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Blockchain folks: we have a new and private cryptocurrency based on proof of work, it’s awesome, you should use it!!! 🤓✋

Me: So if someone controls 51% of the mining power they become the God of this currency, yeah? And Jeff Bezos could 51% your network for the whole year with 0.1% of the money he made in a day this week? 🤔

Blockchain folks: *crickets*

@aral as long as lots of Jeff Bezos and powerful alike can also counterbalance, it should be "fine"

@aral : short answer : no. You don't understand it.

But don't worry: the equilibrium at play are so complex that even the most versed scholars are still trying to figure it out. So it's normal you are not understanding it.

But please, don't fall for the simplification fallacy because you don't understand it. It's the same brain mechanism that make people believe the earth is flat « beacause, else, people on the bottom would fall in space ». It's intuitive but completely false.

@ploum @aral Sibyl attack are still something "most versed scholars" are working on when they are designing blockchains, there is some stuff to prevent this kind of attack in the bitcoin one for example

Yet proof-of-work as-is is very vulnerable to this, also most blockchains are running on top of propreitary ASICs so it's quite vulnerable if, say, Antminer have a bad idea :)

@ploum would you be so kind to explain where he is wrong? The way I see it with practically unlimited resources, you could _totally_ do what Aral said?

@claudius : I've been working on understanding that for the past 3 years so it can't be summarised in a tooth. This is something really deep.

Will try to give you an intuition.

@claudius : firstly, think about it : the whole fact that the Bitcoin network exists for the last 11 years is a testament that no, you can't take it down or control it without spending way much than what you could gain. Every brightest mind in the world tried. It's the biggest bounty in the history of compsec.

Nobody has ever been close to even design an attempt.

@claudius : this is due to a very complex sociological equilibrium which is still not understood. Basically, if you want to attack the network, you need to put money in it. Which raise the value of the network. Which attracts other people money. So the network's value grow more than what you are putting into it.

@claudius : opposite is true. If the security of the network decreases, it loses value. Meaning that you have nothing to gain into keeping attacking it.

This works of course for well established network. A lot of very young and immature networks have been abused because the value was irrationnally high.

@claudius : this is why blockchains are so groundbreaking. They base their resilience on human greed! Speculation is not a byproduct, it's the pillar used to build a true decentralised/uncensorable web.

People who have an ideological bias against speculation are missing the boat because of faith blindness.

People using it only for speculation aren't aware that they are spending their energy and money to build the first embryo of a trully decentralised network.

@claudius : scholars also fail to understand it because computer scientists don't understand human natures. It's not in their equation. And social scientists don't understand the math behind the technology. And economists don't even understand their own shit.

It's basically requires a whole new field of study. Yes, it's that groundbreaking! Of course, current projects may fail. Nobody knows.

But the blockchain paradigm is deeply incredible.

@ploum in case of bitcoin, you'd destroy the value you control. That would make little sense. But in that example here (social network), there is no immediate downside, so this does not apply. Especially if your goal is not to control but _just_ to destroy. Which is a very reasonable goal for a huge player that may want to establish (or keep) another social network.

@ploum ah sorry, the social network was a different blockchain thing. Wrong post sorry.

@claudius : that's why a true decentralised blockchain is always built upon value. In order to destroy them, you have to inject more and more money. There's a turning point, afaik not yet understood, by which destroying the network requires an infinite amount of money/power.

@ploum @claudius cute, but the energy use of the mining is an atrocity. That alone is enough reason to turn away from it.

And you could also go all oooh and aaah about the regular banking system. Or private property. Which, as far as i can tell, does it's injustice without a flaw aswel.

@jasper @claudius : "the energy use of the mining is an atrocity."

It's tiring to keep repeating that reality is a lot more complicated than that. A lot more. Very bright academic people are even telling that this could be a game changer in the energy industry which, in the middle term, would make the world a lot greener.

But I don't want to argue and summarize 300 pages books on Twitter or Mastodon.

@ploum @jasper yeah, you know, nobody is asking you to. Enegy use of switzerland (old numbers, probably more by now) for bitcoin alone needs to be offset by a _LOT_ of positive effects. So far, I'm not seeing any.
Atrocity sounds about right at the moment. "could be a game changer, would make a lot greener" is simply not good enough.

@ploum @claudius consider the world as you learn from it in the news. Is this a world that is played as twelve dimensional chess?

@ploum @claudius if its so groundbreaking, how come literally nothing useful has happened with it in 11 years lmao

@eloyesp @aral : I have a deep admiration for Aral's work and being mentioned on a social network post does not require an answer.

In fact, it's probably the best thing to do as discussion on social networks are always full of misunderstandings.

@ploum uno more time I see that I don't understand social networks...

@eloyesp : when you trully understand them, you stop using them ;-)

@ploum So a 51% attack doesn’t exist? Wish someone had told the Ehterium Classic folks when they’d gotten hit.

@aral : 51% are only doable when, basically, nobody is mining nor using the project. Also, a 51% attack (which are note really 51%) doesn't give you full control over the network. It only allows you to prevent some transactions from being accepted (again, in a network with a clear separation between nodes and miners).

you cannot generalize ETC failure to PoW blockchains. It's like generalizing an SQL injection on randomweb.com as a failure of MySQL.

@aral : it's also why people of the community are talking about "shitcoins". Those projects are literally worthless. Any value is purely speculative but don't ever bet one cent on them for the long term.

The only debate is where to draw the "shitcoin" line. Bitcoin maximalists says it's everything but Bitcoin. On the other hand of the spectrum, you will hear that ETH, XMR, LTC and a few other are viable.

All the rest is complete garbage.

@ploum @aral Hey :)

What book could you recommend on the subject of blockchain?

You seem to have really deep into the subject, so I'm curious to have your recommandations.

I'm a bit septic about blockchain, but I'm open to hear different point of views and learn more about it.

(aussi, je suis français, donc tu peux me recommander des livres en français si jamais ;) )

@orelauwen @aral : Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies by Narayanan, Bonneau et Al. is a very good starting point to have a broad view of the subject while having a really good technical insight (it also adresses the power consumption thing and some societal aspects).

Narrowing on the technical aspect : "Mastering Bitcoin", by Antonopoulos. Surprizingly easy to read if you have some technical education. And it highlights how deep the stuff actually is.

@ploum @aral

Duly noted! I'll look at that for my next reading.

Thank you :)

@aral
Not in the free money june G1 ...there is no mining 😂

@aral Are you talking about Bitcoin or about shitcoins?

@aral plus: he owns AWS, so he could pull this off _easily_ within hours of deciding to do this.

@aral Indeed! Cryptocurrencies are even more capitalist than traditional money. Same rules, same outcome.

@aral And he could do it _way_ easier with Proof of Stake too.

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