The bitchslapping of 2013...

Saturday, 16 March, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

... has to be preserved for posterity.

There are exactly two ventures turning a significant profit in Bitcoin at the moment (ie, for the past year). One is S.MPOE (which has paid to date ~30k BTC in dividends plus ~15k BTC in interest) and S.DICE (which has paid to date ~60k BTC in dividends).

One important difference between those two are the people in charge. I run S.MPOE. Erik Voorhees runs S.DICE. Unlike Erik, I punish. Without compassion or consideration of circumstance, if you cross me you are going to bleed. The principles are laid down for the benefit of the curious in an older Romanian article (Arta pedepsirii - the Art of Punishment), and practically boil down to punishment always being impredictable, disproportionate and visible. This ensures that it is always effective, inasmuch as the offender can never correctly asses his risks and construct a defensive strategy.

Unlike me, Erik tries to be nice, to everyone, all the time. The downside of his approach is that he is treated like dirt, by everyone. Not every time, but every time it actually matters. (You are invited to review the logs of the #bitcoin-dev channel [cached] and make up your own mind on the subject.)

Anyway, the similarity is that if a venture turns a profit everyone wants a piece of the pie. This is unchanged since time immemorial, be it the streets of Astoria in 1920 or the windswept plains of Mongolia in 1420, if you turn a profit you'll get interest. That difference - they fear me, they despise him - translated itself into quite a difference of approach : they attacked him.

For the past month or so the noise was going on, or to quote :

Feb 04 23:36:49 Luke-Jr awkorama: SD costs miners more than the fees cover
Feb 04 23:37:02 Luke-Jr awkorama: it also harms Bitcoin, reducing the value of them
Feb 04 23:37:46 mircea_popescu dude, srsly. stop with all the rationalization bullshit. just come out clean, say it. they make money , you'd like some, you think it's unfair etc.
Feb 04 23:37:48 Ukyo they are or were a large portion of txn fees being paidout
Feb 04 23:37:51 mircea_popescu "costs miners".
Feb 04 23:39:28 mircea_popescu raising fees will just mean other miners get it, end of story.
Feb 04 23:39:50 mircea_popescu what eats him, basically, is that pretty much no miner cares about what he thinks on the matter.
Feb 04 23:39:56 iz can't SD just raise fees for their transactions?
Feb 04 23:39:58 jcpham re: freenode
Feb 04 23:40:27 Luke-Jr iz: yes, miners would be forced to raise fees high enough that the gamblers stopped playing basically
Feb 04 23:40:36 Luke-Jr or SD stopped its DDoS
Feb 04 23:40:46 iz or better yet, have the fees influence the % of payout slightly
Feb 04 23:40:52 mircea_popescu or you got a job doing something else ?

And just in case you think the relationship I see there is imagined by me, and just in case you think money isn't the one and only underpinning of all human activity whatever :


By early March the political activity (where by political we mean of course what that currently denotes in the US : the effort to rob Joe so you may lavish upon Moe) of the pretend-developersi was reaching fever pitch, and scum a la Vincent Falcoii were coming out with bright ideas such as MPEx delisting SatoshiDice. Because why ? Because the people! Ie, Luke's astroturf, composed of pretty much all the assorted scum besetting Bitcoin + a bunch of naive old timersiii who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag unless it had a nice arrow on it or something.

So I delivered the entire batch a warning, in the following unmistakable, signature shape :

The approach proposed is fundamentally flawed in multiple places.

First and foremost, the only reasonable authority in Bitcoin is derived through the working of contracts. Put another way this states that the power of "a collective", ie a group of users no matter how large to dispose for the future is nil. Put in yet another way, Bitcoin is not a democracy, but a republic.

Consequently, to propose that MPEx breach its contract with SatoshiDICE because you would like me to is a waste of breath : you are not a party to that contract, and consequently you have no standing whatsoever in that relationship. The contract specifies clearly how it works, and it will work as such.

Secondly, and just as importantly : the current codebase is broken beyond belief. As explained in an earlier Trilema article, the main problems Bitcoin faces currently come from the general inability and ineptitude of the de facto dev team. These problems are a. that users can not create arbitrary size transactions up to the size of one full block ; b. that the client does not correctly select the best possible combination of available inputs to feed a list of arbitrary outputs. More generally speaking the codebase is replete with magic numbers, which is no way to code. The fact that a 7Gb download takes an hour if we're talking a movie and a week if we're talking the blockchain - especially considering that the average torrent rarely has over 100 seeders and the Bitcoin blockchain rarely has under 1k - is further testament to the utter inability of the core team.

Consequently, the correct approach is for these people to either fix the codebase - which will require serious work - or else step down and let other people do it. The early enthusiasm of "everyone's welcome and we're glad to have you" may have bridged us between Bitcoin being worth nothing and Bitcoin being worth 1/10`000th of a pizza, but we are now playing in the grown-up league and as such we need grown-up code. It is certainly not acceptable to proceed as proposed, from a "this is what the codebase can do, we will pretend to limit usage of Bitcoin to that" perspective, as is contemplated here. The only acceptable and the only correct approach is, "this is how Bitcoin can be used, therefore this is how Bitcoin should be used, therefore this is what our code must accomodate, let's get to work on it."

The fact that a number of people - such as Luke-jr, Gmaxwell, Mike Hearn etc - feel inclined to compensate for their modest technical ability with a disproportionate and unwarranted political preocupation is of course to be expected : the marginal and the stupid have tried to propel themselves in the position of populist "leaders" for as long as humanity existed. This will not work in Bitcoin, because that is not how Bitcoin works. It is specifically designed to foil the very common alliance between the stupid but lazy and the ambitious but inept that regularly wrecks fiat ventures of all sorts, from small business to entire countries. It will work as intended for that purpose.

You can tell it's me, can't you. The article on Trilema referenced there is, of course, Bitcoind : not quite ready for prime time. It is mandatory reading for the devteam, by the way.

This warning happened on March 8th. By March 12th [cached] everyone was getting their proverbial mallet swats over the tail. Isn't it funny how these things work ?

Boys, start understanding Trilema. Merely reading it is no longer going to cut it.

PS. MPEx is the first and so far pretty much the only Bitcoin venture with a CSR program (and the first and among the very few with monthly reports published, and let's stop here before we fill the page with this stuff). If you're not getting money it's because you either a. don't deserve money ; b. don't know how to apply for money ; c. both. You think you're employable, put those valuable skills to valuable use. Whining, throwing a tantrum, political "machinations" aren't going to deliver anything. I would hope that's resoundingly clear by now, but I also have an old mallet. Just in case.

  1. Luke-jr is not part of the Bitcoin devteam. He's a loud and mostly useless contributor, such as pretty much everyone with a github + my cat. Or, to quote :

    Mar 14 00:07:02 mircea_popescu the dev team is about six people (it does not include Luke-Jr, tho he keeps trying to pretend he's a dev)

    Mar 14 00:48:43 midnightmagic the dev team effectively includes luke-jr, and a massive amount of work he has done makes it into bitcoind
    Mar 14 00:49:02 mircea_popescu midnightmagic may i direct you to
    Mar 14 00:49:46 midnightmagic mircea_popescu: Whatever it says there is irrelevant if a huge amount of his work makes it into the codebase.
    Mar 14 00:50:10 mircea_popescu midnightmagic listen up : you folks don't get to change things just by power of friendship which is magic.
    Mar 14 00:50:24 mircea_popescu lukejr would love to be a developer, but he's a mostly useless contributor.
    Mar 14 00:50:24 midnightmagic mircea_popescu: I have no idea what you're talking about now.
    Mar 14 00:50:31 mircea_popescu that's ok, it comes in time.
    Mar 14 00:50:35 mircea_popescu most people need about six months.

    Mar 14 01:39:41 Luke-Jr midnightmagic: I didn't understand the context :P
    Mar 14 01:40:39 midnightmagic Luke-Jr: I was just asserting that the amount of work you do in bitcoind essentially makes you a bitcoin developer, even if your name isn't on
    Mar 14 01:41:19 mircea_popescu Luke-Jr he's somehow bothered with everyone mocking you for trying your damnest to pass yourself off as a dev
    Mar 14 01:41:25 mircea_popescu when you're a sort of glorified taaki
    Mar 14 01:41:30 mircea_popescu ie, the floor washer.


  2. Known principally for selling out his customer base back in 2006. He was running Bearshare at the time which turned out to be more like a RIAA honeypot than anything. Basically the sort of spineless blob that tries to repackage the good stuff in the mostly vain hopes that he might thus acquire some sort of cred which he may then sell on to whoever down the road. Hey, it doesn't pay much but if you don't own any mirrors it could be called a business model. []
  3. Or to quote again,

    Mar 15 03:53:48 mircea_popescu people have never been this smart and yet men your age have never been this childish.


Category: Bitcoin
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21 Responses

  1. midnightmagic`s avatar
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    I did not, nor do I, nor will I likely, grant you permission to redistribute
    my comments in a channel which, by Freenode channel guidelines, was not at
    the time I made those comments, listed as a publically-logged channel. Nor
    do I appreciate the deliberate contextual modification of my comments in a
    way which impugns on my reputation.
    "If you just want to publish a single conversation, be careful to get
    permission from each participant. Provide as much context as you can. Avoid
    the temptation to publish or distribute logs without permission in order to
    portray someone in a bad light. The reputation you save will most likely be
    your own."

    I deny such permission as described above.

    Additionally, by quoting badly and out of context, you are potentially
    falling foul of the moral rights of the copyright owner (namely, myself):

    Canadian Copyright Act, Moral Rights, 14.1
    (I mention this because it is possible your country has signed copyright
    treaties beyond that of which I'm aware, and to describe parallel aims and
    rights held by both our countries.)

    Presumably you are still in Romania, physically. Presuming also that you are
    bound by Romanian law or expect it to protect you:
    I'll point you to Article 10, ss a), d), and e), Article 12, Article 13 ss
    a) and h), Article 96 c), and Article 139-1.

    Romania is a signatory to the Berne Convention as of June 9, 1998.

    I assert that your contextless quoting and aspersions impugn my moral rights under your own copyright laws. Please remove my quotes from your published materials. Respect my wishes as a civilized human, as I have often respected yours.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 March 2013


    It'd be perhaps more effectual to simply remedy this alleged misrepresentation by presenting whatever context is missing or whatever.

    You don't get to go around censoring the interwebs, even if you are Canadian.

  3. midnightmagic`s avatar
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    It is not my intention to censor you; that is why I think your article is otherwise an interesting viewpoint on the subject. I'm only interested in protecting my own interests, and reputation. You quoted a small aspect of what was said in that conversation, and have implied direct aspersion on my character. It is not for me to correct your potentially lawless behaviour and thus imply permission to leave such comments up on your site. I simply want *my* comments removed. I think it would be a loss to your site if you took the whole article down.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    Yes, well, that's a little weird. If you want something deleted from a something else, you want that somethingelse censored.

    This flows from definition, claiming "I don't want to ruin this painting, I just want that tiny and mostly unremarkable scene in the background be deleted from it" is simply disingenuous.

  5. midnightmagic`s avatar
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    The reputational damage you're deliberately inflicting is illegal. This does not fall under commentary nor critical analysis. Way to be a lawbreaker, when it suits you to do so. I'm surprised at you, MP. You complain so bitterly when people do it to you.

  6. midnightmagic`s avatar
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    The reputational damage you're deliberately inflicting is illegal. This does not fall under commentary nor critical analysis. Way to be a lawbreaker, when it suits you to do so. I'm surprised at you, MP. You complain so bitterly when people do it to you.

  7. >laws

    Dude, don't worry. Once he done that, just troll him. Me and the whole Romanian sphere done that. He never learns and oh no, 'i's right everyone wrong' ~past 4 years.

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    @midnightmagic Now I'm curious. What damage are you talking about, specifically ?

  9. midnightmagic`s avatar
    Sunday, 17 March 2013

    @Vexare Thank you for the kind words. I'm always glad to discover good humans out there.

    @MP: Oh well. I did ask nicely. I didn't want to do this, but you forced my hand. I hereby revoke my invitation for you to visit me in Canada and have some of my home-roasted coffee with me. I really had thought you were a better human than this.

  10. Let us join our forces and bring down the evil tyranny. Only united together like fingers in a fist can we smash down the opressor!

  11. Vexare`s avatar
    Sunday, 17 March 2013

    ESL iesi afara.

  12. "If you’re not getting money it’s because you either a. don’t deserve money ; b. don’t know how to apply for money ; c. both."

    I can convert this directly into "negro speak" with the help of Rick Ross:

    "If you ain't gettin' money that mean you done somethin' wrong (Boss!)"

  13. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 15 April 2014


  1. [...] PS. Obviously all the aspersority comes from this little adventure. [...]

  2. [...] [↩]See the amusing case of the anti-Satoshi Dice campaign and the magnificent way that backfired. [↩]Bitcoin bet at the time the bet is introduced. [↩]Indeed in all cases so far the No [...]

  3. [...] it was relying on to a degree sufficient to understand how it was being initialised. And it took a massive fork that nearly killed the project back in March to get people even looking at that part of the code. [...]

  4. [...] eventual success strictly hinges on the ability of its financiers and the quality of their work. Code writing has no bearing in this matter, it is to Bitcoin what shining the boots of soldiers is to winning [...]

  5. [...] BitcoinSecurities (user INT, name VARCHAR(100), volume INT); into a mysql window - even USG's own Mike Hearn. Anyone can add css to any of [...]

  6. [...] MP's warning to Bitcoin developers regarding the state of the codebase and their correct role as opp..., including also the pointed observation on the effects of being nice to everyone at all times [...]

  7. [...] your age is equally stupid and lazy now, well done! (It still doesn't hurt me any, but... well, I'm illegal [...]

  8. [...] any code written by the idiot would be a non-starter, but I suppose that's part of the downside of being nice. PS: Well, I know they have. That doesn't mean that they can't get it right because the thing is [...]

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