[bitcoin-dev] About ASICBoost

Btc Drak btcdrak at gmail.com
Sun Oct 2 19:36:06 UTC 2016


Sergio,

It is critically important to the future of Bitcoin that consensus
code avoid any unnecessary entanglements with patents because "the
free market" allows you and anyone else to make consensus change
proposals that rely on (unknown) patents - but this is something we
should all be working to avoid, as it unnecessarily hinders Bitcoin
development and everyone's ability to deploy. Consensus code must not
be hindered by patents and Bitcoin should retain its permissionless
qualities.

When you proposed the extra nonce space BIP [1], you had already
applied for your ASICBOOST patent [2] without disclosure in the BIP
[1] nor in your Bitcoin Core pull request #5102 [2].

The ASICBOOST patent [2] describes the same process as in the BIP [1]
and proposed code [3] "As we explained in our Provisional Application,
it has been proposed to partition the 4-byte Version field in the
block header (see, Fig. 6) and use, e.g., the high 2-byte portion as
additional nonce range."

Today when you proposed a new sidechain BIP [4], Peter Todd was
(rightly) concerned about the prior lack of disclosure of your patents
related to your prior consensus modification proposal. Hence the
concern is that this might be happening this time as well.

There is no evidence that any of the other filers for the
ASICBOOST-like patents by mining companies other than your own were
going to be using it offensively as those other companies appeared to
understand the decentralization risk of having an advantage enforced
by legal and not technical means.

It's great that you have now committed to looking into the Defensive
Patent License. This seems likely to mitigate some of the patent
concerns. Although it would be a show of good faith if you also agreed
to license ASICBOOST under the DPL.

[1]: BIP: https://github.com/BlockheaderNonce2/bitcoin/wiki
[2]: ASICBOOST PATENT https://www.google.com/patents/WO2015077378A1?cl=en
[3]: Extra nonce pull request: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/5102
[4]: COUNT_ACKS
[https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2016-October/013174.html

On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:13 PM, Sergio Demian Lerner via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> Please Peter Todd explain here all what you want to say about a patent of a
> hardware design for an ASIC.
>
> Remember that ASICBoost is not the only patent out there, there are at least
> three similar patents, filed by major Bitcoin ASIC manufacturers in three
> different countries, on similar technologies.
>
> That suggest that the problem is not ASICBoot's: you cannot blame any
> company from doing lawful commerce in a FREE MARKET.
>
> It is a flaw in Bitcoin design that could be corrected if the guidelines I
> posted in [1] had been followed.
>
> [1]
> https://bitslog.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-re-design-of-the-bitcoin-block-header/
>
>
>
>
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