Electronic money

Francis Davey fjmd1a at gmail.com
Sun Dec 7 10:31:38 GMT 2014

2014-12-07 10:17 GMT+00:00 Charles Lindsey <chl at clerew.man.ac.uk>:
> AIUI, if you mine a bitcoin (and coincidentally someone else mines the
> same one), then the first to register it in the Ledger takes preference
> (AFAIK, the mineable bitcoins have no predefined order). Anyway, it is all
> described in Wikipedia, and I don't think your situation would cause any
> problem.

I think what Ben is referring to (and I am just a humble lawyer who does
not understand such things) is the fact that despite its ostensible
decentralised nature, there is some central management of Bitcoin which
precisely does handle such situations *because* in practice each node does
not write its own client, a change to the client can affect everyone.

For example, the six hour fork of Bitcoin on March 11 last year was, as I
understand it, a bug in the upgrade between versions 0.7 to 0.8 of bitcoind
- because the vast majority of users all used bitcoind this was an example
of a central authority  The problem had to be "fixed" by (a) co-ordinated
switching back to 0.7 (b) fixes to the software.

As I understand it there was only one double-spend as a result of the fork,
which was sorted out.

The "checkpoints" that Ben alludes to are hard-coded into the client
software by the software developers from time to time.

I'd be interested in hearing Ben's views about what that means (and whether
a decentralised system is possible really) but my original question was not
about Bitcoin for reasons explained (it's not "electronic money").

Francis Davey
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