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Topics - Thom

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A brief discussion took place ( on Telegram today where Abit asked about metrics to eval BSIP42 algorithms. I hope to cultivate ideas here on how we can conduct similar experimentation for the BitUSD market as was done for BitCNY last month. Once the core MCR bug is fixed I want to be as ready as I can be to begin these experiments.

I will add to this after I have a look at Zapata's BSIP42 feed code, which I hope to find elements to expose to help us coordinate witnesses' BitUSD feeds.

It would be very useful for any of you witnesses that participated in the BitCNY experimentation to chime in here. I would like to see an explanation of the "experimentation process" that was used for BitCNY. From my observation it was messy and wasn't well coordinated. Nobody could even say with certainty which witnesses were experimenting with BSIP42 and which ones weren't, or how many different BSIP42 scripts were being used by experimenters.

Should witnesses experiment using a "reference" feed script? I think that would be easier to coordinate, and once we've come up with a reasonably stable algo, witnesses can port it or modify it to fit their operation. This is a question, not a foregone conclusion. I will probably use Zapata's script unless something else pops up that would be better.

So one item we could publish here is a list of witnesses that intend to participate in BSIP42 for BitUSD once the core is fixed to allow use of MCR in the algo.

How do we determine when algo "adjustments" are made? IIRC Abit acted as a type of coordinator to inform witnesses about adjustments / premium. Rather than relying on one person lets discuss this so we all know how that is determined so any of us could announce the info. However I think it's better for consistency that only one witness post or pin the announcements.

General Discussion / How "OPEN" should we be?
« on: October 27, 2017, 07:41:33 pm »
On day 1 of blockchain's existence there was no concept of stealth transactions. That's still true of Bitcoin and most other crypto projects including BitShares.

At some point privacy became a concern and stealth was born.

Bytemaster and others have discussed the implications of BIG DATA in the hands of those who wish to manipulate you.

Shouldn't we be thinking about ways we can improve our privacy and restrict access to our data to only those we authorize to see it?

I am not proposing we reinvent BitShares to lock down access tightly. I only want you to consider privacy as we build new features and add improvements. For example, Alfredo's new ES history plugins, which were created to solve 2 major problems:
  • Heavy RAM use, which also slow restarts / replays
  • How to provide a flexible way to query blockchain activity

These are indeed significant problems that the ES plugin will address. The ES feature will make it easier to access historical data - by ANYONE, friend or foe. It does NOT allow for anything to be accessible thru ES that is not already available thru other API calls, it just makes it easier & faster to obtain the data. It is an alternative access method.

In reading over Alfredo's docs for ES, it occurred to me that we should consider protecting the data contained in this ES database. If it is far quicker and easier to use the ES plugin than to code the required API calls to obtain the data, ES will become the tool of choice to mine user data. If this is true the ES plugin represents a significant value, and may be worth considering it as an FBA to gain that advantage.

My chief concern is that our efforts to improve BitShares should also increase freedom, not reduce it. It's the opposite perspective from a fintech regulator, who sees every hidden transaction or means of obscuring them as chipping away at his ability to do his job. He wants as much info as possible, and doesn't care about intruding on people's privacy. I look at every transaction that a regulator knows about as chipping away at my freedom. 

Will google be able to create a search robot that uses this new ES facility to build it's own proprietary DB it can then sell to 3rd parties?

I commented about this concern on github and Telegram:

What security mechanisms exist to protect this data from prying eyes? Can anyone query ES to get MY history for example? The blockchain is wide open, so perhaps such security concerns didn't cross his mind.

What about stealth transactions? Can they be categorized and queried thru ES (for example to create a list of accounts that have used stealth)?

Graphene uses a modular API, and these APIs can be protected with a json API key. I am wondering if you have defined a new API that could utilize that protection, and wondering what protection of MY account history will be provided from 3rd party inquiries. Could I for example query ES to see what accounts may have used ES to query MY history?

General Discussion / What is refund400k worker?
« on: April 25, 2017, 06:57:27 pm »
It is currently the only approved worker proposal that does NOT have a link to a proposal.

As I recall, this worker got voted in at the height of the anti-dilution / reduce spending campaign pushed mostly from eastern shareholders.

How does one find the proposal where the purpose of this worker is discussed? Why is it still voted in? Who / what account(s) are the recipient of these funds?

How to Get Paid by the BitShares Blockchain
Is there a document or video that describes how a BitShares worker proposal is officially submitted to it can be seen and voted on by shareholders? Amanda B. Johnson wrote an official proposal to get funding from Dash for a Daily Decrypt series long before she was hired to do the Dash Detailed series she now does. We need to produce a similar video for BitShares Worker Proposals that not only explains how our governance model works but also walks people through the mechanics of interacting with the CLI wallet (there are currently no facilities in the GUI wallets to manage worker proposals) and using cryptofresh to track votes.

The video could also explain the Worker Proposal mechanism can also be used to conduct polls of shareholders on issues or questions, which was done most recently by JerryLiu (Bitcrab) to measure in a quantifiable and official way the support for increasing witness pay.

There are several areas of the BitShares ecosystem that have not been fully implemented and this is one example. It's not a high priority item, but shows there is functionality only possible through the command line wallet. Creation of UIA assets may be another.

General Discussion / What is BitShares to You?
« on: April 12, 2017, 02:42:00 pm »
Please focus on what exists today or what is in active development such as Stealth (private transactions).

We had a very fruitful discussion in the BitShares mumble this morning, and the idea of forming a marketing committee was put forth.

DSN from [member=19864]BunkerChain Labs[/member] had a great analogy and summary of what BitShares needs in terms of marketing. To paraphrase, he likened our situation to a talented group of musicians who can play their own instruments well, but they all need a skilled conductor to produce a coordinated musical masterpiece people are emotionally moved by so they go away touched and talk about it at the water cooler the next day.

Not only are moved to just talk about it, but also are impacted enough to take action.

All are pretty much agreed that BitShares needs marketing, and so it was suggested to have a regular segment devoted to that in the BitShares mumble hangouts each week.

I also called for volunteers to work on this committee, and the following people voiced interest:
  • MrWang
  • VirtualGrowth
  • Taconator
  • Chris4210
  • GChicken
  • Brindleswan
  • Xanoxt
  • SolomonSollarsNSense

Some of you might recall a similar attempt to address marketing concerns by [member=20584]Method-X[/member] called "null street marketing" back in the day, on the trailing edge of Brian Page's reign & exodus. Solomon was involved in that effort. At that time Cryptonomex was still very active in controlling the direction of the ecosystem. Anyone can chime in and correct me if I'm wrong, but from my perspective there was a lack of consensus between the community, cryptonomex and method-x on how to do marketing and how or to what level marketing should be funded.

Cryptonomex is no longer a factor, it's now up to us, the present community to decide how to approach marketing. BitShares is also a totally different beast than it was back then too.

This committee is only a starting point. We need to start somewhere, and before any decisions about HOW to fund marketing and what LEVEL of funding is required can be made we need to discuss a PLAN or APPROACH to it. Once a consensus about that is reached secondary concerns about the best ways how to achieve that approach can be focused on and decided.

I would also like to mention an idea that I think would be very useful to this committee, that being Bob Podolsky's "Octologue". In a nutshell Bob is a researcher with decades of experience and solid real world data that indicates the optimum size of an effective group is ideally 8 people composed of 4 men and 4 women. Another aspect of an Octologue is that all decisions made by the group must be unanimous. Bob has written a 200+ page book about his research and experiments named "Flourish"  that describes in great detail how such groups work. There are several practical examples of successful companies built around this concept.

I would encourage anyone interested to read Flourish and become familiar with his definition and examples of what ethics are. Can you define what an "ethic" is? I thought I knew, but now I KNOW. I encourage everyone to look into that for your own clarity as a basis for forming a solid, cooperative and unified core group to be as effective as possible. Bob's website where you can read about his work and ethics is I will update this post later today to provide a link to Flourish.

With that as background, let this thread serve as the start of forming this committee. The initial meeting time has been tentatively set to sometime during the evening hours of a weekday, and 9PM CDT Wednesday was the initial suggested time to meet on mumble (CDT = Chicago time - . The focus of the initial meeting is to solidify a plan on how to proceed, including establishing:

1) A consistent meeting time
2) A place to meet (mumble, slack, Discord etc, but should provide real time conversation at a minimum)
3) Who is willing to setup and participate in a multisig account to oversee distribution of funds, and how many participants multisig should have
4) What the agenda will be for the next meeting
5) Decide a list of specific actionable items to be accomplished by the next meeting. Suggestions:
    -   define a mission statement that unifies and brings focus onto the group's purpose
    -   define (at a high level) target audience(S) for BitShares, and marketing priorities for each demographic (traders, grandma, crypto enthusiasts)
    -   identify key areas of BitShares features that have the greatest potential to reach people emotionally
    -   establish the multisig account


Stakeholder Proposals / Witness Report for Verbaltech2
« on: March 20, 2017, 06:56:52 pm »
It's been quite awhile since I updated the community on activities of the BitShares verbaltech2 witness.

As I described in the thread topic about increasing witness pay, I am committed to increasing my involvement and stepping up my game.

I participated in the recent testnet by building the code, and deploying 2 new fullnodes (8GB, 32GB RAM). I was online in mumble throughout the testing.

I have registered a new domain name for all full nodes (seed nodes, witness nodes and redundant witness nodes) and created a pull request in github to update applications.cpp which contain the seed node definitions.

I have upgraded the node in Australia to an 8GB, quad core CPU to handle the increased trading activity on the DEX. I will also be upgrading another node to 8GB (probably the one in Singapore) later this week.

I have deployed the latest build of the witness_node to all of the nodes.

I began to notice an increase in my missed block count over the last couple of months. Since January 15th 4 blocks have been missed. Reviewing the server load I can see no obvious cause for it. Keep in mind this represents a very low failure rate of only 0.3%. Network latency is reasonable, even for the nodes in Singapore and Australia at between 300 and 400ms. 

I am also coming up to speed on Python, and I will be looking into why the latest 0.4.8 version of bts_tools fails to successfully build the witness software from source. It's not a must-have feature of the tools, as the build is pretty easy to do manually now, but it will serve as an aid to getting more proficient with Python as well as contribute a bug fix to wackou's most excellent bts_tools. After that I will turn my attention to python-bitshares. and uptick.

General Discussion / Mumble server is offline...
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:07:05 pm »
It appears the mumble server is down, not sure if anyone is working the problem. Fuzzy is aware of the outage.

General Discussion / MOVED - Difference between random and general?
« on: May 03, 2016, 12:10:26 pm »
[member=31]fav[/member], I have truly appreciated your efforts to clean up the discussion here ever since you started moderating. Not only is it a thankless job but it also takes a considerable amount of time.

As I look at the recent topics you chose to move it suddenly struck me that there is little difference between "random" and "general", as both terms are devoid of topic specificity. Perhaps the "random" heading should be renamed to "non-crypto topics" or "off topic". Some of the things you've moved like karnal's "Farewell" fit the non-crypto category better, but others like "Why are you still here?" do not, in that the later pertains to crypto, albeit not BitShares but rather STEEM, yet pertinent to both.

And this post, for example could well be moved to "Forum Management", but like so many candidates for relocation sometimes topics deserve to initially get the eyes that only come to "General Discussion" as they are of general interest to the community but fit better under a more specific category.

Anyway, these ideas just popped up for me and I thought I'd see what you and others had to say about it. I don't think many would say the BitShares forums are well organized and easy to find information; it's quite intimidating to some. Yet, most forums with large volumes of traffic encounter the same problem of keeping information and topics organized, and that requires users that help by posting in the most appropriate place as well as moderators who move things around to maintain order.

 +5% for all your efforts fav!

Stakeholder Proposals / Hard lesson learned about DNS
« on: May 01, 2016, 12:56:55 am »
I just discovered that the DNSSEC record for a domain name I bought from NAMECHEAP is screwing up resolving its address. I have had this domain in place now for over 30 days and I have not changed anything in my DNS records for most of that time. Around 2 weeks ago suddenly certain users reported the website down, tho others had no issues. I checked many places around the world and most I checked said my domain name could not be found. Most users of the website had no problems resolving the name and reaching the site.

Moreover, I gave people the IP address to try to eliminate the DNS lookup entirely and they still could not reach my website. WTF? Not even directly by IP? Yes, that's right. It seems NAMECHEAP messed up the DNSSEC record which prohibited the distribution of the correct information. I just realized that DNS is more than a lookup database of names to numbers, it is the central map of the Internet as well. DNS is not an independent name lookup service for IP addresses maintained in some other scheme or database, DNS IS the database that creates the map of Internet node interconnections.

Here all this time I thought if I had the IP address of a server and DNS went down or was unavailable I could still access the server directly by IP address. I now know that isn't true. The DNSSEC records are nothing more than additional records containing cryptographic keys used to validate legitimate requests to change the DNS data so it can be propagated around the world. That is their only function; they do not encrypt any information.

Although namecheap offers names and services in exchange for Bitcoin, I will not be purchasing any more services from them in the future. Names ARE their business and mistakes like this are severe. It represents incompetence, mismanagement or both and should never have happened.

It's really a shame too, b/c with the fierce competition in the hosting space hosting services come & go often. When that happens it can tie up domains and make their ownership questionable. Namecheap got it's start in 2000 and added hosting to it's lineup as a secondary feature. That aspect of the company is quite small compared with the name services. I have used namecheap to insulate myself from the riskier volatility of the hosting market. If a hosting company or VPS provider suddenly goes out of business without notice all I have to do is buy another and point my domain to the new one. It has minimal impact with adequate backups of the old server.

Word to the wise - you might want to find a different place to buy your domains than your hosting company or Namecheap.

verbaltech2 witness and all seed nodes updated to latest commit.

General Discussion / Time for a new pivot?
« on: February 13, 2016, 01:43:03 am »
Gotcha! Thought I was referring to a sweeping change in the direction of BitShares, didn't you? Yes, I have posted about that many times before, and not with much good to say about it - the Merger, BitShares 1 ---> 2.0 those things.

Totally different topic this pivot, and hopefully this will be viewed as a positive post.

What am I talking about? THIS:

I saw this TED talk and I instantly thought of this forum, then I wondered if this way of viewing Big Data might provide useful insights from visualizing BitShares blockchain data.

As humans we're exceptionally good at pattern recognition, even sometimes when it's not there. If we can expose large swaths of data to our visual pattern recognition CPU, we might be quite amazed at what we'll see.

I suspect a tool like "pivot" is not a free and open source I can download from somewhere online. But I am intrigued enough to look into it more and see what type of tools are in the works to explore databases or websites (like this forum for example) and how Pivot can be used to do it.


Andreas Antonopoulos as usual very eloquently explains why reputation systems are contrary to the vision and principles of Bitcoin and by extension why Identibit is as well.

What are we trying to accomplish with cryptocurrency? Answer: MANY things, some of which are contrary to the reasons Bitcoin was invented. Identibit is such an example, however it would also be hypocritical and contrary to the principle of freedom to say Identibit should not be allowed to exist. If Mr. Underwood can make it happen let him try, I wish him the best of luck. If his efforts are successful it could have an indirect benefit to BitShares, not only by sharedropping on owners of BROWNIE.PTS but in getting a more mainstream audience introduced to cryptocurrency that otherwise would never learn of it. Once exposed they would be that much more open to the benefits of other crypto ecosystems like Bitcoin and BitShares that do not impose the restrictions that Identibit does.

When Identibit was initially announced I was very vocal in my opposition of it, primarily b/c it sounded to me like CNX would be doing all of the technical work which I saw as a conflict of interest and a derailing of the focus towards BitShares' goals and vision. I still have some of those concerns, however I am not seeing Identibit gain much traction yet, and it maybe it won't, possibly because the banking industry may be open to cryptocurrency only as a closed, proprietary, internal system.

As I have said all along, AML / KYC compliance is contrary to the disruptive technology BitShares / Bitcoin is based on, and compliance to those regulations simply perpetuates the injustice and facilitates the war-mongering practices of the existing bankster cartel.

The choice is in our hands. Will you choose freedom or the illusion of safety that complying with corrupt rules and regulations give you?

Consider where your personal vision lies and act accordingly.

I just posted an update on github ( concerning BSIP #5.

In it I said that particular BSIP does not include a minimum level of content for a BSIP, and further suggested less formal discussion should take place elsewhere to distill the issues involved and see if a more formal BSIP to address the perceived problem is warranted.

There is much I could say here, but I will try to keep this brief. Most of my thoughts can be found in the BSIP issues on github. For some recent background see this forum poll. For older discussions about governance and voter apathy use the forum advanced search, use the keywords VOTER APATHY and change the "Search order" drop down to "Oldest topics first".

BSIP #5 attempts to address the issue of voter apathy by allowing the votes for witnesses to expire. IMO this is not a very well thought out approach. Moreover, if the approach is sound why not apply it to other votes, such as for committee members? The BSIP approach could cause instability in the witness ranks, or allow unqualified witnesses to gain the position. The role of witnesses in our DPoS ecosystem is extremely important. Reputation is a key factor, as well as technical abilities. However this BSIP does not address those issues. In fact, it weakens stability and the role of witness reputation.

We saw what can happen in BitShares 1 with witnesses that didn't take their role seriously, were lax in maintenance yet had huge votes and were difficult to get rid of, or witnesses that abandon their posts and thus reduce shareholder accountability. It has been suggested on several occasions that we codify some automatic performance metrics for monitoring witnesses so that if they fail to meet certain standards they loose their position. Missing blocks is not a sufficient disincentive IMO to keep witnesses operating properly, but it may serve well as one of several metrics (version / info publishing, frequency of reports or info updates, feeds, their number, accuracy and frequency just to name a few) in an automated system of accountability / performance evaluation.

I consider this post to be a starting point for discussions about how to strengthen the role of the witnesses, including BSIP #5. I believe we as a community should think carefully about BSIP #5 as well as the following and focus our discussion along these lines:

1) The issues (voter apathy, lack of fresh witnesses, stability, incumbent witness accountability)
2) Considerations (reputation, technical abilities, ecosystem knowledge, conflicts of interest)
3) Candidate process (mentoring / training, accomplishments, voting campaigns, motivation)
4) Policies (metrics for monitoring witness performance, decentralization, anonymity, feeds, communications, grounds for termination, process for termination, minimum vote threshold, minimum technical standards)
5) Standards and best practices (some of these overlap with items above)

IMO this community has been playing fast & loose regarding a very important aspect of our DPoS ecosystem. Whenever the voter apathy topic arises it doesn't seem to resolve much. I think we're at a place of maturity now that demands we put more thought into this, and not just apply a patch to experiment on how it may affect the ecosystem. I highly applaud xeroc and his efforts to establish quality documentation and formal procedures such as BSIPs which are sorely needed in BitShares. A more regimented, structured approach such as what jakub and Bill Butler bring to the table will help us all to stay focused and on point.

As I said in my comments on github, my concern is not so much about resolving or affecting voter apathy as much as it is on strengthening the witness role. I believe we can do that more effectively through policies, procedures and standards to improve awareness, accountability and core strengths of our witnesses.

I hope this thread will demonstrate the strength of our witness community by the number of witnesses that comment here. Let's see if we can get all 25 to show up and offer their input, no matter what it is.

Stakeholder Proposals / Witness pay in BitShares 2.0
« on: October 17, 2015, 09:29:57 pm »
Do all of you witnesses know how witness payment will be done? If so how did you find out?

I have been looking at the cli API and playing around a bit, and it looks to me like

    withdraw_vesting <witness name or ID> <amount> <asset> [broadcast]

is the way it's done. I used get_vesting_balances to see what the accrued balance is, but I don't understand the json return value. I put in 500 BTS and it succeeded, but 5000 failed and I'm not sure why, when it appears to me that 47K BTS is "allowed_withdraw".

Exactly what is the "vesting" schedule for witnesses? How do we get paid? BM has said the initial pay rate will be $300 / month, but could someone fill in the details please?

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