[bitcoin-dev] CFP Bitcoin Scalability Workshop (Sept 12-13), Montreal Canada

Pindar Wong pindar.wong at gmail.com
Tue Aug 11 08:45:08 UTC 2015


Bitcoin Scalability Workshops

In recent months the Bitcoin development community has faced difficult
discussions of how to safely improve the scalability and decentralized
nature of the Bitcoin network. To aid the technical consensus building
process we are organizing a pair of workshops to collect technical
criteria, present proposals and evaluate technical materials and data with
academic discipline and analysis that fully considers the complex tradeoffs
between decentralization, utility, security and operational realities. This
may be considered as similar in intent and process to the NIST-SHA3 design
process where performance and security were in a tradeoff for a security
critical application.

Since Bitcoin is a P2P currency with many stakeholders, it is important to
collect requirements as broadly as possible, and through the process
enhance everyone’s understanding of the technical properties of Bitcoin to
help foster an inclusive, transparent, and informed process.

Those with technical interest are invited to participate in this pair of
workshops with the following intent:

Phase 1: Scene setting, evaluation criteria, and tradeoff analysis.

Montreal, Canada: September 12th-13th, 2015

Scalability is not a single parameter; there are many opportunities to make
the Bitcoin protocol more efficient and better able to service the needs of
its growing userbase. Each approach to further scaling the Bitcoin
blockchain involves implicit trade offs of desired properties of the whole
system. As a community we need to raise awareness of the complex and subtle
issues involved, facilitate deeper research and testing of existing
proposals, and motivate future work in this area.

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the general tradeoffs and
requirements of any proposal to scale Bitcoin beyond its present limits.
Session topics are to include the presentation of experimental data
relating to known bottlenecks of Bitcoin’s continued growth and analysis of
implicit tradeoffs involved in general strategies for enabling future
growth.

This event will not host sessions on the topic of any specific proposals
involving changes to the Bitcoin protocol. Such proposals would be the
topic of a 2nd, follow-on Phase 2 workshop described below; this event is
intended to “set the stage” for work on and evaluation of specific
proposals in the time between the workshops.

Phase 2 will be planned out further as part of Phase 1 with input from the
participants.

Phase 2: Presentation and review of technical proposals, with simulation,
benchmark results.

Hong Kong, SAR, China: TBD Nov/Dec 2015

Hopefully to be easier for the Chinese miners to attend, the second
workshop pertaining to actual block size proposals is to be planned for
Hong Kong roughly in the late November to December timeframe.

The purpose of this workshop is to present and review actual proposals for
scaling Bitcoin against the requirements gathered in Phase 1. Multiple
competing proposals will be presented, with experimental data, and compared
against each other. The goal is to raise awareness of scalability issues
and build a pathway toward consensus for increasing Bitcoin’s transaction
processing capacity or, barring that, identify key areas of further
required research and next steps for moving forward.

Preliminarily, Phase 2 will be a time to share results from experiments
performed as a result of Phase 1 and an opportunity to discuss new
developments.

How do the Workshops work?

   -

   Both events will be live-streamed with remote participation facilitated
   via IRC for parallel online discussion and passing questions to the event.
   -

   These workshops aim to facilitate the existing Bitcoin Improvement
   Proposals (BIP)[1] process. Most work will be done outside of the workshops
   in the intervening months. The workshops serve to be additive to the design
   and review process by raising awareness of diverse points of view, studies,
   simulations, and proposals.
   -

   Travel, venue details, and accommodation recommendation are available at
   scalingbitcoin.org. Registration begins August 12th at an early-bird
   ticket price of $150 USD until September 3rd. The ticket prices do not come
   close to covering the venue expense and travel subsidies, hence the need
   for corporate sponsors.
   -

   Please see the FAQ at scalingbitcoin.org which should answer most other
   questions.


Travel Subsidies for Independent/Academic Researchers

There will be an application process for independent or academic
researchers to apply for travel assistance to help cover the expense of
airfare and hotel fees up to $1,000 per qualified presenter who intends to
give a presentation.  The four underwriters of this event have agreed to
jointly review applications and cover the travel subsidies for qualified
presenters. See scalingbitcoin.org for details.

Sponsors of the Montreal Workshop

The first workshop is hosted and with logistics handled by the Montreal
consultancy CryptoMechanics <http://cryptomechanics.com>.

The Underwriters jointly responsible for venue expenses and researcher
travel subsidies are currently the MIT Digital Currency Initiative,
Chaincode Labs, Blockstream, and Chain.com.

Current sponsors include: Cryptsy, BitcoinTalk, Final Hash, Blockstream,
MIT DCI, Chaincode Labs, IDEO Futures, Kraken, and Chain.com.

Additional sponsors are needed. Please see scalingbitcoin.org for
sponsorship details or contact me directly via < pindar dot wong at
gmail.com >

Online Workshop Resources

   -

   Bitcoin-Workshops-Announce list

   https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-workshops-announce
   -

   Bitcoin-Workshops discussion list
   https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-workshops
   -

   #bitcoin-workshops chat on the Freenode IRC network
   http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=bitcoin-workshops


Call for Proposals/Papers/Presentations

If you have any research relevant to issues surrounding Bitcoin
scalability, your proposal for a presentation at the Montreal workshop
would be most welcome.  Please see scalingbitcoin.org for submission
details.

Pindar Wong

Chair, Montreal Workshop Planning Committee

Chairman, VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd.

[1] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin_Improvement_Proposals
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