[bitcoin-dev] A Small Modification to Segwit

Jimmy Song jaejoon at gmail.com
Sat Apr 8 02:46:29 UTC 2017

Praxeology Guy,

Why would the actual end users of Bitcoin (the long term and short term
> owners of bitcoins) who run fully verifying nodes want to change Bitcoin
> policy in order to make their money more vulnerable to 51% attack?

Certainly, if only one company made use of the extra nonce space, they
would have an advantage. But think of it this way, if some newer ASIC
optimization comes up, would you rather have a non-ASICBoosted hash rate to
defend with or an ASICBoosted hash rate? Certainly, the latter, being
higher will secure the Bitcoin network better against newer optimizations.

> If anything, we would be making policy changes to prevent the use of
> patented PoW algorithms instead of making changes to enable them.

Is that patented in any jurisdiction, all jurisdictions or only certain
jurisdictions? Would a patent granted for SHA256 in Swaziland be sufficient
for Bitcoin to change the Proof of Work algorithm? This is a very
subjective judgment based on quasi-legality and I don't think that's a road
that Bitcoin should go down.

Certainly, it would be better if the patent for ASICBoost were
open-sourced, but the legality of such-and-such thing in such-and-such
jurisdiction should not affect Bitcoin policy as that in itself introduces
significant risk to the network. A sufficiently authoritarian government
can then grant a monopoly for various algorithms in their country and
negatively impact Bitcoin.

Indeed, there are already many individuals that disobey the laws of their
country to help the Bitcoin network run. I would expect the same with
patents. Should there come a time when a patent or some other legal
maneuvering gives one network actor a large advantage to the detriment of
the network, I believe that Bitcoin will handle that in the specific case.

In the meantime, I believe such changes increase the odds of Segwit
actually being accepted and activated as per BIP-141.
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