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Bitcoin Math The Almighty Buck

Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool 281

An anonymous reader writes Ars Technica reports that for the first time in Bitcoin's five-year history, a single entity has repeatedly provided more than half of the total computational power required to mine new digital coins, in some cases for sustained periods of time. It's an event that, if it persists, signals the end of crypto currency's decentralized structure."
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Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

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  • by mpthompson ( 457482 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @01:17AM (#47243819)

    I believe the issue isn't so much whether one group can counteract another. Rather, it is something happening that the promoters of Bitcoin claim should not happen. It doesn't instill confidence in a crypto currency when what you say is impossible (or extremely improbable) is proven to be false and your only backup is relying on parties to "play fair".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @01:19AM (#47243823)

    Not to mention the environmental damage is huge. They use a ton of electricity to basically do nothing... they're not curing cancer or anything. They're making up numbers.

  • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @02:08AM (#47243949) Journal

    This is it? I kept away from Bitcoin and the literally millions of dollars I could have made and this is the big fizzle that I was warned about. Fuck you! Fuck you and your fear mongering.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @03:11AM (#47244093) Journal

    > We are betting off investing in creating more moral men and woman

    Attempts to do that have a not been as successful as we'd like. Religions, for example, have that as a primary goal. Unfortunately, religions are run by the same selfish, power-hungry humans who run all of our other systems.

    Some of the founding fathers of the US wrote about attempting to create a system whereby the individual quest for money and power ends up benefiting the common good. Some native American tribes had such a system. In their tradition, every few years neighboring groups would gather to redistribute rankings - power and prestige. The ranking of each leader was determined by how much he gave away. A man of prestige would work a few years, carefully managing his capital to try to produce as much good stuff as he could in order to give away more than his neighbor, thereby retaining his title.

        Free and open source software is similar - one gains prestige by contributing a lot. Recruiters have computer programs thatlook for people with a lot of commits on Github and elsewhere. My own contribution to the Linux kernel gives me some cachet that helps with getting a good job, etc.

    Some US founders wanted to use that idea as much as possible, and they succeeded in one way. They reasoned that the President would want to keep his power, so he'd resist any attempt by the senate to increase their relative power. Similarly, the house would want to be powerful, so they wouldn't let senate or president roll over them. That worked pretty well for 200 years, then presidential power increased vis-a-vis Congress. Each house of Congress is still pretty powerful, though, so they do keep the president in check to some extent.

    Perhaps we could find more eways to make doing "right" also be the most profitable / prestigious. If someone controls a capital asset such as a large cargo ship, they'll WANT to do good thing X because the benefit to them is Y. What might X and Y be? Alternatively, people want (money/power/recognition/sex), in order to get what they want, they might need to do (something that benefits society). How can society benefit from people's attempt to get money, or power, or sex?

    Don't say it can't be done. For thousands of years societies traded sex for marriage. People wanted sex, society wanted stability, and it was decided that the society would expect you to get married before having sex. Most people complied.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @04:17AM (#47244235) Journal
    I agree. The main problem with modern capitalism is that a particular economic activity does not have to make sense, nor does it have to contribute to the growth/maintenance of civilization, it just has to make a profit. OTOH the phrases "make sense" and "civilization" are both subjective terms.

    Bitcoins are just an obvious example. Here in Australia we ship millions of tons of bauxite several thousand km's from a mine bathed in sub-tropical desert sunshine all year round to the southern end, and turn it into aluminium. We spent billions on port infrastructure to do so. Why? - Because the southern state's government build a brown coal generator specifically for the smelter and sold the electricity to the smelter for virtually zero profit. It beggars belief that it was (supposedly) more "economical" to do this than it was to build a solar smelter right next to the "fly in, fly out" mine located in the middle of the fucking desert.

    To the right wing nutters that may misinterpret the above, I'm not advocating we throw away capitalism. I agree that no matter what the game is, people will adapt to the rules of the game guided by self interest, but without rules there is no game. We need to step back and rethink the rules in light of the object of the game.
  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:55AM (#47244545)

    To the right wing nutters that may misinterpret the above, I'm not advocating we throw away capitalism

    Clearly, since your example begins with government having a power plant built and then selling its capacity at cost.

    This sort of thing is highly unlikely in real capitalism where the owner of the power plant would want to justify this particular use of the money over other particular uses. It is only through force of government, with specific government action, that your example exists at all.

    But yes, the Statist might try to pass off your example as an "anti-capitalism" thing.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.