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General Category => General => Topic started by: psztorc on June 10, 2014, 04:50:32 am

Title: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 10, 2014, 04:50:32 am
Will a blockchain be useful for something other than Bitcoin / Truthcoin? What makes these two ideas special where other ideas are not?

The Economic Value of the Blockchain
A service provided by blockchain has two key differences from other service-providers: the service is codeable (digital information only, no physical products or services) and it is reliable (performs the same way regardless of the country, time of day, the user's age, race, religion, criminality, or morality).

With these differences in mind: for which services will the ROI for a software investment be maximized with a blockchain?

The market has spoken for Bitcoin; let us interpret its words: wealth transfers were easy to code (basic arithmetic), and the marginal reliability was extreme ( {taxes, inflation, bank hours, e-gold} were unreliable in the sense that you were treated worse if you were {high-income, unbanked/unpopular, day-job-employed, e-gold customer} ).

Why has Bitcoin, specifically, done so well? Many companies on the internet will sell services which are codeable and reliable (Google, Facebook, Amazon). These services are reliable because it is easy to be reliable. They do not store your value, they accept your value. Bitcoin is a distributed asset ledger, it keeps track of who owns what. Reliably storing value is very difficult, you are tempted to cheat, and you can be hacked/sued/closed down.

So, more precisely, blockchains win with services which are codeable and which store value.

What Can't Bitcoin Do?
For raw value-storage, one can use Bitcoin. With the introduction of colored coins / metacoins, Bitcoin can store custom digital assets. User-controlled multisig, nLockTime, and sequence numbers can greatly enhance the user's security and transfer experience.

At first glance, multi-party multisig would appear to open the door to every conceivable type of contract imaginable. Get together with your trading partner, and specify that a transaction will go through if some rules are followed. Using multisig, if you and your partner don't agree on the post hoc interpretation of the rules, both of you can turn to a trusted third party -- Wait! We went too far there: upon closer examination, multisig does not represent a powerful extension of Bitcoin, if anything it represents a contradiction to Bitcoin!

Bitcoin was supposed to eliminate the need to trust someone else with your money, yet this trust is precisely what multisig re-needs. Some may cheer at the shift from existing entrenched firms to hyper-competitive digital firms, but I don't (see "Comments") (https://github.com/psztorc/Truthcoin/tree/master/docs#why-dont-you). Bitcoin is weak on purposefully storing value - instead it simply describes where value is currently stored. Those businesses which store customer's Bitcoin (namely exchanges and betting sites) routinely lose or steal those funds.

This weakness would imply the viability of a blockchain which could store up Bitcoin and conditionally pay it out (as would be required in betting markets, gambling/lottery, insurance, and at exchanges).

Truthcoin Trustless Escrow
Truthcoin enables individuals to participate in a prediction marketplace containing a trustless outcome-resolution service (ie, an escrow running entirely on greed and not on second-order abstractions such as 'honesty'). The prediction market concept is flexible enough to contain functions for gambling, insurance, and portfolio replication (currency exchange), as well as other functions (https://github.com/psztorc/Truthcoin/raw/master/docs/3_PM_Applications.pdf).

Does a Decentralized Economy Need a Third Blockchain?
With Bitcoin and an internet connection, anyone can start a business selling anything. This takes an already-decentralized economy, and turns the decentralization up to 11. Some services require customers to escrow their Bitcoin, which may require the creative use of multisig, reputation, insurance, fidelity bonds, etc. Finally, there are business arrangements which are impossible without a trustless escrow. These services can use Truthcoin.

Assuming the existence of MaidSafe, ClearSkies, or similar, what is the economic case for any other "DAC"? Or for Etherium? Some feel that these designs are cheaper, but this is hard to see. Software development/maintenance requires a great deal of highly-skilled work, and then the software "rots" as it gradually becomes obsolete. Bitcoin is supported by users in forums, in lieu of salesmen/customer-service-reps. The work is done by volunteers, but it still requires effort. Open source software projects can thrive on community-autopilot, but they are also regularly abandoned (and many Bitcoin-projects have already achieved vaporware status). Bitcoin's unique status as money not only incentivizes development/maintenance but also co-opts money's-status-as-a-network-effect to onboard and coordinate programmers.

Unless you've come across another good to sell, which is codeable, value-storing, and timeless, blockchains aren't worth your effort! Just start a normal business instead! You can flexibly adjust your prices and service offerings as you, the manager and entrepreneur, see fit! Some things aren't codeable, and a lot of the time you'll want to be "unreliable". You'll want to treat some customers differently from others. Software bugs, miner attacks...these can crash blockchains permanently! Put those skills toward writing a great piece of software (which you sell for Bitcoin).

It is quite early in the game, but the empirical evidence is piling up on my side. Many firms have sprung up to use/accept Bitcoin, yet still (to date) no other useable "DAC" or "Ethereum" has been born, let alone seen its first birthday (Bitcoin is 5 and a half). How long will it be until that changes? 6 months? 5 years? Forever?
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 10, 2014, 01:49:53 pm
A discussion of this essay has started here: https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=4942.0
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: BldSwtTrs on June 10, 2014, 02:14:26 pm
That was an interesting read.

The way I see things is that the blockchain technology enable to remove work and human related risks in plenty of tasks, which will inevitably lead to an huge increase in efficiency.

It's akin to the mechanization that has removed the need of work for producing a lot of things. Yes you need human capital to construct the machine, to maintain it and to replace it, but the net effect is a huge increase of efficiency because at the end of the day you need less workers to produce the same result (or a better result).

So you are saying that this increase in efficiency may only be applicable to a very specific set of tasks but I don't see a convincing explanation of why it will be so.
Work will be removed wherever it can be, human related risks will be remove wherever it can be, not just in the "reliable and codeable" subset of tasks that you outline.

Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 10, 2014, 02:21:27 pm
Thanks for reading!

So you are saying that this increase in efficiency may only be applicable to a very specific set of tasks but I don't see a convincing explanation of why it will be so.
A few people have expressed a similar thought. I hope to clarify this point in a revision of this draft: a FIRM can consist almost entirely of software! Google / Facebook are run in almost the same way as Bitcoin, a group of programmers meeting to collaborate on software.

I should emphasize more: people are confusing [technology / software / innovation] with [DACs / Etherium]. To say that the blockchain is an inefficient model is not to say that technology is inefficient.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: BldSwtTrs on June 10, 2014, 02:52:40 pm
OK I see now that my argument "it's remove work" is not valid since other way of software improvement also remove work.

What blockchain still do is removing human related risks. My Facebook and Google data are vulnerable to the greed/ideology/incompetence/whatever of the top management of those companies whereas my data inside a blockchain is not.

So I guess the superiority of blockchain exist in domain that requires reliability, as you said. Now I agree with you on that, but I am not sure the needs of the services that requires reliability will be meet with only two blockchains. For example the law enforcement service may well fit within that category.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: toast on June 10, 2014, 03:08:37 pm
Quote
Now I agree with you on that, but I am not sure the needs of the services that requires reliability will be meet with only two blockchains.

Yep, this is really the main selling point. If you could convince me ethereum would be as cheap and as decentralized (look at GHash.io for BTC....) as 1000 individual blockchains then I'd agree with you.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 10, 2014, 08:06:15 pm
What blockchain still do is removing human related risks. My Facebook and Google data are vulnerable to the greed/ideology/incompetence/whatever of the top management of those companies whereas my data inside a blockchain is not.
Recall that there are firms providing zero-knowledge backup services (SpiderOak), and that blockchains can be (and have been) designed in ways vulnerable to greed/ideology/incompetence/whatever.

Yep, this is really the main selling point. If you could convince me ethereum would be as cheap and as decentralized (look at GHash.io for BTC....) as 1000 individual blockchains then I'd agree with you.
1000 firms may be even more efficient than 1000 blockchains. Still, I think this essay-attempt sketches out an argument against Etherium (that it wouldn't need to be used for anything). I do feel that Etherium is being hyped by coders because it glorifies code, but we'll see.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: toast on June 10, 2014, 09:40:20 pm
The discussion has forked and IDK which thread you check, here's my response/question on btstalk:

Quote
I'm arguing FOR one blockchain to rule them all. If someone argued against it, I would expect them to (at a bare minimum) describe one hypothetical situation where a blockchain would be required that did NOT involve the storage of money (Bitcoin) or escrow of money (Truthcoin).

Hmmm...

* We need a blockchain that can handle 1000x TC's transaction volume (bandwidth) at some given time for the purpose of currency exchange
* We need a blockchain that can handle 1000x TC's storage at a given time for the purpose of domain name record storage

So these two only work if resources available >> resources needed, but for any given resource bound there is a range where the specialized one can succeed and TC can't.

The more important one:

* We need a blockchain where the value of the equity reflects the service performed by the nodes running the network to attract more such "useful" nodes, which means mapping core asset creation/destruction to particular operations.

Are you claiming that all possible incentive structures that need control over their token can be somehow simulated with PMs?
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: zack on June 11, 2014, 12:05:30 am
blockchains that I expect to exist in the future:
1) store of value (bitcoin)
2) prediction markets
3) bounty market/assassination market
4) anonymous mixing. use bitcoin which is tainted with your identity to buy anoncoin, participate in a mixer, then use your now anonymous anoncoin to purchase bitcoin.
5) forum/social network/blogging (bitmessage and twister are early examples)
6) p2p games of perfect knowledge, particularly games which are resistant to artificial intelligence: go, chess, 6-in-a-row, amirra, goofspiel, civilization
7) slot machine games: blackjack, satoshidice, etc.
8) lotteries
9) votecoin. one address per citizen. This type of coin is evil. My hope is that all the good developers will refuse to make it.

I expect every blockchain to have coins with an exchange rate against bitcoin.
I do not expect anyone to use side-chains.
I do not expect any of this to be built on top of bitcoin.

I spend my time trying to make a very simple blockchain which can be used as a starting point to build any of the blockchains listed above. https://github.com/zack-bitcoin
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: toast on June 11, 2014, 12:07:21 am
blockchains that I expect to exist in the future:
1) store of value (bitcoin)
2) prediction markets
3) bounty market/assassination market
4) anonymous mixing. use bitcoin which is tainted with your identity to buy anoncoin, participate in a mixer, then use your now anonymous anoncoin to purchase bitcoin.
5) forum/social network/blogging (bitmessage and twister are early examples)
6) p2p games of perfect knowledge, particularly games which are resistant to artificial intelligence: go, chess, 6-in-a-row, amirra, goofspiel, civilization
7) slot machine games: blackjack, satoshidice, etc.
8) lotteries
9) votecoin. one address per citizen. This type of coin is evil. My hope is that all the good developers will refuse to make it.

I expect every blockchain to have coins with an exchange rate against bitcoin.
I do not expect anyone to use side-chains.
I do not expect any of this to be built on top of bitcoin.

I spend my time trying to make a very simple blockchain which can be used as a starting point to build any of the blockchains listed above. https://github.com/zack-bitcoin

just a suggestion: http://legacy.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0008/
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 11, 2014, 12:51:58 pm
blockchains that I expect to exist in the future:
1) store of value (bitcoin)
2) prediction markets
3) bounty market/assassination market
4) anonymous mixing. use bitcoin which is tainted with your identity to buy anoncoin, participate in a mixer, then use your now anonymous anoncoin to purchase bitcoin.
5) forum/social network/blogging (bitmessage and twister are early examples)
6) p2p games of perfect knowledge, particularly games which are resistant to artificial intelligence: go, chess, 6-in-a-row, amirra, goofspiel, civilization
7) slot machine games: blackjack, satoshidice, etc.
8) lotteries
9) votecoin. one address per citizen. This type of coin is evil. My hope is that all the good developers will refuse to make it.

Not a bad list, although 6-9 I'm not sure about, and 4 might be redundant to CoinJoin contract. (People may even be able to use PMs to mix, or gamble). 3 I'm not sure anyone really wants, its "fun" to act threatening and impressive, but will any cool-headed developers debug that software? How will a long-term community form?

I think you may be correct about BitMessage (although its still unpopular), although I mention MaidSafe/clearskies to bring up the data-angle.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: zack on June 11, 2014, 05:15:08 pm
Inventions like the stirrup, trigger mechanisms for crossbows, gunpowder, nuclear bombs, all changed the world.
Do you also think the Manhattan project was done for "fun"? That USA spends 1/2 of federal taxes on war for "fun" of being scary?

When the dominant weapon was something that every individual can own and afford, then hierarchies stops mattering, and free markets take their place. When the dominant weapon can only be owned by a government, society swings the other way. Centralized institutions get control of everything.

A famous essay about this: http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/jimbellap.htm

War is currently at about $2 trillion annual. Assassination markets will be more efficient, so I expect the cost of war to go down a couple orders of magnitude to maybe $10-100 billion per year spent into assassin markets.
Depending upon how many assassin markets are competing for customers, between 0.1 and 10% of this money will go to a group of between 2 and 10 developers.

I expect prediction markets to be 10-100 times bigger than assassin markets.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: delulo on June 13, 2014, 06:47:19 am

9) votecoin. one address per citizen. This type of coin is evil. My hope is that all the good developers will refuse to make it.


What are you arguments here?
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: zack on June 13, 2014, 01:38:49 pm
Citizen coins give a horrifying amount of power to the government.

Since you cannot get a new address, it is possible to attach a criminal record to your address.
It is possible for government to turn off a person's ability to spend money, or confiscate it all.
With bitcoin-like systems, you can only count votes based off of how invested a person is. Similar to a privately owned business, if you own 1/13th of a business, it makes sense that you should have 1/13th of the say in what happens. This type of voting is essential for private property and liberty.

With citizencoin it is possible to count one-vote-per-person. There is no object that is owned between everyone this way, and there never will be. This type of voting is not done to make decisions on our own property, rather this type of voting is done to decide how we should use someone else's property.

For example, with one-vote-per-person they might vote on how much taxes to gather from each social class.

Bitcoin is to anarchy what citizencoin is to statism.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 13, 2014, 02:16:02 pm
Since you cannot get a new address,
What happens for all of the people who forget their passwords / password stolen and published to the internet?

I think they'll be lots of new addresses.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on June 13, 2014, 02:16:23 pm
Assuming it ever happens, which it won't.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: zack on June 13, 2014, 02:46:32 pm
Do people ever lose their social security number?

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071110064211AAxQ7vk
It looks like you have to go to a place like the DMV to get a new card.

With a blockchain of this sort, several government officials would use their separate private keys to build transactions capable of more powerful things. They will make you a new address with your new password, and delete your old address.

I hope that citizencoin will not exist. I am willing to go to great lengths to stop it from happening.
I think our best chance is to build really good pseudo-anonymous blockchains like bitcoin first. They will be hard to compete against.
The bigger head-start we get, the better.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: delulo on June 13, 2014, 05:36:57 pm
Citizen coins give a horrifying amount of power to the government.

Since you cannot get a new address, it is possible to attach a criminal record to your address.
It is possible for government to turn off a person's ability to spend money, or confiscate it all.
With bitcoin-like systems, you can only count votes based off of how invested a person is. Similar to a privately owned business, if you own 1/13th of a business, it makes sense that you should have 1/13th of the say in what happens. This type of voting is essential for private property and liberty.

With citizencoin it is possible to count one-vote-per-person. There is no object that is owned between everyone this way, and there never will be. This type of voting is not done to make decisions on our own property, rather this type of voting is done to decide how we should use someone else's property.

For example, with one-vote-per-person they might vote on how much taxes to gather from each social class.

Bitcoin is to anarchy what citizencoin is to statism.
I know what you mean now. Thanks
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: delulo on July 16, 2014, 03:33:53 pm
I read your OP and agree with the majority of the statements. It is a good basis for a discussion.

Here is my feedback:

Quote
A service provided by blockchain has two key differences from other service-providers: the service is codeable (digital information only, no physical products or services) and it is reliable (performs the same way regardless of the country, time of day, the user's age, race, religion, criminality, or morality).
Other services/products are codeable as well. The key difference is that there is no counterparty that users have to trust so that the service is provided as suggested. "codeable" is a limitation (as opposed to an enabling/positive feature like reliability is) of blockchain based services. But you said that (indirectly) later anyway...

How would you want to realize a currency exchange with truthcoin?

A lottery seems to be codeable completely so there would not be a need for a prediction market. No?

Quote
Some feel that these designs are cheaper, but this is hard to see.
To me this comes down to whether the costs for securing and updating the tx ledger or the costs that result from counterparty risk (compensation for credit card fraud and regulatory costs) are higher.

Quote
Software development/maintenance requires a great deal of highly-skilled work, and then the software "rots" as it gradually becomes obsolete.
If it "rots" then either because the incentive system of the respective is weak or because there has been another project that realized the same service more efficiently. This doesn't seem to me like a structural argument against the use of blockchain technology in general. Or are you just implying that the costs for maintaining a decentr. network of software instances is high? The question would be whether it would be higher than if the system is not decentralized.

Quote
Bitcoin's unique status as money not only incentivizes development/maintenance but also co-opts money's-status-as-a-network-effect to onboard and coordinate programmers.

By unique do you mean money as the prominent use case for blockchain technology? ....and because this one use case is the most relevant many will work to realize a projects (e.g Bitcoin) that successfully realizes this use case? I would agree to this. But there is more than that necessary for get the incentives right.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on July 17, 2014, 02:18:17 pm
How would you want to realize a currency exchange with truthcoin?
You can build a replicating portfolio, where the shares themselves are worth the exchange rate itself. See this excel (https://github.com/psztorc/Truthcoin/raw/master/docs/LogMSR_Demo.xlsx) (Scaled Claims tab) for more on this.

A lottery seems to be codeable completely so there would not be a need for a prediction market. No?
A PM could (somewhat awkwardly) be a lottery, but a lottery can't be a PM.

Quote
Software development/maintenance requires a great deal of highly-skilled work, and then the software "rots" as it gradually becomes obsolete.
If it "rots" then either because the incentive system of the respective is weak or because there has been another project that realized the same service more efficiently. This doesn't seem to me like a structural argument against the use of blockchain technology in general. Or are you just implying that the costs for maintaining a decentr. network of software instances is high? The question would be whether it would be higher than if the system is not decentralized.
Yes, I'm saying the maintenance costs are high, and in many instances these costs are comparable to the operating costs of a firm (payroll, COGS, PPE).

Quote
Bitcoin's unique status as money not only incentivizes development/maintenance but also co-opts money's-status-as-a-network-effect to onboard and coordinate programmers.

By unique do you mean money as the prominent use case for blockchain technology? ....and because this one use case is the most relevant many will work to realize a projects (e.g Bitcoin) that successfully realizes this use case? I would agree to this. But there is more than that necessary for get the incentives right.
I mean that there can only be one digital currency, and it looks like it will be Bitcoin or use Bitcoin's ledger. So people have an incentive to maintain it because it is so valuable to them.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: delulo on July 30, 2014, 06:24:28 am
Quote
Bitcoin's unique status as money not only incentivizes development/maintenance but also co-opts money's-status-as-a-network-effect to onboard and coordinate programmers.

By unique do you mean money as the prominent use case for blockchain technology? ....and because this one use case is the most relevant many will work to realize a projects (e.g Bitcoin) that successfully realizes this use case? I would agree to this. But there is more than that necessary for get the incentives right.
I mean that there can only be one digital currency, and it looks like it will be Bitcoin or use Bitcoin's ledger. So people have an incentive to maintain it because it is so valuable to them.
Agreed that the Bitcoin LEDGER has the highest chance of becoming the one crypto currency ledger even though it is completely an open question (https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php?topic=4942.msg72542#msg72542). As for the maintenance and innovation happening in Bitcoin as it is today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jbMopz8Jtw Min 39:45- ~ 45
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on September 03, 2014, 02:57:24 pm
Just a quick update to this thread:

[1] Still, no serious blockchain-competitors have arisen. Some seem to have potential, for example BitSharesX, which (in support of this thesis) is functionally similar to Truthcoin (ie, they have similar design goals).

[2] Ethereum would represent a counterexample to this thesis. However, looking at their forum's Project (https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/projects) and Smart Contract (https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/services-and-decentralized-applications) sections, I don't see any actual projects at all. Am I missing something? Which of these projects might actually become valuable, and able to compete with the broader human-managed entrepeneurial tech economy over a significant timeframe?

I think that the lack of Ethereum projects is extraordinarily strong evidence in favor of my thesis: an extremely-conservative falsification attempt (any counterexample at all could appear, in only minimal-effort design format), yet it does not. For researchers: we look very carefully for the null hypothesis, and reject at a very low p-value (ie the test has high "statistical power").
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: zack on September 03, 2014, 03:36:54 pm
p2p games of perfect knowledge, particularly games which are resistant to artificial intelligence: go, chess, 6-in-a-row, amirra, goofspiel, civilization

I have become more certain of this over time.
I discovered a way to enforce all the rules in an entire chess game with a single transaction on the blockchain.
The whole game is played off-chain.

off chain transactions can be much faster. 100 tx per second is reasonable, which is fast enough for frame-rate in animated videogames. I think we will see first-person-shooter video games on a blockchain within a couple decades.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: martinBrown on September 05, 2014, 03:11:53 pm
Continued from here (http://forum.truthcoin.info/index.php/topic,14.msg539.html#msg539).

3) I don't want to start over from scratch if Ethereum should die.

This is a good reason to have TruthCoin as a separate alt-chain. As much as I disfavor meta-coins, one thing I like about them is their ability to be ported to a separate blockchain in a worst-case scenario (MasterCoin has a contigency plan to move onto Litecoin, should bitcoin suffer some catastrophic failure). Similarly, I wouldn't argue that Ethereum should be the one-and-only blockchain. Some diversification is good (too much, though, is bad).

I don't see Ethereum and Truthcoin as competitors. If Ethereum were to implement Truthcoin as an Eth-contract, then that Eth-contract would compete with any Truthcoin blockchain(s). In the original whitepaper of January, I mentioned that Truthcoin may require Ethereum in order to exist.

Separately, I think that Ethereum, while hyped today, will not be very popular in the future. In fact, I believe that it is possible that Truthcoin will be the second of two blockchains (http://forum.truthcoin.info/index.php/topic,90.0.html), and that programmers will stop using Blockchains once they exist for money, namespaces, and data.

An eth-contract wouldn't necessarily have to compete with an alt-chain. If Truthcoin supported sidechains/treechains, then the eth-contract could host a TC sidechain instead of competing. This would get the benefits of both worlds: advantages of the eth-blockchain and seamless compatibility with other Ethereum contracts, without a competing chain/coin supply to dilute TC digital scarcity. Suppose there's technical progress on sidechains/treechains, but political blocks preventing a necessary bitcoin hard-fork. If a TruthCoin alt-chain launched with the script features needed for sidechains, then an Ethereum implementation could be a TC sidechain. Additionally, it would be easy to experiment with other TC variants: lower block times, different voting schedules, different branching schemes, enhanced market-maker algos, etc., all while maintaining coin supply/interchangability. How about that for a "second of two blockchains" scenario? (My two pet favorites, Ethers and Truthcoins, dominating the crypto 2.0 market ;D).

If ethereum is actually realistic, then maybe mere alt-coin side/treechains is within the realm of possibility.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: martinBrown on September 05, 2014, 05:17:13 pm
[2] Ethereum would represent a counterexample to this thesis. However, looking at their forum's Project (https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/projects) and Smart Contract (https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/services-and-decentralized-applications) sections, I don't see any actual projects at all. Am I missing something?

You're looking in the wrong place. The forum is full of "ideas for projects", its hard to sift out the projects with code. Try the github instead (https://github.com/ethereum/). You can find five functional clients in different programming languages: cpp-ethereum (C++ - aimed at developers), go-ethereum (Golang - aimed at users), pyethereum (python - vitalik's client), ethereumj (Java - aimed at an android version), and node-ethereum (https://github.com/wanderer/node-ethereum) (unofficial but quite functional). All have screenshots and/or screencasts somewhere.

There are three higher-level language compilers, written by their respective client authors. Each compiles contract code (LLL in cpp-e, Serpent in py-e, and Mutan in go-e) to EVM (ethereum virtual machine) bytecode. Cpp-e also incorporates serpent (serpent->LLL->bytecode), and so does go-e. All five clients have a different EVM implementation that can run the same bytecode.

Additionally, there's a new, fourth high-level language at the concept stage, codenamed Solidity (https://github.com/ethereum/cpp-ethereum/wiki/ABI-in-PoC-7). The purpose of this fourth one is to provide formal descriptions of contract interfaces. These formal descriptions will be the basis for a DApp permission system, to provide wallet security without sacrificing usability. It will do this by translating formal interface descriptions into english language permission requests:

Quote
Untrusted ŠApp "Foo Sprocket DApp" attempting to transact in your name:
Send 45.780 GAV from the account of Your Name Here to an account accessible only by Foo Sprocket DApp.
Do you wish to allow this?

This will enable use of DApps seamlessly with user wallets. Should be a much improved experience over the tedious, error-prone task of copy/pasting deposit, payment, and withdrawal addresses between users' wallets and the third-party services they wish to use. (QR codes aren't much better)

Also in the official repo is an initial, proof-of-concept "randomized" proof-of-work mining algo (https://github.com/ethereum/mining/blob/master/mining.go). It generates a new circuit/problem every so many nonces (a nonce is a hash attempt - ie 100k hashes per second is 100k nonces per second). So every 512, or 1024 nonces, a new random hash function is generated. The parameter balances the time-spent-generating with the time-spent-evaluating. Too large and FPGA's would have an advantage over CPUs (an FPGA takes time to reprogram, but after reprogramming would be faster at evaluating than a CPU). Too small then there's more time spent generating than evaluating. Obviously, the mining algo is at a very early stage and who knows if they'll actually succeed at ASIC/FPGA resistance (the reason its desirable is a debate in itself), but at least its an active project.

These are all lower-level projects, at the platform/backend level. There are also projects at the user-level, i.e. DApp contracts with front-end interfaces. The most prominent of these would have to be GAVcoin (http://gavwood.com/gavcoin.html) and the exchange (http://opensecrecy.com/exchange.html) (these need to opened from within an ethereum client to work properly). The exchange is demoed here (http://youtu.be/o6D8Up411dI?t=36m19s). There are plenty of example contracts (https://github.com/ethereum/serpent/tree/master/examples), but not so many DApps with in-your-face front-ends just yet. One reason is because the clients are still alpha, so the contract compilers and javascript api's are unstable. This means progress on DApp contracts and front-ends is often frustrated by the need to do some amount of lower-level debugging. Another reason is probably due to DApp authors who hope to monetize their work on launch of the genesis block. They may not see incentive to publicize their work, nor share their code, prior to launch of the genesis block (the obvious concern is that doing so would only attract competition, and help them create clones/forks that would be competing DApps on launch day).
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on September 05, 2014, 05:48:22 pm
If a system has zero user-level projects, all of the projects at lower levels will be useless. Surely you agree? Moreover, one could build a 'lower level' to X (ie "something which enables better/faster X") even if X had no users. I could build a zeighuerf which makes lolifretturs easier to create, even if those are words that I just made up right now.

So my argument rests entirely on the NON-existence of a single user-level app.

The exchange is not a user-level app, as it is used (according to them) to trade different coins. "The purpose of these coins" would be the true user-level, and I doubt that any of these coins would be useful, in a way that couldn't be copied today with colored coins.

The GAVcoin part seemed to touch one non-monetary thing which I think WOULD benefit from a blockchain: namespace/data. However, this doesn't by itself merit a general-purpose blockchain software. Data could easily be one or all of (BittorrentSync, clearskies, dropbox/Wuala, MaidSafe), having nothing to do with Ethereum.

However, your point about hiding-source for business-strategy does weaken my evidence. I would still expect marketing/brands to appear, though. Firms would want to establish a user base in some way that didn't leak the code, wouldn't they? And I don't see any marketing, do you?
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: martinBrown on September 05, 2014, 10:04:40 pm
This user-level project is 5 months old already: Denny's Lotto (https://github.com/dennismckinnon/Ethereum-Contracts/tree/master/Dennys%20Lotto). Here's a screencast/walkthrough (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldJcw7JPHz0). Its a decentralized lottery - provably fair, with no central operator.

Dennis is also the programmer behind Eris (https://eris.projectdouglas.org/), which was runner-up to the $100k bounty (http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/29n8o0/100000_bounty_winner_announcement/) that Mike Hearn won for lighthouse. code,  screenshots, build instructions (https://github.com/project-douglas/eris).

The EtherEx brand (http://etherex.org/) was announced in May. They at least have a whitepaper (https://github.com/etherex/docs/blob/master/paper.md).

cryptocoinwatch (https://github.com/EtherCasts/cryptocoinwatch) is another project with a decent front-end.

DNSEth (https://github.com/maran/dnseth) shows how to connect a namereg contract to a DNS daemon.

edit: corrected EtherEx announcement date.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on September 06, 2014, 12:03:48 am
Lotto is an example of value-storage. As I point out in my OP, that makes it blockchain-friendly, but you can do similar things with Truthcoin, as I also point out. My argument is that blockchains store ownership of value (and, possibly, names/'real estate').
The prediction market concept is flexible enough to contain functions for gambling, insurance, and portfolio replication (currency exchange), as well as other functions (https://github.com/psztorc/Truthcoin/raw/master/docs/3_PM_Applications.pdf).

So that particular project, while indeed user-lever, (I would say) "doesn't count" in favor of a 'third' general-purpose blockchain. It is still the 'second' Truthcoin blockchain.

Surely Eris and EtherEx are not user-level.

cryptocoinwatch would be an example of something a user might use - triggering a payment with a transaction, or as a function of a transaction. However, if a user had to use a machine to send a transaction, and have something else running (the Ethereum network?, another computer?), it isn't clear to me why a user wouldn't just authorize "whatever he was trying to trigger" directly.

For DNSEth...I admit there is a market for a Namecoin (or improved version). Instead of storing digitally-scare value it stores digitally-scarce 'real estate'.
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: martinBrown on September 11, 2014, 09:05:04 am
Lotto is an example of value-storage. As I point out in my OP, that makes it blockchain-friendly, but you can do similar things with Truthcoin, as I also point out. My argument is that blockchains store ownership of value (and, possibly, names/'real estate').

A lottery mechanism needs the value to be transferred conditionally (or "purposefully" stored, as stated in your OP). SatoshiDice uses blockchain hashes to operate with provably-fair outcomes, but it is still centrally operated (so SatoshiDice can still steal funds, but they couldn't deny doing so). It is possible to implement a decentralized lottery in bitcoin script: here's an excellent tutorial (https://curiosity-driven.org/bitcoin-contracts#multilottery).

Though a bitcoin script lottery has no central operator, it has other limitations, inherent in bitcoin script (particularly lack of state and value-blindness, as noted here (https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper#scripting)). The bitcoin script lottery in the linked tutorial pays out 100% to a single winner. How about a lottery that pays out 80% to one winner, and 20% to another? How about a prize pool that rolls over, until some minimum threshold has been exceeded? You would be hard-pressed to do either of these, or any number of other variants, in bitcoin script.

The Ethereum argument is that a blockchain should store arbitrary state, ie. a blockchain should be viewed as a decentralized state machine. And with a powerful scripting language, the value can be transferred conditionally (conditional on the state of any variable stored in some contract).

How would TruthCoin support a wide variety of decentralized lotteries, without a scripting language?

Surely Eris and EtherEx are not user-level.

The a difference between an EtherEx exchange, and TruthCoin portfolio replication, is that on EtherEx the user would be able to actually buy/sell various crypto-coins. So EtherEx would be preferable to a user who is actually seeking delivery of DOGE. If all they care about is betting on the price change, then portfolio replication is sufficient. Also, portfolio replication is dependent on a reference price-feed from some other exchange (EtherEx would actually match trades, generating prices independently).

cryptocoinwatch would be an example of something a user might use - triggering a payment with a transaction, or as a function of a transaction. However, if a user had to use a machine to send a transaction, and have something else running (the Ethereum network?, another computer?), it isn't clear to me why a user wouldn't just authorize "whatever he was trying to trigger" directly.

If the users authorize the payments directly, then the payments are no longer atomic. It leads to the situation where I need to hand you a bitcoin, and you need to hand me a Truthcoin, but neither one of us trusts the other, so neither is willing to hand it over first. That's where a contract would help, by setting up a conditional transfer (only transfer the TRU, given a BTC payment) to be executed by the contract (as an atomic transaction).
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on September 11, 2014, 02:06:54 pm
Re: lottery, I am saying that you'd have to abandon Bitcoin for Truthcoin, in the gambling case. With Truthcoin gambling is easy, instead of betting on far-off real life events (like elections), just bet on short-term meaningless events like whether a block hash is odd or even, or will contain 8 or more 3's, etc. I would imaging this to be on a much 'faster' Branch, which might have much more automation.

Re: EtherEx I agree that what you say is true. However, I feel you're missing my point: I claim all other blockchains and their coins (DOGE for example) are useless at the user-level. If that is the case, then EtherEx is a "zeighuerf which makes lolifretturs" as I described before.

Re: coinwatch My opinion is still that value-exchange is completely different from value-storage. Where I get lunch, they take my money before I get my food, because they are a fixed business with a long-term trusted brand, and I'm just "some guy". After I pay, they could refuse to hand over my sandwich, but then I'll find another place to eat. Moreover, value exchange seems possible already: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Atomic_cross-chain_trading Finally, I am again skeptical that there will be enough useful coins to warrant 'a coin-exchanger' at all (I'm imagining a low-stakes, boring "Namecoin Store" and nothing else).
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: koeppelmann on November 29, 2014, 10:04:25 pm
I agree that most ethereum contract wich people have thought of so far are basically moving money based on certain conditions.

I guess that can all be done with a prediction market - even if I don't know if for some usecases manual verification of facts is to expensive. And forks with purely/mainly automated verification and low volumes are probably not reliable...

However, I think ethereum contracts can go beyond that.
I made a proposal for a "unconditional basic income" coin that is build up one a reputation system/ group verification system. I don't see how this can be implemented with truthcoin:
https://forum.ethereum.org/discussion/1598/basic-income-circles-reputation-market-based-approach-to-solve-the-identity-problem-sybil-attacs
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: psztorc on August 03, 2015, 08:29:26 pm
Article on Ethereum's applications: all entirely oracle (or gambling) based, just as I predicted: http://aakilfernandes.github.io/impossible-things-now-possible-with-ethereum/
Title: Re: Truthcoin: The Second of Two Blockchains?
Post by: Bitcoinfan on August 12, 2015, 07:52:26 pm
FYI

https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/lets-talk-bitcoin-237-the-stars-that-shine

Latest Let's Talk Bitcoin discusses Andreas A., Adam B Levine, and Stephanie Murphy's opinion of Bitcoin will be the only cryptocurrency to survive. 

Summary: ABL believes there will be many different cryptos.  He in past has likened alt-coins to being different on-ramps to the highway which is bitcoin. 
                 AA believes that in the foreseeable future Bitcoin is the winner, but it will not be a winner take all scenario.  He has stated before that there will be 5 or 6 major crypto currencies and bitcoin will be the largest by magnitudes.  As oppose to seeing it as a competition between the 5 or 6, he sees them all working synergically. These other alt-coins will help fill needs are aren't appropriate for Bitcoin.  However, he does think it is possible, yet highly unlike that alt-coin will overtake bitcoin, unless it offers something drastically different.  Ethereum is one that potentially could, but they still have to much to prove and iterate.  Conclusion he is not quite a Bitcoin Maximalism but believes the Satoshi Consensus Method (longest chain) is the greatest innovation and irreplaceable feature of Bitcoin