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Offline Stan

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A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« on: January 12, 2015, 03:37:52 AM »

When the BitShares devs get a little uppity, I love to remind them that what they are doing is not exactly rocket science.   8)

But, while trying to find a way to communicate the architecture of BitShares to folks on other forums, I've stumbled on the following description, drawing on my past experience with continuously reconfiguring fault-tolerant flight control systems.  (Yes I wrote a technical report with that title back before there was an Internet or even a word processor.)  See if you buy this way of describing the BitShares architecture:

We tend to get three different attributes mixed up causing endless confusion even among men of good will.

Throughput Scalability and Fault Tolerance and Decentralized Control
are three different concepts. 

Fault Tolerance. We are saying 101 highly-reliable, tested and proven, hand-picked parts dispersed across the globe and selected by the entire owner population is sufficient redundancy to achieve reliable fault tolerance.  The only thing those parts can do is -- do their job to spec.  We can observe their performance and swap them out in ten seconds if they don't perform to spec. So, really, they are just interchangeable slave machines.  Producing the blocks is a mindless task.

Selecting which parts make up the machine is where the power lies.

Decentralized Control.  The total decentralized population of the all owners participate in selecting the most reliable machines to run the network. Those 101 parts have no power over the owners. 101 dispersed redundant parts is a decentralization red herring! That's not where control lies. Those 101 chosen nodes can be completely reconfigured or replaced by the fully decentralized participating owners in 10 seconds. 

We have decentralized p2p control
of a distributed, fault-tolerant computer
implementing an autonomous unmanned company
running a decentralized crypto currency exchange
which produces stable smart-coin products.

Throughput Scalability is also entirely different.  Any of the 101 nodes can scale up by adding parallel machines, side chains, and a thousand inventions we haven't dreamed of.   When we get to a billion owners and need a thousand machines per node, we can do that.  It will still be decentralized enough to ensure that the 101 (now bigger) parts that make up the distributed, fault-tolerant machine will perform their mindless slave jobs reliability - from positions scattered across 24 time zones.

Those million decentralized owners do not want to have to think about managing more than 101 redundant parts to their machine. 101 is plenty, maybe too many, for the average owner to keep track of how they are performing.  Adding more parts reduces the degree to which each part can be vetted and therefore reduces the system's reliability.   Total reliability is a combination of node redundancy and node reliability via reputation-based vetting.

In BitShares, absolute control is fully decentralized down to the votes of every single atomic BTS satoshi.  You can't get more decentralized than that.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 04:47:51 AM by Stan »
Anything said on these forums does not constitute an intent to create a legal obligation or contract of any kind.   These are merely my opinions which I reserve the right to change at any time.

Offline arhag

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2015, 03:55:01 AM »
+5% Well said.

The other thing I would add is that even if the majority of these 101 highly-reliable, hand-picked parts simultaneously fail (e.g. collusion to double-sign blocks or selectively filter transactions), it does not lead to catastrophic failure. It only causes a network disruption as the owners and users of the system then need to rely on the less objective social consensus mechanisms to determine a correct fork via checkpoints / hard forks from which they can then proceed normally.

Offline Riverhead

Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2015, 04:02:49 AM »
Decentralized Control.  The total decentralized population of the all owners participate in selecting the most reliable machines to run the network. Those 101 parts have no power over the owners. 101 dispersed redundant parts is a decentralization chauvinist red herring! That's not where control lies. Those 101 chosen nodes can be completely reconfigured by the fully decentralized participating owners in 10 seconds.

This.

A common question I get is, "if everyone is running on AWS or Digital Ocean won't they be targets to shutdown from regulators?"

The answer is as Stan says above. Having a configured delegate setup and ready to go on a laptop from your home can be turned on in seconds while searching for a new VPS. The powers that be may play wack-a-mole for a while and then give up.

Offline btswildpig

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2015, 05:06:44 AM »
The highlight here is that , Stan was actually a rocket scientist of sorts .

 :P
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Offline fluxer555

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2015, 05:09:53 AM »
I have to say, Stan really has been holding his 100% delegate weight recently.

Offline CLains

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 09:51:54 AM »
 +5% +5% +5%

Fault Tolerance, Decentralized Control and Throughput Scalability + 101 Forced Against Inevitable Centralization with Economies of Scale.

BTW, what did Daedelus mean with this comment after I asked about the inevitable costs of each node at scale?

By only sending transactions to the next node that forges rather than all nodes. This means netwotk traffic drops to small fraction of what it would be, keeping forging within reach or ordinary people.
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Offline Empirical1.1

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 09:54:58 AM »
 +5%

Offline G1ng3rBr34dM4n

Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 04:13:45 PM »
In BitShares, absolute control is fully decentralized down to the votes of every single atomic BTS larimer*.  You can't get more decentralized than that.

Offline cass

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 05:50:10 PM »
In BitShares, absolute control is fully decentralized down to the votes of every single atomic BTS larimer*.  You can't get more decentralized than that.

 :P
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Offline Stan

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 09:45:14 PM »
Ok, I have another theory that I would appreciate if someone could locate some facts that would either prove or disprove it:

Quote
The Secret Truth About Signing Insiders

I'll bet if you look at the Top 101 most frequent block signers for any major block chain you will find that this same group signs over 90%, maybe even 99%, of the chain's blocks inside a typical transaction confirmation window.   For all such windows.

For convenience, I'll call the members of this elite group the block chain's signing insiders

Everyone who is not a signing insider has a tiny fraction of that final 1% chance to sign a block.  This gratuitous honor is shared among all the outsiders and has no material effect on the reliability, integrity, or security of the network.

So it doesn't matter how many outsiders are eligible to sign a block, they have no relevance whatsoever.  Their chance to win the signing lottery is a mere placebo, designed to make them feel like they are involved. 

Only the insiders matter in determining whether any transaction gets confirmed. 

No outsider, much less the same outsider, will get honored with another turn in the same confirmation window to weigh in on whether any particular transaction should be confirmed.  Thus, all transactions are confirmed by insiders.

Outsiders don't matter. 
Arguing about how many powerless outsiders your chain has is meaningless.

All block chains are completely controlled by their signing insiders.

With Ripple, insiders must appoint new insiders and have economic incentives not to go any where near 101 of them.
With POW systems, you appoint yourself to be an insider by acquiring control of one of the top 101 pools of hardware.
With POS systems, you appoint yourself to be an insider by acquiring control of one of the top 101 pools of coins.
With DPOS systems, you get elected to be an insider by acquiring one of the top 101 most preferred reputations.

Only with DPOS do outsiders have any say at all in who gets to be an insider.

So, its your call.  Do you want your blocks signed by people who appointed themselves as insiders through their ability to acquire large pools of coins or hardware?  Or would you rather have that job done by the people, even very poor people, who have done the work necessary to earn one of the best reputations?

How do you get rid of a bad actor that owns a large pool of hash power or tokens? 
Um, You can't.

How do you get rid of a bad actor who just violated the trust she had painstakingly earned?   
"Click."

 ;)


So, can someone find me some facts about the distribution of block signing percentages among the top 101 most frequent signers for any of the top ten block chains?


I'll start:  For BitShares there is a uniform distribution of just under 1% for each of the top 101 signers and then it drops to zero for all remaining potential signers. 

I'd love to have enough data to make a few plots like these:


« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 09:54:54 PM by Stan »
Anything said on these forums does not constitute an intent to create a legal obligation or contract of any kind.   These are merely my opinions which I reserve the right to change at any time.

Offline Thom

Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2015, 10:40:51 PM »
Those 101 chosen nodes can be completely reconfigured by the fully decentralized participating owners in 10 seconds.

This.

A common question I get is, "if everyone is running on AWS or Digital Ocean won't they be targets to shutdown from regulators?"

The answer is as Stan says above. Having a configured delegate setup and ready to go on a laptop from your home can be turned on in seconds while searching for a new VPS. The powers that be may play wack-a-mole for a while and then give up.

10 seconds is not very realistic now IMO. How many of the 101 have a redundant hosting service that is on a totally different segment of the Internet? If the BitShares blockchain network has centralized too greatly on hosting providers like digital ocean aws or whoever, it is a weakness in decentralization.

Granted not a catastrophic weakness, but significant enough to disrupt the flow of transaction until redundant block producers can come online to take their place. The good news is that even if all 101 delegate nodes are "nuked", the blockchain lives on in millions of nodes and the network will resume as soon as new delegate nodes take over.

It does stimulate thoughts tho about possible attack scenarios in a window of time should all delegate nodes be taken out and failure of automatic redundant nodes to come online. I'm not sure how much automation is built into the kicking in of redundant delegate nodes or the degree of redundancy in general. 101 is not a big number. It doesn't seem inconceivable for the U.S. military to simultaneously target 101 locations as well as shutting down major segments of the Internet in a coordinated attack.
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Offline chryspano

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2015, 11:30:57 PM »
I don't know if it helps but here is something about NXT...   https://nxtblocks.info/#section/blockexplorer_charts


Offline abelljefrry

Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2015, 12:27:55 AM »
Just to clear up something blurry in my head, in case of the majority of the delegate nodes being 'nuked' or compromised, will there be any problem processing the new votes to kick them out / vote in the new delegates? I know it's unlikely to happen, just wanted to know the worse case scenario.
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Offline toast

Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2015, 12:45:19 AM »
Just to clear up something blurry in my head, in case of the majority of the delegate nodes being 'nuked' or compromised, will there be any problem processing the new votes to kick them out / vote in the new delegates? I know it's unlikely to happen, just wanted to know the worse case scenario.

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Re: A Rocket Scientist Looks at BitShares
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2015, 02:06:01 AM »
Those million decentralized owners do not want to have to think about managing more than 101 redundant parts to their machine. 101 is plenty, maybe too many, for the average owner to keep track of how they are performing.  Adding more parts reduces the degree to which each part can be vetted and therefore reduces the system's reliability.   Total reliability is a combination of node redundancy and node reliability via reputation-based vetting.

Well said! +5%

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