Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mempool Flooding

In Unstoppable Code? I discussed Joe Kelly's suggestion for how governments might make it impossible to transact Bitcoin by mounting a 51% attack using seized mining rigs. That's not the only way to achieve the same result, so below the fold I discuss an alternative approach that could be used alone or in combination with Kelly's concept.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Meta: Apology To Commentors

I thought that the blizzard of spam comments had miraculously stopped, but no. What appears to have happened is that Blogger stopped sending me mail for each comment. Although this greatly helped my peace of mind, it meant that actual relevant comments sat in the queue being ignored along with the spam. I've put a reminder in my calendar to check the queue every few days, and rescued some comments from purgatory.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Unreliability At Scale

Thomas Claiburn's FYI: Today's computer chips are so advanced, they are more 'mercurial' than precise – and here's the proof discusses two recent papers that are relevant to the extraordinary levels of reliability needed in long-term digital preservation at scale. Below the fold some commentary on both papers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Unstoppable Code?

This is the website of DeFi100, a "decentralized finance" system running on the Binance Smart Chain, after the promoters pulled a $32M exit scam. Their message sums up the ethos of cryptocurrencies:
Governments around the world have started to wake up to the fact that this message isn't just for the "muppets", it is also the message of cryptocurrencies for governments and civil society. Below the fold I look into how governments might respond.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Storage Update

It has been too long since I wrote about storage technologies, so below the fold I comment on a keynote and three papers of particular interest from Usenix's File and Storage Technologies conference last February, and a selection of other news.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Elon Musk Disrupts Cryptocurrencies?

Source
Recently there has been a regrettable failure of Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies to proceed in an orderly fashion moon-wards. I had great timing. As I started work on this post Tuesday Bitcoin was at $43,629, down 27% from its high of $59,592 on May 9th, already down 8% from its all-time high of $64,899 on April 14th. Yesterday, I woke to find it had bottomed out at $30,000, down 49.7% from the peak. It bounced back to $42,434 before sliding again to $38,914 and recovering to $41,899. On April 21st the average fee per transaction spiked to $63.78. There is no way this makes sense as a store of value or a medium of exchange, only as a vehicle for speculation.

As Jemima Kelley notes in Crypto bros take the fight back to Elon as prices tank the speculators aren't happy and they know who is to blame:
Up until recently utterly enamoured with the self-stylised technoking, the brodom has become incensed after Musk sent the price of bitcoin sliding by tweeting first that Tesla would no longer be accepting bitcoin (because of its environmental impact), and then sent it down further over the weekend after appearing to suggest that Tesla would dump its bitcoin holdings because of the way he was being treated by the bros. (He later clarified that Tesla had not, at this point, sold any bitcoin.) Of course, he also found time to boast about his superior knowledge of money due to his time at PayPal.
Below the fold, I try to dispassionately assign blame for this flaw in the natural order of things.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

It's The Inequality, Stupid!

How could it possibly make sense to "pay $69M" for a link to a link to a JPEG? Follow me below the fold as I try to answer this question.