[bitcoin-dev] Bitcoin, Perceptions, and Expectations

Thomas Kerin thomas.kerin at gmail.com
Sat Jul 25 15:04:41 UTC 2015

Hash: SHA512

FWIW, the 6 confirmations figure came from a modest estimate of a miner
with 10% of the hash rate, such that there is < 0.1% probability of the
transaction being undone.

I wonder at times if this figure should fluctuate with the hashrate of
the largest player. Presently, AntMiner has 20% of the hashrate,
requiring 11 blocks to give you the same certainty. And previously when
GHash.io had 45%, the number of blocks to wait would be 340 - over two days!

With this in mind, I would be wary about publishing these numbers as
they are prone to change.

On 25/07/15 03:18, gb via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> Validated - (seen on network)
> Settled/Cleared - 1 conf
> Finalised - 6 confs
> On Sat, 2015-07-25 at 00:37 +1000, Vincent Truong via bitcoin-dev wrote:
>> "Fast transactions"
>> Fast transactions implies it is slower than Visa, and Visa is
>> 'instant' by comparison from the spender's POV. Bitcoin is still very
>> instant because wallets still send notifications/pings when
>> transactions are first seen, not when it goes into a block. We
>> shouldn't mislead people into thinking a transaction literally takes
>> 10 minutes to travel the globe.
>> Maybe this feels like PR speak. But being too humble about Bitcoin's
>> attributes isn't a good idea either.
>> If we're going to look at perception, image and expectations, perhaps
>> we can start to look at redefining some terminology too. Like
>> confirmations, which is an arbitrary concept. Where possible we should
>> describe it with finance terminology.
>> "0 conf transaction"
>> 0 conf is the 'transaction' - just the act of making an exchange. It
>> doesn't imply safe and I believe using the word 'settle' in place of
>> confirmations will automatically click with merchants.
>> "1st conf"
>> A 'confirmation' is a 'settlement'. If it is 'settled', it implies
>> final (except by court order), whereas confirmation usually means 'ah,
>> I've seen it come through'. I rarely hear any sales clerk call credit
>> card transactions confirmed. More often you will hear 'approved'
>> instead. Although 1st conf can be overtaken, so...
>> "n confirmations"
>> This term can probably stay since I can't come up with a better word.
>> Settlements only happen once, putting a number next to it breaks the
>> meaning of the word. "Settled with 4 confirmations" seems pretty
>> clear. Alternatively I think instead of displaying a meaningless
>> number we ought to go by a percentage (the double spend improbability)
>> and go by 'confidence'. "Settled with 92% confidence." Or we can pick
>> an arbitrary number like 6 and use 'settling...' and 'settled' when
>> reached.
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