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Author Topic: First Fundraising Letter  (Read 8223 times)

kushti

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First Fundraising Letter
November 14, 2014, 11:29:24 am

About


Consensus Research is the first independent research group going to bring formal verification to the world of
cryptocurrencies!


The Problem & The Solution


While formal approach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_verification) is being widely using in hardware industry and some critical software(medical, aerospace, compilers), cryptocurrencies suffer from unproven claims, bold statements, low-quality "papers" and naive implementations, though a cost of an error could be very high (USD$ millions).

ConsensusResearch group is going to improve overall quality of thinking about cryptocurrencies with:

  * proven open-source reference implementations code made partly at least in Coq programming language / theorem prover (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coq)
  * executable simulations anyone can play with(to e.g. find best parameters under some assumptions)
  * formal but understandable papers
  * coins developers consultations


Background
----------

In October I published two blogposts about Nxt forging algo, "Inside a Proof-of-Stake Cryptocurrency" part1 ( http://chepurnoy.org/blog/2014/10/inside-a-proof-of-stake-cryptocurrency-part-1/ ) & part2 ( http://chepurnoy.org/blog/2014/10/inside-a-proof-of-stake-cryptocurrency-part-2/ ). Later andruiman published paper on some statistical properties of Nxt forging in his Nxt forging algorithm: simulating approach ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/243341106/nxtforging-1 , scroll down to view).

Right after(and pretty famous topic https://nxtforum.org/general/nxt-forging-algorithm-simulating-approach/ ) he made an impressive amount of work converting my model described in Haskell into Coq, proving some basic properties as theorems, and introducing multibranching forging for that(which could be turned into so-called Transparent Forging during implementation and also open door to Nothing-at-Stake investigation).


Funding

We think that community would respect our goals and approach and therefore we offer our assets as a compromise between donations and investments. The asset mechanism lets to benefit both the developers and coins investors through the transparent model of research and core development.

We've issued 10,000,000 assets with initial price of 1 Nxt each. Assets will be sold in lots corresponding to milestones. The name of the asset is "consensus" (id:  5841059555983208287, https://trade.secureae.com/#5841059555983208287 )


Digital Board of Asset Holders


After voting system & 2-phased transactions inclusion into the core we'll use the features intensively. So having "consensus" tokens you will be able to drive a research. For example, you'll be able to vote on tasks priority or decide whether to pay a developer for e.g. visualization tool or not.

There is a risk here for sure. Sometimes democracy is not the best way, but we think our partners are smart so it should be the essential tool of Consensus Research!


Milestones


1. Executable simulation tool for Nxt-like 100% Proof-of-Stake forging(with delays & transactions). Executable
multibranching forging simulation tool(to estimate properties & computational requirements of Transparent Forging).
Some proofs around the code. 1 paper + 5 articles at least.

Estimated duration: 2-4 weeks
Corresponding lot size: 300,000 Nxt

2. Research on Consensus properties of multibranch forging. In particular, Nothing-At-Stake problem will be formally
defined and analyzed after this milestone.

Estimated duration: 6-8 weeks
Corresponding lot size: 400,000 Nxt

3. Formally proven and secure proof-of-stake forging model(with reference implementation in Haskell w. Coq)

Estimated duration: 6-8 weeks
Corresponding lot size: 400,000 Nxt


Well, further milestones will be clear after. Finally, we're looking for the cryptocurrencies networks algorithms where consensus itself would be much more profitable than forging (or mining) and we believe that our approach could demonstrate the benefits in a rational formal way.


We'll publish bi-weekly reports on progress.


The Value

The main commercial profit from our activity is increased trust in Nxt and/or other cryptocurrencies willing to work with us and cryptocurrency industry at whole. Also we'll consult core developers to make better products. So coin teams  and whales are biggest beneficiaries, and our biggest sponsors, we hope so. We'll no pay dividends,  so the asset issuance is the kind of crowdfunding.


P.S. again, the name of the asset is "consensus" (id:  5841059555983208287, https://trade.secureae.com/#5841059555983208287 )
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 02:29:54 pm by kushti »
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benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 14, 2014, 12:19:16 pm

I'm now proud owner of 500 consensus assets  ;)

gs02xzz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 14, 2014, 12:27:40 pm

+1. Nice project!

Will your guys also take a look at the impact of Economy Cluster on Nxt PoS consensus? My understanding is that EC will make NXT more like a Proof of stake+Transaction instead of a pure PoS and more secured

Vitalik's thinking EC is a PoTransaction - https://nxtforum.org/general-discussion/bounty-for-successful-nothing-at-stake-attack/msg60166/#msg60166

EC - https://nxtforum.org/news-and-announcements/economic-clustering/
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 08:37:43 pm by gs02xzz »
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valarmg

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 14, 2014, 12:38:23 pm

Looks good. Who are the members of the research group?

I think that the Nxt Infrastructure funds should also support this group (though I know that the funding commitees may be going through a change of structure.)
NXT-CSED-4PK5-AR4V-6UB5V

kushti

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 15, 2014, 10:12:57 pm

I'm now proud owner of 500 consensus assets  ;)

In the first place, thank you for support guys!



Will your guys also take a look at the impact of Economy Cluster on Nxt PoS consensus? My understanding is that EC will make NXT more like a Proof of stake+Transaction instead of a pure PoS and more secured
Vitalik's thinking EC is a PoTransaction - https://nxtforum.org/general-discussion/bounty-for-successful-nothing-at-stake-attack/msg60166/#msg60166
EC - https://nxtforum.org/news-and-announcements/economic-clustering/

The biggest problem around EC is  totally unclear description. It's hard to work with such proposals. Another problem with it / Slasher algo & other proposals is what if majority of nodes will refuse to do it with alternative implementations. As we know Nothing-at-Stake attack is (maybe) possible with alternative implementations of NRS made for greedy forgers. Why Slasher/EC/other proposals to deny multiple-branches forging are free from the same issue? We hope to find more elegant solution.

Looks good. Who are the members of the research group?

I think that the Nxt Infrastructure funds should also support this group (though I know that the funding commitees may be going through a change of structure.)

1. Me & andruiman. We can hire devs/researchers for some tasks we're weak in(e.g. visualization tools), but we don't wanna  core team in observable future.

2. There are some bounties around forging research / implementation but it's too early now to ask for them. I'll ask committees to buy some assets now though.








« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 10:32:49 pm by kushti »
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benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 15, 2014, 10:27:11 pm

In general one of the least understood topics in cryptocurrencies is the role of version control of the software. Effectively those who release the code have authority. Bitcoin devs have authority to release code and its extremely unlikely that miners simply "fork". Imagine a software control system which is not git. It has voting in it, so that stakers have to vote so that proposal can be implemented in the master branch. I.e. developers would need approval for every (major) change. This thought experiment highlight some of the problems with forks. For example there could two proposals for implementation, such as Nxt 1.4.0 A and Nxt 1.4.0 B. Then stake votes on A or B. Also for proof-of-stake it has not been analysed at all how the coupling of stake with block-chain benefits the economy. Decisions can be made without miners and that's a good thing. In general these issues of collective decision making, seem to be very "soft" topics, and there is an interaction between hard science of block-chains and soft science of decision making.

kushti

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 15, 2014, 10:52:05 pm

In general one of the least understood topics in cryptocurrencies is the role of version control of the software. Effectively those who release the code have authority. Bitcoin devs have authority to release code and its extremely unlikely that miners simply "fork". Imagine a software control system which is not git. It has voting in it, so that stakers have to vote so that proposal can be implemented in the master branch. I.e. developers would need approval for every (major) change. This thought experiment highlight some of the problems with forks. For example there could two proposals for implementation, such as Nxt 1.4.0 A and Nxt 1.4.0 B. Then stake votes on A or B. Also for proof-of-stake it has not been analysed at all how the coupling of stake with block-chain benefits the economy. Decisions can be made without miners and that's a good thing. In general these issues of collective decision making, seem to be very "soft" topics, and there is an interaction between hard science of block-chains and soft science of decision making.

1. Bitcoin has several implementations (bitcoind / Toshi / bitcoinj / Haskoin etc), why can't we have several Nxt protocol implementations in future with one or few implemented multiple-branching? We can have long discussions about that but better to investigate consequences in prior in (semi- or )formal way.

2. We can investigate some edge cases of decision making then mix of them as (sort of) realistic approach
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benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 02:52:49 am

1. Bitcoin has several implementations (bitcoind / Toshi / bitcoinj / Haskoin etc), why can't we have several Nxt protocol implementations in future with one or few implemented multiple-branching? We can have long discussions about that but better to investigate consequences in prior in (semi- or )formal way.

2. We can investigate some edge cases of decision making then mix of them as (sort of) realistic approach

Right. What I'm wondering is the relation between fork and the code. I don't understand things too well, and sometimes I'm wondering whether it's me, or whether it's the general knowledge that is not advanced. Probably both.. It's going to be helpful to have a better understanding, yes.

By the way, we talked about category theory. MetaMath is used to model mathematics and this axiom is the bases of Grothendieck's set theory: http://de.metamath.org/mpegif/ax-groth.html  I had the luck of studying under one of his students. I like this area a lot, but haven't had the chance to study too much. Grothendieck passed away a couple of days ago. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/world/europe/alexander-grothendieck-math-enigma-dies-at-86.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 02:54:22 am

My favourite paper on the topic of formal reasoning on consensus: http://szabo.best.vwh.net/coalition.html I'll attempt at putting some of this into Coq code some day...

jones

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 03:50:36 am

I'm interested to see what you come up with, PoS is still a fairly unexplored territory, it will be good to get some solid, academic research done on the topic and use it to make nxt have the best structure around.

1000 consensus asset will look good in my wallet  :)
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gs02xzz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 04:07:15 am

Ethereum's new idea of consensus - https://blog.ethereum.org/2014/11/13/scalability-part-3-metacoin-history-multichain/


[qoute]
For every block, a random 200 nodes are selected to vote on it. The set of 200 is almost as secure as the entire set of voters, since the specific 200 are not picked ahead of time and an attacker would need to control over 40% of the participants in order to have any significant chance of getting 50% of any set of 200. If we are separating voting on data availability from voting on validity, then these 200 can be chosen from the set of all participants in a single abstract Schelling-voting contract on the chain, since it’s possible to vote on the data availability of a block without actually understanding anything about the blockchain’s rules. Thus, instead of every node in the network validating the block, only 200 validate the data, and then only a few nodes need to look for actual errors, since if even one node finds an error it will be able to construct a proof and warn everyone else.
[/quote]
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 04:12:00 am by gs02xzz »
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mthcl

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 12:57:55 pm

Didn't understand this. How exactly these 200 nodes will be selected? What does "these 200 can be chosen from the set of all participants in a single abstract Schelling-voting contract on the chain" mean?

benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 01:48:37 pm

I think discussion about Vitalik's ideas belong in a separate thread. I find these articles less than helpful.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 01:57:55 pm by benjyz »

Brangdon

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 02:08:34 pm

Imagine a software control system which is not git. It has voting in it, so that stakers have to vote so that proposal can be implemented in the master branch. I.e. developers would need approval for every (major) change. This thought experiment highlight some of the problems with forks. For example there could two proposals for implementation, such as Nxt 1.4.0 A and Nxt 1.4.0 B. Then stake votes on A or B.
How does this differ from what happened with the Bter hack, when there were two versions of NRS, one of which froze the stolen funds? Voting was done by forgers deciding which version of NRS to run on their nodes.

benjyz

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 16, 2014, 02:34:45 pm

Imagine a software control system which is not git. It has voting in it, so that stakers have to vote so that proposal can be implemented in the master branch. I.e. developers would need approval for every (major) change. This thought experiment highlight some of the problems with forks. For example there could two proposals for implementation, such as Nxt 1.4.0 A and Nxt 1.4.0 B. Then stake votes on A or B.
How does this differ from what happened with the Bter hack, when there were two versions of NRS, one of which froze the stolen funds? Voting was done by forgers deciding which version of NRS to run on their nodes.

Right, those are the points I'm getting at - the relation between forks in the sense of re-writing block-chain history (simple vote scenario) and forks in the sense of completely different software (hostile fork scenario). The N@S argument is that someone would create a new repository and then forgers start using that software - the attack requires some hostile entity. In that scenario it would be a different person in charge of the fork. In the "simple vote scenario" the main devs still have the authority/control over the project. I find it highly unlikely that Nxt forgers would migrate to a completely different development team (couldn't also the original chain take protective measures?). Depends really on the circumstances also. Bitcoin is a 5 billion dollar project now, and so the decisions are different for that reason as well. I hope that some formal models will improve the understanding - not an easy task, but well worth it.

kushti

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 17, 2014, 09:19:48 pm

Didn't understand this. How exactly these 200 nodes will be selected? What does "these 200 can be chosen from the set of all participants in a single abstract Schelling-voting contract on the chain" mean?

To say the truth, i don't understand Vitalik's proposals very often. Going to mail him  :)


Right, those are the points I'm getting at - the relation between forks in the sense of re-writing block-chain history (simple vote scenario) and forks in the sense of completely different software (hostile fork scenario). The N@S argument is that someone would create a new repository and then forgers start using that software - the attack requires some hostile entity.

The problem here is, software with multibranching storage/forging support isn't malicious for forgers, they will get more revenue from it(in theory). Even more, multibranching helps with blocks distribution(the same way as Transparent Forging). The only concern around the software is so-called N@S. Btw, we already have multibranching partly implemented in Coq + Haskell so pretty soon we'll have the most formal description of N@S at the moment  :)


« Last Edit: November 18, 2014, 10:41:14 pm by kushti »
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kushti

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 18, 2014, 10:42:40 pm

We're going to send few K assets to people donated straight to andruiman's wallet after paper.
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kushti

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 20, 2014, 05:21:32 pm

The first crowdfunding is almost done! That's truly amazing! Seems it's on the most successful crowdfundings on Nxt AE to the moment.

Thanks to all the supporters! Special thanks to Damelon for promoting us actively & jl777 (seems we got 100K today from him).

We're going to publish first results from Monday via GitHub: https://github.com/ConsensusResearch . Amongst them are the most formal definition of Nothing-at-Stake to the moment(dedicated paper on that),  the most formal definition of Transparent Forging (another paper), two executable  simulations to play with sources in Haskell & Coq open and few articles around them at least.
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msin

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 20, 2014, 05:39:15 pm

Good stuff, hit up Pouncer as well, he's always willing to donate to this kind of stuff. 

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Re: First Fundraising Letter
November 20, 2014, 06:17:36 pm

Good stuff, hit up Pouncer as well, he's always willing to donate to this kind of stuff.

I already contacted all of the known philanthropists a few days ago :)
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