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Bitcoin The Almighty Buck The Internet Technology

Bitcoin Gold, the Latest Bitcoin Fork, Explained (arstechnica.com) 96

Timothy B. Lee via Ars Technica explains Bitcoin Gold: A new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Gold is now live on the Internet. It aims to correct what its backers see as a serious flaw in the design of the original Bitcoin. There are hundreds of cryptocurrencies on the Internet, and many of them are derived from Bitcoin in one way or another. But Bitcoin Gold -- like Bitcoin Cash, another Bitcoin spinoff that was created in August -- is different in two important ways. Bitcoin Gold is branding itself as a version of Bitcoin rather than merely new platforms derived from Bitcoin's source code. It has also chosen to retain Bitcoin's transaction history, which means that, if you owned bitcoins before the fork, you now own an equal amount of "gold" bitcoins. While Bitcoin Cash was designed to resolve Bitcoin's capacity crunch with larger blocks, Bitcoin Gold aims to tackle another of Bitcoin's perceived flaws: the increasing centralization of the mining industry that verifies and secures Bitcoin transactions.

The original vision for Bitcoin was that anyone would be able to participate in Bitcoin mining with their personal PCs, earning a bit of extra cash as they helped to support the network. But as Bitcoin became more valuable, people discovered that Bitcoin mining could be done much more efficiently with custom-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). As a result, Bitcoin mining became a specialized and highly concentrated industry. The leading companies in this new industry wield a disproportionate amount of power over the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin Gold aims to dethrone these mining companies by introducing an alternative mining algorithm that's much less susceptible to ASIC-based optimization. In theory, that will allow ordinary Bitcoin Gold users to earn extra cash with their spare computing cycles, just as people could do in the early days of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Gold, the Latest Bitcoin Fork, Explained

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  • Interesting. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lucm ( 889690 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:07PM (#55544737)

    About.com and wikihow called. They want their non-news content back.

    • If it's open source... is it hidden?

      • It is hidden between other thousands of lines of code. Having the source available does not mean it is clear for anyone what it actually does.

        • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @04:43AM (#55545871)

          Any line of code is "hidden" between other thousands of lines of code. Does this mean all lines of code are hidden?
          You could argue it's "hidden" if it's obfuscated in any way. Doesn't look like the case though.
          At most you could define it as an undocumented feature - and the fact that it was found very quickly shows there wasn't an effort to hide it.

          But I guess it wouldn't be so dramatic to name it "an undocumented developer fee feature", and it would have been even less dramatic to mention that most other mining clients do have a developer fee and some of them are closed source, and even more, some of them enforce it. For example Claymore has a dev fee set to 1% and if you disable it (which you can) it changes to an enforced "1% idle time" during which your PC doesn't mine for the developer but doesn't mine for you either.

          • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @06:43AM (#55546145)

            Yes, its still hidden even if its in open source. By your thinking, the idea of a "hidden fee" wouldn't exist anywhere in the world. After all, for the fee to be enforceable, it has to be clearly spelled out in English between other English words in the contract (please substitute "English" with your language of choice). Since its clearly spelled out in the contract, it can't be hidden.
            No, the term "hidden fee" is generally used to refer to any fee which, while clearly spelled out in the contract", is not clearly advertised on the package, in the marketing, or pretty much anywhere other than the "fine print"

      • Yes, its still hidden even if its in open source. By your thinking, the idea of a "hidden fee" wouldn't exist anywhere in the world. After all, for the fee to be enforceable, it has to be clearly spelled out in English between other English words in the contract (please substitute "English" with your language of choice). Since its clearly spelled out in the contract, it can't be hidden.

        No, the term "hidden fee" is generally used to refer to any fee which, while clearly spelled out in the contract", is not c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:23PM (#55544801)

    Of not enough bitcoins in the founders pockets!

    I'm launching my own crypto currency which gives me more coins up front. You peansants can mine what's left.

  • 8.5/10 (Score:5, Funny)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:33PM (#55544849) Journal

    I'm holding out for the Bitcoin Ultimate GOTY Edition with all the DLC.

    • That will then be followed by Bitcoin II Super Alpha Hyper-mining Ultra EX Championship edition 3

    • by ag0ny ( 59629 )

      I'm holding out for the Bitcoin Ultimate GOTY Edition with all the DLC.

      Give it another month or two. If you search for "bitcoin" today on CoinMarketCap [coinmarketcap.com] you get this list of already-available cryptocurrencies:

      • Bitcoin
      • Bitcoin Cash
      • BitcoinDark
      • Bitcoin Plus
      • BitcoinZ
      • Bitcoin Scrypt
      • Bitcoin Red
      • BitcoinFast

      And soon Bitcoin Gold will be added to the list...

      • How many of those forked the blockchain?

        Just trying to see how many coins I have out there and do not even know about. lol

        • by ag0ny ( 59629 )

          Very good point. Honestly, I have no idea. Bitcoin Cash obviously did fork, but I don't know about the others.

          If you keep your Bitcoin in a wallet under your control then you can find out which ones did fork and then install their wallets to claim these coins and transfer them somewhere else.

          If instead you keep them at the exchange then I'm afraid it's up to the exchange to give you access to those coins or not.

          • I keep them in my own wallet. I bought a bunch of bitcoin back when it was $0.50 a coin and have been sitting on them.

            • by ag0ny ( 59629 )

              At $0.5? Then two things:

              1) I envy you

              2) You don’t need to worry much about these altcoins. It’s loose change for you. :-)

              • That loose change for bitcoin cash is up in the 6 figures range for me right now. Not exactly loose change. lol

                Im not passing up free money.

                I cashed out a bunch of it when Bitcoin hit $160 a coin and bought land. What remains is still a lot but not what it was.

                • by ag0ny ( 59629 )

                  Yes, BCH has been pumped a lot, especially last weekend. However, the other altcoins are mostly irrelevant.

                  In any case, it'd be nice if you stopped telling me how much you've made with Bitcoin. It's already painful enough for me because I started mining back when CPU-mining Bitcoin was doable, and stopped at around 0.002 BTC because I got bored of it. If I had continued then now my life would be very different. :-)

                  • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

                    In any case, it'd be nice if you stopped telling me how much you've made with Bitcoin. It's already painful enough for me because I started mining back when CPU-mining Bitcoin was doable, and stopped at around 0.002 BTC because I got bored of it.

                    I had my VPS solo-mining in its idle time. At some point, it found a block. Back around 2012 or 2013, I spent the 50 BTC I'd received on a GPU and some of the first ASIC miners, thinking I'd mine it back. That ended up not happening.

                    At the time I cashed it out,

                    • by ag0ny ( 59629 )

                      Same here. Around May I repurposed my gaming PC (and added an extra GPU) and it's been mining Monero since then. I've also been buying Bitcoin and Monero. So far I've been able to become debt-free, but not much else.

                      Anyway, I'm holding long term, so we'll see how it goes in the following years.

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @09:42PM (#55544877)

    So I was reading up on Bitcoin gold the other day. I'm not familiar with how the previous forks like bitcoin cash worked, but for BC gold I read that after the fork, the first 80000 coins are going to be pre-mined by the developers. Seems like a pretty big reward for a rather small change.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @10:59PM (#55545123) Journal

      Pre-mine = scam. Big pre-mine = big scam.

      Actually, bitcoin, litecoin, etc. is all one big scam. A currency with this much fluctuation isn't a currency. It's a penny stock. An unregulated speculative penny stock. When the bottom falls out (and it always does) there's going to more wailers and teeth nashers than ever before.

      There are two types of people making money on this. The scammers at the top of the food chain, and the people selling "miners". Everyone else is just going to get screwed.

      • Virtual coin, whatever variant of it wins out, has to decide whether it wants to be a currency or a commodity. It can't be both.

        In the days when the value of goods traded was the same year after year, we could use gold as currency because it has been recognized as having value by all cultures and the supply of it grows only very slowly with new mining. But as soon as technology started increasing the value of all goods that could be traded, gold became useless as a currency because of its fixed money supply

      • ...and those who have already made heaps of cash and are out.

    • I think I'll create my own Bitcoin flavor, mine it while it's easy and then sell the idea to the suckers. "Get in early!!!1!"

    • by jeremyp ( 130771 )

      It's only a big reward if the coins are worth anything.

  • if(options.testnet == false){
    options.rewardRecipients['GPY1LMyM8kaysLEB4a4nUCJ23Y6Wgd5zTC'] = 0.5;
    } else {
    options.rewardRecipients['mto9JE7y5ZPLEmUwH495u4F3fKMdpNWTAi'] = 0.5;
    }
    https://github.com/StarbuckBG/... [github.com]
  • by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @10:00PM (#55544915)

    If they control the algorithms, they can decentralize mining more directly by giving preference to solvers who haven't been awarded recently. There is a problem with "solving farms" generating large numbers of identities, but that can be at least partly addressed by geographic distribution. If a solving farm entity is determined enough to get itself located at many diverse points around the globe, that's at least one component of diversity.

    "Virtual location" can be in-part determined by ping-time triangulation. Servers attempting to game their location reporting can be downgraded based on abnormally high ping times. Servers with fast ping times are rewarded proportionally higher. So, a little guy running a single rig with good ping in a low-density of solvers location might get rewarded at "full rate" for his solves, while a bigger house running 100 rigs might get rewarded only 10% of full rate for each of their solves, making it more attractive for little guys to participate, particularly in locations without a lot of little solvers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can't really measure the ping time in bitcoin PoW, only internet ping time. You could just put a small proxy VPS node that gets the requests from the pool and delivers them to the actual mining farm. Running the algorithm on the work usually results in nothing. Only very rarely will a solution for the work exist and a block (or pool share) be found. This is a random process, with seconds to days in between, depending on the hardware and your luck. Adding some random latency of a few hundred ms will do n

      • actually anonymous bitcoins

        A) if you believe in the anonymity of TOR, you haven't read any Cold War literature about spy tracking. In the Cold War, travel across the Iron Curtain was severely curtailed, so finding spies was relatively easy because there were so few people travelling in the first place. Compare the volume of TOR traffic to the volume of traffic from public library, coffee shop, and other "imperfect" but relatively anonymous access points - the fact that you access TOR at all puts you on a short list of highly suspic

  • Oh God, this again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Monday November 13, 2017 @10:27PM (#55545013)

    ...but it uses an alternative proof-of-work algorithm called Equihash that supporters believe is impervious to being sped up with custom hardware

    I laughed and laughed and laughed.

    From the paper (PDF) [cryptolux.org]:

    a reference implementation of a proof-of-work requiring 700 MB of RAM runs in 15 seconds on a 2.1 GHz CPU, increases the computations by the factor of 1000 if memory is halved, and presents a proof of just 120 bytes long.

    Hmm... Needs less than 1 gigabyte. For external chips, that costs, let me see, $16 [digikey.com] in modest quantities. Want it cheaper? Here is a magazine article from 4 years ago about people embedding memory in ASIC dies [chipdesignmag.com]. In a modern chip process, 700 MB fits into what, a 5mm square?

    They wave their hand over it in the paper, so it isn't like they ignored the cheapness-of-memory problem entirely. What if we assume that they are right and they have indeed found a problem with a critical dependency on memory throughput. Is there an obvious solution to that problem? What is the fastest memory in the world? (What word is entirely missing from their paper?) SRAM. In-die SRAM can be absurdly fast, like full core speed for arbitrary values of "core speed" and no wait cycles. It makes no sense to load a CPU up with piles of the stuff because caching has diminishing returns. But, what if your goal was to use ~6 billion cells of SRAM not as a cache, but as your main memory... How much faster would that ASIC be than a general purpose CPU?

    Bottom line, if you imagine that you have a computation problem that can't be solved by building a single-purpose chip, you are almost certainly wrong. Either you don't understand your problem, or you don't understand the array of solutions available to solvers.

    • What I'm not understanding here is why the chips you describe aren't useful for general purpose computing, and thus will be seen on GPUs and the like. Equihash is nice, if it function not only as a proof of work but also as a proof of general computing capacity. I'm not convinced from what you say that's not the case.

    • Just use a computational problem which raises the NP-Complete question?

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        It is already the idea.
        Proof-of-work problems are hard to solve and easy to verify. And though they lack the mathematical foundation of NP-Complete problems, they have the same practical purposes.

        Assuming P != NP, using true NP-Complete problems would be better in theory but there are issues in practice. In particular, NP-Complete problems don't have to be hard all the times, if only 0.1% of all cases cannot be solved in P, it is still considered hard, even though it would be completely broken as a proof-of

  • Dont miss out, everyone is doing it. If you dont buy now you will miss the boat.

    Looks like a ponzi scheme, smells like a pyramid scheme. The technology is interesting but its surrounded by what seems to be an endless amount of negative stories of stolen lost or destroyed 'things'. Valuations all over the map, all seemingly based on nothing but speculation.

    Even if some individual 'currency' is limited by some arbitrary design, there is an infinite number of 'currencies' that can be created with other lim

  • by misnohmer ( 1636461 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @02:01AM (#55545565)

    Back when internet hit mainstream, we had a Dot-Com boom. Anyone could start a website in their basement, grab a cleaver domain name, raise money, spend it like it's raining cash, go IPO and collect money from naive buyers who invested purely because they wanted to get on the bandwagon. Not everyone succeeded in the end, but a large number of people did burn through a ton of cash, and some people did make millions before the bubble burst in 2001, when the world ran out of suckers to offload the dot-com stocks to at an even more inflated price.

    So is this a new cryptocurrency bubble in progress now? Anyone can fork existing cryptocurrencies, or create new ones (harder to do but not impossible), call it something that inspires trust in unsuspecting buyers who feel like they want to get a piece of the action, take the money and run? How long before that bursts and there are hundreds if not thousands worthless crypto-currencies, like dot-coms after 2001?

    • How long before that bursts and there are hundreds if not thousands worthless crypto-currencies, like dot-coms after 2001?

      There's always going to be someone who wants something for nothing.

      And if you think that's harmless - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • How long before that bursts and there are hundreds if not thousands worthless crypto-currencies, like dot-coms after 2001?

      Well that's the question. How long? Because if it takes a year, that means that scammers have another year to make their millions. Speculators have another year to get lucky.

      It's also another year where everyone who predicts things will crash will be disbelieved. "You said it would crash last year, and now it's up to $8k! It can't be a scam." All bubbles look good until they burst.

    • Yes, blockchains are a comparable invention to Internet and current websites. Many will fail but the tech and Bitcoin is here to stay.
    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @08:12AM (#55546441)

      How long before that bursts and there are hundreds if not thousands worthless crypto-currencies, like dot-coms after 2001?

      This is a list of actively traded cyptocurrencies:
      https://coinmarketcap.com/all/... [coinmarketcap.com]
      Remember, the hoardable value of each of them is based on the idea of limited supply. Your question should be, How long before the market realizes that this has already happened?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bitcoin has become a ponzi scheme but this is even worse. From the official thread:

    @agarin55 commented 19 hours ago
    All pools based on this open source software are mining hidden fee. This PR removes unnecessary recipients. Correct me if I'm wrong. :+1: 18 :heart: 2
    @gagarin55
    Hidden fee removed
    12b669a

    @StarbuckBG
    Owner
    StarbuckBG commented 19 hours ago
    Thanks for sharing this!
    I will not merge this PR, but will leave it here, so it is visible for everyone. :-1: 13 :thinking_face: 2

    @

  • It's a scam, a fad or both. Done. You can all get back to work now.

  • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @05:31AM (#55545961)

    Not commenting on Bitcoin gold, but this line in the summary is incorrect:

    The original vision for Bitcoin was that anyone would be able to participate in Bitcoin mining with their personal PCs, earning a bit of extra cash as they helped to support the network. But as Bitcoin became more valuable, people discovered that Bitcoin mining could be done much more efficiently with custom-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). As a result, Bitcoin mining became a specialized and highly concentrated industry.

    It's true that: BC mining has become a highly concentrated industry, but this was always bound to happen. The way BC is setup and the way the algorithm is build is such that the complexity of calculation and thus the resources needed to perform it are increasing as time goes by. It was predictable from day 1 that as the complexity grows, home PCs (and even custom home built clusters using stuff like playstations that people were for a moment rigging and using for mining) were going to become unprofitable, as the electricity consumption and hence the operating cost would soar past the yielded profit. It's not about efficiency, it's about profitability. People would still be running mining software on their home machines if it was profitable even if the profit made was small compared to large scale dedicated operations, but right now anyone using anything other than a custom mining machine will actually be losing money.

    BC is this way by design (and if you ask me, that's one of the major problems of its design), so claiming that the original plan was to keep users running mining software on their own computers is to be ignorant.

    This is something that in the long term endangers the whole of BC infrastructure: right now the large scale miners in Asia (mostly China) have kept on doing what they do because the price of the coin has kept going up, meaning that even though electricity and hardware costs have kept increasing, the increasing costs have been offset by the increasing price of the coin. However the fundamental issue is that the market price of BC fluctuates heavily, whereas the complexity only goes one way and that's up. If the market price of BC crashes, the mining will stop being profitable even for the dedicated operators, which will destroy the mining industry and essentially render BC unusable (and hence, worthless).

    • by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @05:39AM (#55545981) Homepage

      The way BC is setup and the way the algorithm is build is such that the complexity of calculation and thus the resources needed to perform it are increasing as time goes by.

      That's incorrect. Bitcoin mining difficulty is dynamic and adjusts to the total hashing speed of the network. It does this by requiring a certain number of zeros in the SHA256 hash. As more miners join the network with custom ASICs that only perform this calculation, difficulty goes up, but if they leave to join another network (like Bitcoin Cash), difficulty goes down. It's got nothing to do with the complexity of the calculations are increasing.

  • Isn't that what you rather mean?

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @09:49AM (#55546931)

    It's just like Bitcoin except with all these additional features:
    - No traction
    - No recognition in the industry
    - Large pre-mined scam from the inventors

    and it addressed one of the biggest shortcomings of bitcoin: Power usage ... by making it unoptimisable and worse,

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory

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