Sunny King [08|Aug 08:20 pm]:Nice to see you Vitalik!
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:22 pm]:I am still amazed by your quality technical articles on Bitcoin Magazine
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:22 pm]:well thank you!
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:22 pm]:always glad to get feedback so I know what to write more of
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:22 pm]:and to absorb all the materials on primecoin within one day and wrote such nice long article
FuzzyBear [08|Aug 08:23 pm]:yup avid reader here and love your articles as well
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:23 pm]:that’s an amazing feat
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:25 pm]:not many people toe that middle ground line between writing and advanced comp-sci I suppose
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:25 pm]:Bitcoin (and coins in general) are like that though; brings lots of things together
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:26 pm]:anyway, I’m a big fan of what you guys are doing here too
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:26 pm]:I think you’re probably the single most original altcoin developer out there
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:27 pm]:well, there’s Ripple too, but in bitcoin terms they’re a large corporation
FuzzyBear [08|Aug 08:27 pm]:yup sunny has my vote by a mile
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:27 pm]:Thanks really appreciate it
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:28 pm]:so, question 1
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:28 pm]:Who are you? What’s your background? Are you Sunny King in real life, or is that just an internet identity?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:29 pm]:Yeah it’s a pen identity, similar to Satoshi’s tradition I guess
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:30 pm]:any hints as to what you do outside of altcoins?
twobits [08|Aug 08:30 pm]:Ripple is not really a coin.
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:31 pm]:> twobits [08|Aug 08:30 pm]: Ripple is not really a coin. <- I throw it in there because I think it’s idea of “consensus” is a serious competitor to PoW/PoS, and brilliant if it can be made to work. It has problems though, no doubt about that
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:32 pm]:Although I didn’t really take that extreme measures so at least some of my friends know I am doing this
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:33 pm]:The main reason is that I hope if political climate turns worse in the next couple years that I could still buy some time to make a bit more contributions
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:34 pm]:do you think it will?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:34 pm]:I did some c programming before and currently work mostly on cryptocurrency
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:35 pm]:possibly since the events this year already confirmed my concerns (and satoshi’s)
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:37 pm]:but I think primecoin could also help to bring another positive argument for cryptocurrency
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:38 pm]:yep, I agree
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:40 pm]:I’m staying in Spain right now, and it’s interesting how the culture here is much more egalitarian/social oriented than, say, the US would tolerate. Among those who don’t like Bitcoin, the two major arguments are (1) early adopter unfairness and (2) mining is wasteful
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:40 pm]:you’ve done quite well in solving (2)
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:41 pm]:do you have any opinion on the early adopter issue?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:41 pm]:if so I think the market is now trying to wrestle with (1) with all these altcoins
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:42 pm]:how so?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:42 pm]:from my point of view I don’t think early adopter is an ‘issue’ per se with bitcoin
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:42 pm]:just like the gold miners and ‘hoarders’ are not an issue with gold
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:43 pm]:although it does appear to me that the market force behind cryptocurrency is different from precious metals
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:44 pm]:in the old commodity money gold eventually does dominate
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:45 pm]:but it seems much harder for bitcoin to sustain such dominance in cryptocurrency
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:45 pm]:why do you say that?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:47 pm]:one observation is that lots of miners and investors are looking at new altcoins hoping to strike it right, even if it is a pure clone without anything new
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:47 pm]:yeah, I’m finding the interest in pure clones very strange
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:47 pm]:i guess this has to do with the early adopter issue that you mentioned
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:47 pm]:why do you think people care about them?
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:49 pm]:That also perplexs me a bit but I think the market is treating the currencies as competing companies, you know like stocks
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:50 pm]:But I also found some other deeper elements at work that may undermine bitcoin’s dominance eventually
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:51 pm]:this has something to do with bitcoin’s scarcity and the specialization of mining hardware
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:52 pm]:which I think underscores the rise of litecoin since last year
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:53 pm]:this I have described a bit in my design paper of primecoin,
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:54 pm]:basically I think bitcoin’s overall security against 51% attack would drop in the future against other competing currencies
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:55 pm]:because the block reward would keep going down
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:55 pm]:right
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:55 pm]:this could become a basis for it to lose dominance in the long term
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:57 pm]:although this is still speculation and the process likely is still years away
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:58 pm] isn’t primecoin theoretically subject to the same effects?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:58 pm]:it’s block reward will likely decrease quadratically (assuming Moore’s law) and not exponentially, so it will be slower
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:59 pm]:but as a designer I need to be aware of the possibilities so this is part of the reasons for introducing primecoin
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 08:59 pm]:but a hundred years down the line they’ll both be very low
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:00 pm]:I think designing for a hundred year is unrealistic, but I do look at 20 years and possibly beyond
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:01 pm]:so primecoin tries to weaken the scacity model a bit to compensate for a sustained mining market and higher security
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:02 pm]:bitcoin has a stronger scarcity model than gold, but i think having something closer to gold is good enough
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:03 pm]:so both ppcoin and primecoin take this approach with their scarcity
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:03 pm]:the inverse quadratic rule, right
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:04 pm]:yeah for primecoin block value is 999/difficulty^2
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:05 pm] why not just 999/block number^2 ?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:05 pm]:so when moore’s law hit the wall it would become constant generation but still low inflation
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:05 pm]:with some fudge factor near the beginning
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:06 pm]:this is because I don’t like to guess a fixed schedule
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:06 pm]:so I’d rather for market to decide when it should become more scarce
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:08 pm]:so it’s design as more miners and better hardware/algorithm would mean lower production
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:08 pm]:the timing is then determined by market
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:09 pm]:well, it’s determined by the market in the exact opposite way that, say, gold supply is determined by the market
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:09 pm]:gold: more miners/better algorithm -> more supply
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:09 pm]:is there any conscious reason behind doing it that way?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:09 pm]:not exactly, it actually still resembles gold
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:10 pm]:primecoin: more miners/better algorithm -> less supply
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:10 pm]:more supply is temporary, just like say the 2nd week of primecoin there are a lot more production than normal
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:11 pm]:well, that was the lag in difficulty adjustment
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:11 pm]:which is a different issue
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:11 pm]:but for gold mining it just appears on a longer time scale so it’s less obvious
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:11 pm]:now, though, my estimate of the final supply of xpm got adjusted down by 50-100 mil after that big spike
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:14 pm]:it’s not really different they are connected, for gold mining you are just moving future production to now, it’s just over many years so not obvious
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:15 pm]:hmm, that’s an interesting argument actually
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:15 pm]:whereas bitcoin/primecoin adjust difficulty in a week or two
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:17 pm]:I personally have always wanted a coin with deliberately slow difficulty adjustment (eg. timespan of 3-12 months); seems like that would also approximate gold in a different way
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:18 pm]:that wouldn’t work well because block spacing would be destroyed
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:18 pm]:true
Sunny King [08|Aug 08:20 pm]:Nice to see you Vitalik!
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:19 pm]:for example several altcoins got stuck at high difficulty after the first few days
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:19 pm]:maybe make difficulty adjustment rapid but increase the reward for some time instead…
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:19 pm]:threre are many ideas
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:19 pm]:it’s generally agreed now that bitcoin’s 2-week adjustment schedule is not suitable for a new altcoin
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:20 pm]:the problem there wasn’t the 2-week schedule, so much as the 2016 block schedule
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:20 pm]:if your diff is 10x too high, that
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:20 pm]:is 20 weeks
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:21 pm]:anyway, I saw you made an interesting post a month ago on the ppcointalk forums
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:21 pm]:http://www.ppcointalk.org/index…sg1715
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:21 pm]:yeah this problem was actually hit by namecoin, the first altcoin so they developed merge mining for this
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:22 pm]:yeah that’s strategic reason for the design of primecoin
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:22 pm]:talking about what your strategy with Primecoin was
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:24 pm]:so you think that the proof-of-* mechanism is essentially the major part of Bitcoin that can be improved, and want the community to focus more on looking for and promoting solid alternatives
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:24 pm]:of course first I had to have the idea that a primecoin could technically work, but then i am looking for reasons why we should run two coins so primecoin can be made
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:24 pm]:is that accurate?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:25 pm]:so that’s primecoin strategic reason
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:26 pm]:So from late last year litecoin has spectacular rise that made me think about why and the competive position of ppcoin vs litecoin
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:27 pm]:it’s possible that market would favor something simpler than ppcoin in the shorter term e.g. next couple years
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:28 pm]:so primecoin would be a good candidate in the sense that it’s designed to have most litecoin’s so-called advantage over bitcoin
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:29 pm]:yet still being innovative and brings new ideas
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:30 pm]:in terms of new ideas
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:31 pm]:I saw somewhere, whether in the source code or the discussions, that you were working on some kind of improved checkpointing system for ppcoin and/or primecoin
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:31 pm]:something not quite so centralized
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:32 pm]:yeah its already in primecoin, it’s an updated version of ppcoin’s checkpoint system
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:33 pm]:even ppcoin’s checkpoint is not meant to stay centralized forever
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:33 pm]:and it’s going to work similarly in ppcoin in the future as well
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:34 pm]:so how does this new checkpointing system work?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:36 pm]:basically developers can broadcast a checkpoint to the network, and if an user turns on the checkpoint enforcement in the node then it would follow the block chain fork of the checkpoint
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:37 pm]:this means that if the majority of network enforces the checkpoints then developer has power to thwart a sustained 51% attack
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:38 pm]:while the network is turning into a temporary centralization mode
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:38 pm]:although there are built-in checks to ensure even in the checkpoint mode developers cannot arbitrarily abuse his power
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:38 pm]:how did the system work before?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:39 pm]:in ppcoin right now the checkpoints are enforced by default so users have no say in whether to follow it or not
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:40 pm]:ah, okay, so hardcoded into software essentially
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:40 pm]:yeah but it will be switched over in the future
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:41 pm]:> although there are built-in checks to ensure even in the checkpoint mode developers cannot arbitrarily abuse his power <- what kinds of built-in checks are you talking about?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:41 pm]:the system is designed because threat of 51% attack is real with altcoins
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:42 pm]:there is a consistency check with checkpoints,
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:43 pm]:meaning that developers cannot issue conflicting checkpoints and force double-spending on the network
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:44 pm]:for example, say developer checkpoint is issued on a block with 6-confirmations, then you can treat the transaction confirmed earlier than the checkpoint is safe
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:45 pm]:he cannot invalidate that checkpoint and ask the network to go into another block chain fork
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:45 pm]:what if a developer sends two conflicting checkpoints to two parts of the network at the same time?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:46 pm]:so half picks up one first, half picks up the other
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:47 pm]:that would cause the network to fork and requires manual intervention like restarting or upgrading client
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:48 pm]:okay, makes sense
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:48 pm]:if it was perfect, you would just use it instead of the pow/pos in the first place
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:48 pm]:in primecoin user could also then ignore checkpoint and just follow the fork with more work
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:50 pm]:checkpoint is a temporary centralization defense against 51%, not on the same level as PoW or PoS
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:50 pm]:is it a jsonrpc command to do this, or are you planning on adding a GUI as well?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:51 pm]:oh the Qt now has debug window which can do all the rpc commands
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:51 pm]:right, forgot about that
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:52 pm]:so what are the next steps / near-term goals in primecoin development at this point?
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:52 pm]:but if needed we could add it as an option setting
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:54 pm]:I think infrastructure and marketing would be the top priority for primecoin, more exchange support, mining pools and so on
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:55 pm]:the team is also expanded quite a bit so primecoin shouldn’t lag behind while I work on ppcoin v0.4
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 09:57 pm]:are you planning on integrating the latest btc features eventually? (eg. payment protocol)
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:58 pm]:sure both primecoin and ppcoin should keep reasonably up-to-date with bitcoin features
Sunny King [08|Aug 09:58 pm]:right now primecoin is ahead of ppcoin in this regard
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:00 pm]:what is ppcoin 0.4 going to have? The advanced checkpointing system?
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:02 pm]:It’s mainly a refresh to bitcoin v0.8 features, but there could also be some adjustment on certain protocols
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:04 pm]:the checkpoint would be adjusted a bit also but it won’t be as decentralized as in primecoin yet
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:05 pm]:btw ppcoin now has numerous copies in the market and i have now stopped counting them
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:06 pm]:yeah it seems like proof of stake is slowly becoming more accepted
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:06 pm]:also, as far as proofs go, in the ppcoin paper you mentioned a third possibility
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:06 pm]:just past several weeks saw at least three copies released in china and went into speculative frenzy
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:06 pm]:“proof of excellence”
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:06 pm]:could you elaborate a bit more on that idea?
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:08 pm]:it’s a concept although there is no concrete designs around this concept
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:09 pm]:it’s based on that a tournament result of some games is difficult to forge
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:09 pm]:for example you cannot go to a tennis tournament to win prizes without having some serious skills
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:10 pm]:so a coin might have some kind of internal AI tournament?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:10 pm]:best programmers win and get to mine some blocks
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:10 pm]:so it’s a possible candidate to replace the functions of proof-of-work
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:11 pm]:Yeah that’s the idea
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:12 pm]:It doesn’t have to be AI it can be done between humans as well
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:13 pm]:true
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:13 pm]:although coins don’t really have a way of distinguishing between human players and bots
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:14 pm]:the only challenge I know of that humans are better at is Go
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:14 pm]:right and most games AI can play better than human
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:15 pm]:I actually looked at Go and I think even for that the network would be dominated by bots
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:15 pm]:because there is already very good Go AI and very few pro level Go players
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:15 pm]:yeah
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:16 pm]:and ideally you do want the system to be somewhat egalitarian
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:16 pm]:as otherwise one party might get 51%
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:16 pm]:eg. whoever has the best go algorithm
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:17 pm]:that’s probably the hard part about implementingit
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:17 pm]:that’s one of its issues because its distribution is a lot more concentrated than proof-of-work
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:20 pm]:Vitalik do you sense a general change of attitude toward altcoins?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:21 pm]:yes
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:21 pm]:I can feel it
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:21 pm]:I am actually quite surprised that Bitcoin Magazine carried primecoin the first day since my impression earlier was that there was no interest
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:21 pm]:six months ago, altcoins were almost irrelevant
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:22 pm]:and only time i saw anything mentioned was ripple
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:22 pm]:consider this
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:22 pm]:teleport yourself to Dec 2008
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:22 pm]:simultaneously release bitcoin and primecoin
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:22 pm]:which one do you think people will like more?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:23 pm]:I think primecoin might be the first one to actually beat Bitcoin on that test
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:23 pm]:litecoin was nice, but scrypt is overcomplicated
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:23 pm]:ppcoin is, as you said, too complex
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:24 pm]:Ripple is also too complex
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:25 pm]:it can only survive because Bitcoin came first to ease people into the idea of cryptocurrency
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:26 pm]:I think people are slowly realizing that there are still serious improvements to the core idea of cryptocurrency that can be made
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:26 pm]:and at the same time the community got big enough to support them all
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:28 pm]:here in Calafou (place in Spain), ever since I introduced the locals to Primecoin people have been thinking, since we have one example of a useful PoW, what else can we do?
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:29 pm]:yeah i got a few messages regarding ideas of other useful work types
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:29 pm]:we came up with the idea of an AI challenge-based coin independently too (although no progress toward anything practical)
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:30 pm]:what do you think are some promising directions?
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:30 pm]:that’s what I hope primecoin would inspire other designers to do
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:32 pm]:I am not sure, there seems quite a bit demand to monetize F@H, and I heard Pande is looking at the matter seriously
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:33 pm]:But it’s not easy to come up with a proper decentralized design
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:35 pm]:The things is, the innovative systems are quite costly to develop, and the market doesn’t seem to reward original ideas that well in the altcoin arena
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:35 pm]:F@H?
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:36 pm]:ah, folding at home
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:36 pm]:So i have seen a lot of such attempts fail because of lack of funding for development
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:36 pm]:yeah, the problem there is how you make it uncheatable
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:38 pm]:alright, anything else you wanted to talk about?
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:38 pm]:that’s a good chat thanks a lot Vitalik
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:39 pm]:yeah we’ve covered quite a bit
Vitalik Buterin [08|Aug 10:39 pm]:alright, thank you too!
Sunny King [08|Aug 10:40 pm]:Looking forward to chatting with you again in the future
Good job and thanks for sharing!
Just added this thread to the Aritcles & Interviews sticky.
i’d love to see an interview between SK & VT on etherium…it would be most informative because SK would know what to ask
much appreciated. interesting stuff.
Are we expecting a 2014 discussion as well?
When will they chat again?
Never. Mr ether is no longer interested in peercoin.