Shine and poverty Bitcoin (and more about blocknet)

The blockchain chain is fraught with technological and organizational dangers that are not obvious to most blockchain fans. And we need to talk about it. I also want to propose the idea of ​​a distributed blocknet network “blocknet”, which may save us from the existing drawbacks of the blockchain.

The article covers:

1. The advantages of the blockchain.
2. Disadvantages of the blockchain.
3. Notepad as a notary system.
4. Schedule payment system on the notebook.

Advantages of the blockchain

Note the following advantages of the blockchain:

1) Independence from centers (state, corporations, leaders, and so on)
2) Lack of bureaucracy, corruption and fraud
3) Relative low cost of operating expenses
4) Blockchain is considered to be decentralized. True, this applies only to the process of generating new blocks, but not to the distribution of data from the block chain (see below).

Disadvantages of the blockchain

1) Centralized counting branch

Although the blockchain is considered a decentralized technology, this only applies to block generation. The very same block chain is mathematically centralized . A single counting branch assumes data connectivity, all blocks must be stored in one place so that the logical integrity of the entire chain and each individual block can be asserted.

Fig. 1. Blockchain.

In fact, we have:

1. One root (genesis block).
2. One chain of blocks.
3. In each generation, only one block is received, the rest are generated in vain.
4. The next generation happens only once every N minutes (10 minutes for Bitcoin).
5. The generating swarm must come to a general consensus for the selection of the winning block.
6. Consequently, the generating swarm must be united in the search for universal consensus.
7. When the network is first turned on, peers of the network find each other through centralized irc servers.

2) Interception of computing power

As a result of the block generation, the main network swarm not only issues a new currency, but also approves transactions (transfers). Moreover, the release of a new currency and transfers from one account to another are carried out in blocks. When the next block is generated, both the cryptocurrency issue and the approval of the next batch of transactions occur.

With the type of consensus Proof-of-Work (“proof of work”), the whole generation of blocks can be controlled by intercepting 51% of the network's power (there is an opinion that it is much less, but we will not argue about this now).

If governments with disproportionately large resources manage to capture power (for example, by creating a quantum computer), they will be able to generate blocks with a complexity several times greater than the complexity of the most powerful pools. Thus, soon it will be possible to usurp a consensus.

By intercepting the generation of blocks, in addition to capturing a new currency (which is not so bad, in my opinion), it is possible to decide whose transactions will be carried out, and whose will be discarded (and this is much worse), and thus establish censorship in the payment system, similarly to censorship network packets using a DPI-installed network.

3) Interception of network packets. The possibility of isolating participants

It is possible to usurp the generation of blocks not only by intercepting power. Those who own communications are already implementing DPI and can temporarily freeze some subnet zone, separating the users of this subnet from the main swarm. For example, by simply blocking Bitcoin TCP packets (with specified ports) in a recalcitrant village or city, you can separate them from the rest of the swarm, make it impossible to conduct transactions and paralyze economic life there .

You can drop packets from "unwanted" peers, and thus isolate "unwanted" people to make payments.

Since when generating blocks, exchange traffic does not use end-to-end encryption, it is also possible to “look inside” network packets, and to discard candidate blocks — both in the specified wallets and in the specified IP addresses.

In addition, even if you just isolate the Internet subnetworks, each will begin to generate its own block chains, and the branches will diverge, after which all transactions in the separated subnets will be illegitimate for the rest of the swarm, and therefore not represent exchange value. When removing isolation and reuniting with the central subnet, all branches of previously isolated subnets will be discarded. So, all made transactions will become invalid.

Thus, by discarding (or distorting) the packets of certain subnets, certain nodes or certain participants, you can “disconnect” them from the mathematically centralized blockchain and from the main generating swarm.

In the same case, the usurpation of the central network node will allow paralyzing the economy of any regions that had time to switch to the blockchain, but showed rebelliousness to the totalitarian center.

4) Step quantization and delay

Because of the quantization in the central blockchain, there is an insurmountable technological delay, which is impossible to get rid of. 10 minutes is a guaranteed (programmed) minimum delay, but in reality the delay can be much longer.

The fact is that the rejection of side chains does not occur continuously, but every 10 minutes. This means that the fate of the blocks with packed transactions is not decided immediately, but only every 10 minutes. For each step, only 1 block bidder is approved, and the rest are discarded - at the same time transactions from the dropped blocks are “stuffed” into the next bidders block (blocks of the next generations), which may not be approved again in the next step.

It is possible that the transaction of the payer will be roaming from one block of claimant to another for hours. The payer presses “pay”, calms down, and after 3 hours he finds out that his transaction is still “roaming”.

5) Storing the full history of the blocks

Each pier miner must keep a complete base of blocks. There is no block allocation mechanism in the blockchain: neither DHT, nor the trust network, nor any other data distribution technology in the blockchain is used - instead, the entire block chain in its entirety (includes all the blocks of the chain in the entire generation history) is simply copied multiple times knots.

6) Huge spurious traffic

All miners need to exchange all challenger blocks and all winner blocks. Since there are 100-1000 times more contenders than winner blocks, it turns out that huge amounts of traffic are being wasted.

7) Useless energy consumption

The struggle for consensus leads to a huge number of discarded blocks of bidders and, as a result, calculations that were wasted and data sent for nothing, and therefore wasted energy.

8) Unified software infrastructure

A single counting branch imposes requirements for unified software, which must work in concert. That is, within the framework of a single blockchain there cannot be different programs, different protocols, different development teams. And this, in turn, imposes a requirement both on the centralization of development and on the need to choose a unified policy. Developing one project becomes the Achilles heel of a community. We have already seen this several times, both in the example of Bitcoin (when the drama played out with the Bitcoin X fork) and in the example of Ethereum (when Buterin & Co made the dictatorial decision to “reject” theDAO).

The team of developers of a single software will (or rather, unwillingly) has to dictate to users the common fate of the blockchain development, even to those who disagree with such a fate.

9) Different blockchains "grow" separately

Bitcoin blockchain is mathematically unrelated to the Emercoin blockchain. And other blockchains are not related to each other. These are scattered players who do not reinforce each other in a seemingly common game. Due to the blockchain selfishness and various material values ​​of the cryptocurrencies generated in different ways, the unit cost of each cryptocurrency depends only on the state in which the blockchain currently has a cryptocurrency on the trading markets. The ratio of cryptocurrency values ​​to each other, to the Fed / IMF fiatnnym money and the materially secured values ​​of the real market is in no way connected, but instead it speculatively jumps depending on the rumors around the exchanges. Cryptocurrency volatility is a fatal phenomenon, and the most offensive is inconsistent between individual cryptocurrencies.

10) The ability to "rewind" back the central branch

Exactly the way Ethereum did a year ago . Hardfork or softfork and unnecessary transactions are being made are discarded. (By the way, you can rewind and capturing 51% of power; in this case, you can recalculate the blockchain to any depth - as a single block or part of a chain).

11) Emission is concentrated in the hands of either miners (PoW) or currency holders (PoS)

Manufacturers who want to raise funds (take a loan) will have to contact the currency holders. For market participants (producers of goods and services, and consumers), there is no other way than to borrow cryptocurrency from miners or “money bags” with cryptocurrency. Already today, Bitcoin generates the main share of blocks 3-4 pools.

12) There are private oddities. For example, for some reason, Bitcoin has its own scripting language , which today uses only 4 instructions out of 80 ( P2PKH ) to generate the bulk of the blocks. Who and what scripts will be included in the blocks in the future and how it will affect the stability and security of the network, now very few people can predict.

As a result, even a few of the above points jeopardize the whole blockchain technology. Yet 12 points make the blockchain potentially infinitely vulnerable.
And the “beautiful” tomorrow, where we are under the slogans of the transition to bitcoin and other blockchain cryptocurrencies, can be fatally dangerous for the freedom of the world economy.

What to do?

I felt that something was wrong with the blockchain, 4 years ago , but I decided to delay criticism.

By virtue of my own principles, I do not allow myself (and others, by the way, too) to take on criticism until I come up with an alternative. All these years I have been tormented in search of a way to save the blockchain.


I set such goals:

1) how to get away from the centralized counting branch?
2) How to stop the usurpation of the generation of blocks?
3) how to maintain the verifiability (verifiability) of records?

I note that I did not set the task of creating a new cryptocurrency. At some stage I did not even set the task of creating a payment system. Instead, I was involved in creating a distributed notarial (verifying, confirming) registry. That is, one in which the system will be able to publicly confirm any records (wills, contracts, promissory notes, receipts transfers and other types of civil, business and political records).

The technical task for the notarial register turned out to be this:

1. Decentralization of block storage, departure from a single counting branch.
2. Distributed generation of blocks, avoiding the search for universal consensus.
3. With all this, the preservation of verifiability, protection of records from fakes.

For many years I have been writing a decentralized information system , so the “technical assignment” to the national notarial register was loaded into my subconsciousness for a long time and was quietly processed in the background. Also in the subconscious there was a problem with bitcoins and other blockchains. Initially, these problems were not related.

And about 2 years ago, when I sat down and once again hacked the infinite code of my Pandora, suddenly the idea of ​​a new technology emerged before me with sufficient clarity, which I called “blocknet” (“block network”) or “blockweb” (“block web "). Not yet decided which name is more appropriate.

Fig. 2. Block network.


1. Many generation roots.
2. Any block can become a kidney for many other branches.
3. Blocks that have at least one exit to the web are liquid.
4. The construction of chains goes asynchronously, without compulsory universal quantization.
5. There is no empty generation - almost all blocks (99%) fall into the webs. Huge savings in traffic, computing power and electricity.
6. Optional linking of different branches, branches can be separated and live separately.
7. The more source blocks are included, the better (denser, more connected) the web is.
8. Complete generation decentralization, and as a result, impossibility of its usurpation, as well as acceleration of generation processes in each individual subnet.
9. Complete decentralization of software development, it is possible to write different protocols and different block formats by different development teams.
10. The possibility of merging different branches, even after a long delimitation of subnets.
11. After the closure of different branches, the legitimacy of the closed chains increases - the individual branches verify each other even more.
12. Proof-of-sign is used instead of Proof-of-work - proof is signed.
13. Infinite scalability. You can fly to the Moon with a separate branch, generate it there in isolation, and when you return, you can join the common block web of the Earth.

You probably already noticed the difference: the blockchain block has only one parent block . A block of a notebook can have several parent blocks (from 1 to N, where N is the number of all previous blocks or an artificial restriction, for example, no more than 255 parent blocks).

Fig. 3. The difference blockchain blocks (left) and blocknet (right).

For reliable web connectivity, each web block should have a certain minimum number of parents, well, for example, 7, starting with which the web will be guaranteed to intersect with its separate branches and such connectivity will ensure stable verifiability of the blocks. This minimum number remains to be seen (most likely experimentally). Obviously, on top, the number of parent blocks is limited by the block size (each SHA256-link to the parent block occupies 32 bytes). In this case, the more “parents”, the more connected (and therefore, more reliable and verifiable) the web.

At the beginning of operation of the notebook, you can set a obviously large requirement on the number of parent blocks (for example, 50), and then reduce it until there are discontinuities in the web as problems with verifiability (verifiability of non-availability of blocks). This number will be considered optimal for the notebook.

PoW firmware

Individual local branches can generate blocks with the addition of Proof-of-Work-Solutions (PoW). Such threads will sew a common web. So a few PoW chains can "stick" into a common notebook (for example, Bitcoin and Emercoin), while, firstly, each of them will increase its stability, and secondly, it will increase the stability of the rest of the notebook.

On the other hand, non-PoW branches can be “sewn on” to the PoW-branches, but others can be stitched to them, to whatever level they want.

At the same time, the threat of centralization is no longer terrible. The side branches may indefinitely branch along the edges and only periodically (or, if convenient) “come” to the PoW-branches for “legitimacy” and better verifiability.

At the same time, you can continue to calculate your own specific cryptocurrency, the same Bitcoin or Emercoin, within the same PoW chain. Each cryptocurrency can continue to be considered in its chain, interlacing in parts into a block network common to all.

Why already today, for some blockchains, it’s not a rule to intertwine their branches with each other from time to time and thereby increase their crack resistance? What do they lose in this case?

Application area

But by itself, the blocknet only gives a decentralized system for verifying records / blocks and nothing else . In particular, it is impossible to build in it a mechanism for issuing a universal currency (although it is quite possible to build in the reward system, but more on that below). Universal currency is possible, unfortunately, only when a general consensus is found at each step of generation and only one candidate block is selected, which is impossible in a decentralized notebook.

Nevertheless, we already have a notary system without crazy mining.
Not bad for a start, is it?

Debt bubble and market power

3 years ago we analyzed that one manufacturer was ready to exchange a product or service that he had for the debt obligations of the second manufacturer, if he was sure that after a while he would be able to exchange these debt obligations back for real goods or services, but of a different manufacturer.

On the one hand, money plays the role of exchange. But on the other hand, when they play the role of accumulation, money becomes a source of delays in the movement of goods, forming stagnant sections and social distortions. In this case, in order for the movement of goods to continue in the market, it is necessary to issue additional debt obligations.

Today, problems begin when the volume of surrogate money (fiat money and cryptocurrency) begins to exceed the real volume of producers' goods and services capabilities. Then in the hands holding surrogates, inflation of these surrogates occurs due to the lack of their material security.

In the case when debt obligations are financially secured by producers, there is almost no risk of depreciating such money (receipts). More precisely, these risks are already associated with the reliability of the producers themselves, their production capacity and the material expression embedded in the receipts (electricity, gold, kg of potatoes, etc.), and not surrogate money volumes dissolved on the exchanges and the brokers playing on fears.

Schedule payment system

In the article mentioned later , but supplemented later , in addition to analyzing the theory and practice of existing and existing money (debt obligations), I proposed the following payment system:

1) debt obligations are issued by the producer of goods or services;
2) debt obligations are financially secured by its goods and services;
3) debt obligations of manufacturers become a means of payment .

These are simple, but fair and intuitive truths.

Now the matter of technology - it remains for us to impose a “payment receipt system” on the “notepad”. Already guess?

1. One manufacturer creates a “Receipt” document .

The following fields are indicated in the receipt:

1) Publisher - Individual or Organization that will provide benefit in the future.
2) Recipient - a person or organization who is willing to accept the good in the future.
3) Contract - a document in which it describes what specific benefit and under what conditions.
4) Currency - any settlement unit, from rubles to electrojoules and bitcoins.
5) Amount - the amount in this currency, to which Publisher evaluates this receipt.

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