Trolls, and why we support upgrading litecoin

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Steve Sokolowski
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Trolls, and why we support upgrading litecoin

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:11 am

This post will talk about the recent discussion over BIP101/4 in litecoin. The first part will talk about trolls, and then I'll discuss what we actually want to happen.

I've noticed an interesting pattern over the past few weeks that has only intensified. On reddit and theymos's censored bitcointalk forums, strange users have appeared to offer disrupting comments. These users often display anger that is far out of proportion to what any reasonable person would exhibit - for example, there are many instances where a user who has posted for a few days starts a personal crusade with simple posts like "F*** off, shill," or more complex posts questioning motives and integrity. While I understand that people disagree, surely I'm not the only person who finds it odd that people Chris or I have never talked with before suddenly hate us enough to follow us around and repeat the same attacks in multiple forums.

And as the bitcoin blocksize debate has stalled out, it seems that these trolls are now attempting to poison blocksize discussion in litecoin. Yesterday, an overblown post stating "prohashing is trying to fork litecoin" appeared - the only part missing was ten exclamation points at the end. The users are pretty good at taking a few pieces of truth (like that we are writing code to implement a version of BIP101 in litecoin), and then adding lies to them to create controversy and push false narratives (like that we want to remove Charlie Lee from litecoin development). Then, multiple other users upvote the posts and "agree" with the original comment. These users appear excessively outraged, don't have any suggestions of their own, and don't even state why they disagree. You can identify these users by how they solely focus on attacking the poster, rather than attacking both the proposal and the poster as most people who are very angry would.

Fortunately, most normal users don't seem to be buying into these posts. But if the two of us can cause these people to show up, many more will appear when Lee announces his proposal. As the time approaches when Lee announces what he wants to do, it will be important for administrators of forums discussing litecoin to be aggressive in removing posts with personal attacks. I'd even advocate some "censorship" in order to keep the discussion focused on ideas. Without careful moderation, it will be very easy for theymos and the same people who destroyed bitcoin to undermine the civility present in litecoin. Allowing even a few personal attacks can cause uninvolved users to become resentful.

Now that I've talked about trolls, I want to talk about what we actually want to occur with litecoin. I made a case about why I think that BIP101/4 is the best proposal, and you can read previous posts in the "Prohashing Blog" forum as to why that is. Like Hearn, I believe that the bitcoin project has very little chance of recovery. The only way forward is to go to a new coin where there are more reasonable people involved, and to get past the blocksize problem in that coin before too many people get involved to make consensus possible.

The reasons why we think litecoin has the best chance of all the coins are simple. First, litecoin has proven itself to be without major bugs for several years now. Second, the litecoin miners have agreed to upgrade to larger blocksizes. Third, and most importantly, litecoin is API-compatible with bitcoin, which means that, unlike Ethereum, it can be a drop-in replacement with relatively minor changes when bitcoin starts to decline. Finally, litecoin is listed on almost all exchanges, and many other coins are solely priced in litecoin. Starting an altcoin to replace bitcoin is almost impossible because it is too expensive and difficult to get it listed on exchanges.

We had to make a business decision late last year about the platform upon which to build our systems. There were several options available: we could have expanded into bitcoin mining, created a new version of cgminer that automatically profit-switched between multiple algorithms, or doubled-down on scrypt and began offering other services in litecoin (like the block explorers we now offer in other scrypt coins). We evaluated the options and determined that if cryptocurrency is going to succeed, litecoin is now its best chance. While we wish that the bitcoin community would have come to a consensus and have allowed us to do otherwise, we had to cancel plans to support SHA-256 mining. We simply don't think price will remain above $200 or even $100 for very long to make any profit in it.

In order for litecoin to succeed, we believe there are a few steps that need to happen, and I hope that people will comment on these. First, we believe that the litecoin blocksize problem needs to be eliminated permanently to demonstrate that litecoin is the only network that has actually been able to do it. Second, the solution needs to be adopted as soon as possible, before usage increases significantly and people like theymos appear to cause problems. Third, the moderators of litecoin forums need to aggressively act on trolls who try to bring personal attacks into legitimate discussion, even if they get accused of censorship.

If a permanent solution to this blocksize problem is obtained, people will be able to invest money in litecoin projects like they cannot currently do in bitcoin projects. The best scenario right now is that even in the unlikely case that the Classic fork is adopted, bitcoin will be embroiled in 3 more years of arguments. There is absolutely no reason to expect that everyone will magically come to a different conclusion the next time around, nor is there any reason to expect that any action on the next fork will be taken until the next crisis, nor is there any reason to suspect that the next crisis will result in a permanent outcome either. The cryptocurrency industry needs certainty, and it needs it soon, for companies to survive.

A key here is that while many in litecoin are content to allow it to grow as the #2 coin, or be "silver" to bitcoin's "gold," we don't see it that way. I believe that the continuing battle in bitcoin will set cryptocurrency back by years if no other coin is available. The alternative - fixing the blocksize in litecoin as soon as possible - advances the timeline of cryptocurrency considerably by allowing businesses to invest in a technology that has a certain future.

Like many businesses, we have a limited amount of funds available, and those funds are being reduced by the childish disagreements in bitcoin having delayed cryptocurrency adoption. If a solution is not adopted in bitcoin, litecoin, or some other coin soon, companies like us will begin to fail because the market took longer to develop than they could remain solvent. Corporations like BItpay, which are living on borrowed time, will reach a wall much sooner than we do, given that there is now a permanent backlog in bitcoin transactions. Bitpay's business, for example, is essentially capped because even if they process every transaction on the network, they simply cannot grow larger than they are now. Eventually their labor costs due to raises will exceed their stagnant revenue and they will fail.

Yesterday, Charlie Lee responded to my posts and stated that he, Warren, and two other developers were discussing a different solution to the litecoin blocksize problem than BIP101/4. We're willing to assist them in any way necessary. If you want help, please contact us and tell us what code to write, and we'll devote whatever time is necessary to get it done. At the same time, we do want to continue the BIP101/4 implementation and eventually produce a pull request, for the reason that if nobody else is able to come to a solution soon, one will be available. The pull request will also provide altcoins forked from litecoin the ability to initiate upgrades to BIP101 of their own should they choose to do so. Community members should note that a "pull request" is not a "fork" - it is a set of code changes that can be made to a program if the developers click a button. I'm not aware of anyone who has yet proposed mining blocks with the code, and we certainly don't plan to do so at this time. The false narrative that a hostile takeover of litecoin is underway is the work of the same bitcoin trolls who are trying to spill chaos over into other coins, and they should be ignored.

In conclusion, we do not see bitcoin resolving its problems any time soon and litecoin is the best chance cryptocurrency has. We are interested in learning more about Lee's and Warren's solution, and are willing to help implement it in any way possible if they contact us. We want to accelerate the adoption of a solution so that our business, and many others, can be confident enough to make further investments in cryptocurrency technology before our funds are exhausted. We are not pushing for mining of BIP101/4 blocks right now. The BIP101/4 code should be viewed as a proposal that can be pursued in the case that no alternate solution is made available within a reasonable timeframe.
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Re: Trolls, and why we support upgrading litecoin

Post by TuringHimself » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:16 am

Bravo, man! Please keep these informative posts coming. Number 1 is what Litecoin should be, not "silver". Not BTC's little bro. Not even "for small payments", as Charles Lee keeps saying. It should be for all payments, everywhere.

Let's continue this push to be THE go-to currency. The trolls and shitcoin shills will lose again, just like they did with Feathercoin, Doge, Dark, Aurora, etc. LTC really has been the only coin to prevail. And maybe now it will leapfrog BTC with your help.

BTW, don't Brian Armstrong, that idiot who owns Kraken and other "Bitcoin Only" tards need to know that they will lose their businesses if they don't get on board with us?
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Re: Trolls, and why we support upgrading litecoin

Post by coinaday » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:10 pm

Excellent post! I wish both prohashing and LTC the best of luck!

Just a couple comments:
First, we believe that the litecoin blocksize problem needs to be eliminated permanently to demonstrate that litecoin is the only network that has actually been able to do it.
I believe Monero has an adaptive limit. I don't hold it now although I traded a small amount previously. A similar mechanism has also been proposed for Bitcoin, based on a multiple of the median of some number of previous blocks. As far as I know, there is no block size problem in Monero. I don't believe it's actually unique in that either: one way or another, I think there are a handful of coins which have either no hard-coded upper limit or have at least several orders of magnitude higher throughput capacity at least.
Second, the solution needs to be adopted as soon as possible, before usage increases significantly and people like theymos appear to cause problems.
I don't think the problem is they just "appear". He was in there pretty early, wasn't a big enough issue previously, and now is slowly being bypassed more and more. Censorship is routed around.
Third, the moderators of litecoin forums need to aggressively act on trolls who try to bring personal attacks into legitimate discussion, even if they get accused of censorship.
That seems reasonable to me. For the record, I was actually banned by /r/litecoin previously and currently (I was being a jerk; just sent an apology and appeal today).

I do think that doing a hard fork in LTC to raise the block cap and doing so in a way that the hardcap shouldn't be an issue for decades would be a powerful, positive statement for Litecoin and a great step in the direction of challenging BTC for the lead. LTC is the leader of the "clonecoins" as I call the category (Litecoin actually being more novel than most 'clonecoins' in having its own hashing function); the major technical advantage is that "plug-and-play" ease of swapping with upstream, being able to import proposals and code. Litecoin as "silver" was a good initial goal. Raising the goal to beating Bitcoin and beyond seems like a great move for the community to embrace.

In NYAN, there's a motto: "TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!" I'm planning on making a NYAN3 in the fourth quarter of this year to activate in the first quarter of 2017 which will include BIP101 for quite similar reasons. I expect I'll end up basing it on your LTC-101 code, which I hope will already be running the Litecoin network by then. :-)
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