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Bitcoin Math Microsoft

Researchers Locate Flaw In Bitcoin Protocol 191

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Microsoft Research and Cornell identified a potential flaw in Bitcoin's transaction propagation. In a recent paper they show how miner nodes in the Bitcoin network have an incentive not to relay transactions to the rest of the network, and propose to implement a scheme that rewards nodes [PDF] for relaying messages."
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Researchers Locate Flaw In Bitcoin Protocol

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  • by CmdrPony ( 2505686 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:19AM (#38057642)
    They seem to do lot of cool stuff. From that Courier tablet to studying Bitcoin. Even while Microsoft doesn't realize their R&D section has a great amount of potential, it's actually the only major company in the industry that does have such research center. I wish I worked there :-P
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:25AM (#38057680)

    Well, IBM do have a fairly large research division too.

  • Re:Yes but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:37AM (#38057738) Homepage Journal

    As someone said before, Bitcoin would be a lot more valuable if your currency held the promise of something. For example selling your computer time makes much more sense than doing calculations designed to waste computing power. I've wondered before if there was anything to Bitcoin, but I really can't think of it as a currency. I think of it more like the stock market, and how I can abuse it to make a profit. In the end I'm better off just making money doing real work.

  • summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwash@p10linTOKYOk.net minus city> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @06:39AM (#38057746) Homepage

    If a LARGE proportion of bitcoin nodes are run by assholes who refuse to distribute transactions then the network may fall apart.

    This system seems to add a lot of complexity to solve something that has not proven a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @07:08AM (#38057904)

    when you wrote "denial" did you mean "in a discussion involving several dozen people, one participant denied the existence of the problem while everyone else discussed whether the flaw is a practical problem or how it could be solved"?

    Understandable typo, the keys are right next to each other.

  • Re:Yes but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CmdrPony ( 2505686 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:37AM (#38058374)

    Unfortunately in this world doing real work is the one thing that will guarantee that you only get a commodity level of pay. That's why stockbrokers and lawyers make more than programmers or mechanics

    It's all based on supply and demand. Frankly, mechanics and programmers are quite common place jobs. Good stockbrokers and lawyers, not so much. And I'm a programmer myself, but I understand the position rather than just going "lalala".

  • Re:Yes but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:56AM (#38058504)

    It's currency in the sense that pinto beans are a currency.

  • Re:Yes but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RoFLKOPTr ( 1294290 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @08:59AM (#38058516)

    There are over 30 [bitcoin.it] currency exchanges that trade in Bitcoins. So that's simply false.

    Wow there's more currency exchanges for Bitcoins than merchants that accept them!

  • Re:Yes but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @10:54AM (#38059584) Homepage
    Bitcoin would be a lot more valuable if your currency held the promise of something. NO, this is exactly why government money fails. Whichever authority is responsible for that "promise" will simple renege after the currency has gained acceptance. They debase the money, becoming extremely powerful in the process, until eventually it becomes worthless. Then after everyone else is broke and they have all the real money, they do it again. When you mine bitcoins you aren't exactly "selling computer time", you are using your computer to produce a product. The person who buys your coins wants the coin as proof of work, not the cpu time itself. This is exactly the same model as gold mining, the point is that nobody can get more gold without incurring the cost to mine it. Gold doesn't have to "promise" anything except its inherent promise of being scarce (and its other monetary properties such as durability, divisibility, etc). Yes bitcoin is volatile but only because it is new. As it gains acceptable, the real promise that you will care about is the market in which people will let you trade it for stuff (even just forex is a great start). That does NOT require any authority to back the money. The whole point of bitcoin is that it is a scarce commodity, as opposed to a token or note.
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@nOSpam.worf.net> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:06PM (#38061422)

    The problem with that idea is that Kinect was a 90%+ finished product when they bought it. They polished it for use with the 360, it always takes them some time to fuck up a new technology sufficiently for their branding, and kicked it out the door.

    Problem is, the final 10% polishing is actually pretty damn hard. If you've done software development, getting to the point where the basic features work is really quick. But getting to the point where it's releasable and usable takes a lot of effort.

    It's one thing that Apple is known for (most innovations that are "cool" are at the 90% stage, but it still takes a ton of effort to get it to the stage where people other than geeks and engineers can USE it).

    For Kinect, the final 10% would involve packaging (how does Kinect look, and will it fit with the rest of the equipment?), fitting the stuff inside the package (does it fit? Does the enclosure need redesign?), and more importantly, manufacturability.

    Sticking a reference design in a box is not easy. A lot of work is required in order to be able to build in huge volumes - are the parts available in quantity (and cheaply)? Can it be assembled easily or are there fiddly calibration bits that'll take time to work? Are there simple pass/fail criterion?

    It takes a lot of work. For open-source, you can abandon it after the 90% point (and most stuff is - the final work is the boring dull stuff no one wants to do), but it's not going to fly for commercial products that you want people to buy. And they know when a product was skimped on.

    Heck, even the UI of a product is important, and Kinect took some beating there.

    (It's why you get reviews on "solidness" - a minor detail but relates to build quality, ditto with use of "cheap plastic" or worse yet, "cheap feeling plastic".) It's that final 10% that Apple is well reknown for, and if it was easy, well, Apple would be dead and there would be tons of products with well designed UIs and very nice casings and such.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe