[bitcoin-dev] BIP proposal: Inhibiting a covert attack on the Bitcoin POW function

Bram Cohen bram at bittorrent.com
Thu Apr 6 02:39:08 UTC 2017


On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 7:31 PM, Peter Todd via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

>
> While I'm in favour of blocking covert usage of ASICBOOST, there's every
> reason
> to block non-covert usage of it as well. In a low margin business like
> mining,
> the advatange it gives is enormous - quite possibly 10x your profit margin
> -
> and given that barrier free access to being able to purchase ASICs is
> already
> an archilles heal for Bitcoin there is every reason to eliminate this legal
> vulnerability. Additionally, it's a technical vulnerability as well: we
> want
> getting into the ASIC manufacturing and design business to have as low
> barriers
> to entry as is feasible, and the ASICBOOST exploit significantly increases
> the
> minimum capital requirements to do so.
>

Asicboost also has the problem that it isn't treating the hashing as a
black box, and thus has impacts on what gets mined. In particular it
creates an incentive to make blocks smaller. That's a very unwanted effect,
and anything like it should be engineered out on principle.
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