[bitcoin-dev] Why Satoshi's temporary anti-spam measure isn't temporary

Jorge Timón jtimon at jtimon.cc
Wed Jul 29 18:00:10 UTC 2015

On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 12:43 PM, Eric Lombrozo via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> Erm…most miners just trust mining pool operators to validate blocks for
> them…and some of the biggest pools have been blatantly cutting corners. Yes,
> a few pools might have temporarily bled a little…but properly validating is
> probably not the equilibrium strategy…and as time goes on, they are likely
> to start cutting corners again. Whether they ultimately bleed money isn’t
> really the point - many believe that cutting corners is actually a rational
> strategy. If you want to discuss the game theory behind this, fine…but the
> fact some of the biggest mining pool operators are on record saying they are
> likely to continue doing this is enough to seriously put to question one of
> the most fundamental assumptions behind the network security model.

Actually validating blocks IS the equilibrium strategy. When the
subsidy is completely gone (or at least when the block reward is not
almost exclusively composed of subsidy [a future where fees are not a
completely negligible part of the total reward]), miners will
re-calculate their estimations and they will find out that mining
empty blocks won't be so profitable in a future with less subsidy. In
fact, with the incentives they currently have (negligible fees)
actually bothering about including transactions at all it's not really
worth it for them. They may just do it because they're nice people,
meta-incentives...whatever the reason is, they users are enjoying a
service they're not paying for.

Only subsidy and no fees creates other incentive problems, not just
SPV mining. But apparently some people think that scaring some users
with unreasonable expectations away because they have to pay fees
(still, non-proportional [to the amount you're moving] fees due to the
irreversibility of the payments: something the reversible payments
based on the banking industry can't simply compete with) it's much
worse than perpetuating big incentive problems that could break the
system. And, of course, short term convenience for users is much more
important than figuring out the long term viability of the system once
the seigniorage (spent on the miner's subsidy) goes away.

The pattern seems clear to be: decentralization and long term
viability don't matter too much to some people.
For some people, short term market cap seems to be the most important
priority and everything else is secondary.

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