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Lastupdated2018-01-29 This post is a collaboration with the Bitcoin community to create a one-stop source for Lightning Network information. There are still questions in the FAQ that are unanswered, if you know the answer and can provide a source please do so!
Lightning Network White Paper - The protocol has changed since this original paper, but covers the mid-level mechanics of the Lightning Network with an emphasis on the smart contracts that make it trustless
If you can answer please PM me and include source if possible. Feel free to help keep these answers up to date and as brief but correct as possible
Is Lightning Bitcoin?
Yes. You pick a peer and after some setup, create a bitcoin transaction to fund the lightning channel; it’ll then take another transaction to close it and release your funds. You and your peer always hold a bitcoin transaction to get your funds whenever you want: just broadcast to the blockchain like normal. In other words, you and your peer create a shared account, and then use Lightning to securely negotiate who gets how much from that shared account, without waiting for the bitcoin blockchain.
Is the Lightning Network open source?
Yes, Lightning is open source. Anyone can review the code (in the same way as the bitcoin code)
Who owns and controls the Lightning Network?
Similar to the bitcoin network, no one will ever own or control the Lightning Network. The code is open source and free for anyone to download and review. Anyone can run a node and be part of the network.
I’ve heard that Lightning transactions are happening “off-chain”…Does that mean that my bitcoin will be removed from the blockchain?
No, your bitcoin will never leave the blockchain. Instead your bitcoin will be held in a multi-signature address as long as your channel stays open. When the channel is closed; the final transaction will be added to the blockchain. “Off-chain” is not a perfect term, but it is used due to the fact that the transfer of ownership is no longer reflected on the blockchain until the channel is closed.
Do I need a constant connection to run a lightning node?
Not necessarily, Example: A and B have a channel. 1 BTC each. A sends B 0.5 BTC. B sends back 0.25 BTC. Balance should be A = 0.75, B = 1.25. If A gets disconnected, B can publish the first Tx where the balance was A = 0.5 and B = 1.5. If the node B does in fact attempt to cheat by publishing an old state (such as the A=0.5 and B=1.5 state), this cheat can then be detected on-chain and used to steal the cheaters funds, i.e., A can see the closing transaction, notice it's an old one and grab all funds in the channel (A=2, B=0). The time that A has in order to react to the cheating counterparty is given by the CheckLockTimeVerify (CLTV) in the cheating transaction, which is adjustable. So if A foresees that it'll be able to check in about once every 24 hours it'll require that the CLTV is at least that large, if it's once a week then that's fine too. You definitely do not need to be online and watching the chain 24/7, just make sure to check in once in a while before the CLTV expires. Alternatively you can outsource the watch duties, in order to keep the CLTV timeouts low. This can be achieved both with trusted third parties or untrusted ones (watchtowers). In the case of a unilateral close, e.g., you just go offline and never come back, the other endpoint will have to wait for that timeout to expire to get its funds back. So peers might not accept channels with extremely high CLTV timeouts. -- Source
What Are Lightning’s Advantages?
Tiny payments are possible: since fees are proportional to the payment amount, you can pay a fraction of a cent; accounting is even done in thousandths of a satoshi. Payments are settled instantly: the money is sent in the time it takes to cross the network to your destination and back, typically a fraction of a second.
Does Lightning require Segregated Witness?
Yes, but not in theory. You could make a poorer lightning network without it, which has higher risks when establishing channels (you might have to wait a month if things go wrong!), has limited channel lifetime, longer minimum payment expiry times on each hop, is less efficient and has less robust outsourcing. The entire spec as written today assumes segregated witness, as it solves all these problems.
Can I Send Funds From Lightning to a Normal Bitcoin Address?
No, for now. For the first version of the protocol, if you wanted to send a normal bitcoin transaction using your channel, you have to close it, send the funds, then reopen the channel (3 transactions). In future versions, you and your peer would agree to spend out of your lightning channel funds just like a normal bitcoin payment, allowing you to use your lightning wallet like a normal bitcoin wallet.
Can I Make Money Running a Lightning Node?
Not really. Anyone can set up a node, and so it’s a race to the bottom on fees. In practice, we may see the network use a nominal fee and not change very much, which only provides an incremental incentive to route on a node you’re going to use yourself, and not enough to run one merely for fees. Having clients use criteria other than fees (e.g. randomness, diversity) in route selection will also help this.
What is the release date for Lightning on Mainnet?
Would there be any KYC/AML issues with certain nodes?
Nope, because there is no custody ever involved. It's just like forwarding packets. -- Source
What is the delay time for the recipient of a transaction receiving confirmation?
Furthermore, the Lightning Network scales not with the transaction throughput of the underlying blockchain, but with modern data processing and latency limits - payments can be made nearly as quickly as packets can be sent. -- Source
How does the lightning network prevent centralization?
How would the lightning network work between exchanges?
Each exchange will get to decide and need to implement the software into their system, but some ideas have been outlined here: Google Doc - Lightning Exchanges Note that by virtue of the usual benefits of cost-less, instantaneous transactions, lightning will make arbitrage between exchanges much more efficient and thus lead to consistent pricing across exchange that adopt it. -- Source
How do lightning nodes find other lightning nodes?
Does every user need to store the state of the complete Lightning Network?
According to Rusty's calculations we should be able to store 1 million nodes in about 100 MB, so that should work even for mobile phones. Beyond that we have some proposals ready to lighten the load on endpoints, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. -- Source
Would I need to download the complete state every time I open the App and make a payment?
No you'd remember the information from the last time you started the app and only sync the differences. This is not yet implemented, but it shouldn't be too hard to get a preliminary protocol working if that turns out to be a problem. -- Source
What needs to happen for the Lightning Network to be deployed and what can I do as a user to help?
Lightning is based on participants in the network running lightning node software that enables them to interact with other nodes. This does not require being a full bitcoin node, but you will have to run "lnd", "eclair", or one of the other node softwares listed above. All lightning wallets have node software integrated into them, because that is necessary to create payment channels and conduct payments on the network, but you can also intentionally run lnd or similar for public benefit - e.g. you can hold open payment channels or channels with higher volume, than you need for your own transactions. You would be compensated in modest fees by those who transact across your node with multi-hop payments. -- Source
Is there anyway for someone who isn't a developer to meaningfully contribute?
Sure, you can help write up educational material. You can learn and read more about the tech at http://dev.lightning.community/resources. You can test the various desktop and mobile apps out there (Lightning Desktop, Zap, Eclair apps). -- Source
Do I need to be a miner to be a Lightning Network node?
Do I need to run a full Bitcoin node to run a lightning node?
lit doesn't depend on having your own full node -- it automatically connects to full nodes on the network. -- Source LND uses a light client mode, so it doesn't require a full node. The name of the light client it uses is called neutrino
How does the lightning network stop "Cheating" (Someone broadcasting an old transaction)?
Upon opening a channel, the two endpoints first agree on a reserve value, below which the channel balance may not drop. This is to make sure that both endpoints always have some skin in the game as rustyreddit puts it :-) For a cheat to become worth it, the opponent has to be absolutely sure that you cannot retaliate against him during the timeout. So he has to make sure you never ever get network connectivity during that time. Having someone else also watching for channel closures and notifying you, or releasing a canned retaliation, makes this even harder for the attacker. This is because if he misjudged you being truly offline you can retaliate by grabbing all of its funds. Spotty connections, DDoS, and similar will not provide the attacker the necessary guarantees to make cheating worthwhile. Any form of uncertainty about your online status acts as a deterrent to the other endpoint. -- Source
How many times would someone need to open and close their lightning channels?
You typically want to have more than one channel open at any given time for redundancy's sake. And we imagine open and close will probably be automated for the most part. In fact we already have a feature in LND called autopilot that can automatically open channels for a user. Frequency will depend whether the funds are needed on-chain or more useful on LN. -- Source
Will the lightning network reduce BTC Liquidity due to "locking-up" funds in channels?
When setting up a Lightning Network Node are fees set for the entire node, or each channel when opened?
You don't really set up a "node" in the sense that anyone with more than one channel can automatically be a node and route payments. Fees on LN can be set by the node, and can change dynamically on the network. -- Source
Can Lightning routing fees be changed dynamically, without closing channels?
Yes but it has to be implemented in the Lightning software being used. -- Source
How can you make sure that there will be routes with large enough balances to handle transactions?
You won't have to do anything. With autopilot enabled, it'll automatically open and close channels based on the availability of the network. -- Source
How does the Lightning Network stop flooding nodes (DDoS) with micro transactions? Is this even an issue?
First, let’s look at some of the issues facing Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus that led to the development of PoS.
Excessive energy consumption — In 2017, many concerns were raised over the amount of electricity used by the bitcoin network (Largest PoW blockchain). Since then the energy consumption has increased by over 400%, to the point where 1 single transaction on this network has the same carbon footprint of 736,722 Visa transactions or consumes the same amount of electricity as over 20 U.S. households.
Varying Electricity Costs — The profit of any miner on the network is tied to two costs, the initial startup cost to obtain the hardware and infrastructure, and more critically, the running cost of said equipment in relation to electricity usage. Electricity costs can vary from fractions of a cent per kWh to over 50 cents (USD) and in some cases it is free. When a user may only be earning $0.40 USD per hour then this will clearly rule out certain demographics based purely on electricity costs, reducing the potential for complete decentralization.
Reduced decentralization — Due to the high cost of the mining equipment, those with large financial bases setup mining farms, either for others to rent out individual miners or entirely for personal gains. This results in large demographic hotspots on the network reducing the decentralized aspect to a point where it no longer accomplishes this aspect.
Conflicted interests — The requirements of running miners on the network are purely based on having possession of the hardware, electricity and internet connection. There are no limits to the amount a miner can earn, nor do they need to hold any stake in the network, and thus there is very little incentive for them to vote on upgrades that may benefit the network but reduce their rewards.
I want to take this moment to mention a potential benefit to PoW that I have not seen anyone mention previously. It is a very loose argument so don’t take this to heart too strongly. Consistent Fiat Injection — The majority of miners will be paying for their electricity in fiat currency. At a conservative rate of $0.1 USD per kWh, the network currently uses 73.12 TWh per year. This equates to an average daily cost of over $20 million USD. This means every day around $20 million of fiat currency is effectively being injected into the bitcoin network. Although this concept is somewhat flawed in the sense that the same amount of bitcoin will be released each day regardless of how much is spent on electricity, I’m looking at this from the eyes of the miners, they are reducing their fiat bags and increasing their bitcoin bags. This change of bags is the essence of this point which will inevitably encourage crypto spending. If the bitcoin bags were increased but fiat bags did not decrease, then there would be less incentive to spend the bitcoin, as would see in a staking ecosystem. https://preview.redd.it/8dtqt6e204c41.png?width=631&format=png&auto=webp&s=065aedde87b55f0768968307e59e62a35eac949d
Different approaches have been taken to tackle different issues the PoS protocol faces. Will Little has an excellent article explaining this and more in PoS, but let me take an excerpt from his piece to go through them:
Coin-age selection — Blockchains like Peercoin (the first PoS chain), start out with PoW to distribute the coins, use coin age to help prevent monopolization and 51% attacks (by setting a time range when the probability of being selected as a node is greatest), and implement checkpoints initially to prevent NoS problems.
Randomized block selection — Chains like NXT and Blackcoin also use checkpoints, but believe that coin-age discourages staking. After an initial distribution period (either via PoW or otherwise), these chains use algorithms to randomly select nodes that can create blocks.
Ethereum’s Casper protocol(s) — Being already widely distributed, Ethereum doesn’t have to worry about the initial distribution problem when/if it switches to PoS. Casper takes a more Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) approach and will punish nodes by taking away (“slashing”) their stake if they do devious things. In addition, consensus is formed by a multi-round process where every randomly assigned node votes for a specific block during a round.
Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) — Invented by Dan Larimer and first used in Bitshares (and then in [aelf,] Steem, EOS, and many others), DPoS tackles potential PoS problems by having the community “elect” delegates that will run nodes to create and validate blocks. Bad behavior is then punished by the community simply out-voting the delegated nodes.
Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance (DBFT) — Similar to DPoS, the NEO community votes for (delegates) nodes, but instead of each node producing blocks and agreeing on consensus, only 2 out of 3 nodes need to agree on what goes in every block (acting more like bookkeepers than validators).
Masternodes — First introduced by DASH, a masternode PoS system requires nodes to stake a minimum threshold of coins in order to qualify as a node. Often this comes with requirements to provide “service” to a network in the form of governance, special payment protocols, etc…
Proof of Importance (POI) — NEM takes a slightly different approach by granting an “importance calculation” to masternodes staking at least 10,000 XEM. This POI system then rewards active nodes that act in a positive way over time to impact the community.
In order to understand how one can earn money from these networks, I’ll break them down into 3 categories: Simple staking, Running nodes, and Voting. Simple Staking - This is the simplest of the 3 methods and requires almost no action by the user. Certain networks will reward users by simply holding tokens in a specified wallet. These rewards are generally minimal but are the easiest way to earn. Running a node - This method provides the greatest rewards but also requires the greatest action by the user and most likely will require ongoing maintenance. Generally speaking, networks will require nodes to stake a certain amount of tokens often amounting to thousands of dollars. In DPoS systems, these nodes must be voted in by other users on the network and must continue to provide confidence to their supporters. Some companies will setup nodes and allow users to participate by contributing to the minimum staking amount, with a similar concept to PoW mining pools. Voting - This mechanism works hand in hand with running nodes in relation to DPoS networks. Users are encouraged to vote for their preferred nodes by staking tokens as votes. Each vote will unlock a small amount of rewards for each voter, the nodes are normally the ones to provide these rewards as a portion of their own reward for running a node.
Aelf’s DPoS system
The aelf consensus protocol utilizes a form of DPoS. There are two versions of nodes on the network, active nodes & backup nodes (official names yet to be announced). Active nodes run the network and produce the blocks, while the backup nodes complete minor tasks and are on standby should any active nodes go offline or act maliciously. These nodes are selected based upon their number of votes received. Initially the top 17 nodes will be selected as active nodes, while the next 100 will stand as the backup ones, each voting period each node may change position should they receive more or less votes than the previous period. In order to be considered as a node, one must stake a minimum amount of ELF tokens (yet to be announced). https://preview.redd.it/47d3wqe604c41.png?width=618&format=png&auto=webp&s=062a6aa6186b826d400a0015d4c91fd1a4ed0b65 In order to participate as a voter, there is no minimum amount of tokens to be staked. When one stakes, their tokens will be locked for a designated amount of time, selected by the voter from the preset periods. If users pull their tokens out before this locked period has expired no rewards are received, but if they leave them locked for the entire time frame they will receive the set reward, and the tokens will be automatically rolled over into the next locked period. As a result, should a voter decide, once their votes are cast, they can continue to receive rewards without any further action needed. Many projects have tackled with node rewards in order to make them fair, well incentivized but sustainable for everyone involved. Aelf has come up with a reward structure based on multiple variables with a basic income guaranteed for every node. Variables may include the number of re-elections, number of votes received, or other elements. As the system matures, the number of active nodes will be increased, resulting in a more diverse and secure network. Staking as a solution is a win-win-win for network creators, users and investors. It is a much more resource efficient and scalable protocol to secure blockchain networks while reducing the entry point for users to earn from the system.
This post is a temporary resting place for FAQs while we wait for the release of VertDocs.
What is Vertcoin?
Vertcoin is a digital peer to peer currency focused on decentralization and ASIC resistance. Vertcoin is aiming to be easily accessible to the everyday user without extensive technical knowledge. Vertcoin has started to lower the barrier of entry with lots of video guides and the development of the One Click Miner (OCM).
Why does ASIC Resistance Matter?
ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) are dedicated mining devices that can only mine one algorithm. Coins like Bitcoin and Litecoin both made GPU mining obsolete when SHA-256 and Scrypt ASICs were created.
ASIC Resistance and How it Makes Vertcoin Decentralized
Vertcoin believes that ASIC resistance goes hand in hand with decentralization. ASICs are made by companies like Bitmain and almost all the original sellers of ASICs sell on a preorder basis. When pre ordering an ASIC you are buying from a limited batch that the ASIC company has produced. Often times the batch will not be fully filled and the ASIC company will often have left over ASICs. When the ASIC company has left over ASICs they will put them to work mining. Soon enough the ASIC company will have a very large amount of unsold ASICs that are mining and slowly the ASIC company starts to own a large part of the network’s hashrate. When an ASIC company(s) starts to own a large majority of the hashrate the network can become very centralized after a while. Having your network consist of a few large companies can be very dangerous as they could eventually get 51% hashing power and 51% attack your network, destabilizing the network. When your network is made out of a lot of smaller miners, like Vertcoin, it is much harder for your network to be 51% attacked, therefore increasing network security. By having centralized hashing power your coin effectively centralizing the network as the centralized hashing power can deny transactions and stop any activity they don’t want.
What Ways is Vertcoin Superior to Litecoin and Bitcoin?
Network Difficulty Adjustments with Kimoto Gravity Well
Vertcoin uses a difficulty adjustment called Kimoto Gravity Well which adjusts the difficulty every block, whereas Bitcoin and Litecoin’s difficulty changes every 2016 blocks. By adjusting the difficulty every block Vertcoin’s block time can stay consistent by adjusting for the fluctuation in network hash rate from hash rate renting and part time miners. If a large miner switches off Bitcoin or Litecoin mining the network could be slowed to a crawl until 2016 blocks are mined and the difficulty can change to adjust for the new network hash rate. We observed this happen to Bitcoin when Bitcoin Cash became more profitable than Bitcoin and Bitcoin’s network hash rate saw a steep fall off, slowing the network to a crawl. If this was to happen with Vertcoin the difficulty would adjust after 1 block was mined, allowing Vertcoin to always be profitable to mine.
Anyone can Meaningfully help Verify Transactions
In Proof-of-Work crypto currencies miners help secure the blockchain and get rewarded with the block reward. In ASIC mineable coins like Bitcoin and Litecoin you can’t meaningfully verify transactions unless you pay 1000-2000$ for a ASIC miner. When you mine with a CPU or GPU in a ASIC mineable coin you make no meaningful impact on the network. It is like trying to break concrete with a shovel while everyone else has a jackhammer.
Simple Upgrades Aren’t Held back by 1-2 Large Miners
In ASIC market people buy ASICs in batches in a preorder. With Bitcoin ASICs there is not enough demand for ASICs so the batch often doesn’t get sold out so now the manufacturer has spare ASICs. Now that the manufacturer has spare ASICs they will often start mining with them and eventually the ASIC company has one of the highest hash rates. If the ASIC company doesn’t want a certain upgrade to go through, for example SegWit, they can vote with their hash rate to hold back the upgrade forever or at least until people who want SegWit get more hash rate.
You Have a Say in Protocol Rules and Consensus
In Bitcoin you are a passive observer because you can only issue transactions and you have no part in the process after that. In Vertcoin you can be apart of the process for deciding the ordering of transactions and deciding what transactions get into blocks.
Block Rewards and Transaction Fees are Distributed Evenly
In Bitcoin and Litecoin the block rewards and transaction fees are often given to the large miners in China due to mining centralization created by ASICs. Vertcoin distributes its mining rewards to people all around the world thanks to the mining decentralization.
When will Atomic Swaps Be Ready?
Atomic Swaps can be done in two flavors: On-chain and Off-chain (via Lightning Network). On-chain swaps were actually done already using Blocknet, you can see it in use on Youtube. We're looking into doing it again using Interledger. However our main focus is to do off-chain Atomic Swaps using Lightning Network technology. Because it has the same benefits as Lightning transactions: No network fees and instant transactions. For off-chain swaps we need Lightning Network to be fully operational. It's difficult to give an ETA on that since we aren't the ones developing it. U/gertjaap posted a video on the current state of the Lightning Network for Vertcoin a while ago, which you can see here. This was actually the "bleeding edge" of Lightning Network at the time. was able to use it on VTC's main net, meaning that our blockchain is ready for the good stuff. As you can see however, it can't yet be considered production ready (most users would want a little better UX than a command line app). Now off-chain Atomic Swaps is a technique based on the same principles as Lightning Network, but adds an extra complexity for it being across chains. So it's basically the same as a "multi hop" Lightning payment, which is not yet built by any of the implementations. They're still working hard on making the single-hop payments robust. So in order for AS to be possible, LN has to be fully operational. A timeline cannot be given at this time, because frankly we don't know. The implementation of Lightning Network we feel has the most potential is LIT, because it supports multiple currencies in its protocol (where LND is bitcoin-only at the time and requires significant work to support other currencies, which is an essential part of being able to work across multiple blockchains). LIT is open source and there's nothing secretive about its progress, you can see the development on Github. We even have our lead dev James Lovejoy (u/jamesl22) close to the action and contributing to it where possible (and our team as well through testing it on the Vertcoin chain). So we're not developing LN or AS ourselves, we're just ready with our blockchain technology whenever it becomes available. If we have any real progress that has some substance, you can expect us to let the world know. We're not interested in fluffy marketing - we post something when we achieve real progress. And we are not keeping that secret.
How do I Choose the Right Vertcoin Wallet?
Deciding what Vertcoin wallet you should choose can be a difficult process. You can choose between three different wallets: Core, Electrum and Paper. Once you decide you can use the "How to Setup Your Vertcoin Wallets" video guide to assist you.
The Core wallet is the wallet that most people should use. It will store the entire blockchain (~2GB) on your computer. The Core wallet is the only wallet that fully supports P2Pool mining. You will also have to use the Core wallet if you plan to run a P2Pool node or any Vertcoin related server.
The Electrum wallet is a light wallet for Vertcoin. You do not have to download the blockchain on your computer, but you will still have your own private keys on your computer. This is recommended for people who don't need to store Vertcoins for very long and just need a quick but secure place to store them.
The Paper wallet is as the name implies, a physical paper wallet. When generating a paper wallet you will get a pdf that will need to print out. A paper wallet is normally used for long term storage since it is the safest way to store Vertcoins. A paper wallet can also be called "cold storage." Cold storage references the storage of your coins offline, preventing you from getting hacked over the internet.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet designed by Ledger. A hardware wallet is similar to a paper wallet since it is normally used for cold storage. The hardware wallet is on par with the security of a paper wallet while being easy to use and setup. Note: You should never mine directly to a Ledger hardware wallet.
You can get the latest version of the One Click Miner in the Vertcoin Discord. The download is pinned to the top of the #oneclick channel.
What do all the Numbers Mean on P2Pool’s Web Interface
I've seen a lot of confusion from new miners on public p2pool nodes, so here's a primer for the most common static node page style, for first time miners: https://imgur.com/K48GmMw
Active Miners on this Node
Address - This is the list of addresses currently mining on this node. If your address does not show up here, you are not mining on this node.
This is a snapshot of your hashrate as seen by the node. It will fluctuate up to 15% from the hashrate you are seeing on your mining software, but will average out to match the output in your mining software.
This is the amount of your hashing contribution that is rejected, both in hashrate and as a percentage of your total contribution. Running your own p2pool node minimizes this number. Mining on a node that is geographically close to reduce lag also minimizes this number. Ideally you would like it to be less than 1%, but most people seem happy keeping it under 3%.
This speaks for itself, it is the difficulty of the share being currently worked on. Bigger numbers are more difficult.
Time to Share
This is how long you need to mine before you will receive any payouts, or any "predicted payout." The lower your hashrate, the higher your time to share.
This is the reward you would receive if a block was found by p2pool right now. If it reads "no shares yet" then you have not yet been mining the requisite amount of time as seen in the previous "time to share" column.
This is the total hashrate of all the miners mining vertcoin everywhere, regardless of where or how.
Global Pool Hashrate
This is the total hashrate of all the miners mining vertcoin on this p2pool network, be it the first network or the second network.
Local Pool Hashrate
This is the total hashrate of all the miners mining Vertcoin on this node.
Current Block Value
This is the reward that will be given for mining the current block. The base mining reward is currently 50 VTC per block, so any small decimal over that amount is transaction fees being paid by people using the network.
Network Block Difficulty
This is the difficulty of the block being mined. The higher the number, the higher the difficulty. This number rises as the "Network Hashrate" rises, so that blocks will always be found every 2.5 minutes. Inversely, this number falls when the "Network Hashrate" lowers as well.
Expected Time to Block
This is a guess at how much time will elapse between blocks being found by this p2pool network. This guess is accurate on average, but very inaccurate in the short term. Since you only receive a payout when the network finds a block, you can think of this as "Estimated Time to Payout."
Why is P2Pool Recommended Over Traditional Pools?
P2Pool is peer to peer allowing a decentralized pool mining system. There are many nodes setup around the world that connect to each other too mine together. Many other coins have 1 very large pool that many miners connect to and sometimes the largest pool can have 51% or more of the network hash rate which makes the network vulnerable to a 51% attack. If P2Pool is the largest network then that prevents the Vertcoin network to be susceptible to a 51% attack as P2Pool is decentralized.
PPLNS Payout System
P2Pool uses a PPLNS (Pay Per Last N Shares) payout system which awards miners more the longer they mine, sort of like a loyalty system. A drawback to this system is that part time miners that aren't 24/7 won't be able to earn that much.
While Network 1 is catered towards 24/7 miners and people who have dedicated mining rigs, Vertcoin has a second P2Pool network where part time miners and miners under 100 MH/s can go to mine.
Mines Directly to Your Wallet
P2Pool mines directly to your wallet and cuts out the middleman. This reduces the likely hood that the pool will run away with your coins.
Since P2Pool is decentralized and has different nodes for you to choose from there will be no downtime because the P2Pool network does not die if one node goes down. You can setup a backup server in your miner so that you will have no downtime when mining.
Anonymity and Security
When using P2Pool you use a wallet address making your real identity anonymous, you are simply known by a random 34 letter string. Along with using a wallet address instead of a username there is no password involved P2Pool preventing the possibility of cracking your pool account (If you were on a traditional pool,) and stealing all your coins.
How do I Find a Nearby P2Pool Node
You can find the public p2pool nodes the the P2Pool Node Scanners. If you want to find a network 1 node go here. If you want to find a network 2 node go here.
The quickest way for you to get help is for you to join the Vertcoin Discord Group. We almost always have knowledgable Vertans, whether that be developers or experienced Vertans, online to help you with whatever problems you may have.
How can I donate to the Developers?
You can donate to the dev fund at https://vertcoin.org/donate/. You can select what you want your funds to go to by donating to the corresponding address. You can also see how much funding is required and how much we have donated.
The Vertcoin developers currently have a trello board where you can see the goals and what the status of said goal is. You can also vote on what you want the Vertcoin developers to focus on next.
What is the Status of the AMD Optimized Miner?
The AMD Optimized Miner internal beta is aiming to be ready by the end of September. The AMD Optimized Miner is currently being developed by @turekaj on the Vertcoin Discord. He currently does not have a Reddit account and Discord is the only way you can contact him.
What Does Halving Mean?
Halving means that the block reward for miners will be split in half. Halving happens around every 4 years for Vertcoin or 840,000 blocks. This means around December miners will only receive 25 VTC per block instead of the current 50 VTC per block. If you would like to add another question to this list please comment it and I will get around to adding it ASAP.
Clearing up some misconceptions (including my own) [WARNING: LONG, MATH]
I've been reviewing NAV's code for the past couple months in my spare time and have seen a few things pass for granted which I had assumed were edicts from the NAV team, but as it turns out, they were not. I'll just cover them in sections below. This is going to get long, and hopefully you like math. I'm sorry, in advance.
Coins do not gain weight with age
tldr; section title This is the big one, and the reason I wanted to review NAV's code in the first place. I had been treating this unofficial medium article like it was the bible, and it mentions that coins are weighted with age and size. No other documentation I could find indicated any differently (honestly, there's not really other documentation, in the first place) and so, having not finished looking into the code, I presumed that was simply true. It is not, however. I'm not even sure where this idea came from, besides that article, because no NAV team announcements I've seen have said this, but maybe I'm just not looking back far enough.
So how DOES it work?
tldr; values are hashed together and compared against a target. That target is adjusted based only on how many NAV are staking For those who haven't looked into how NAV picks the next group of staking coins (like I hadn't), the way it works is that a bunch of publicly available values (such as the time of the block you want to make, the time and hash of the transaction that represents your coinstake, and a few others) are hashed twice through SHA256 to create a random number. The actual values input are less important, what is important for NAV's purposes is that they are available to everyone, reasonably unique, and can be verified by other nodes on the blockchain. The output is, mathematically speaking, reproducible, but also completely random. This value is then checked against a target value that changes based on how fast the network is making blocks. If the network is making blocks around once every three seconds? The target value gets harder (smaller). If the network is making blocks around once every minute? The target value gets easier (larger). The target value just gets adjusted until the network is sitting comfortably at 30 second blocks. So far this is the same way Bitcoin keeps their block time consistent. However, PoS currencies then usually make an adjustment to that target value to increase your chances to win. In NAV's case, they multiply the target value by the number of coins you are staking. This means that a group of 1000 coins is 1000 times more likely to stake than a group of 1 coin. To use more accessible numbers, since the values NAV is using are huge, this would be like saying the base odds are that you have to roll a 2 or below on a 100-sided die to win the coinstake. For one roll, you have a 2% chance. For two rolls, you have a 3.95% chance, for three rolls you have a 5.88% chance, for ten you have a 18.29% chance. For n rolls, a 1 - (98^n)/(100^n) chance. To simplify this somewhat, and encourage larger groups, NAV simply says that if you have 10 coins, your chances are 10 * 2%, or 20%. It's a bit more, but it's close. It's worth noting that, using this system, if you have 50 coins, you have a 100% chance to win every roll, whereas pure single-roll odds only give you a 63.58% chance. The reason this isn't really a problem is that, in this example, there would only be 50 coins in existence, and you probably don't even have access to half of them. Additionally, if you are winning too quickly, NAV will start handing you a 200 sided die, then a 400 sided die, until you are only winning one in 30 -- and this is assuming you're the only one playing. With a table of people, you will get a larger die until only one of you is winning one roll in 30.
tldr; if coins gained weight with age it might be an actual security concern. This way is not The problem with Proof of Stake Age (PoSA) is that, if implemented poorly, it can create opportunities for very cheap attacks. You may have heard of a 51% attack (or majority attack) before. This is where any single entity in the Bitcoin network gains more than 50% of the hashing power. At 51% the chances of them mounting a successful network control attack are now greater than half, which presents a potential danger to the network.
tldr; you need lots of fancy computers that you get to keep after You need a lot of hashing power, which means a lot of computers, which means a lot of financial capital. Or, you need to combine with another organization or pool to combine your hashing power. This was actually a concern once in Bitcoin, but fortunately was resolved to no ill-effect, and ghash.io agreed to cut down their processing. In a PoW system, however, after you have executed your attack, you still have all of your computers, and can use them for something else. The financial capital you have invested is kept, and you never had to invest a single penny into the coin.
tldr; you need lots of coins that you probably spent a lot of money on, which are probably worth very little after In PoS currencies, a 51% attack is still possible, but in this case you would need to have more than half of the staking coins. As of a few days ago, the network weight was hovering around ~18-22 million NAV, so for NAV, you would need ~10-12 million coins to have the requisite 51% of coins. The base assumption for a PoS currency, however, is that, once you have that many coins, you're pretty invested in the network, and it is directly detrimental to you to attempt to attack it. When you execute your attack, you will likely greatly damage trust in the coin, and lose a large portion of your investment. At least, this is the theory.
tldr; you need a little bit of money and a lot of time You just need to wait. The most simplistic form of PoSA is in the form: adjusted_target = coins * time * base_target. If left uncapped, the time adjustment can allow a single coin stake to outweigh the entire network. Even with a cap of three months (for a total of 7776000 age-weight), you could use a mere 797 individual 0.01 NAV stakes (7.97 NAV total) to outweigh the combined base weight of all 62 million NAV in existence. You want good actors to have the most weight on the network, but in a PoSA currency, good actors are constantly losing their weight when their time resets, whereas bad actors can get more weight for doing nothing.
tldr; you need a little bit of money and to somehow create a bunch of coins with the same hashing window There are some currencies, such as VeriCoin, which have attempted to address this in novel ways, using what they call Proof of Stake Time. They create an ideal window during which your coins gain weight, but after which they return to base levels. This should theoretically encourage people to keep a server running, so they can always catch that window when it happens, which is partially randomized (to prevent someone from simply making a bunch of 0.01 coinstakes at the same time and just waiting for the window). I'm not sure how battle-tested this is, and I can think of a few potential vectors for attack that might exist, depending on implementation, but it does present an interesting and promising approach to the problem of how to encourage everyone on the network to participate, instead of just large stake holders with good odds.
So how likely is it for me to actually get a stake with ___ NAV
tldr; at current network weights it's likely that 1000 NAV will stake around once a week, and 1 NAV will stake once every 17 years. Since NAV is neither PoSA nor PoST (which I would stress isn't a bad thing, because pure PoS is comparatively simple and has known -- and addressed -- vectors of attack. It's also not necessarily a good thing; it's mostly just a thing), you're basically just as likely to stake today as you are tomorrow. Theoretically, every second should present a new opportunity to win a stake, but in practice this ends up not quite working out because there are other people on the network. Every time you accept a new block, you cut off all of the seconds before it forever. In practice, it's probably easiest to just look at the total weight of the network, and your weight, and extrapolate from there. We'll take for granted that NAV will have 30 second block times for this calculation. If you've got Python you can follow along:
>>> # 2 blocks/min * 60 min/hr * 24 hday * 365 days/year ... TOTAL_STAKES_IN_YEAR = 1051200 >>> # 60 sec/min * 60 min/hr * 24 hday * 365 day/yr ... SECONDS_IN_YEAR = 31536000 >>> # the number of coins you are staking ... stake = 1.0 >>> # The total number of coins on the network ... network_weight = 18701284.96584108 >>> my_stakes_per_year = (stake / network_weight) * TOTAL_STAKES_IN_YEAR 0.05621004128433283 >>> seconds_between_stakes = SECONDS_IN_YEAR / my_stakes_per_year 561038548.9752324
For those keeping track, this means that a 1 NAV stake is expected to take approximately 17.79 years to see a return in the current network (and, even then, only if you happen to be online at exactly the right time and nobody else stakes it first). Coincidentally, this is where that "expected time to stake" number comes from, which I've seen people asking about. I didn't actually look that one up in the code, so I'm not sure how their exact equation differs from mine, but I arrived at the exact same numbers they did, so it's likely similar (and probably more concise, because I am both a verbose writer and programmer, if you hadn't noticed). A 1000 NAV stake, using what I am calling network math for ease of reference, is expected to take around 6.49 days. My suspicion is that the reason this is sometimes more sporadic is that going by the target alone, and testing every second, a 1000 NAV stake should be getting a hit around once every 8 hours. I generated a file of 31536000 hashes (one for each second in the year), using the rules NAV uses to create hashes, and came up with the following table.:
*Assumes a target of 0x1a183258. I forget which block I pulled this from, but it's still around there. This unpacks to a value of: 0x0000000000001832580000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 Calc wins : Mathematical calculation for how many hashes you should win, given the target Hash wins : This was pulled from the file with a year's worth of random hashes. N-M Wins : The number of wins network math says you should get Hash time : The average time between wins in the randomized file for the given NAV amount N-M time : The amount of time network math says you should wait between wins NAV : Calc wins : Hash wins : N-M wins : Hash time : N-M time 1 : 1.05 : 1 : 0.05 : ~1 year : 17.79 years 5 : 5.29 : 7 : 0.28 : 41.66 days : 3.56 years 10 : 10.59 : 10 : 0.56 : 34.27 days : 1.78 years 50 : 52.95 : 44 : 2.81 : 7.49 days : 129.87 days 100 : 105.89 : 107 : 5.62 : 3.42 days : 64.94 days 200 : 211.79 : 212 : 11.24 : 41.24 hours : 32.47 days 500 : 529.48 : 532 : 28.11 : 16.39 hours : 12.99 days 1000 : 1058.97 : 1050 : 56.21 : 8.33 hours : 6.49 days 2000 : 2117.93 : 2109 : 112.42 : 4.15 hours : 3.25 days 5000 : 5294.83 : 5326 : 281.05 : 98.62 minutes : 1.30 days 1000000 : 1058966.42 : 1058455 : 56210.04 : 29.79 seconds : 9.35 minutes
So obviously, a bit of disparity between the target-based times and the network calculated times. I would guess this has to do with other people on the network cutting you off from time values, and orphaned transactions where you did get the right value, but somebody else made a weightier one, but this is where my ability to really verify exactly what is happening starts dwindling. The disparity in N-M wins and Calc wins indicates that the target is currently too easy, and should adjust upwards, because right now coins on the network are 18.84 times weightier (calc wins column / n-m wins column) in hashing power than they should be based on the total network weight. But this is also where the whole "50 groups of 1 coin has a 63.58% chance to hit 2/100 whereas 1 group of 50 coins has a 100% chance to hit 100/100" thing comes into play. Since the network is largely broken up into groups of, on average, 1500 coins, we're actually looking at ~12467.52 groups of 1500 coins vying to win any given block. Given the target, a group of 1500 coins should have a 0.0050369...% chance to win any given coinstake ((target * 150000000000) / maximum_hash_value). This means that the chance that at least one of the 12467.52 staking groups will match for a given second is 1 - (1 - 0.000050369...)^12467.52 = 0.4663, or 46.63%. This places the actual amount that coins are overweight a bit closer to 13.989 times. (network should have ~1/30 chance (3.33...%) to win any given second, 46.63 / 3.33...% = 13.989). However, as mentioned, the software itself can get in the way of that, so this might just be due to a quirk of how the NAV software searches for matches, since it will abandon any seconds prior to the most recently accepted block. If you were cut off from 13 seconds in every 100, that would account for the weight disparity. In any case, I would probably trust the network math times over the pure math ones, if you're just trying to get a feel for how long you'll likely wait between stakes. What this really translates to is that, although a 1 NAV stake will probably have one second out of the year that will hash in it's favour, even running 24/7 you're likely to miss 17 of those before you actually have all the right conditions to win. Interestingly, I did manage to find one 9.99 NAV stake that won after only 5 days; so it can happen. But it's all still random.
How does this affect my staking rewards?
tldr; it doesn't Fortunately, NAV pays out the amount you should receive down to the second. Let's take this block at random. 1119.84133642 NAV coinstake, generated 3.82575342 NAV. The time of the previous transaction that created that coinstake was 1514741456 (see the "Raw Transaction" tab). The time of the current transaction is 1514741456. that's all we need to go on.
>>> SECONDS_IN_DAY = 86400 >>> DAYS_IN_YEAR = 365 >>> CENT = 1000000 # .01 NAV >>> COIN = 100000000 # 1.0 NAV >>> REWARD_PERCENT = 5 * CENT # will be 4 * CENT with community fund >>> # All NAV amounts in satoshi (navtoshi? natoshi?) ... stake = 111984133642 >>> # time of this stake ... stake_time = 1516896224 >>> # time of the transaction that made this stake >>> stake_prev_time = 1514741456 >>> # I'm not 100% positive why it converts to cent/seconds first, ... # but this is what the code does, so we need to as well if we ... # want to be accurate ... cent_seconds = (stake * (stake_time - stake_prev_time)) // CENT 241299827679 >>> # Now they undo the cent_seconds for some reason? I'm not sure. ... # This does, however, create a minimum coin stake for any given time. ... # 1 NAV, for instance, will not generate anything if it stakes until ... # it is exactly one day old (with a whopping 0.00013698 NAV). ... # The minimum NAV stake you can get a reward from if you get lucky ... # and stake at the end of two hours is 11 NAV. ... coin_day = ((cent_seconds * CENT) // COIN) // SECONDS_IN_DAY 27928 >>> stake_reward = (coin_day * REWARD_PERCENT) // DAYS_IN_YEAR 382575342
note: // is a floor division. For example, 3 / 2 = 1.5, 3 // 2 = 1 And we come out the other end with exactly 3.82575342 NAV. Those are the only variables that affect your payout for staking. You then also get whatever the fees happen to be. There's not any magic to it, and so far as I can tell there's also not a limit. If you legitimately wait those 17 years for your 1 NAV to stake, your eventual payout will be on the order of 0.84 NAV. Anyways, that's pretty much all there is to your payout; it's very direct.
So is it worth it for me to stake?
tldr; personal preference Honestly, this is entirely up to you. If you're in the "month or more" camp of coinstakers, it's probably not worth your while to be running 24/7 unless you're just really into securing the network (which, to be fair, I am all about that, so feel free). But with the blockchain at the small size it is right now, and if you're going to be using your computer anyways, it probably doesn't hurt to just run it in the background and see if you get lucky. Like pointed out, the actual amount you get is not affected by any of this. All that this means is that it is harder to predict exactly when you will get a stake. If you're concerned about financially supporting the staking, then NavTechServers has created this handy calculator to help out. From a mathematical standpoint, it's ironically much more likely for small coinstakers to get stakes if they are running 24/7, but from a financial standpoint, you're probably not getting enough to care to, so it's up to your preferences.
Cold Staking is not staking while offline
tldr; there is no magic that will allow blocks to be created without nodes on the network I've also seen a bit of confusion over what cold staking is likely to bring, and want to ensure people aren't upset when it does get rolled out. Specifically the misconception that staking with offline coins is the same thing as staking while offline. It is physically impossible to generate a block without something connected to the network, and you only get staking rewards once you have generated a block, because the blockchain doesn't really have the tools to tell who is online and participating beyond "who made this block." All that cold staking means is that the private keys to use your NAV to buy things or move their address are not on the server doing the staking. In general, this is accomplished via a smart contract and a secondary set of keys that is given permission to use your coins, but only for staking. If those keys are used for moving the a coin from one account to another, then the smart contract will flag it as an incorrect usage. This means that if someone hacks into your server, the only thing they could steal are the keys that permit them to stake your blocks. This is much easier to correct than someone stealing your private keys and moving your NAV to a separate address. Particl's overview of their cold staking system is a good read to get some baseline expectations. Most implementations of cold staking do open up the possibility to sign your coins over to someone else to stake, which opens up the entirely new 51% attack vector of asking people to just GIVE you their network weight. But given that I have just recently explained to you all why one person owning a majority of the coin staking weight on the network is dangerous, I shouldn't have to tell you why this would be a bad idea, right? RIGHT??
In any case, that's about it. Chances are the answer to the question "am I staking" is "yes", so long as the wallet tells you that it's staking. Unfortunately (but also fortunately), waiting longer only increases your chances insofar as you are trying more, but when you do eventually stake, you will be paid out based on how long you have waited, so there's not much lost. I could go into much more depth about all this but this was about as concise as I could get it while still showing most of my work. I'd also be happy to address any other questions that arise from this, and obviously if somebody who knows better finds anything wrong with any of the details here let me know. If you wanted to get into this more in-depth, I've created a Python script which explains some of the technical aspects more thoroughly (including how to unpack the compact target number into the full value being checked in the code), and allows you to get hands-on with real block values. You can download it here. Happy hodling, everybody.
Komodo's marketing journey is moving forward: the last and final major building block for a full Komodo whitepaper is finished.
The Komodo Foundations Paper is Finally Here
After several hundred hours of work (and we do mean several), the new marketing team has finally managed to complete one full lap around the Komodo ecosystem. We've looked down hundreds of rabbit holes to map out this ecosystem that the developers built before we arrived. And we have worked with them to provide material that accurately communicates the Komodo vision.
As a Reminder, We Released Two Whitepapers Earlier: BarterDEX and Jumblr
Before getting to the new whitepaper, we want to remind newcomers to the Komodo ecosystem that we released two other Komodo-related whitepapers towards the end of 2017. Those two earlier whitepapers explain major Komodo technologies: Jumblr (~15 pages), and BarterDEX (~30 pages).
The Komodo Foundations Paper is the Final Major Piece
While the two previous papers are useful in explaining Komodo, we can now state (having completed one lap around the course) that the following paper is the most foundational explanation of the Komodo vision. Therefore, we are titling it, "Komodo Foundations."
It is split into two parts, totaling ~45 pages in length.
Part I: Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW)
The first part covers delayed Proof of Work (dPoW). This is the consensus mechanism, invented by our lead developer, JL777, that enables blockchain entrepreneurs in the Komodo ecosystem to have the same level of security as Bitcoin, while maintaining a cost that is affordable even to small businesses and startups. In order to understand the need and use cases for dPoW, we also needed to include an in-depth explanation of the PoW consensus mechanism, as dPoW relies on PoW. This explanation should be useful not just as an introduction to Komodo, but also as a primer to cryptocurrency as a whole.
Part II: The Decentralized Initial Coin Offering (dICO)
The second part of the Komodo Foundations paper is a fifteen-page explanation of our decentralized initial coin offering method (dICO). The dICO in our ecosystem is a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. It allows them to release their product without ever having to rely on a centralized method (be it a centralized exchange, escrow service, voucher, etc.). Komodo's dICO method utilizes BarterDEX for distribution. Furthermore, through our privacy-creation service, Jumblr, participants and crowdsourcers in a dICO are able to purchase within their inherent right to barter in private.
These Three Papers Form a Preliminary Vision Statement for Komodo
With all of the above technologies explained, the Komodo vision is now in a written and shareable form. Yes, it is lengthy, and it is still divided into three separate pieces. But these are simple problems to solve. The first step towards bringing everything together into a single paper is to complete a few simple explanations about other aspects of Komodo:
a statement on our outlook for fiat-pegged cryptocurrencies
a statement on Komodo's current capabilities and future outlook for smart-contract technology
a description of each asset built by the Komodo team.
We already have all this information gathered, and we just need a little time to put it into a written form. Having the research material already in hand, we can say that this will not require nearly as much time to finish. (It will also be considerably briefer than the whitepapers above.)
In the Meantime: How to Grasp Komodo, for Newcomers
The Komodo Foundations paper should be the first one that new members of the Komodo ecosystem read. Next, new members should read BarterDEX, and then Jumblr.
We're Working to Simplify
These three papers are 90 pages altogether. Yes, we realize that. We're working on getting that number down, and getting everything into one master document. But even then, know that we don't actually expect the average user to read it. Rather, this part of the process is about creating a unified and shareable vision. It can be useful not only internally, but also for serious Komodo inquirers: influential YouTubers, bloggers, journalist, volunteers in our community, etc.
We are Turning Our Attention to Simpler Explanations
Naturally, we are also now turning our attention towards visual explanations, the customer journey, a smoother UX/UI experience, etc. We are very excited to see this strong step forward in Komodo's marketing journey.
Feedback on the Komodo Foundations Paper is Welcome
We are releasing the Komodo Foundations paper here for community feedback before adding it to the front page of our website. We invite members of the Komodo community to read it in thorough detail and to post comments here on Reddit (not on Slack please!) indicating any errors--be they structural, grammatical, or conceptual. This is a simple and extremely helpful way to assist in building Komodo.
Thank you so much for your support as we have worked to lay the foundation of Komodo's story. We look forward to your feedback.
Hey r/bitcoin, as promised here's the free PDF version of my #1 bestselling Bitcoin book.
Thanks so much for all the feedback, generous contributions, and excellent advice, this has been a lot of fun. The PDF file can be downloaded here- http://www.creditcardoutlaw.com/Bitcoin_Primer_Book.pdf If you have a web site or server, please mirror it and post the link in the comments section. Want to limit traffic to this file since I put it up on my company's web site. Also if you're hip to that whole torrent thing, feel free to get it going over there as well. :) If you want to support the work by spreading the paid Kindle version or leaving a brief review, here you go: http://www.amazon.com/The-Bitcoin-Primer-Opportunities-Possibilities-ebook/dp/B00GZD68FC/ Cheers!! edit warning this book contains some opinions, fun conjecture, and is line spaced so that it's easier on the reader's eyes, especially on a mobile. this has caused some seething outrage in the comments - my sincerest apologies, Internet.
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