Op-ed: Blockstream Calls a Bitcoin Mining Optimization an “Attack”

Posted in: ArchiveOp-ed
April 7, 2017 4:18 PM UTC

Gregory Maxwell, Blockstream’s CTO, has made an astonishing statement in the mailing list regarding an algorithmic optimization called AsicsBoost which was revealed last year. Maxwell states:

“Due to a design oversight the Bitcoin proof of work function has a potential attack which can allow an attacking miner to save up-to 30% of their energy costs (though closer to 20% is more likely due to implementation overheads).”

It’s not clear what Maxwell means by “design oversight.” It could simply be the fact that proof of work allows for the use of specialized software which can be optimized leading to an arms race to gain profits in a highly competitive and purely capitalistic form.

Something which Maxwell doesn’t seem to like as he says “exploitation of this vulnerability” would cause “inequality in the mining process.” This suggests that in Maxwell’s view, all miners should be equal, otherwise known as communism, a tried and failed idea at a great cost to hundreds of millions of people.

Of course, to achieve this equality we need some sort of technocratic group which decides the price of goods (blocksize) and purges the undesirables, including mining optimizations that diverge from the purity of equality.

To achieve this end, we might further engage in censorship, DDos-ing, alteration of historical facts, banning, double speak, control over the media through troll armies, and, you know, the usual playbook as detailed in Orwell’s 1984.

We might also want to engage in a daily two minutes hate to rally the bitcoiners, with today’s rage being evil scientific optimizations by a company that hires hundreds of employees, including scientists, academics, ordinary workers, etc, a company which has to pay for hardware development and manufacturing, land space, for all those employees, electricity, etc, with the aim of making some profit.

Those evil capitalists must be purged in our grand utopia of equality in mining. Everyone should get the same amount, regardless of their intellectual abilities, efforts, investments, with the smartest people on earth, the utmost geniuses, the heros, known as Blockstream, deciding the amount they get, when, for what, as well as the fees peasants should pay, the price of bread, and all else.

In response to the imperialist subversion by bourgeoisie, our great hero who “reverse engineered a mining chip to discover ASICBOOST while trolling people 24/7 on reddit and contributing to Bitcoin Core” and tirelessly works for the common good, has come up with the “virtuous improvement” called Segregated Witnesses.

This will give us the great utopia where we all are equal and can run our own hubs while expanding no resources, so receiving free money on top of those who own the means of production, the miners, who unfairly get all this wealth.

People of the bitcoin world, you have nothing to lose, but your chains. Rise and seize the miners. We will build a great new world of forced equality where genius technocrats who know everything will decide all things.

Slaver is freedom

Was is Peace

Yes, it’s satire. Yes, maybe it’s not appropriate, but I could not bear to write a serious article on this topic as this whole thing has now descended into a farce and a joke. For a serious article, you can read Emin Gün Sirer, who has does a far better job than I possibly could to distil this statement that would make Orwell very proud.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to CCN.com.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified: May 21, 2020 9:56 AM UTC

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Andrew Quentson @Aquentson

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