What Bitcoin's white paper got right, wrong, and what we still don't know

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  • madexcelmadexcel Rep This User!

    Great article thanks for posting this. Many, many interesting points including:


    Simplistic attack analysis. The Bitcoin white paper devotes a relatively large amount of space (about a quarter of the text) to analyzing the chances of a miner with less than 51% mining power successfully launching a fork by getting lucky. Subsequent analysis has identified many other attack vectors (such as selfish mining) and this analysis now looks dated.


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  • NodyNody Rep This User!

    This is the best argument I've seen for the case that Bitcoin is a prototype, a brilliant prototype, but a prototype. The next generation of asset-backed stable coins are going to iron out the majority of these issues, and will have a real-world use beyond speculation.

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  • HopeHKHopeHK Rep This User!

    New coins in the future might solve some inherent problems with Bitcoin. But it will be a really long time, if ever before BTC is replaced as the predominant cryptocurrency. There are loads of cases throughout history where a lesser product dominated simply because of band recognition and a head start in the marketplace.

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  • Hans2000Hans2000 Rep This User!

    would be interesting to run the bitcoin white paper through the BLX accreditation process just to see what the bounty hunters find

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  • RosiRosi Rep This User!

    @hans2000 put a bounty) But seriously, Bitcoin can be improved upon obviously but the whitepaper was written before we had a decade of experience. It wouldn't be fair to pick it apart at this point.

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  • DNXDNX Rep This User!

    Looks like there is a new copyright claim on the BTC whitepaper:

    https://bitcoinist.com/bitcoin-whitepaper-second-copyright-craig-wright/

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  • cubanoBHloungecubanoBHlounge Rep This User!

    @Jdav19 why just post a link and not give more why we should read it

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  • JDav19JDav19 Rep This User!

    @cubanoBHlounge for me the article was most useful in its analysis of what Bitcoin got wrong. Of course hindsight is 20/20 but this breakdown gives us an idea of what to look for in the next generation of digital currencies. None of this is probably news to serious developers, but for those of us that are enthusiasts its pretty interesting. The article states as below (quoted from article) with paraphrased comments after dashes (--)

    What Bitcoin Whitepaper Got Right (remember this is obviously the first (well known?) crypto:
    1) Incentives for miners
    2) Light Clients -- support for both full and light (SPV) nodes
    3) Scripting -- enabling features like multi-signature accounts and payment networks
    4) Recognizing long-term incentives

    What Bitcoin Whitepaper Got Wrong
    1) ECDSA -- an inferior algorithm
    2) Transaction malleability -- this one is over my head but appears to be a security issue
    3) Features since added -- things like pay-to-script-hash that have been added and turned out to be popular
    4) Limited divisibility of coins -- there will not enough Satoshis for BTC to be the main global payment system
    5) Blocks in a simple chain -- not arranging blocks in a tree has proven inefficient
    6) No state commitments -- makes it hard for light clients to confirm the state of the system
    7) Simplistic attack analysis -- does not identify many attack vectors
    8) One-CPU-one-vote -- did not anticipate dedicated mining hardware

    What we still don't know
    1) SHA-256 puzzles -- relates to excessive energy consumption for POW
    2) The block size and other parameter limits -- some think larger more frequent blocks would be helpful
    3) Anonymity -- not completely anonymous if the right (or wrong) people are looking for you
    4) Inflation -- doesn't account for lost keys and could be deflationary
    5) The switch to transaction fees -- could cause instability in the future
    6) Limited programmability -- could be a handicap moving forward, with ETH being more programmable

    Whew! I didn't intend to go on and on like that, there is a lot more info in the article but this should provide an overview if you have limited time.

    Cheers!!

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