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Re: <nettime> accelerating eats the world
Carsten Agger on Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:45:17 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> accelerating eats the world




On 03/21/2018 07:36 PM, Morlock Elloi wrote:
It doesn't seem likely that the Chinese (4 mints in China mainland control 50+% of the hash power) will agree to such fork (even if it is technically feasible, which I doubt), that is capable of removing arbitrary transactions in the past - that would make everyone unsafe (like while the legislature is in session :) They have already killed the block size change proposal (by effectively telling 'Bitcoin core developers' to go f*ck themselves.)
It's *technically* feasible, as Blockchain history is what a majority of computing power says it is. That's one of the weaknesses of the system, but the original assumption was that mining would be decentralised, so "a majority" would be thousands of small miners with no common interests in changing history. That's *not* the case today, where Bitcoin mining is very centralized.

Also, there's precedent - e.g., the Ethereum blockchain was forked to cancel the DAO heist. In general, 51% of the computing power can rewrite the history. The cost is another matter, which will be a practical impediment.

However: The laws against possession of child pornography are not likely to be going anywhere. Maybe it's just time to get some popcorn and sit down & enjoy the show - presumably, the slow burning into nothingness of the red Bitcoin herring.


Brute force is out of question, as re-calculating everything would mean stopping all Bitcoin transaction activity for the period roughly equal to the age of the oldest incriminating insertion - who would pay for those terawatt hours?

There may be more to come. The currently discovered child pornography was in plaintext payloads. There are thousands, if not millions, encrypted non-transactional payloads in the Bitcoin blockchain. What if some of these are also illegal porn or something equivalently criminalized? The perpetrators may simply publish individual keys, at their own pace, and make any repair attempts a bad joke. Come to think of it, that would be ideal poison pill for the Bitcoin. Maybe someone is on it as we speak ... it's easy: there are dozens of commercial services that you can pay to insert anything in the Bitcoin blockchain (like https://inthebitcoin.com )

Interesting times ahead.

The takeaway is that you don't want something in the loop of social interactions that majority does not understand and that doesn't have corrective strategy. Humans are simply not bright enough to create fool-proof technologies. Just go to some Bitcoin meeting and listen to blathering of CEOs and CTOs.

Or, given that a majority of stakes on the blockchain *can* change
history, and a majority of stakes with very strong financial interest
(as in who's already wasting most electricity) might want to keep their
toys, these images *will* be removed - along with forever removing all
credibility of blockchain as an "indelible" or unchangeable public ledger.

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