What is Micropayment Channels? | block-chain.jp by コンセンサス・ベイス

An Insight Into Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP)

While Bitcoin is the most famous and valuable cryptocurrency, its blockchain faces some challenges. In order to ensure the constant dominance of the currency in the market, the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) was introduced. While most BIPs have different levels of potential for positive impact on Bitcoin blockchain, some of them turned out to be much more successful than others.

What is BIP?

Bitcoin is considered the first cryptocurrency and still remains the most successful crypto-project, but it also has its drawbacks. And in order to surpass it, as well as to occupy its niche in the digital world, innovators have created many new currencies, each of which has its own blockchain, designed to provide functions that are not available in Bitcoin. Eventually, one of these new currencies could potentially knock Bitcoin out of the first place.
That’s why the work on the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal began. BIP is a document where developers can submit a recommendation to fix a network problem. For example, after the introduction and implementation of BIP 141, also known as Segregated Witness (SegWit), the transaction rate on the Bitcoin network has increased, and commission fees have significantly decreased.
There are three varieties of BIP:

Bitcoin Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a BIP proposal introduced in 2015 by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja. It aims to make Bitcoin scalable with the help of instant payments that are performed outside the network. These external channels form real Bitcoin transactions with the use of standard scripts that allow transferring funds without risk.
The Lightning network came into force thanks to the introduction of wallets with many signatures, where the parties can conduct an infinite number of transactions without having to store all the details on the blockchain. The only information recorded on the blockchain is the number of Bitcoins contained in the wallet and the percentage of contributions of the parties involved.
In addition to enabling instant transactions, the update also provides other benefits for the Bitcoin chain. For example, registration for micropayments, as well as cross-chain payments. Moreover, the update also promotes the implementation of the functionality of smart contracts on top of the blockchain.

MAST technology

MAST stands for Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree, a technology that uses the ideas of the Merkle tree and the abstract syntax tree. This is a cryptographic tool that allows you to add large volumes of the hash to the data associated with transactions in the Bitcoin chain, due to their layout.
Three BIPs aim to introduce MAST into the Bitcoin network. The first is BIP 114, created by Johnson Lau, the developer of the Bitcoin core. The proposal shows how to increase network efficiency by introducing a new scenario, which he calls a merkelized scenario. The scenario reduces the need for large amounts of transaction data while maintaining greater privacy.
BIP 116 and BIP 117 were proposed by Bitcoin Core developer Mark Friedenbach and are intended to support MAST in a joint implementation. In BIP 116, he outlines the operation code, which allowed validation of the data without revealing the entire set. BIP 117 is called the Tail Call semantics, and in combination with the first, it led to a generalized form of MAST. The difference between the offers of Friedenbach and Lau is that the first supports all the scenarios that are currently used on the Bitcoin network, and the second supports only native SegWit.
The introduction of MAST has led to increased privacy, increased transaction speed, and the ability to include complex data sets, such as smart contracts. Besides, MAST allowed the Bitcoin network to process a much larger volume of transactions and, thereby, increased its scalability.

How many BIPs are there?

Since absolutely any developer can submit the idea of improving the network to the community, more than 300 of these ideas have already been accumulated, and not all of them have been and will be implemented in Bitcoin.
Keep up with the news of the crypto world at CoinJoy.io Follow us on Twitter and Medium. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Join our Telegram channel. For any inquiries mail us at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
submitted by CoinjoyAssistant to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

An Insight Into Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP)

While Bitcoin is the most famous and valuable cryptocurrency, its blockchain faces some challenges. In order to ensure the constant dominance of the currency in the market, the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) was introduced. While most BIPs have different levels of potential for positive impact on Bitcoin blockchain, some of them turned out to be much more successful than others.

What is BIP?

Bitcoin is considered the first cryptocurrency and still remains the most successful crypto-project, but it also has its drawbacks. And in order to surpass it, as well as to occupy its niche in the digital world, innovators have created many new currencies, each of which has its own blockchain, designed to provide functions that are not available in Bitcoin. Eventually, one of these new currencies could potentially knock Bitcoin out of the first place.
That’s why the work on the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal began. BIP is a document where developers can submit a recommendation to fix a network problem. For example, after the introduction and implementation of BIP 141, also known as Segregated Witness (SegWit), the transaction rate on the Bitcoin network has increased, and commission fees have significantly decreased.
There are three varieties of BIP:

Bitcoin Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a BIP proposal introduced in 2015 by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja. It aims to make Bitcoin scalable with the help of instant payments that are performed outside the network. These external channels form real Bitcoin transactions with the use of standard scripts that allow transferring funds without risk.
The Lightning network came into force thanks to the introduction of wallets with many signatures, where the parties can conduct an infinite number of transactions without having to store all the details on the blockchain. The only information recorded on the blockchain is the number of Bitcoins contained in the wallet and the percentage of contributions of the parties involved.
In addition to enabling instant transactions, the update also provides other benefits for the Bitcoin chain. For example, registration for micropayments, as well as cross-chain payments. Moreover, the update also promotes the implementation of the functionality of smart contracts on top of the blockchain.

MAST technology

MAST stands for Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree, a technology that uses the ideas of the Merkle tree and the abstract syntax tree. This is a cryptographic tool that allows you to add large volumes of the hash to the data associated with transactions in the Bitcoin chain, due to their layout.
Three BIPs aim to introduce MAST into the Bitcoin network. The first is BIP 114, created by Johnson Lau, the developer of the Bitcoin core. The proposal shows how to increase network efficiency by introducing a new scenario, which he calls a merkelized scenario. The scenario reduces the need for large amounts of transaction data while maintaining greater privacy.
BIP 116 and BIP 117 were proposed by Bitcoin Core developer Mark Friedenbach and are intended to support MAST in a joint implementation. In BIP 116, he outlines the operation code, which allowed validation of the data without revealing the entire set. BIP 117 is called the Tail Call semantics, and in combination with the first, it led to a generalized form of MAST. The difference between the offers of Friedenbach and Lau is that the first supports all the scenarios that are currently used on the Bitcoin network, and the second supports only native SegWit.
The introduction of MAST has led to increased privacy, increased transaction speed, and the ability to include complex data sets, such as smart contracts. Besides, MAST allowed the Bitcoin network to process a much larger volume of transactions and, thereby, increased its scalability.

How many BIPs are there?

Since absolutely any developer can submit the idea of improving the network to the community, more than 300 of these ideas have already been accumulated, and not all of them have been and will be implemented in Bitcoin.
Keep up with the news of the crypto world at CoinJoy.io Follow us on Twitter and Medium. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Join our Telegram channel. For any inquiries mail us at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).
submitted by CoinjoyAssistant to u/CoinjoyAssistant [link] [comments]

Bitcoin (BTC)A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.

Bitcoin (BTC)A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
  • Bitcoin (BTC) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that aims to function as a means of exchange that is independent of any central authority. BTC can be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable, and immutable way.
  • Launched in 2009, BTC is the first virtual currency to solve the double-spending issue by timestamping transactions before broadcasting them to all of the nodes in the Bitcoin network. The Bitcoin Protocol offered a solution to the Byzantine Generals’ Problem with a blockchain network structure, a notion first created by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta in 1991.
  • Bitcoin’s whitepaper was published pseudonymously in 2008 by an individual, or a group, with the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”, whose underlying identity has still not been verified.
  • The Bitcoin protocol uses an SHA-256d-based Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm to reach network consensus. Its network has a target block time of 10 minutes and a maximum supply of 21 million tokens, with a decaying token emission rate. To prevent fluctuation of the block time, the network’s block difficulty is re-adjusted through an algorithm based on the past 2016 block times.
  • With a block size limit capped at 1 megabyte, the Bitcoin Protocol has supported both the Lightning Network, a second-layer infrastructure for payment channels, and Segregated Witness, a soft-fork to increase the number of transactions on a block, as solutions to network scalability.

https://preview.redd.it/s2gmpmeze3151.png?width=256&format=png&auto=webp&s=9759910dd3c4a15b83f55b827d1899fb2fdd3de1

1. What is Bitcoin (BTC)?

  • Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that aims to function as a means of exchange and is independent of any central authority. Bitcoins are transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable, and immutable way.
  • Network validators, whom are often referred to as miners, participate in the SHA-256d-based Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to determine the next global state of the blockchain.
  • The Bitcoin protocol has a target block time of 10 minutes, and a maximum supply of 21 million tokens. The only way new bitcoins can be produced is when a block producer generates a new valid block.
  • The protocol has a token emission rate that halves every 210,000 blocks, or approximately every 4 years.
  • Unlike public blockchain infrastructures supporting the development of decentralized applications (Ethereum), the Bitcoin protocol is primarily used only for payments, and has only very limited support for smart contract-like functionalities (Bitcoin “Script” is mostly used to create certain conditions before bitcoins are used to be spent).

2. Bitcoin’s core features

For a more beginner’s introduction to Bitcoin, please visit Binance Academy’s guide to Bitcoin.

Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model

A UTXO transaction works like cash payment between two parties: Alice gives money to Bob and receives change (i.e., unspent amount). In comparison, blockchains like Ethereum rely on the account model.
https://preview.redd.it/t1j6anf8f3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=33bd141d8f2136a6f32739c8cdc7aae2e04cbc47

Nakamoto consensus

In the Bitcoin network, anyone can join the network and become a bookkeeping service provider i.e., a validator. All validators are allowed in the race to become the block producer for the next block, yet only the first to complete a computationally heavy task will win. This feature is called Proof of Work (PoW).
The probability of any single validator to finish the task first is equal to the percentage of the total network computation power, or hash power, the validator has. For instance, a validator with 5% of the total network computation power will have a 5% chance of completing the task first, and therefore becoming the next block producer.
Since anyone can join the race, competition is prone to increase. In the early days, Bitcoin mining was mostly done by personal computer CPUs.
As of today, Bitcoin validators, or miners, have opted for dedicated and more powerful devices such as machines based on Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (“ASIC”).
Proof of Work secures the network as block producers must have spent resources external to the network (i.e., money to pay electricity), and can provide proof to other participants that they did so.
With various miners competing for block rewards, it becomes difficult for one single malicious party to gain network majority (defined as more than 51% of the network’s hash power in the Nakamoto consensus mechanism). The ability to rearrange transactions via 51% attacks indicates another feature of the Nakamoto consensus: the finality of transactions is only probabilistic.
Once a block is produced, it is then propagated by the block producer to all other validators to check on the validity of all transactions in that block. The block producer will receive rewards in the network’s native currency (i.e., bitcoin) as all validators approve the block and update their ledgers.

The blockchain

Block production

The Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Merkle tree data structure in order to organize hashes of numerous individual transactions into each block. This concept is named after Ralph Merkle, who patented it in 1979.
With the use of a Merkle tree, though each block might contain thousands of transactions, it will have the ability to combine all of their hashes and condense them into one, allowing efficient and secure verification of this group of transactions. This single hash called is a Merkle root, which is stored in the Block Header of a block. The Block Header also stores other meta information of a block, such as a hash of the previous Block Header, which enables blocks to be associated in a chain-like structure (hence the name “blockchain”).
An illustration of block production in the Bitcoin Protocol is demonstrated below.

https://preview.redd.it/m6texxicf3151.png?width=1591&format=png&auto=webp&s=f4253304912ed8370948b9c524e08fef28f1c78d

Block time and mining difficulty

Block time is the period required to create the next block in a network. As mentioned above, the node who solves the computationally intensive task will be allowed to produce the next block. Therefore, block time is directly correlated to the amount of time it takes for a node to find a solution to the task. The Bitcoin protocol sets a target block time of 10 minutes, and attempts to achieve this by introducing a variable named mining difficulty.
Mining difficulty refers to how difficult it is for the node to solve the computationally intensive task. If the network sets a high difficulty for the task, while miners have low computational power, which is often referred to as “hashrate”, it would statistically take longer for the nodes to get an answer for the task. If the difficulty is low, but miners have rather strong computational power, statistically, some nodes will be able to solve the task quickly.
Therefore, the 10 minute target block time is achieved by constantly and automatically adjusting the mining difficulty according to how much computational power there is amongst the nodes. The average block time of the network is evaluated after a certain number of blocks, and if it is greater than the expected block time, the difficulty level will decrease; if it is less than the expected block time, the difficulty level will increase.

What are orphan blocks?

In a PoW blockchain network, if the block time is too low, it would increase the likelihood of nodes producingorphan blocks, for which they would receive no reward. Orphan blocks are produced by nodes who solved the task but did not broadcast their results to the whole network the quickest due to network latency.
It takes time for a message to travel through a network, and it is entirely possible for 2 nodes to complete the task and start to broadcast their results to the network at roughly the same time, while one’s messages are received by all other nodes earlier as the node has low latency.
Imagine there is a network latency of 1 minute and a target block time of 2 minutes. A node could solve the task in around 1 minute but his message would take 1 minute to reach the rest of the nodes that are still working on the solution. While his message travels through the network, all the work done by all other nodes during that 1 minute, even if these nodes also complete the task, would go to waste. In this case, 50% of the computational power contributed to the network is wasted.
The percentage of wasted computational power would proportionally decrease if the mining difficulty were higher, as it would statistically take longer for miners to complete the task. In other words, if the mining difficulty, and therefore targeted block time is low, miners with powerful and often centralized mining facilities would get a higher chance of becoming the block producer, while the participation of weaker miners would become in vain. This introduces possible centralization and weakens the overall security of the network.
However, given a limited amount of transactions that can be stored in a block, making the block time too longwould decrease the number of transactions the network can process per second, negatively affecting network scalability.

3. Bitcoin’s additional features

Segregated Witness (SegWit)

Segregated Witness, often abbreviated as SegWit, is a protocol upgrade proposal that went live in August 2017.
SegWit separates witness signatures from transaction-related data. Witness signatures in legacy Bitcoin blocks often take more than 50% of the block size. By removing witness signatures from the transaction block, this protocol upgrade effectively increases the number of transactions that can be stored in a single block, enabling the network to handle more transactions per second. As a result, SegWit increases the scalability of Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
SegWit also makes transactions cheaper. Since transaction fees are derived from how much data is being processed by the block producer, the more transactions that can be stored in a 1MB block, the cheaper individual transactions become.
https://preview.redd.it/depya70mf3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=a6499aa2131fbf347f8ffd812930b2f7d66be48e
The legacy Bitcoin block has a block size limit of 1 megabyte, and any change on the block size would require a network hard-fork. On August 1st 2017, the first hard-fork occurred, leading to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (“BCH”), which introduced an 8 megabyte block size limit.
Conversely, Segregated Witness was a soft-fork: it never changed the transaction block size limit of the network. Instead, it added an extended block with an upper limit of 3 megabytes, which contains solely witness signatures, to the 1 megabyte block that contains only transaction data. This new block type can be processed even by nodes that have not completed the SegWit protocol upgrade.
Furthermore, the separation of witness signatures from transaction data solves the malleability issue with the original Bitcoin protocol. Without Segregated Witness, these signatures could be altered before the block is validated by miners. Indeed, alterations can be done in such a way that if the system does a mathematical check, the signature would still be valid. However, since the values in the signature are changed, the two signatures would create vastly different hash values.
For instance, if a witness signature states “6,” it has a mathematical value of 6, and would create a hash value of 12345. However, if the witness signature were changed to “06”, it would maintain a mathematical value of 6 while creating a (faulty) hash value of 67890.
Since the mathematical values are the same, the altered signature remains a valid signature. This would create a bookkeeping issue, as transactions in Nakamoto consensus-based blockchain networks are documented with these hash values, or transaction IDs. Effectively, one can alter a transaction ID to a new one, and the new ID can still be valid.
This can create many issues, as illustrated in the below example:
  1. Alice sends Bob 1 BTC, and Bob sends Merchant Carol this 1 BTC for some goods.
  2. Bob sends Carols this 1 BTC, while the transaction from Alice to Bob is not yet validated. Carol sees this incoming transaction of 1 BTC to him, and immediately ships goods to B.
  3. At the moment, the transaction from Alice to Bob is still not confirmed by the network, and Bob can change the witness signature, therefore changing this transaction ID from 12345 to 67890.
  4. Now Carol will not receive his 1 BTC, as the network looks for transaction 12345 to ensure that Bob’s wallet balance is valid.
  5. As this particular transaction ID changed from 12345 to 67890, the transaction from Bob to Carol will fail, and Bob will get his goods while still holding his BTC.
With the Segregated Witness upgrade, such instances can not happen again. This is because the witness signatures are moved outside of the transaction block into an extended block, and altering the witness signature won’t affect the transaction ID.
Since the transaction malleability issue is fixed, Segregated Witness also enables the proper functioning of second-layer scalability solutions on the Bitcoin protocol, such as the Lightning Network.

Lightning Network

Lightning Network is a second-layer micropayment solution for scalability.
Specifically, Lightning Network aims to enable near-instant and low-cost payments between merchants and customers that wish to use bitcoins.
Lightning Network was conceptualized in a whitepaper by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015. Since then, it has been implemented by multiple companies. The most prominent of them include Blockstream, Lightning Labs, and ACINQ.
A list of curated resources relevant to Lightning Network can be found here.
In the Lightning Network, if a customer wishes to transact with a merchant, both of them need to open a payment channel, which operates off the Bitcoin blockchain (i.e., off-chain vs. on-chain). None of the transaction details from this payment channel are recorded on the blockchain, and only when the channel is closed will the end result of both party’s wallet balances be updated to the blockchain. The blockchain only serves as a settlement layer for Lightning transactions.
Since all transactions done via the payment channel are conducted independently of the Nakamoto consensus, both parties involved in transactions do not need to wait for network confirmation on transactions. Instead, transacting parties would pay transaction fees to Bitcoin miners only when they decide to close the channel.
https://preview.redd.it/cy56icarf3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=b239a63c6a87ec6cc1b18ce2cbd0355f8831c3a8
One limitation to the Lightning Network is that it requires a person to be online to receive transactions attributing towards him. Another limitation in user experience could be that one needs to lock up some funds every time he wishes to open a payment channel, and is only able to use that fund within the channel.
However, this does not mean he needs to create new channels every time he wishes to transact with a different person on the Lightning Network. If Alice wants to send money to Carol, but they do not have a payment channel open, they can ask Bob, who has payment channels open to both Alice and Carol, to help make that transaction. Alice will be able to send funds to Bob, and Bob to Carol. Hence, the number of “payment hubs” (i.e., Bob in the previous example) correlates with both the convenience and the usability of the Lightning Network for real-world applications.

Schnorr Signature upgrade proposal

Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (“ECDSA”) signatures are used to sign transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.
https://preview.redd.it/hjeqe4l7g3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=8014fb08fe62ac4d91645499bc0c7e1c04c5d7c4
However, many developers now advocate for replacing ECDSA with Schnorr Signature. Once Schnorr Signatures are implemented, multiple parties can collaborate in producing a signature that is valid for the sum of their public keys.
This would primarily be beneficial for network scalability. When multiple addresses were to conduct transactions to a single address, each transaction would require their own signature. With Schnorr Signature, all these signatures would be combined into one. As a result, the network would be able to store more transactions in a single block.
https://preview.redd.it/axg3wayag3151.png?width=1601&format=png&auto=webp&s=93d958fa6b0e623caa82ca71fe457b4daa88c71e
The reduced size in signatures implies a reduced cost on transaction fees. The group of senders can split the transaction fees for that one group signature, instead of paying for one personal signature individually.
Schnorr Signature also improves network privacy and token fungibility. A third-party observer will not be able to detect if a user is sending a multi-signature transaction, since the signature will be in the same format as a single-signature transaction.

4. Economics and supply distribution

The Bitcoin protocol utilizes the Nakamoto consensus, and nodes validate blocks via Proof-of-Work mining. The bitcoin token was not pre-mined, and has a maximum supply of 21 million. The initial reward for a block was 50 BTC per block. Block mining rewards halve every 210,000 blocks. Since the average time for block production on the blockchain is 10 minutes, it implies that the block reward halving events will approximately take place every 4 years.
As of May 12th 2020, the block mining rewards are 6.25 BTC per block. Transaction fees also represent a minor revenue stream for miners.
submitted by D-platform to u/D-platform [link] [comments]

what are you most excited to do with the Lightning Network once it's fully operational??

just wondering what people here are excited to finally get to use the LN for when it's done :)
(particularly things where BCH's sub-cent fees and near-perfect 0-conf security would be insufficient for your use case)
submitted by mungojelly to lightningnetwork [link] [comments]

/r/Bitcoin FAQ - Newcomers please read

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
Some great introductions for new users are My first bitcoin, Bitcoin explained and ELI5 Bitcoin. Also, the following videos are a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Also have to give mention to Lopp.net, the Princeton crypto series and James D'Angelo's Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series. Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute. Bitcoin statistics can be found here, here and here. Developer resources can be found here, here and here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here. Potential upcoming protocol improvements here. Scaling resources here. The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here (LOL!), and of course Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper that started it all! :)
Key properties of bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

Bitcoin.org, BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com and Howtobuybitcoin.io are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also, check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Bank Transfer Credit / Debit card Cash
Gemini Bitstamp LocalBitcoins
Bitstamp Bitit Mycelium LocalTrader
BitFinex Cex.io LibertyX
Cex.io CoinMama WallofCoins
Xapo Spectrocoin BitcoinOTC
Kraken Luno BitQuick
itBit
HitBTC
Bitit
Bisq (decentralized)
Luno
Spectrocoin
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
Android iOs Desktop
Samouari BreadWallet Electrum
Another interesting use case for physical storage/transfer is the Opendime. Opendime is a small USB stick that allows you to spend Bitcoin by physically passing it along so it's anonymous and tangible like cash.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account, usually from a text message or app, making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy
Android Android
iOS iOS

Where can I spend bitcoins?

Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for some good options, some of the more commons ones are listed below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Steam, HumbleBundle, Games Planet, itch.io, g2g and kinguin For when you need to get your game on
Microsoft Xbox games, phone apps and software
Spendabit, Overstock, The Bitcoin Directory and BazaarBay Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg and Dell For all your electronics needs
Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Hyphen.to, Coinsfer, More #1, #2 Bill payment
Menufy, Takeaway, Thuisbezorgd NL, Pizza For Coins Takeout delivered to your door!
Expedia, Cheapair, Lot, Destinia, BTCTrip, Abitsky, SkyTours, Fluege the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
BitHost VPS service
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap, Porkbun For new domain name registration
Stampnik Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Reddit Gold Premium membership which can be gifted to others
Coinmap and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations, such as Wikipedia, United Way, ACLU and the EFF. You can find a longer list here.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. Bitseed is an easy option for getting set up. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, XBTfreelancer, Cryptogrind, Bitlancerr, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, Rein Project Freelancing
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
Streamium.io, XOtika.tv NSFW, /GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Video Streaming
Bitasker, BitforTip Tasks
Supload.com, SatoshiBox, JoyStream, File Army File/Image Sharing
CoinAd, A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins)

Bitcoin Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network, Amiko Pay, and Strawpay Payment channels for network scaling
Blockstream, Rootstock and Drivechain Sidechains
21, Inc. Open source library for the machine payable web
ShapeShift.io Trade between bitcoins and altcoins easily
Open Transactions, Counterparty, Omni, Open Assets, Symbiont and Chain Financial asset platforms
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Mediachain Decentralized media library
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
Samourai and Dark Wallet - abandoned Privacy-enhancing wallets
JoinMarket CoinJoin implementation (Increase privacy and/or Earn interest on bitcoin holdings)
Coinffeine and Bisq Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase and Bitrated Identity & Reputation management
Telehash Mesh networking
JoyStream BitTorrent client with paid seeding
MORPHiS Decentralized, encrypted internet
Storj and Sia Decentralized file storage
Streamium Pay in real time for on-demand services
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
bitSIM PIN secure hardware token between SIM & Phone
Identifi Decentralized address book w/ ratings system
BitGo Multisig bitcoin API
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library
Insight Open source blockchain API
Leet Kill your friends and take their money ;)

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin SI unit for milli i.e. millilitre (mL) or millimetre (mm)
microbitcoin μBTC 1,000,000 per bitcoin SI unit for micro i.e microlitre (μL) or micrometre (μm)
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin Colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin Smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. A complete list of bitcoin related subreddits can be found here
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by BinaryResult to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

AMA: Ask Mike Anything

Hello again. It's been a while.
People have been emailing me about once a week or so for the last year to ask if I'm coming back to Bitcoin now that Bitcoin Cash exists. And a couple of weeks ago I was summoned on a thread called "Ask Mike Hearn Anything", but that was nothing to do with me and I was on holiday in Japan at the time. So I figured I should just answer all the different questions and answers in one place rather than keep doing it individually over email.
Firstly, thanks for the kind words on this sub. I don't take part anymore but I still visit occasionally to see what people are talking about, and the people posting nice messages is a pleasant change from three years ago.
Secondly, who am I? Some new Bitcoiners might not know.
I am Satoshi.
Just kidding. I'm not Satoshi. I was a Bitcoin developer for about five years, from 2010-2015. I was also one of the first Bitcoin users, sending my first coins in April 2009 (to SN), about 4 months after the genesis block. I worked on various things:
You can see a trend here - I was always interested in developing peer to peer decentralised applications that used Bitcoin.
But what I'm best known for is my role in the block size debate/civil war, documented by Nathaniel Popper in the New York Times. I spent most of 2015 writing extensively about why various proposals from the small-block/Blockstream faction weren't going to work (e.g. on replace by fee, lightning network, what would occur if no hard fork happened, soft forks, scaling conferences etc). After Blockstream successfully took over Bitcoin Core and expelled anyone who opposed them, Gavin and I forked Bitcoin Core to create Bitcoin XT, the first alternative node implementation to gain any serious usage. The creation of XT led to the imposition of censorship across all Bitcoin discussion forums and news outlets, resulted in the creation of this sub, and Core supporters paid a botnet operator to force XT nodes offline with DDoS attacks. They also convinced the miners and wider community to do nothing for years, resulting in the eventual overload of the main network.
I left the project at the start of 2016, documenting my reasons and what I expected to happen in my final essay on Bitcoin in which I said I considered it a failed experiment. Along with the article in the New York Times this pierced the censorship, made the wider world aware of what was going on, and thus my last gift to the community was a 20% drop in price (it soon recovered).

The last two years

Left Bitcoin ... but not decentralisation. After all that went down I started a new project called Corda. You can think of Corda as Bitcoin++, but modified for industrial use cases where a decentralised p2p database is more immediately useful than a new coin.
Corda incorporates many ideas I had back when I was working on Bitcoin but couldn't implement due to lack of time, resources, because of ideological wars or because they were too technically radical for the community. So even though it's doesn't provide a new cryptocurrency out of the box, it might be interesting for the Bitcoin Cash community to study anyway. By resigning myself to Bitcoin's fate and joining R3 I could go back to the drawing board and design with a lot more freedom, creating something inspired by Bitcoin's protocol but incorporating all the experience we gained writing Bitcoin apps over the years.
The most common question I'm asked is whether I'd come back and work on Bitcoin again. The obvious followup question is - come back and work on what? If you want to see some of the ideas I'd have been exploring if things had worked out differently, go read the Corda tech white paper. Here's a few of the things it might be worth asking about:
I don't plan on returning to Bitcoin but if you'd like to know what sort of things I'd have been researching or doing, ask about these things.
edit: Richard pointed out some essays he wrote that might be useful, Enterprise blockchains for cryptocurrency experts and New to Corda? Start here!
submitted by mike_hearn to btc [link] [comments]

⚡ Lightning Network Megathread ⚡

Last updated 2018-01-29
This post is a collaboration with the Bitcoin community to create a one-stop source for Lightning Network information.
There are still questions in the FAQ that are unanswered, if you know the answer and can provide a source please do so!

⚡What is the Lightning Network? ⚡

Explanations:

Image Explanations:

Specifications / White Papers

Videos

Lightning Network Experts on Reddit

  • starkbot - (Elizabeth Stark - Lightning Labs)
  • roasbeef - (Olaoluwa Osuntokun - Lightning Labs)
  • stile65 - (Alex Akselrod - Lightning Labs)
  • cfromknecht - (Conner Fromknecht - Lightning Labs)
  • RustyReddit - (Rusty Russell - Blockstream)
  • cdecker - (Christian Decker - Blockstream)
  • Dryja - (Tadge Dryja - Digital Currency Initiative)
  • josephpoon - (Joseph Poon)
  • fdrn - (Fabrice Drouin - ACINQ )
  • pmpadiou - (Pierre-Marie Padiou - ACINQ)

Lightning Network Experts on Twitter

  • @starkness - (Elizabeth Stark - Lightning Labs)
  • @roasbeef - (Olaoluwa Osuntokun - Lightning Labs)
  • @stile65 - (Alex Akselrod - Lightning Labs)
  • @bitconner - (Conner Fromknecht - Lightning Labs)
  • @johanth - (Johan Halseth - Lightning Labs)
  • @bvu - (Bryan Vu - Lightning Labs)
  • @rusty_twit - (Rusty Russell - Blockstream)
  • @snyke - (Christian Decker - Blockstream)
  • @JackMallers - (Jack Mallers - Zap)
  • @tdryja - (Tadge Dryja - Digital Currency Initiative)
  • @jcp - (Joseph Poon)
  • @alexbosworth - (Alex Bosworth - yalls.org)

Medium Posts

Learning Resources

Books

Desktop Interfaces

Web Interfaces

Tutorials and resources

Lightning on Testnet

Lightning Wallets

Place a testnet transaction

Altcoin Trading using Lightning

  • ZigZag - Disclaimer You must trust ZigZag to send to Target Address

Lightning on Mainnet

Warning - Testing should be done on Testnet

Atomic Swaps

Developer Documentation and Resources

Lightning implementations

  • LND - Lightning Network Daemon (Golang)
  • eclair - A Scala implementation of the Lightning Network (Scala)
  • c-lightning - A Lightning Network implementation in C
  • lit - Lightning Network node software (Golang)
  • lightning-onion - Onion Routed Micropayments for the Lightning Network (Golang)
  • lightning-integration - Lightning Integration Testing Framework
  • ptarmigan - C++ BOLT-Compliant Lightning Network Implementation [Incomplete]

Libraries

Lightning Network Visualizers/Explorers

Testnet

Mainnet

Payment Processors

  • BTCPay - Next stable version will include Lightning Network

Community

Slack

IRC

Slack Channel

Discord Channel

Miscellaneous

⚡ Lightning FAQs ⚡

If you can answer please PM me and include source if possible. Feel free to help keep these answers up to date and as brief but correct as possible
Is Lightning Bitcoin?
Yes. You pick a peer and after some setup, create a bitcoin transaction to fund the lightning channel; it’ll then take another transaction to close it and release your funds. You and your peer always hold a bitcoin transaction to get your funds whenever you want: just broadcast to the blockchain like normal. In other words, you and your peer create a shared account, and then use Lightning to securely negotiate who gets how much from that shared account, without waiting for the bitcoin blockchain.
Is the Lightning Network open source?
Yes, Lightning is open source. Anyone can review the code (in the same way as the bitcoin code)
Who owns and controls the Lightning Network?
Similar to the bitcoin network, no one will ever own or control the Lightning Network. The code is open source and free for anyone to download and review. Anyone can run a node and be part of the network.
I’ve heard that Lightning transactions are happening “off-chain”…Does that mean that my bitcoin will be removed from the blockchain?
No, your bitcoin will never leave the blockchain. Instead your bitcoin will be held in a multi-signature address as long as your channel stays open. When the channel is closed; the final transaction will be added to the blockchain. “Off-chain” is not a perfect term, but it is used due to the fact that the transfer of ownership is no longer reflected on the blockchain until the channel is closed.
Do I need a constant connection to run a lightning node?
Not necessarily,
Example: A and B have a channel. 1 BTC each. A sends B 0.5 BTC. B sends back 0.25 BTC. Balance should be A = 0.75, B = 1.25. If A gets disconnected, B can publish the first Tx where the balance was A = 0.5 and B = 1.5. If the node B does in fact attempt to cheat by publishing an old state (such as the A=0.5 and B=1.5 state), this cheat can then be detected on-chain and used to steal the cheaters funds, i.e., A can see the closing transaction, notice it's an old one and grab all funds in the channel (A=2, B=0). The time that A has in order to react to the cheating counterparty is given by the CheckLockTimeVerify (CLTV) in the cheating transaction, which is adjustable. So if A foresees that it'll be able to check in about once every 24 hours it'll require that the CLTV is at least that large, if it's once a week then that's fine too. You definitely do not need to be online and watching the chain 24/7, just make sure to check in once in a while before the CLTV expires. Alternatively you can outsource the watch duties, in order to keep the CLTV timeouts low. This can be achieved both with trusted third parties or untrusted ones (watchtowers). In the case of a unilateral close, e.g., you just go offline and never come back, the other endpoint will have to wait for that timeout to expire to get its funds back. So peers might not accept channels with extremely high CLTV timeouts. -- Source
What Are Lightning’s Advantages?
Tiny payments are possible: since fees are proportional to the payment amount, you can pay a fraction of a cent; accounting is even done in thousandths of a satoshi. Payments are settled instantly: the money is sent in the time it takes to cross the network to your destination and back, typically a fraction of a second.
Does Lightning require Segregated Witness?
Yes, but not in theory. You could make a poorer lightning network without it, which has higher risks when establishing channels (you might have to wait a month if things go wrong!), has limited channel lifetime, longer minimum payment expiry times on each hop, is less efficient and has less robust outsourcing. The entire spec as written today assumes segregated witness, as it solves all these problems.
Can I Send Funds From Lightning to a Normal Bitcoin Address?
No, for now. For the first version of the protocol, if you wanted to send a normal bitcoin transaction using your channel, you have to close it, send the funds, then reopen the channel (3 transactions). In future versions, you and your peer would agree to spend out of your lightning channel funds just like a normal bitcoin payment, allowing you to use your lightning wallet like a normal bitcoin wallet.
Can I Make Money Running a Lightning Node?
Not really. Anyone can set up a node, and so it’s a race to the bottom on fees. In practice, we may see the network use a nominal fee and not change very much, which only provides an incremental incentive to route on a node you’re going to use yourself, and not enough to run one merely for fees. Having clients use criteria other than fees (e.g. randomness, diversity) in route selection will also help this.
What is the release date for Lightning on Mainnet?
Lightning is already being tested on the Mainnet Twitter Link but as for a specific date, Jameson Lopp says it best
Would there be any KYC/AML issues with certain nodes?
Nope, because there is no custody ever involved. It's just like forwarding packets. -- Source
What is the delay time for the recipient of a transaction receiving confirmation?
Furthermore, the Lightning Network scales not with the transaction throughput of the underlying blockchain, but with modern data processing and latency limits - payments can be made nearly as quickly as packets can be sent. -- Source
How does the lightning network prevent centralization?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
What are Channel Factories and how do they work?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How does the Lightning network work in simple terms?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How are paths found in Lightning Network?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How would the lightning network work between exchanges?
Each exchange will get to decide and need to implement the software into their system, but some ideas have been outlined here: Google Doc - Lightning Exchanges
Note that by virtue of the usual benefits of cost-less, instantaneous transactions, lightning will make arbitrage between exchanges much more efficient and thus lead to consistent pricing across exchange that adopt it. -- Source
How do lightning nodes find other lightning nodes?
Stack Exchange Answer
Does every user need to store the state of the complete Lightning Network?
According to Rusty's calculations we should be able to store 1 million nodes in about 100 MB, so that should work even for mobile phones. Beyond that we have some proposals ready to lighten the load on endpoints, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. -- Source
Would I need to download the complete state every time I open the App and make a payment?
No you'd remember the information from the last time you started the app and only sync the differences. This is not yet implemented, but it shouldn't be too hard to get a preliminary protocol working if that turns out to be a problem. -- Source
What needs to happen for the Lightning Network to be deployed and what can I do as a user to help?
Lightning is based on participants in the network running lightning node software that enables them to interact with other nodes. This does not require being a full bitcoin node, but you will have to run "lnd", "eclair", or one of the other node softwares listed above.
All lightning wallets have node software integrated into them, because that is necessary to create payment channels and conduct payments on the network, but you can also intentionally run lnd or similar for public benefit - e.g. you can hold open payment channels or channels with higher volume, than you need for your own transactions. You would be compensated in modest fees by those who transact across your node with multi-hop payments. -- Source
Is there anyway for someone who isn't a developer to meaningfully contribute?
Sure, you can help write up educational material. You can learn and read more about the tech at http://dev.lightning.community/resources. You can test the various desktop and mobile apps out there (Lightning Desktop, Zap, Eclair apps). -- Source
Do I need to be a miner to be a Lightning Network node?
No -- Source
Do I need to run a full Bitcoin node to run a lightning node?
lit doesn't depend on having your own full node -- it automatically connects to full nodes on the network. -- Source
LND uses a light client mode, so it doesn't require a full node. The name of the light client it uses is called neutrino
How does the lightning network stop "Cheating" (Someone broadcasting an old transaction)?
Upon opening a channel, the two endpoints first agree on a reserve value, below which the channel balance may not drop. This is to make sure that both endpoints always have some skin in the game as rustyreddit puts it :-)
For a cheat to become worth it, the opponent has to be absolutely sure that you cannot retaliate against him during the timeout. So he has to make sure you never ever get network connectivity during that time. Having someone else also watching for channel closures and notifying you, or releasing a canned retaliation, makes this even harder for the attacker. This is because if he misjudged you being truly offline you can retaliate by grabbing all of its funds. Spotty connections, DDoS, and similar will not provide the attacker the necessary guarantees to make cheating worthwhile. Any form of uncertainty about your online status acts as a deterrent to the other endpoint. -- Source
How many times would someone need to open and close their lightning channels?
You typically want to have more than one channel open at any given time for redundancy's sake. And we imagine open and close will probably be automated for the most part. In fact we already have a feature in LND called autopilot that can automatically open channels for a user.
Frequency will depend whether the funds are needed on-chain or more useful on LN. -- Source
Will the lightning network reduce BTC Liquidity due to "locking-up" funds in channels?
Stack Exchange Answer
Can the Lightning Network work on any other cryptocurrency? How?
Stack Exchange Answer
When setting up a Lightning Network Node are fees set for the entire node, or each channel when opened?
You don't really set up a "node" in the sense that anyone with more than one channel can automatically be a node and route payments. Fees on LN can be set by the node, and can change dynamically on the network. -- Source
Can Lightning routing fees be changed dynamically, without closing channels?
Yes but it has to be implemented in the Lightning software being used. -- Source
How can you make sure that there will be routes with large enough balances to handle transactions?
You won't have to do anything. With autopilot enabled, it'll automatically open and close channels based on the availability of the network. -- Source
How does the Lightning Network stop flooding nodes (DDoS) with micro transactions? Is this even an issue?
Stack Exchange Answer

Unanswered Questions

How do on-chain fees work when opening and closing channels? Who pays the fee?
How does the Lightning Network work for mobile users?
What are the best practices for securing a lightning node?
What is a lightning "hub"?
How does lightning handle cross chain (Atomic) swaps?

Special Thanks and Notes

  • Many links found from awesome-lightning-network github
  • Everyone who submitted a question or concern!
  • I'm continuing to format for an easier Mobile experience!
submitted by codedaway to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

“Neutrino payments” in Universa. Part 1: Theory

TLDR; – Neutrino payments (ν-payments) is a “Lightning-style” protocol of zero-fee Universa-guaranteed microtransactions, requiring the (regular Universa) fee only to establish and to close the series of micropayments.
Part 1 of 2; read the Part 2 (“Practice”) to learn more about Universa-specific details of implementation.

Abstract

Reading this article you’ll refresh your knowledge about the Lightning Network for Bitcoin (its benefits for Bitcoin as well as its basic architecture),.. and find out how easy it is to implement the concepts of Lightning Network on top of Universa smart contracts, without writing even a single line of code.

Lightning Network benefits

A well-known recent improvement to Bitcoin network is the Lightning Network, the off-chain micropayments extension that utilizes the legacy data and features of core Bitcoin network, but builds its own, not (immediately) blockchain-registered methods of value transfer, trying to compensate for many existing Bitcoin flaws:
Of course, many of these flaws just don’t exist in Universa network:
So, let’s construct a micropayment framework over Universa. To distinguish the Universa implementation from Bitcoin one, let’s call it… say, “neutrino payments” – cause neutrinos are incredibly fast and incredibly lightweight, and they can traverse the whole Universe(a), so why not? Here come the neutrino payments.

Neutrino payments: architecture

Imagine Alice and Bob.
Alice is a prominent video blogger and streamer on Twitch; during the stream, she accepts donations – they are usually tiny in amount, but there may be a number of them from the same viewer, to encourage her to stream more and longer.
Bob is a dedicated fan and viewer of Alice’s streams, and donates her regularly, being sure that his donations are important for her providing the quality contents. He doesn’t like to donate more than €10 per stream, though; but each donation may be from €0.01 up to even €0.5.
When Alice starts another stream, Bob establishes a Lightning Network channel with Alice. This is basically just a multi-signature “wallet” controlled by the keys of both Alice and Bob. At this moment, Bob registers it in the Bitcoin blockchain (that’s one of just two transactions with the Bitcoin network; all the other operations won’t require updating the Bitcoin blockchain), so the network knows some funds are “locked down” in this channel. In Bob’s case, he locks down just €10 amount of his cryptocurrency, for future Lightning Network payments to Alice.
Whenever Bob makes a donation to Alice, this happens actually over the Lightning Network only. He submits a new transaction with a new distribution of funds in the multisig wallet of the Lightning Network channel, signed with just his own key. First it is a “€0.01 to Alice, €9.99 to Bob”, then that is “€0.02 to Alice, €9.98 to Bob” and so on.
As the €10 balance is locked in the channel already (and that is recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain), Alice knows the funds are “confirmed”. And seeing a transaction signed by Bob, she may be sure the funds in this transaction are already “hers” (the funds are locked; the transaction is signed by 1 key of the two, now it is only her who needs to sign it to receive them fully; nothing can go wrong here). If the donations on her stream involve any paid “fan service” for those who donate, she could consider the payment happened, even though it is not – yet – registered in Bitcoin blockchain.
When the channel being closed, Alice just signs the last received transaction with her own key, completing the multi-sig requirements. And then the payment is registered in the Bitcoin network, being the second of just the two real network transactions and completing the “micropayments sequence”. None of the intermediate transactions involved any cost to either Alice or Bob.

Preliminary architecture

Can the scenario above be executed in Universa? Sure, and so trivially that the introduction before may be larger than the actual Universa’s implementation as a smart contract!
Each smart contract in Universa is a structured document, containing some mandatory fields with one of them being “state.owner”. state.owner field is usually assigned a SimpleRole containing just the key address of the current owner. So “sending” any token usually means just “reassigning” the owner field of the underlying smart contract (potentially, with splitting some smart contract in multiple, having the same total amount; or joining multiple compatible contracts, similarly keeping the total amount invariant).
How to make a “multi-signature wallet” in Universa then? Easy. The owner (state.owner) is reassigned not to a SimpleRole, but to a ListRole containing multiple key addresses. Each ListRole is created in one of multiple modes, like Mode.ALL or Mode.ANY.

“Establishing a channel”

To emulate the Lightning Network channel, Bob should make a new revision of his €10-worth token contract, where the new state.owner is assigned with a ListRole in Mode.ALL, and put there two key addresses: of Bob’s key and of Alice’s key. After this he registers this ownership change in the Universa network,.. yes, this is the 1st of the 2 transactions touching the blockchain; and this is equivalent to “establishing a channel” in real Bitcoin Lightning network:
... state: owner: mode: ALL name: owner roles: - alice: name: Alice type: simple addresses: - __type: KeyAddress uaddress: __type: binary base58: "" - bob: name: Bob type: simple addresses: - __type: KeyAddress uaddress: __type: binary base58: "" type: list ... 
Note he doesn’t create any new smart contract. He doesn’t need the original smart contract of his token be prepared somehow. Any regular “token”-style smart contract (and not even just a token; but more on this later) in Universa will support it, as the only what happens with it, in terms of Universa, is ownership change!

Micropayments

Similarly to the Lightning network transfers, after the initial revision of the contract all the subsequent mitransactions happen off-chain.
When Bob wants to “make a donation micropayment” to Alice, he takes the registered contract revision, and creates a new transaction pack. The transaction pack contains new and revoked sections; in the revoked section, he puts the registered contract revision. In the section, he puts two new revision of this smart contract. The sum of “amounts” in both revisions should be equal to the amount field in the original token; one revision will contain the amount being “donated” to Alice (like, “0.01”), and the other revision will contain the amount remaining in Bob’s ownership (like, “9.99”).
Then he signs this transaction pack with his own key, and sends it to Alice via any off-chain method.
But what Bob doesn’t do, contrary to regular Universa usage, is he doesn’t attempt to register this contract in Universa network. He could not do it anyway (do you remember that the current owner is ListRole(mode=ALL, parties=(Alice, Bob))? – this syntax is high-level and not reflects the real smart contract syntax), as the signature from Alice is needed for contract to be registered. But he doesn’t wait for Alice signing her document either,.. he just sits and watches the Alice’s stream further.
Alice, in her turn, doesn’t sign the document immediately. She does accept the donation though; for her, it is basically happened. If she checks the existing token contract (the one with the amount=10 and owner being a ListRole), she’ll see it is in APPROVED state (so, “the money are locked in the Lightning channel”). She sees the ownership in one of the contracts being changed to herself, indefinitely; and Bob signed this transaction pack. The only remaining is her signature, nothing can go wrong – it is a real donation just waiting for her signature to be finalized.
...
As the Twitch stream goes, Bob decides to make one more donation. He just rebuilds the same transaction pack, but now with the new amount donated to Alice (now it will be “0.02” probably), and the new remainder in his ownership (9.98). He signs the transaction pack again, and sends it to Alice (again, via any direct p2p connection, without touching the Universa network).
Alice, seeing a new transaction pack from Bob, compares it with the previous one received from him. She sees a new ownership token contract owned by her key address, and the amount increased since the previous Bob’s operation. She notices it has increased by 0.01, and, happily, publicly announces on her Twitch stream that a new donation, 0.01, has been received from her regular fan, Bob. Bob, you are the best!
Again, she doesn’t need to sign a new transaction pack yet, she just keeps it for longer, waiting if Bob wants to make another microdonation.
...
One may wonder, what happens if Bob, in one of his next “microtransactions”, decreases the amount donated to Alice? Like, the previous amount donated to Alice was 1.25, and in the next transaction pack signed by him, he gives her just 1.1? Yes he can make such a transaction pack; but Alice already has a better transaction pack, and it is signed by Bob already (and just waiting for her own signature). So she just ignores any new transaction pack which is worse (for her) than what she has got already. No “negative microdonation” is possible, she just waits until Bob is in the better mood, and his donation is higher than 1.25.

“Closing the channel”

As soon as the Twitch stream is over – or when Alice and Bob mutually decide the channel could be closed; like, when Bob announces he is not going to donate to Alice in this stream for a while while – Alice gets the latest (and the best) transaction pack, containing the new splitting of token ownership between herself and Bob. Then she signs it with her own key, and registers in in Universa Mainnet (as, with the previous Bob's signature, the transaction pack has now everything to register it properly). This is the 2nd of the two Universa blockchain transactions, the final one.
Since this moment, the actual token transfer has occurred and registered. Only two Universa network registrations (think about it as “€0.02 spent”) were required, no matter how many – dozens, hundreds, thousands – of intermediate microtransactions occured.

Read next: real-world architecture

When you choose to implement such a “Neutrino payments” protocol in your own application, you will need to consider some Universa specifics, to make sure to implement it in a safe way, without any risk for the users to lose their possessions. But more on this in “Neutrino payments” in Universa. Part 2: Practice.
submitted by amyodov to u/amyodov [link] [comments]

Merry Christmas! What's your favorite Bitcoin related tidbit, experience or story? (Lightning Tips included!)

Drop a comment and we'll send a tiny tip; some restrictions on spam and new accounts apply, otherwise we'll be around tipping for about the next 8 or so hours. Thanks to drmoore718 for his LNtip bot.

We encourage other users to tip comments that they enjoy as well.

For those who don't know, the Lightning Network is a second layer solution which has very strong use case in micropayments. We believe LN will be what draws far more people to use Bitcoin as a medium of exchange than ever before.
A few links to get you started and learn more about Bitcoin's Lightning Network:

https://lightning.network/
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network
http://lightningnetworkstores.com/wallets
https://wiki.fulmo.org/index.php?title=LApps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXVDwRnU7_I

A small bit about who we are: We're an upcoming Canadian, Bitcoin-only, non-custodial, full-service brokerage and payment services company. https://www.graaf.one/
submitted by GraafOne to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Long-run favors BTC over BCH, here's why...

There are many reasons why BTC will remain the gold standard and not BCH.
BTC Advantages over BCH:
BCH has:
I have been watching Bitcoin for a long time, and the main thing I've learned is don't overreact to flashes in the pan, weak hands, and anytime a "panic" is happening. What really pays in the long-run is sticking with things that have a proven track record, a high quality set of software engineers and computer scientists, and a critical mass of ecosystem. Nothing compares to Bitcoin in these regards!!
Bitcoin has a very bright future ahead!
submitted by fortunative to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

A brief teardown of some of the flaws in the Lightning Network white paper

This post will perforce be quick and sloppy, because I have other things to do. But a recent comment provoked me to re-read the Lightning white paper to remind myself of the myriad flaws in it, so I decided to at least begin a debunking.
When I first read the Lightning white paper back in early 2016, the sheer audacity of the author's preposterous claims and their failure to understand basic principles of the Satoshi paper just offended the living shit out of me. I presumed - incorrectly - that the Lightning paper would be soon torn to shreds through peer review. However Core was successful in suppressing peer review of the paper, and instead inserted Lighting as their end-all be-all scaling plan for Bitcoin.
I'm sorry I didn't post this in 2016, but better later than never.
Let's start with the abstract.
The bitcoin protocol can encompass the global financial transaction volume in all electronic payment systems today, without a single custodial third party holding funds or requiring participants to have anything more than a computer using a broadband connection.
Well now, that's an awfully gigantic claim for someone that hasn't even written a single line of code as a proof of concept don't you think?
This is what's called "overpromising," the Nirvana fallacy, or more appropriately, "vaporware" - that is to say, a pie-in-the-sky software promise intended to derail progress on alternatives.
In the very first sentence, the authors claim that they can scale Bitcoin to support every transaction that ever happens, from micropayments to multibillion dollar transfers, with no custodial risk, on a simple computer with nothing more than broadband. It will be perfect.
Honestly everyone should have put the paper down at the first sentence, but let's go on.
A decentralized system is proposed
The authors claim that the system proposed is decentralized, but without even a single line of code (and indeed no solution to the problem they claim is the issue, more on that later) they have zero defense of this claim. In fact, the only known solution to the problem that Lightning cannot solve is centralized hubs. We'll get back to this.
whereby transactions are sent over a network of micropayment channels (a.k.a. payment channels or transaction channels) whose transfer of value occurs off-blockchain. If Bitcoin transactions can be signed with a new sighash type that addresses malleability, these transfers may occur between untrusted parties along the transfer route by contracts which, in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, are enforceable via broadcast over the bitcoin blockchain in the event of uncooperative or hostile participants, through a series of decrementing timelocks
So right here in the abstract we have the promise: "support the entire world's transaction needs on a measly computer with just broadband, totally decentralized, and... (drum roll please) all that's missing is Segwit."
Yeah right. Let's continue.
First sentence of the paper itself reads:
The Bitcoin[1] blockchain holds great promise for distributed ledgers, but the blockchain as a payment platform, by itself, cannot cover the world’s commerce anytime in the near future.
So the authors have constructed a false problem they claim to solve: scaling Bitcoin to cover every transaction on Earth. Now, that would be neato if it worked (it doesn't) but really, this is like Amerigo Vespucci claiming that the problem with boats is that the sails aren't big enough to carry it to the moon. We aren't ready for that part yet. . In infotech we have a saying, "crawl, walk, run." Lightning's authors are going to ignore "walking" and go from crawling to lightspeed. Using the logic of this first sentence, Visa never should have rolled out its original paper-based credit cards, because "obviously they can't scale to solve the whole world's financial needs." Again, your bullshit detector should be lighting up.
Next sentence. So why can't Bitcoin cover all the world's financial transactions?
The blockchain is a gossip protocol whereby all state modifications to the ledger are broadcast to all participants. It is through this “gossip protocol” that consensus of the state, everyone’s balances, is agreed upon.
Got it. The problem is the "gossip protocol." That's bad because...
If each node in the bitcoin network must know about every single transaction that occurs globally, that may create a significant drag on the ability of the network to encompass all global financial transactions
OK. The problem with Bitcoin, according to the author, is that since every node must know the current state of the network, it won't scale. We'll get back to this bit later, because this is the crux: Lightning has the same problem, only worse.
Now the authors take a break in the discussion to create a false premise surrounding the Visa network:
The payment network Visa achieved 47,000 peak transactions per second (tps) on its network during the 2013 holidays[2], and currently averages hundreds of millions per day. Currently, Bitcoin supports less than 7 transactions per second with a 1 megabyte block limit. If we use an average of 300 bytes per bitcoin transaction and assumed unlimited block sizes, an equivalent capacity to peak Visa transaction volume of 47,000/tps would be nearly 8 gigabytes per Bitcoin block, every ten minutes on average. Continuously, that would be over 400 terabytes of data per year.
I'll just point out that Visa itself cannot sustain 47K tps continuously, as a reminder to everyone that the author is deliberately inflating numbers to make them seem more scary. Again, is your bullshit detector going off yet?
Now we get to the hard-sell:
Clearly, achieving Visa-like capacity on the Bitcoin network isn’t feasible today.
So the author deliberately inflates Visa's capabilities then uses that to say clearly it just can't be done. But really, Visa's actual steady-state load can be accomplished in roughly 500MB blocks - which actually is feasible, or nearly so, today. 500MB every ten minutes is actually a small load of data for a decent-sized business. There are thousands of companies that could quite easily support such a load. And that's setting aside the point that we took 7 years to get to 1MB, so it's unlikely that we'll need 500X that capacity "in the near future" or "today" as the authors keep asserting.
No home computer in the world can operate with that kind of bandwidth and storage.
whoopsie!!
Did he say, home computer??
Since when did ordinary Bitcoin users have to keep the whole blockchain on their home computers? Have the authors of the Lightning white paper ever read the Satoshi white paper, which explains that this is not the desired model in Section 8?
Clearly the Lightning authors are expecting their readers to be ignorant of the intended design of the Bitcoin network.
This is a classic example of inserting a statement that the reader is unlikely to challenge, which completely distorts the discussion. Almost nobody needs to run a fullnode on their home computer! Read the Satoshi paper!
If Bitcoin is to replace all electronic payments in the future, and not just Visa, it would result in outright collapse of the Bitcoin network
Really? Is that so?
Isn't the real question how fast will Bitcoin reach these levels of adoption?
Isn't the author simply making an assumption that adoption will outpace advances in hardware and software, based on using wildly inflated throughput numbers (47K tps) in the first place?
But no, the author makes an unfounded, unsupportable, incorrect blanket assertion that -- even in the future -- trying to scale up onchain will be the death of the entire system.
or at best, extreme centralization of Bitcoin nodes and miners to the only ones who could afford it.
Again, that depends on when this goes down.
If Bitcoin grows at roughly the rate of advancement in hardware and software, then the cost to . independently validate transactions - something no individual user needs to do in the first place - actually stays perfectly flat.
But the best part is that his statement:
centralization of Bitcoin nodes and miners to the only ones who could afford it
Ummm... mining and independent validation has always been limited to those who can afford it. What big-blockers know is that the trick isn't trying to make Bitcoin so tiny that farmers in sub-Saharan Africa can "validate" the blockchain on a $0.01 computer, but rather to expand adoption so greatly that they never have to independently validate it.
Running scalable validation nodes at home is dumb. But, there are already millions of people with synchronous gigabit internet at home and more than enough wealth to afford a beefy home computer. The problem is that none of them are using Bitcoin. Adoption is the key!
This centralization would then defeat aspects of network decentralization that make Bitcoin secure, as the ability for entities to validate the chain is what allows Bitcoin to ensure ledger accuracy and security
Here the author throws a red herring across the trail for gullible readers. It is not my ability to validate the chain that produces trustlessness. If that was the case, there would be no need for miners. Users would simply accept or not accept other people's transactions based on their software's interpretation of validity. The Satoshi paper makes it quite clear where trustlessness is born: it is in the incentives that enforce honest mining of an uncorrupted chain.
In other words, I don't have to validate the chain, but Poloniex does. And, newsflash, big companies can very easily afford big validation nodes. "$20K nodes" is a bullshit number I hear thrown around a lot. There are literally hundreds of thousands of companies that can easily afford $20K nodes in the event that Bitcoin becomes "bigger than Visa." Again, the trick is getting many companies in every jurisdiction in the world onto the blockchain. Then no individuals ever need to worry about censorship. Adoption!
let's continue. I'll skip a few sentences.
Extremely large blocks, for example in the above case of 8 gigabytes every 10 minutes on average, would imply that only a few parties would be able to do block validation
If this were written in 1997 it would have read
Extremely large blocks, for example in the above case of 8 megabytes every 10 minutes on average, would imply that only a few parties would be able to do block validation
Obviously, we are processing 8MB blocks today. The real question is how long before we get there. At current rates of adoption, we'll all be fucking dead before anyone mines an 8GB block. And remember, 8GB was the number the authors cooked up. Even Visa can't handle that load, today, continuously.
This creates a great possibility that entities will end up trusting centralized parties. Having privileged, trusted parties creates a social trap whereby the central party will not act in the interest of an individual (principalagent problem), e.g. rentierism by charging higher fees to mitigate the incentive to act dishonestly. In extreme cases, this manifests as individuals sending funds to centralized trusted custodians who have full custody of customers’ funds. Such arrangements, as are common today, create severe counterparty risk. A prerequisite to prevent that kind of centralization from occurring would require the ability for bitcoin to be validated by a single consumer-level computer on a home broadband connection.
Here the author (using his wildly inflated requirement of 8GB blocks) creates a cloud of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that "Bitcoin will fail if it succeeds" - and the solution is, as any UASFer will tell you, that everyone needs to validate the chain on a weak fullnode running on a cheap computer with average internet connectivity.
How's the bullshit detector going?
Now the authors make a head-fake in the direction of honesty:
While it is possible that Moore’s Law will continue indefinitely, and the computational capacity for nodes to cost-effectively compute multigigabyte blocks may exist in the future, it is not a certainty.
Certainty? No. But, we should point out, the capacity to actually approach Visa is already at hand and in the next ten years is a near certainty in fact.
But, surely, the solution that the authors propose is "around the corner" (- Luke-jr) ... /s . No, folks. Bigger blocks are the closest thing to "scaling certainty" that we have. More coming up....
To achieve much higher than 47,000 transactions per second using Bitcoin requires conducting transactions off the Bitcoin blockchain itself.
Now we get to the meat of the propaganda. To reach a number that Visa itself cannot sustain will "never" be possible on a blockchain. NEVER?? That's just false.
In fact, I'll go on record as saying that Bitcoin will hit Visa-like levels of throughput onchain before Lightning Network ever meets the specification announced in this white paper.
It would be even better if the bitcoin network supported a near-unlimited number of transactions per second with extremely low fees for micropayments.
Yes, and it would also be even better if we had fusion and jetpacks.
The thing is, these things that are promised as having been solved... have not been solved and no solution is in sight.
Many micropayments can be sent sequentially between two parties to enable any size of payments.
No, this is plain false. Once a channel's funds have been pushed to one side of the channel, no more micropayments in that direction can be made. This is called channel exhaustion and is one of the many unsolved problems of Lightning Network. But here the authors declare it as a solved problem. That's just false.
Micropayments would enable unbunding, less trust and commodification of services, such as payments for per-megabyte internet service. To be able to achieve these micropayment use cases, however, would require severely reducing the amount of transactions that end up being broadcast on the global Bitcoin blockchain
Now I'm confused. Is Lightning a solution for all the world's financial transactions or is it a solution for micropayments for things like pay-per-megabyte internet?
While it is possible to scale at a small level, it is absolutely not possible to handle a large amount of micropayments on the network or to encompass all global transactions.
There it is again, the promise that Lightning will "encompass all global transactions." Bullshit detector is now pegged in the red.
For bitcoin to succeed, it requires confidence that if it were to become extremely popular, its current advantages stemming from decentralization will continue to exist. In order for people today to believe that Bitcoin will work tomorrow, Bitcoin needs to resolve the issue of block size centralization effects; large blocks implicitly create trusted custodians and significantly higher fees. . (emphasis mine)
"Large" is a term of art which means "be afraid."
In 1997, 8MB would have been an unthinkably large block. Now we run them live in production without breaking a sweat.
"Large" is a number that changes over time. . By the time Bitcoin reaches "Visa-like levels of adoption" it's very likely that what we consider "large" today (32MB?) will seem absolutely puny.
As someone who first started programming on a computer that had what was at the time industry-leading 64KB of RAM (after expanding the memory with an extra 16K add-on card) and a pair of 144KB floppy disks, all I can tell you is that humans are profoundly bad at estimating compounding effects and the author of the Lightning paper is flat-out banking on this to sell his snake oil.
Now things are about to get really, really good.
A Network of Micropayment Channels Can Solve Scalability
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Here's where the formal line by line breakdown will come to an end, because this is where the trap the Lightning authors have set will close on them.
Let's just read a bit further:
The above quote questions the relevance of unobserved events —if nobody hears the tree fall, whether it made a sound or not is of no consequence. Similarly, in the blockchain, if only two participants care about an everyday recurring transaction, it’s not necessary for all other nodes in the bitcoin network to know about that transaction
Here and elsewhere the author of the paper is implying that two parties can transact between them without having to announce the state of their channel to anyone else.
We see this trope repeated time and time again by LN shills. "Not everyone in the world needs to know about my coffee transaction" they say, as if programmed.
To see the obvious, glaring defect here requires an understanding of what Lightning Network purports to be able to do, one day, if it's ever finished.
Payment channels, which Lightning is based on, have been around since Satoshi and are nothing new at all. It is and has always been possible to create a payment channel with your coffee shop, put $50 in it, and pay it out over a period of time until it's depleted and the coffee shop owner closes the channel. That's not rocket science, that's original Bitcoin.
What Lightning purports to be able to do is to allow you to route a payment to someone else by using the funds in your coffee shop channel.
IN this model, lets suppose Alice is the customer and Bob is the shop. Let's also suppose that Charlie is a customer of Dave's coffee shop. Ernie is a customer of both Bob and Dave's shop.
Now, Alice would like to send money to Charlie. This could be accomplished by:
  1. Alice moves funds to Bob
  2. Bob moves funds to Ernie
  3. Ernie moves funds to Dave
  4. Dave moves funds to Charlie
or more simply, A-B-E-D-C
Here's the catch. To pull this off, Alice has to be able to find the route to Charlie. This means that B-C-E and D all have to be online. So first off, all parties to a transaction and in a route must be online and we must know their current online status to even begin the process. Again: to use Lightning as described in its white paper requires everyone to always be online. If we accept centralized routing hubs, then only the hubs need to be online, but Lightning proposed to be decentralized, which means, essentially, everyone needs to always be online.
Next, we need to know there are enough funds in all channels to perform the routing. Let's say Alice has $100 in her channel with Bob and wants to send this to Charlie. But Bob has only $5 in his channel with Ernie. sad trombone . The maximum that the route can support is $5. (Edit: not quite right, I cleaned this up here.)
Notice something?
Alice has to know the state of every channel through which she intends to route funds.
When the author claims
if only two participants care about an everyday recurring transaction, it’s not necessary for all other nodes in the bitcoin network to know about that transaction
That's true -- unless you want to use the Lightning Network to route funds - and routing funds is the whole point. Otherwise, Lightning is just another word for "payment channels." The whole magic that they promised was using micropayments to route money anywhere.
If you want to route funds, then you absolutely need to know the state of these channels. Which ones? That's the kicker - you essentially have to know all of them, to find the best route - and, sadly - it might be the case that no route is available - which requires an exhaustive search.
And in fact, here we are over 18 months since this paper was published, and guess what?
The problem of the "gossip protocol" - the very Achille's Heel of Bitcoin according to the author - has been solved with drum roll please --- the gossip protocol. (more info here)
Because, when you break it down, in order for Alice to find that route to Charlie, she has to know the complete, current state of Bob-Ernie, Ernie-Dave, and Charlie-Dave. IF the Lightning Network doesn't keep *every participant up to date with the latest network state, it can't find a route.
So the solution to the gossip protocol is in fact the gossip protocol. And - folks - this isn't news. Here's a post from ONE YEAR AGO explaining this very problem.
But wait. It gets worse....
Let's circle around to the beginning. The whole point of Lightning, in a nutshell, can be described as fixing "Bitcoin can't scale because every node needs to know every transaction."
It is true that every node needs to know every transaction.
However: because we read the Satoshi white paper we know that not every user needs to run a node to validate his transactions. End-users should use SPV, which do not need to be kept up to date on everyone else's transactions.
So, with onchain Bitcoin, you have something on the order of 10K "nodes" (validation nodes and miners) that must receive the "gossip" and the other million or so users just connect and disconnect when they need to transact.
This scales.
In contrast, with Lightning, every user needs to receive the "gossip."
This does not scale.
Note something else?
Lightning purports to be an excellent solution to "streaming micropayments." But such micropayments would result in literally millions or billions of continuous state-changes to the network. There's no way to "gossip" millions of micropayment streams each creating millions of tiny transactions.
Now, there is a way to make Lightning scale. It's called the "routing hub." In this model, end-users don't need to know the state of the network. Instead, they will form channels with trusted hubs who will perform the routing on their behalf. A simple example illustrates. IN our previous example, Alice wants to send money to Charlie, but has to find a route to him. An easy solution is to insert Frank. Frank holds 100K btc and can form bidirectional channels with Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dave, Ernie, and most everyone else too. By doing so, he places himself in the middle of a routing network, and then all payments come through Frank. Note that the only barrier to creating channels is capital. Lightning will scale, if we include highly-capitalized hubs as middlemen for everyone else to connect to. If the flaw here is not obvious then someone else can explain.
Well. As Mark Twain once quipped, "if I had more time I would have written a shorter letter." I'll stop here. Hopefully this goes at least part of the way towards helping the community understand just how toxic and deceptive this white paper was to the community.
Everyone on the Segwit chain has bet the entire future of Segwit-enabled Bitcoin on this unworkable house-of-cards sham.
The rest of us, well, we took evasive action, and are just waiting for the rest of the gullible, brainwashed masses to wake up to their error, if they ever do.
H/T: jonald_fyookball for provoking this
Edit: fixed wrong names in my A-B-C-D-E example; formatting
submitted by jessquit to btc [link] [comments]

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