[Bitcoin-development] Proof-of-Stake branch?

Mark Friedenbach mark at monetize.io
Sat Apr 26 20:39:28 UTC 2014

There's no need to be confrontational. I don't think anyone here objects
to the basic concept of proof-of-stake. Some people, myself included,
have proposed protocols which involve some sort of proof of stake
mechanism, and the idea itself originated as a mechanism for eliminating
checkpoints, something which is very much on topic and of concern to
many here.

The problems come when one tries to *replace* proof-of-work mining with
proof-of-stake "mining." You encounter problems related to the fact that
with proof-of-stake nothing is actually at stake. You are free to sign
as many different forks as you wish, and worse have incentive to do so,
because whatever fork does win, you want it to be yours. In the worst
case this results in double-spends at will, and in the best case with
any of the various proposed protections deployed, it merely reduces to
proof-of-work as miners grind blocks until they find one that names them
or one of their sock puppets as the signer of the next block.

I sincerely doubt you will find a solution to this, as it appears to be
a fundamental issue with proof-of-stake, in that it must leverage an
existing mechanism for enforced scarcity (e.g. proof-of-work) in order
to work in a consensus algorithm. Is there some solution that you have
in mind for this?


On 04/25/2014 12:33 AM, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:
> Do it. Someone will scream harm. The loudest voices screaming how it would
> be harmful are doing the most harm.
> The only way to know is build it, and test it. If the network breaks, then
> it is better we find out sooner rather than later.
> My only suggestion is call it 'bitstake' or something to clearly differentiate
> it from Bitcoin. This also might be an interesting application of the side
> chains concept Peter Todd has discussed.
> On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 04:32:15PM -0700, Stephen Reed wrote:
>> Hello all.
>> I understand that Proof-of-Stake as a replacement for Proof-of-Work is a prohibited yet disputed change to Bitcoin Core. I would like to create a Bitcoin branch that provides a sandboxed testbed for researching the best PoS implementations. In the years to come, perhaps circumstances might arise, such as shifting of user opinion as to whether PoS should be moved from the prohibited list to the hard-fork list.
>> -----
>> A poll I conducted today on bitcointalk, https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=581635.0 with an attention-grabbing title suggests some minority support for Bitcoin Proof-of-Stake. I invite any of you to critically comment on that thread.
>> "Annual 10% bitcoin dividends can be ours if  Proof-of-Stake full nodes outnumber existing Proof-of-Work full nodes by three-to-one. What is your choice?"
>> "I do not care or do not know enough." - 5 (16.1%) 
>> "I would download and run the existing Proof-of-Work program to fight the change." - 14 (45.2%) 
>> "I would download and run the new Proof-of-Stake program to favor the change. " - 12 (38.7%) 
>> Total Voters: 31 
>> -----
>> Before I branch the source code and learn the proper way of doing things in this community, I ask you simply if creating the branch is harmful? My goal is to develop, test and document PoS, while exploring its vulnerabilities and fixing them in a transparent fashion.
>> Thanks for taking a bit of your time to read this message.

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