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Dominic Tarr [LibreList] Re: [redecentralize] Thoughts on decentralization and deperimeterization 2014-09-02 16:55:31 (6 years 7 mons 16:54:00 ago)
thanks Paul,

I'd just like to make clear that secure-scuttlebutt is *not* a crypto currency,
and does not use a proof of work scheme. I get the feeling that cryptocurrencies
are used as some sort of decentralization hammer. Don't get me wrong,
bitcoin is a brilliant design, but the assurances it gives you (total
ordering & consistency)
are just not necessary for many applications.

Secure-scuttlebutt is somewhere inbetween a blockchain (globally
consistent long chain)
and a DHT (maybe consistent, flat lookup structure).
To contrast with the Blind Idiot God concept from adam's

It's more like each individual node is their own centralized authority.

Richard, thanks ;)


On Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 4:25 PM, Paul Frazee <pfrazee@gmail.com> wrote:
> Adding some thoughts to Dominic's --
> The challenge to decentralizing the application layer is that it involves
> distributing authority.
> For instance, we need to authenticate users. The only distributed auth in
> wide use right now is PKI. Since PKI only works well for organizations, the
> user-identities have to live within the orgs. That's a centralizing effect
> that would still occur in an open IP/routing layer.
> After you've distributed identities, you need to distribute data-structures
> as well, or we rely on central nodes to keep data-bases. Then, the messages
> that construct the datasets need to be verifiable, so that Alice can rehost
> messages from Bob without possibly altering them. So there are three
> distinct challenges: authentication, message-verification, and dataset
> coordination.
> Bitcoin, for example, solves all three of these problems. Broadly...
>  - Authentication: RSA keypairs.
> (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Address#Proving_you_receive_with_an_address).
>  - Message-verification: transaction signatures.
>  - Dataset coordination: the global blockchain and total ordering via PoW.
> After all that, you need to deal with abusive actors in the network (DoSers,
> attackers) and with schemes to share resources (bandwidth, sometimes
> disk-space). This is where the reputation system gets involved.
> For some interesting reading, I'll refer you to Dominic's project,
> https://github.com/dominictarr/secure-scuttlebutt.
> On Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM, Dominic Tarr <dominic.tarr@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I was very happy when I first saw ZeroTierOne, and also thought your
>> "I want to believe" post was brilliant,
>> but I think there is another challenge to decentralization that simply
>> having addressability is not sufficient to address.
>> Security.
>> Building truly p2p systems must deal with not only regular distributed
>> systems problems,
>> but also the problem of incenting the participants in the network to
>> behave properly.
>> This is trivial if I own all the computers that run my system. But the
>> system runs outside
>> my own datacenter, on other people's computers then I need some was to
>> ensure that
>> they cooperate.
>> Now, "ownership" is a concept deeply imbued into human society, but
>> it's worth remembering
>> that it is essentially a solution to this same problem. It all boils
>> down to using coersion to ensure
>> that participants in society behave in a approximately helpful manner.
>> Animals don't really have
>> property. Sure, some animals have territory - but they tend to enforce
>> those "rights" personally.
>> So what they have is a "possesion" (a non-abstract form of property).
>> There are no absentee landlords in the non-human animal kingdom.
>> Humans on the other hand, have an abstracted notion of property, I
>> maintain control of my bicycle
>> by chaining it to something when I am not using it, and you maintain
>> ownership of real estate by
>> interfacing with systems of contracts and laws that date back
>> thousands of years. Basically, you just
>> punish people who transgress the property rights, this requires police
>> and lawyers and courts and prisons,
>> and a millitary to protect your property system from neibouring
>> property systems...
>> Given the property system, it's easy to build a distributed system,
>> you just have a datacenter,
>> and you can hire people to run it, and build it and if theyfdo not do
>> as you wish you fire them etc.
>> Now - if you want to build a true p2p system, a decentralized system -
>> that depends on people
>> freely choosing to run your program, and also choosing not to abuse
>> your protocol, or try to
>> trick or deny service to other nodes in the network. You can't apply
>> coersion to incent cooperation,
>> you probably don't know where the other computers are, except very
>> approximately,
>> and you can't exactly send a computer to jail
>> There is the distributed systems problems, but this is the easy part.
>> What if my blog post becomes insanely popular? will my laptop have to
>> serve terabytes of data?
>> what happens while I am disconnected from wifi inbetween cafes?
>> Obviously the answer is to distribute the data - prehaps you can get
>> my blog post from
>> other people who have read it, not just from me. If a few hundred
>> people from around the world
>> have seen it, then there is probably a pretty good chance that someone
>> currently online has it.
>> But then what if they refuse to serve it, or serve the wrong thing?
>> (this could be malicious or by accident)
>> What you do have is crypto, and information processing powers many times
>> greater
>> than when the property system was created. Would it be possible to
>> create a system that enforced cooperation using just information?
>> I think this is possible, not just because there are computer systems
>> which achive this within specific
>> contexts, but also, because humans can already do this naturally.
>> Small scale groups do not use coersion,
>> they use information - everyone involved pretty much knows what is
>> going on, and if someone is being
>> abusive they get blocked out. Certainly, this system is not
>> invunerable, but it *is* a system.
>> A reputation system. It's not very scalable, and it's not very
>> accurate (human gossip is quite lossy)
>> but we do have something to go on here.
>> could you use crypto and computers to scale and secure a reputation
>> system, without giving any particular
>> node too much implicit trust?
>> On Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 12:52 PM, Adam Ierymenko
>> <adam.ierymenko@zerotier.com> wrote:
>> > Thought of another point about this…
>> >
>> > Decentralization doesn’t necessarily imply that all peers are of equal
>> > size, just that all things have equal opportunity to be peers.
>> >
>> > That being said, I think the current network deployment pattern pretty
>> > much guarantees the domination of the ecosystem by massive players by
>> > writing inequality into the network topology itself. Even if a more
>> > democratic many-smaller-players solution could win in the ecosystem and even
>> > in the market place, it can’t right now because it is too technically
>> > challenging to deploy.
>> >
>> >> Network routing is certainly one important aspect of decentralization.
>> >> But suppose Google now served Search & Gmail via a ZeroTierOne Earth
>> >> Address.  I'd think they would again quickly be able to create a rather
>> >> centralized traffic point within the network topology because of:
>> >
>> >