1

Is there any statement about the design of Bitcoin alluding to dealing with large pools controlling a good part of the network? while it is true that pools can compete and people can "vote" by switching pools, the statements handed down regarding major decisions affecting the Bitcoin system seem eerily central and authoritative. was this kind of power considered initially and is thus balanced now, or was Bitcoin intended to be strictly p2p initially?

1
  • If you search for "satoshi" on this page, you can see some responses that tangentially relate to your question.
    – morsecoder
    Feb 15, 2016 at 21:17

4 Answers 4

3

There's a conversation on [email protected] shortly after the release of the Bitcoin paper that touches on this tangentially:

James A. Donald - Sun, 02 Nov 2008

For transferable proof of work tokens to have value, they must have monetary value. To have monetary value, they must be transferred within a very large network - for example a file trading network akin to bittorrent.

To detect and reject a double spending event in a timely manner, one must have most past transactions of the coins in the transaction, which, naively implemented, requires each peer to have most past transactions, or most past transactions that occurred recently. [...]

Satoshi Nakamoto - Sun, 02 Nov 2008

Long before the network gets anywhere near as large as that, it would be safe for users to use Simplified Payment Verification (section 8) to check for double spending, which only requires having the chain of block headers, or about 12KB per day. Only people trying to create new coins would need to run network nodes. At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with server farms of specialized hardware. A server farm would only need to have one node on the network and the rest of the LAN connects with that one node.

From the word choice used here, a datacenter of machines using a single server to construct blocks is intended. However, many different parties using the same pool server is not contemplated.

Of course, that doesn't mean that pooled mining is wrong - just that it wasn't anticipated.

0

I don't think he did. He wrote about shared nodes inside a LAN but he never mentioned mining pools as we know them today. I'm indeed surprised who he underestimated the problem. Mining pools are the only Bitcoin's flaw that will prevent its price to grow in the future.

1
  • Price is 4x since 2019
    – user103136
    Mar 4, 2022 at 1:31
0

Almost immediately after announcing Bitcoin, Satoshi anticipated:

At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with server farms of specialized hardware. A server farm would only need to have one node on the network and the rest of the LAN connects with that one node.

The "server farms" described in this quote effectively represent mining pools.

Some might argue that these server farms do not qualify as pools, because Satoshi didn't explicitly describe cooperative coordination (nor the intra-pool lower-difficulty mechanisms that make it possible). However, later on, Satoshi merged in code to make it more "convenient that server farms can run a single Bitcoin node and the rest only run getwork clients" and even explicitly weighed in on mining pools and such coordination mechanisms:

Pool operators can modify their getwork to take one additional parameter, the address to send your share to.

The easy way for the pool operator would be to wait until the next block is found and divy it up proportionally as:
user's near-hits/total near-hits from everyone...

New users wouldn't really even need the Bitcoin software. They could download a miner, create an account on mtgox or mybitcoin, enter their deposit address into the miner and point it at anyone's pool server.

In light of these comments (and code updates) it is clear that Satoshi most definitely anticipated (and even worked to facilitate) cooperative, pooled mining.

It is also worth mentioning that miners (whether solo or pooled) are not afforded arbitrary power over the Bitcoin protocol. From the whitepaper:

We consider the scenario of an attacker trying to generate an alternate chain faster than the honest chain. Even if this is accomplished, it does not throw the system open to arbitrary changes, such as creating value out of thin air or taking money that never belonged to the attacker. Nodes are not going to accept an invalid transaction as payment, and honest nodes will never accept a block containing them. An attacker can only try to change one of his own transactions to take back money he recently spent.

Therefore, whatever "eerily central and authoritative" statements or power alluded to are not as far-reaching as one might be tempted to assume.

-1

Yes he did ! Bitcoin is build in such a way that anyone can be a miner, effectively making the world population it's pool. Also the people with knowledge (technical) will always be on top of it all as with everything in life. If you somehow manage to use Bitcoin's source code as if it was selfmade then you probably be the boss of Bitcoin very soon until someone else comes up with something better...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.