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19:03:03op_null:"Andreas Antonopoulos explained it well during the Texas Bitcoin Conference - a 51% attack isn't much of a threat any more since we can always fork the software and make the current ASICs obsolete."
19:03:29op_null:this is a terrible fallacy to have people sprouting. suddenly 300PH/s of mining hardware is made useless, the network is only supported by a few people piddling around with GPUs. how does anybody believe that is a viable behaviour?
19:13:05op_null:I'm not particularly clear on what a "51% attack" is either.
19:50:58andytoshi:op_null: i was there for the first 3 minutes of that talk -- the main point was "i, andreas, am awesome", i wouldn't read anything into his bitcoin comments because they were kinda an aside..
19:51:57andytoshi:also in general, andreas saying dumb shit is something we are aware of and certainly a corcern re public understanding of bitcoin ... but there's not too much we can do about it
19:59:06op_null:andytoshi: I'm more confused by what a "51% attack" is than anything.
20:02:30woah:andytoshi op_null also, switching crypto to obsolete ASICs is pure centralization
20:04:52op_null:well, more to the point it leaves the network in a state where "all hands on deck" wouldn't be enough to secure it.
20:58:55kanzure:i wonder what the best-case hypothetical fix could be to the problem that goes like "you are screwed if everyone decided (perhaps without full knowledge) to mine on a forked blockchain or to mine and transact on a blockchain that progressively incorporated changes that eventually in aggregate became incompatible"
20:59:39kanzure:it can't be "propose another set of rules and start mining on that blockchain", because the amount of hashing power available on the other chain could be trivially diverted to thwart your proof-of-work-backed-security on your blockchain
21:00:05kanzure:oh wait, no that's not true. worst-case or best-case (i don't know which) is "wait long enough until you have enough resources to divert a significant-enough-fraction of hashrate".
21:01:07kanzure:oops, one clarification to offer: presumably those in-aggregate-incompatible-changes on the main chain are rules that you fundamentally disagree with
21:01:36kanzure:and that would not be unreasonable for others to agree with, that do not particularly favor you in particular (for example)
21:04:35kanzure:"convince everyone that you're right" just does not sound like a reasonable strategy at all
21:11:25kanzure:it is also somewhat related to the problem of informing others about what the set of current bitcoin rules are. you can lie to them and send them wrong software, and their node will reject lots of transactions and blocks and otherwise seem to do bitcoin things, even if not using transactions recognized by merchants the user might know...
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21:33:37gmaxwell:kanzure: I dunno, I think bitcoin already solves this as much as it can be solved. Your node will automatically ignore those people. Putting you on a seperate network. ... It doesn't guarentee the security of your seperate network, but it seems likely impossible to me to do so.
21:36:01gmaxwell:andytoshi, op_null: There is truth to the claim that we the users of bitcoin have mechenisms beyond the protocol to deal with protocol failures; ... but its a terrible true, because it's a sword that cuts both ways, enabling unbalanced changes by popular whim against the interests and will of some of the users.
21:36:34gmaxwell:The fact that it's not as simple as "no, that won't work" makes it harder to talk about, alas.
21:43:31op_null:gmaxwell: my main problem with comments like that is that they are mentioned in a totally off hand, almost blase way. as if "we'll just hard fork and everything will be peachy" has happened in the past with no big issue.
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21:43:58gmaxwell:* gmaxwell rolls eyes
21:44:17gmaxwell:yea okay, thats nuts. For one, if things failed it's not like you can just push a magical fix button and make them fixed.
21:45:49op_null:a common one I see is when people mention SHA256 being weakened (say it's found to have a security of 12 bits, panic panic). the response is of course that we just switch to scrypt mining and everything is fine again.
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21:54:15gmaxwell:op_null: sort of funny there since all the 'scrypt' mining stuff is also bottlenecked by sha256.
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