Cobra公开信:想要改变比特币的PoW算法

Cobra公开信:想要改变比特币的PoW算法

One of the reasons many of you got into Bitcoin was the fact that it was decentralized. But did you know that this is slowly changing? More and more of the network hashrate is starting to become concentrated into the hands of one man and his company. The security of our network essentially depends on them acting honourably, and us being prepared to respond to it. They get more powerful each day.

Based on conservative estimates of gross margin of 75 percent and operating margin of 65 percent, Bernstein analysts calculate that Beijing-based Bitmain made $3 billion to $4 billion in operating profits in 2017.
As long as they control the majority of the hash rate, the only way to keep the network secure is the threat of a hard fork to a new PoW, but this will only work for as long the community is reasonably small and still overwhelmingly shares the same morals for a decentralized Bitcoin.

In a decentralized system, we shouldn’t be put into a position where we rely on a centralized point of failure to behave themselves. People talk about “new entrants” to the mining scene, but it’s almost impossible for anyone to catch up to the total domination of the mining space by BITMAIN. They are light years ahead. That $4 billion dollars of profit will be used to build even better hardware, allowing them to further dominate mining for the foreseeable future and likely buy stakes in their competitors.

The hashrate has already been abused to give political support to reckless and dangerous hard fork attempts. They have questionable allegiance to Bitcoin at best, seeming more interested in supporting Bitcoin Cash, undermining the very network that employs them. Even more dangerously, they are based in China, a country with a long track of human rights abuses, censorship, and generally evil behaviour. The miners are in a position where the Chinese government can take over their equipment at any time; something they will no doubt do if Bitcoin grows enough to allow them to use their control of the hashrate to push a Chinese geopolitical agenda.

The more Bitcoin grows, the harder it becomes to hard fork. If it’s this bad right now, it could be even worse in a few years time, but by then it will be too late. We don’t want our transactions being decided by the Chinese government. The solution is to adopt a new hybrid PoW system, possibly with a PoS combination, and choosing algorithms that are very easy and simple to build ASICs for. The playing field needs to be even again, and structured in a way where it’s harder for one entity to dominate it.

The truth is that PoW provides very little security if it isn’t distributed effectively among multiple independent participants. This is historically why mining pools were very careful to avoid accumulating too much hashrate. But now we have a situation where one man controls the majority of the hashrate, and we are OK with that so long as he behaves himself. Imagine if someone followed you around with a gun pressed against your head, and you were OK with this because “he is incentivized to not shoot me because of the threat of jail”, people would call you stupid and crazy, and yet when it comes to Bitcoin, we’re totally fine with thinking along those lines.

Economic incentives only work when broadly applied to many participants. If mining was distributed among 100 independent miners, each with 1% hashrate, spread all over the world, you can trust the economic incentives to work as expected. It’s much less likely for something to happen that would take control of 51 of those miners. However, if you have like 3 miners who matter, with 2/3 of them in one country, these incentives break down. Maybe their government takes their equipment, or they’re insane, or they are just evil.

This mining problem is the root cause of all of Bitcoin’s problems. It’s the miners that have supported every hostile attempt to take over the network. It’s the miners who block new features for their strange political agenda. It’s the miners who lend support to altcoins that undermine Bitcoin. We need to get rid of them while we still can, they’re no longer a useful part of our community. Hard forks are scary, but let’s not be afraid to at least try to build consensus when we can all see the problem right in front of us.

简要翻译如下

你们中许多人进入比特币的原因之一是它是去中心化的。 但是你知道这个正在慢慢改变吗? 越来越多的网络算力开始集中到一个人和他的公司手中。 我们网络的安全性在很大程度上取决于他们的行为是否光荣,我们只能做出回应。 而且他们每天都会变得更强大。

基于比特大陆的75%毛利率和65%经营利润率,伯恩斯坦分析师保守计算,位于北京的比特大陆在2017年的营业利润为30亿美元至40亿美元。只要他们控制了大部分算力,保持比特币网络安全的唯一方法就是用新的PoW进行硬分叉来威胁他们,但前提是社区内仍然对一个去中心化的比特币有压倒性的认可。

在一个去中心化的体系中,我们不应该只依靠一个中心化的节点来自我约束。 人们谈论挖矿的“新进入者”,但任何人都无法赶上比特大陆对比特币挖矿的统治。 他们有光明的未来。 这笔40亿美元的利润将会用于构建更好的硬件,使他们能够在可预见的未来进一步主宰采矿业,并可能购买竞争对手的股份。

算力已经被滥用来给鲁莽和危险的硬分叉尝试提供政治支持。 他们对比特币的忠诚度很可疑,似乎对支持比特币现金更感兴趣。 更危险的是,他们总部在China,这个国家长期存在侵犯人权的行为,审查制度和各种恶行。China 当局可能随时没收掉矿工的设备, 如果比特币增长到足以让他们利用他们对算力的控制来推动China的地缘政治议程,他们肯定会这样做。

比特币增长越快,越难分叉。 如果现在这种情况很糟糕,几年后可能会更糟,但到那时就太迟了。 我们不希望我们的交易由China政府决定。 解决方案是采用新的混合PoW系统,可能与PoS组合,并选择非常容易和简单的算法来构建ASIC。 再次开启一个人人都能挖矿的时代,并且要以一个实体难以支配比特币的方式进行组织。

事实是,如果PoW没有在多个独立参与者之间有效分发,PoW提供的安全性非常低。 这是历史上为什么采矿池非常小心避免积累过多的算力。 但是现在我们有一种情况:一个人控制大部分算力,只能依靠他自我约束。 试想一下,如果有人用枪顶着你的头,但你觉得OK,只是因为“因为监狱的威胁,所以他没必要杀掉我”,人们会觉得你为愚蠢和疯狂的,但谈到比特币的时候,似乎这就OK了。

经济激励措施只有在广泛应用于许多参与者时才有效。 如果矿业分布在100个独立的矿工中,每个矿工有1%的算力,传播到世界各地,你可以相信经济激励机制能够完美地运作。 发生这种事情的可能性要小得多,比如控制51名矿工。 但是,如果你有三名重要的矿工,其中三分之二在一个国家,这些激励措施就会失效。 也许他们的政府拿走他们的装备,或者他们疯了,或者他们只是邪恶。

这个挖矿问题是所有比特币问题的根本原因。 矿工们支持每一次企图接管比特币网络的敌意。 是矿工经常屏蔽比特币的种种新特性,只因为某些特殊的政治主张。 这是支持破坏比特币,支持山寨币的的矿工。 我们需要尽快摆脱它们,它们不再是我们社区中有用的一部分。 硬分叉是可怕的,但当我们都能看到问题在我们面前时,我们不要害怕至少尝试建立共识。

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