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Offline koubiac

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The NeuCoin white paper just released - rebutting all “nothing at stake” objections to proof-of-stake

The NeuCoin Project just released a 40-page technical white paper on proof-of-stake. It is available as a PDF version on this link: http://www.neucoin.org/en/whitepaper

We hope to gather comments and questions from the PoS community as we consider this to be a first draft. Our work attempts to highlight how PoS is a superior alternative to Proof-of-Work. It offers arguments and data to stand up against the unsubstantiated “nothing at stake” claims made by many in the PoW camp. Bounties will be awarded for all constructive feedback, positive or negative; see details below.

The white paper starts with a discussion of PoW’s severe flaws: its increasing centralization, the prospect of much higher transaction fees over time, and the diverging interests of corporate miners and Bitcoin holders. It then explains how PoS solves all these flaws. Then it moves on to answering objections and addressing attack vectors.

Answering the “nothing at stake” argument

Thus far, PoS has been dismissed by much of the crypto community - especially large holders of Bitcoin - based on the umbrella objection that there is “nothing at stake.” What is meant is that since PoS mining does not consume any outside resources (electricity, computing power), miners have no costs, so nothing prevents them from endlessly trying to commit double-spends, or mining on multiple branches, no matter how low the odds of success. The critics ask, “how can you have security without paying anything for it?”

What PoW advocates neglect to see is that PoS security does have a cost: the capital cost of acquiring and holding coins. The brilliance of PoS is that it turns all coin owners into security providers, and requires any would-be attacker to purchase a large amount of the currency to attempt an attack, which would be an attack on his own wealth.

Besides ignoring the reality of capital costs, PoS critics are also prone to depicting scary-sounding attack vectors against PoS - grinding through the blockspace, rewriting history with old private keys, long-range, pre-programmed double spends - without explaining the details of how these attacks would be conducted or demonstrating mathematically that they have any chance of success.

Perhaps by leaving the critiques abstract, the point is made that PoS’s “nothing at stake” flaw is fundamental and nothing can be done to fix it. Or it could be that actually taking the time and effort to analyze the actual odds of success of a given attack vector against PoS is hard, time consuming and may not lead to the desired result (that PoS is hopelessly doomed). NeuCoin has taken the time to analyze the attack vectors and their chances of success. We hope that our white paper will be a contribution to the entire PoS community, and invite you to comment, give feedback and help take this technology even further.

White paper bounty program

NeuCoin bounties will be awarded by the NeuCoin Code foundation for all constructive input, both positive and critical, you will find details here: http://forum.neucoin.org/t/white-paper-bounty-program/

PoW is centralized, costly and inefficient - and has been attacking PoS on flimsy grounds. We hope the wider PoS community will join us in this debate.

Offline yellowecho

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Offline Ander

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 11:58:57 PM »
::yawn::
http://bytemaster.bitshares.org/article/2015/01/08/Nothing-at-Stake-Nothing-to-Fear/?r=bytemaster

welcome to the forum anyway I guess

Don't be dismissive, their 40 page whitepaper is far more comprehensive than one blog post. :)


One item that might be interesting to add to the whitepaper is more discussion of other proof of stake systems, such as NXT (Transparent Forging) and Bitshares (DPoS) systems.

Welcome to the forum!
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Offline yellowecho

Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 12:29:46 AM »
::yawn::
http://bytemaster.bitshares.org/article/2015/01/08/Nothing-at-Stake-Nothing-to-Fear/?r=bytemaster

welcome to the forum anyway I guess

Don't be dismissive, their 40 page whitepaper is far more comprehensive than one blog post. :)


One item that might be interesting to add to the whitepaper is more discussion of other proof of stake systems, such as NXT (Transparent Forging) and Bitshares (DPoS) systems.

Welcome to the forum!

Their first post is a pitch on our forum for their coin.. and their whitepaper only focuses on how they're better than Peercoin and Bitcoin.  Sorry for not being more excited  :-X
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Offline Ander

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 12:44:33 AM »
::yawn::
http://bytemaster.bitshares.org/article/2015/01/08/Nothing-at-Stake-Nothing-to-Fear/?r=bytemaster

welcome to the forum anyway I guess

Don't be dismissive, their 40 page whitepaper is far more comprehensive than one blog post. :)


One item that might be interesting to add to the whitepaper is more discussion of other proof of stake systems, such as NXT (Transparent Forging) and Bitshares (DPoS) systems.

Welcome to the forum!

Their first post is a pitch on our forum for their coin.. and their whitepaper only focuses on how they're better than Peercoin and Bitcoin.  Sorry for not being more excited  :-X

I just think we all need to focus on being more friendly with other communities.  :)
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Offline rgcrypto

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 01:25:36 AM »
I do not have the knowledge to understand this whitepaper but thank you for doing the job of looking into what anti-POS objections are and proving them wrong.

Welcome to our community.

Offline robrigo

Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 02:58:23 AM »
Welcome to the community NeuCoin.

 Really though...
"NeuCoin: the First Secure, Cost-efficient and Decentralized Cryptocurrency"

It may be "secure", "cost-efficient", and "decentralized", but certainly there are other projects that are considered to have the same benefits and have come before Neu? I would claim the same 3 benefits talking about bitshares... and it launched before Neu.

Offline koubiac

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2015, 09:28:49 AM »
Hi,

Thanks for the feedback.

First of all, the reason we posted on Bitshares' forum (and some PoS forums) is certainly not to undermine the work that has been done by Daniel and other developers but to spark a discussion on the security of cost-efficient consensus mechanism such as PoS and DPoS.
The fact is that the majority of the Bitcoin community is still convinced that PoS and DPoS cannot possibly be secure. When asked about PoS algorithms in his reddit AMA, Gavin simply provided a link to Andrew Poelstra's paper called Distributed consensus from proof of stake is impossible. This is a problem.
I believe we're all in the same boat when it comes to convincing the crypto community that there are secure and more efficient alternatives to Bitcoin's proof-of-work.

More over, thanks yellowecho for the link
Quote
::yawn::
http://bytemaster.bitshares.org/article/2015/01/08/Nothing-at-Stake-Nothing-to-Fear/?r=bytemaster
Although, I'm not very familiar with Bitshare's protocol this kind of answer to nothing at stake is deemed unsatisfactory by a large part of the cryptocommunity.
The issue basically is: "should a distributed consensus mechanism simply keep clients in consensus over time if they were in consensus at an earlier time". In Bitshares case, this means that nodes cannot go offline for a significant amount of time without needing a trusted source to update the block chain.
IMO these kind of issues are way smaller than the ones bitcoin is facing but it's something to keep in mind  :)
(btw, there's an interesting thread on the subject on reddit:http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2zpmlj/expanded_rewrite_of_distributed_consensus_from/cplardu )

finally,
Quote
One item that might be interesting to add to the whitepaper is more discussion of other proof of stake systems, such as NXT (Transparent Forging) and Bitshares (DPoS) systems.
We're definitely thinking about covering other currencies in the document, this is just v1.0, we had to get the paper out at some point :)
As I said, I think these kind of documents can help the community as a whole.

Offline yellowecho

Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2015, 05:57:41 PM »
More over, thanks yellowecho for the link
....
In Bitshares case, this means that nodes cannot go offline for a significant amount of time without needing a trusted source to update the block chain.
IMO these kind of issues are way smaller than the ones bitcoin is facing but it's something to keep in mind 

I apologize if I was rude or dismissive but I've found it rare that new users from other communities post here and stay long enough to keep an open dialog but you seem to be an exception so welcome!  Could you elaborate on your point regarding offline nodes?  If I'm understanding correctly, I don't believe this to be much of an issue because if a node (delegate) goes offline and misses a block then it just goes to the next node... if the offline node consistently misses blocks for a long duration they can be voted out relatively quickly. 
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Offline CLains

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2015, 08:31:38 PM »
Great job on trying to convince the PoW maximalists that PoS ain't all that bad. We need people spending some effort on outlining the issue properly without bias. It seems like most guys here, and I guess NXTers as well have just given up on trying to convince the PoW camp. Lately it seems Ethereum guys, Vitalik in particular, has made a real effort to understand the pros and cons of both consensus methods. I know Daniel had some discussions with him as well.

What do you think of Vitaliks' recent style of argumentation?

Offline Chronos

Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2015, 10:19:00 PM »
An excellent paper. Thank you for sharing this.

Offline koubiac

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2015, 06:26:26 PM »
I apologize if I was rude or dismissive but I've found it rare that new users from other communities post here and stay long enough to keep an open dialog but you seem to be an exception so welcome!  Could you elaborate on your point regarding offline nodes?  If I'm understanding correctly, I don't believe this to be much of an issue because if a node (delegate) goes offline and misses a block then it just goes to the next node... if the offline node consistently misses blocks for a long duration they can be voted out relatively quickly. 

No worries, I understand where you're coming from :)

Let's me start by saying I'm not nearly as well-versed in DPoS as I am in PoS.
The idea is that the rolling checkpoints allow nodes that have been continuously aware of the state of the blockchain to refuse forks that started at a height smaller than current_height - X (whether the criteria is height or time doesn't change much).
However, when bootstrapping a new node, the client cannot independently determine which version of history is the main chain. Indeed, although an attacker might have been able to create a longer branch (through a grinding attack for example) which will have been rejected by the online nodes thanks to the rolling checkpoints, the new node has no way of knowing that.
In Bitcoin, the client just needs to look at which chain has the most total trust. With rolling checkpoints receiving the genesis block isn't enough to guess which branch is the mainchain.
The question is "should the consensus mechanism be built around an absolute rule that cannot be superseded ("main branch is the one with most total trust") or is there an alternative"?
As I said, I'm not sure that this is a fundamental problem but some people in the cryptocommunity seem to think this is unacceptable.

I'm reasoning by analogy with PoS here so I might wrong about how this affects bitshares.
Moreover, I wish I had more time to study Bitshares :) but I don't have enough time
If anyone knows how bitshares handle the issue of the new nodes & the nodes come back online I'm very curious :)

Great job on trying to convince the PoW maximalists that PoS ain't all that bad. We need people spending some effort on outlining the issue properly without bias. It seems like most guys here, and I guess NXTers as well have just given up on trying to convince the PoW camp. Lately it seems Ethereum guys, Vitalik in particular, has made a real effort to understand the pros and cons of both consensus methods. I know Daniel had some discussions with him as well.
What do you think of Vitaliks' recent style of argumentation?

Thanks a lot :)

Like pretty much anyone else in the community I have a great deal of respect for Vitalik and have been following his blog posts for quite some time.
I think he's been doing a lot for PoS by vouching for it and writing about it given the fact that he's certainly one of the most respected personalities of the scene.
His posts are extremely technical so I highly doubt that many people have the time and/or the knowledge to fully understand them (me included :) ) They seem to really find an echo within a limited scene (which is not necessarily a bad thing, he's definitely one of the main progressive forces research-wise in the field).
What's remains extremely difficult is to coordinate our efforts. Proof-of-stake algorithms are so complicated that I don't know anybody that has a profound understanding of all of them (I know for a fact that Vitalik isn't very familiar with Peercoin's implementation).

For all these reasons, we decided to make our paper as accessible as possible. I think that understanding the pros and cons of each implementation would definitely be of great help to the community.
NeuCoin's goal - as far as the white paper is concerned - is to reach to the community (especially pro-PoW people on reddit for example or btctalk) to try to spark a discussion. It might be utopic but it's worth the try :)


An excellent paper. Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks :)

Offline Sandrine

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Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 03:05:15 PM »
Hi!
This is Sandrine, I’m working with koubiac on the NeuCoin Project.

I’m reaching out to ask for the Bitshares community’s feedback on another topic. We are considering a distribution program whereby a fraction (3-5%) of NeuCoin’s 3 billion coin premine would be distributed to existing holders of select digital currencies: Peercoin, NXT, Bitshares, Blackcoin, Nubits, Ripple(?), Stellar(?) and potentially Dogecoin (Jackson Palmer is a strategic advisors and Doge has been a pioneer in terms of wide distribution and micro-transactions).

I just created a dedicated topic here https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,15755.0.html on this subject, so as to keep this thread clean.
Looking forward to your feedback!

Offline roadscape

Re: NeuCoin's 40-page white paper rebuts all nothing at stake objections
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2015, 08:07:36 PM »
Great read! You guys should definitely look into DPOS.. and share your thoughts when you do :)
http://cryptofresh.com  |  witness: roadscape

 

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