78 votes
Accepted

Why did Satoshi design Bitcoin to be mineable only on specialized hardware, if the goal was decentralization?

Bitcoin was not designed to only be mineable with specialized hardware. When Bitcoin was created in 2009, ASIC miners did not exist, SHA256d ASICs did not exist. Even GPU mining software did not exist ...
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  • 60.4k
20 votes
Accepted

Can bitcoin protocol be changed to add economic incentives to validating nodes?

I don't think it is possible. There are a few problems to incentivizing the operation of nodes. When you pay people to run nodes, people running multiple nodes provide less value but earn more for ...
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  • 62.4k
16 votes
Accepted

Is centralization in the Lightning network inevitable? Why (not)?

“Centralization” is now a word constantly repeated but is one that, generally speaking, no one tries to define accurately. ---Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol.1, Part 1, ch.5. ...
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13 votes
Accepted

What can be done to slow/prevent mining centralization?

Asking how to prevent the mining industry from being centralized into places with low electricity costs is like asking how to prevent the shipping industry from being centralized into cities that are ...
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  • 8,724
13 votes
Accepted

Is Lightning Network a risk for Bitcoin security since it reduces miner fees?

The idea that Lightning will reduce the amount of fees going to miners is very common, and we probably won't know for sure until we actually try it. However, I'll try to provide some arguments as to ...
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  • 8,694
13 votes

Why did Satoshi design Bitcoin to be mineable only on specialized hardware, if the goal was decentralization?

GPU-mineable cryptos are arguably more decentralized. Sure, but in a bad way. Say you want to attack or compromise bitcoin. You have to buy ASICs to do it. You could use GPUs or CPUs, but you would ...
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11 votes

How would faster blocks cause mining centralization?

Why faster blocks? This conversation often starts with someone pointing out that shortening the block interval would allow for a quicker first confirmation, reduce variance in mining revenue, and ...
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  • 62.4k
10 votes
Accepted

Is there any benefits to a distributed computing architecture outside of cryptocurrencies?

The only systems which benefit from being distributed are ones that display the property of being "embarrassingly parallel", or some approximation of it. Tasks which do not require a significant ...
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  • 15k
10 votes

Is proof-of-work required in Bitcoin?

Proof of work does not create trust. It creates incentive. Miners are paid if their block is eventually part of the main version of history ("blockchain") that the network accepts. They must ...
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8 votes

How will bitcoin stay decentralized when mining becomes extremely expensive?

This is a valid concern and I think nobody can give you a clear answer here. We'll just have to wait how it evolves and how people react; it is an unclear future. There are some ideas about changing ...
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  • 1,394
8 votes

Why would increasing the Bitcoin block size lead to a more centralised system?

The problem arises from the uneven propagation of information in the network. While the propagation of small blocks is fast, i.e., every miner gets to know a new block approximately at the same time, ...
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  • 8,694
8 votes

Why are banks and other centralized entities interested in block chains?

Speaking as someone who has worked on a blockchain project for a bank, I can tell you that banks are interested for several reasons. Banks know they are ripe for disruption Due to a combination of ...
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  • 8,724
8 votes
Accepted

Why can't timestamps be a substitute for blockchain?

But then the next problem is transaction order and validity to prevent double spending. I don't understand completely why a timestamp can't just be included for every broadcasted transaction, and the ...
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7 votes
Accepted

If bitcoin is decentralized then who keeps track of computers in network

Nobody keeps track of all the computers in the network, or at least not as part of core network functionality. There are sites that attempt to track nodes (such as https://bitnodes.21.co/), but they ...
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  • 8,724
7 votes

Can someone please explain how Lightning paths are working and what effect large centralized hubs have?

If you want to route a lightning payment via your node, your channel(s) must hold at least a balance of the to-be-routed amount, right? If not, your node by definition cannot be chosen as a potential ...
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7 votes

Why does every "defi" thing only support garbagecoins and never Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is pushing most use cases and applications to second layers (e.g Lightning, sidechains) because blockchains don't scale. Most "DeFi" apps use the blockchain for transactions, filling ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Has the bitcoin network ever been "down"?

A bitcoin node could be down or (extremely rarely as you say) all its peers could be down... but the bitcoin network could not be considered down; you could still synchronize by connecting to ...
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  • 2,204
6 votes

What can be done to slow/prevent mining centralization?

One possibility among others to encourage mining decentralization is to rely on already owned/amortized hardware to mine the currency. Most people will not by ASICs to mine bitcoin, but many already ...
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  • 786
6 votes
Accepted

Bitcoin node Decentralization

Yes, independently operated nodes help decentralization more than the same number of nodes operated by a single entity. That's basically the definition of "decentralization" in this context. That is ...
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  • 8,724
6 votes

How do miners communicate in Bitcoin/ Decentralized Network?

Bitcoin is a gossiping network. There is no hierarchy among the nodes, each node operates at equal privilege level. Bitcoin has an established protocol defining how nodes communicate with each other, ...
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  • 62.4k
5 votes

Is Ripple centralized or decentralized?

According to Ripple: Ripple for Financial Institutions Financial institutions, network operators and regulators play critical roles scaling and providing stability to payment systems. Ripple enhances ...
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5 votes

How does Dash achieve anonymity without centralisation?

TL;DR yes, it's still decentralized, no it isn't perfectly anonymous. From the Darkcoin (now Dash) Wikipedia: "It adds privacy to transactions by combining identical inputs from multiple users into a ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How can a DAO seek enforcement of a contract?

The DAO's service provider would hire the person, not the DAO. The contract would be with the service provider, and the service provider could then sue the agent if the task wasn't completed as the ...
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5 votes

Could cryptocurrency "insurance" slow Bitcoin adoption?

If anything, I believe the ability to buy insurance on cryptocurrency investments would speed up adoption by making it less risky to traditional investors. Simply having insurance available doesn't ...
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  • 8,724
5 votes

Why can't timestamps be a substitute for blockchain?

But then the next problem is transaction order and validity to prevent double spending. I don't understand completely why a timestamp can't just be included for every broadcasted transaction, and the ...
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  • 60.4k
5 votes
Accepted

Looking for whitepapers on pool-resistence mining

ASIC resistance is a buzzword thrown around by scammers trying to sell you what is actually impossible as well as a bad thing. Pool resistance doesn't sound much better. https://download.wpsoftware....
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  • 6,169
5 votes

Looking for whitepapers on pool-resistence mining

To expand on @Jannes’ answer: ‘ASIC resistance’ is not technically possible in the absolute sense. No matter the algorithm, it is theoretically possible to create some hardware that can run the ...
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  • 17.2k
5 votes

Is proof-of-work required in Bitcoin?

If most users are honest, then they would voluntarily enforce the prohibition to rewrite the blockchain. Without proof of work, this is just not possible. There would be no limit to the number of ...
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5 votes

Why is Bitcoin not moving to an ASIC-resistant Proof of Work algorithm?

The downsides outweigh the upsides: as you mentioned this would require a hard fork, and would leave everyone (not just mining farms) who owns a Bitcoin miner with a very expensive paperweight, and as ...
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  • 1,982
5 votes

Why is Bitcoin not moving to an ASIC-resistant Proof of Work algorithm?

ASIC-resistance is a mirage. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are made to do one thing only and will always beat general purpose hardware. "General purpose computational devices ...
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  • 62.4k

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