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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 http://adamierymenko.com/decentralization-i-want-to-believe/ It's more like each individual node is their own centralized authority. Richard, thanks ;) Dominic On Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 4:25 PM, Paul Frazee <email@example.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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 >> <email@example.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: >> > >> > > >