcoin/litecoin)
3- Very fast confirmations - 1min/block 4- Elastic supply
ING economist: "A bitcoin algorithm needs to be developed that smoothly matches money supply & demand"
This is hard-coded in Primecoin: difficulty going down gets corrected upwards because miners are encouraged to mine, having more reward subsidy.
When difficulty is dropping (i.e. miners leave the network), reward-revenue is recalculated upwards so that they come back in, ensuring the network security elastically vs price bumps.
5- Primecoin is sustainable
"Primecoin does not use a fixed cap money supply model like bitcoin as described in the primecoin paper, instead its mining output is associate with Moore's Law. It should have much slower drop of mining subsidy than bitcoin in the longer term (10+ years) thus much less affected than bitcoin in terms of risk of low security level. If Moore's law stops at some point then primecoin block subsidy would become relatively constant, rather than tending to zero as in the case of bitcoin (note though primecoin inflation rate is still tending to zero)."
"When the proof-of-work mint rate approaches zero, there is less and less incentive to mint proof-of-work blocks. Bitcoin is insecure."
"Primecoin has still good scarcity property similar to gold while network security is maintained without the need to raise transaction fee."
"Long-term bitcoin security relies mainly on transaction fees. Primecoin realistically would continue to have some subsidy long term, so is less reliant on transaction fees for security."
6- Primecoin is currently the “fairest” coin to mine
"The Primecoin algorithm is ASIC/FPGA hostile, and even GPU mining is not economically viable at the moment. While it is certainly possible to create specialized mining equipment, it is far more difficult and expensive to develop chips for high speed modular arithmetics. In contrast to SHA-256/Scrypt mining, those chips would also be multi-use and could be applied for other purposes after the next generation hits the market. In a sense, Primecoin is currently the “fairest” coin to mine, as it is purely CPU/GPU based. [...] Besides this, Primecoin already offers a number cloud mining providers, which inevitability will be the final stage in the specialized-mining-chip-race. For example, ASIC supplier KnCMiner recently announced not to produce mining rigs for household use anymore, as non-industrial grade power supply is not sufficient."
7- Primecoin can introduce new participants to the new digital economy
"In a Free Market, there's Free Will (and Creativity) as driver for Actions - and fundamentally Primecoin (almost philosophically) provides us with the ability/choice of applying our Ingenuity on Mining."
"With Primecoin, people who like to mine cryptocurrencies have a better choice to mine, to get more benefit out of the mining activity & environmental cost."
"Primecoin complements the goal here as it produces additional scientific value from the consumed energy. So people who like to mine cryptocurrency for whatever reason have a better choice to mine, to get more benefit out of the mining activity and environmental cost."
With Primecoin, you can actually and effectively Innovate and Improve on Mining Technologies and Techniques, on 2 lines: Hardware and Software. This is radically different from hash-cash PoW. In essence you have twice as much possibilities to earn revenues.
8- Proof-of-work cryptos will gradually transition toward energy-multiuse, ie providing both security & technological computing values. And Primecoin is the pioneer in this realm.
"One year after primecoin's public debut, the cryptocurrency designers are still focused on mixing hash functions with hash-cash proof-of-work, or finding ever more 'cpu friendly' proof-of-work; Primecoin's unique proof-of-work remains the first and one of the very few useful and actually interesting proof-of-work designs, that preserves the decentralization property of cryptocurrency."
9- Primecoin has anti-centralization features
Brute force hashing random numbers, under rigid guidelines(the more CPU, the stronger) doesn't work to mine primecoins - there's no known rules to find prime chains.
Elastic reward re-calibration, in real-time (reward gets immediately lower if difficulty would happen to rise)
10- Primecoin captures the Wasted Energy of Bitcoin's Algorithm - The mining is actually useful
"The reason why Primecoin-like “useful POWs” are the most promising is that, if the computations are useful enough, the currency’s “waste factor” can actually drop below zero, making the currency a public good."
"The innovative prime proof-of-work in Primecoin not only provides security and minting to the network, but also generates a special form of prime number chains of interest to mathematical research. Thus primecoin network is energy-multiuse, compared to bitcoin network. Primecoin is designed to sustain a prosperous mining market and high level of security, while maintaining good scarcity property like gold. Primecoin also processes payment transactions 10x faster than bitcoin network."
"Primecoin's proof-of-work is still pretty much the only alternative proof-of-work in production other than hashcash. By alternative proof-of-work, is meant alternative proof-of-work consensus. Interestingly, Primecoin also tries to address bitcoin's energy problem, from a different angle. In a free market, there is bound to be [the] coexistence of energy intensive currencies and energy efficient currencies, meaning, people have free will to consume energy to produce currency for example, mining gold. So Primecoin would demonstrate, such energy consumption can be made energy-multiuse, while preserving the critical decentralization property."
11- Primecoin has direct by-products
"Bitcoin hashing or mining provides no meaningful by-product whereas Primecoin delivers the chains of prime numbers. Primecoin is the first cryptocurrency with such property."
"Prime numbers are very useful. They are important in cryptography, and used in many encryption systems. The larger the list of known primes grows, and as the value of the numbers increases, the security of encryption methods utilizing them improves. Understanding prime numbers is also very important for high level mathematics, physics, and engineering. All non-prime numbers can be constructed from two or more prime numbers, yet a prime number itself cannot be created from any other number. Prime numbers are the building blocks of math. The more we understand about primes, we more we understand about mathematics. The more we understand about mathematics, the more we understand about the universe, and everything in it."
"For example, Primecoin provides financial incentive to these math research (e.g. research about the twin prime conjecture), if your theory advancement can provide a better mining algorithm for Primecoin mining. Twin prime is a special case of bi-twin chain. A bi-twin chain of length two, that is."
"With Primecoin, it's possible to do a proof-of-work consensus other than hashcash and have potential math research along with the fact that FPGA / ASIC development incentive may lead to problems being solved that have never happened before. It's possible, when you have ASIC primality testing chips, the computation capability in these fields would make a giant leap. That could also indirectly help theoretical research."
"Primecoin has delivered. It now holds 5 out of 21 world records in simultaneous prime numbers."
2 potential direct applications of the prime chains from Primecoin network:
Banking on Prime Numbers The prime number chains discovered by the Primecoin network may ultimately make RSA Encryption - and therefore banking in general - more secure by contributing longer prime numbers to use for RSA Encryption; the longer the prime number, the more difficult it is to "break" the encryption.
Hardware Testing & Innovation Since the early days of computing, programs for discovering prime numbers have been developed as a way to test new hardware These by-products include improved computer processors and hardware components, which can be applied to improve computer models used in the science, medical, and engineering industry.
12- Primecoin has been developed by Sunny King, one of the most talented crypto-technologists of the rank of Satoshi Nakamoto
Sunny King along with his team continues to grow Primecoin network and is currently developing a Sidechain technology for Primecoin, that is a common infrastructure to make it easier for developers to create decentralized and distributed data applications (of the sort of: namecoin, storj, peershare, datacoin )
The case for Ethereum: general-purpose vs special-purpose blockchains
Bitcoin and Alt-coins are Special-Purpose Chains
What's the difference between a general-purpose blockchain and a special-purpose blockchain? Let's start with bitcoin, the original special-purpose chain for computing and comparing sha256 hashes. Bitcoin users started the chain by mining on generic x86 (general-purpose) CPUs. But because sha256 hashing is a specific computation, btc mining is now dominated by Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) hardware. Litecoin is another special-purpose chain, except it computes scrypt hashes (some manufacturers are already started shipping scrypt ASIC miners). There's also a Primecoin for computing prime numbers, and a bunch of other special-purpose chains commonly known as alt-coins.
Special-Purpose Chains: Backend and User Perspective
How does it work when we want to use the services provided by separate special-purpose chains? Let's look at the granddaddy of alt-coins, namecoin, which like bitcoin uses sha256 hashes. Additionally, it also provides some standard namecoin script opcodes for associating plaintext pseudonyms with unique addresses (public/private keypairs), so namecoin addresses can register and "own" domain names or identities/handles. Let's say you want to use bitcoins to purchase a namecoin .bit domain that its owner is selling. What does it take to get these two special-purpose blockchains (bitcoin and namecoin) to interact with each other? The immediate option (and the only one available today) is a centralized service running a web server in front of both p2p daemons (as nodes of their respective networks, bitcoind and namecoind). That centralized service is a BTC/NMC exchange, and maybe it has an interface allowing you to register "dot-bit" names (otherwise you'd have to open up two separate wallets - one for each coin). The centralized exchange is a trusted third-party that holds in escrow the BTC and NMC of each user (whose coins could be stolen by a dishonest exchange operator).
A General-Purpose Chain: Backend and User Perspective
So how is using a unified general-purpose chain different from a special-purpose one? On the Ethereum general-purpose chain, each service is provided by some "DApp" (distributed app "hosted" by all ethereum miners). A DApp is an interface to a specific "contract", running at some address on the blockchain. For instance, to register a name, you would open the EtherNames DApp in the ethereum client's built-in browser, type in the name you want to register, and "send" the registration as a transaction with data. There's no need to copy and paste addresses since the Ethereum client provides hooks for seamless wallet access inside every DApp. The registration transaction is sent to the EtherName DApp's contract address, which is running some variant of the namecoin contract code. A specific contract gets initialized at a particular address by some untrusted third-party individual/entity (the DApp author). The contract author is not trusted, all the author does is upload the contract code and pay the initial "gas" fee. The contract code is independently executed and verified by each ethereum miner as part of a single atomic transaction. Atomicity means that the ledger database updates are all-or-nothing, so no user has to worry about the risk of having to pay first because any and all transactions needed to fulfill a contract are guaranteed to occur within the same block, or the contract is broken and won't run at all. Think of Ethereum contracts as interconnected threads in a big web of complex multi-sig transactions of Ethers and contract-specific sub-currencies, all of which run atop the same unified blockchain.
Special-Purpose Chains: Developer Perspective
From the developer's perspective, operating a service that uses two separate special-purpose chains requires maintaining both blockchains (upgrading separate software, providing enough processing power, disk space, and bandwidth for each chain). It also requires maintaining user accounts, as well as wallets on two separate chains (multiplied by the number of users). Hosting a server is needed to run both the namecoin daemon and bitcoin daemon (unless outsourced to a centralized API). The web developer will need to maintain a web server and app stack such as LAMP (Linux Apache Mysql Php) or MEAN (Mongodb Express Angular Node). Finally, the service must hold the users' deposits of bitcoins and namecoins in secure hot wallets and offline cold storage, keeping them safe from hacker thieves. Altogether, every service operator needs to independently maintain a separate full-stack system, which can be a herculean effort.
A General-Purpose Chain: Developer Perspective
A service operating on Ethereum has a DApp backend hosted right on the blockchain, maintained by miners (who earn gas fees). A developer simply authors the contract code and pays the gas fee to initialize it on the blockchain, which is much easier than forking an alt-coin to start yet another genesis block. DApp's do not need a separate API for access and integration by other developers; authors just name functions inside a contract, directly exposing an API (with optional fee-per-use) that enables message calls from any other Ethereum DApp. Also, DApp authors do not need to maintain user accounts, since the users interact with the DApp directly on the blockchain through their ethereum addresses. Nor do DApp authors need to maintain user wallets since private keys stay private in a decentralized system. Unlike the current convention where coins are deposited to a wallet address controlled by some third-party, in a truly decentralized system private keys are only used for signing transactions as inputs to contracts.
Meta-Coins as Feature Specs
Meta-coin protocol extensions like Colored Coins, MasterCoin, and CounterParty work by organizing a group of users who agree to interpret bitcoin transaction data according to some metadata specification, supplementing the base rules of the bitcoin protocol. For example, MasterCoin specifies creating multisig 1-of-n bitcoin transactions and encoding data in the n-minus-1 unused public keys. In the meta-coin approach, each feature or "contract" is specified in the meta-protocol. Two MasterCoin features are registration of a data stream and the creation of a sub-currency, these are baked into the specification and reference client alongside the other features. While you can register new data streams and sub-currencies, if you want to create a new contract that is some kind of a hybrid between a data stream and a sub-currency, such as a call/put option or a Contract For Difference (CFD), it would need to be implemented directly in the reference client, and unlocked as a feature at some future block number. Implementing new features in a meta-coin protocol that doesn't have a scripting language requires specifying them directly in the protocol and must be effected at the organizational level.
Scripts and DApps vs Forks and Features
Embedding a scripting language into a crypto-currency gives it the same kind of extensibility that gamers crave in video games. Scripts empower players to create "mods" and customize their game-world with new levels, characters, and maps. In the crypto-currency world, scripting allows for the extension of a plethora of decentralized features such as trading, lotteries, and ecommerce, all atop a shared, compatible platform. Bitcoin has a scripting language, but with severe limitations including: lack of loops, binary state variables limited to spent or unspent transaction outputs, and blockchain blindness. The difficulty of using bitcoin script has in effect given rise to a landscape of competing alt-coins and meta-coins with incompatible protocols. The preferable route, and vision of Ethereum, is to foster a fully-featured ecosystem of compatible, interacting DApps. Providing a Turing-complete scripting language on a general-purpose blockchain with message calls between contracts stimulates adoption of Ethereum as a shared decentralized Operating System and kernel.
Decentralized House, Decentralized Dealer
Consider the concept of a decentralized lottery. In a semi-decentralized lottery that is merely provably fair, although the operator is not capable of altering any particular dice outcome, he can simply shut down the service immediately after a big winning bet comes in, scamming the user of his money and winnings. But in a fully decentralized lottery, the mechanism for distributing the winnings is written into the contract itself (open-source and audited by users), so no central operator is needed. While writing such a contract in bitcoin script is theoretically possible (see pages 12-15), to my knowledge none has been implemented. In practice, it is easier to create a LottoCoin as a special-purpose alt-chain. In contrast, writing a script on the Ethereum platform for a fully decentralized lottery is not only feasible but relatively easy.
The limitations and difficulties of using bitcoin script to implement decentralized features natively on the bitcoin blockchain has resulted in a fragmented ecosystem of incompatible, competing alt-chains and meta-coins. While it is theoretically possible to use bitcoin script for complex contracts like cross-chain atomic trading, practical implementations of such features have yet to be achieved (to my knowledge). On the other hand, Ethereum focuses on providing an easy-to-use scripting language for implementing advanced contracts on a general-purpose blockchain. Ethereum's extensible platform enables the realization of advanced decentralized features that previously were inaccessible.
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