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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] appreciation payment protocol

From: Ramana Kumar
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] appreciation payment protocol
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2012 15:34:05 +0100

On Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM, Adam Bolte <> wrote:
On Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 07:40:01AM +0100, Ramana Kumar wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM, Robert Martinez <> wrote:
> > On 23/08/12 10:02, Ramana Kumar wrote:
> >> Does anyone have other ideas?
> >>
> > That would be imitating flatter locally with bitcoin.
> Sure, that might be a good idea to imitate flattr without the fees.
> I'm starting to have serious doubts about bitcoin as an acceptable
> currency, though.
> If anyone here knows better, let me know. These are the problems I've found:
>    ...
>    - It's necessary to download the entire bitcoin transaction history to
>    run a client, and that is quite large (>1GB). Apparently this is not true
>    in theory, but I don't see any good clients that don't do it yet.
> Arguably one can avoid the last problem by using a web service like
> InstaWallet, but that requires one to trust that website, and it's
> unsatisfying not to be running your own client whose source code you can
> both read and understand.

Understandably, the 1Gb requirement could be a problem for constrained devices
such as phones, however this could be another task potentially solved by
something like the Freedom Box?

Yes. Bitcoin ultimately uses a P2P network to store the global consensus about what transactions have happened (and therefore who has how much money). If that network is maintained by numerous Freedom Boxes and other servers, it would work well. Clients for phones and other computers can, in theory, be written to use the data from a server without storing a local copy.

If there was an Android client or web interface that allowed secure
communication to your wallet stored on your own server that was a snap to get
running, a 1Gb file wouldn't really be a problem and would remove the trust 


I can't speak much of the bitcoin client source code readability problem you
mentioned, however if bitcoin turns out to be the best way to deal with these
kinds of payments (and I suspect it beats anything that will rely on trusting
major credit card companies given what happened to wikileaks), perhaps someone
can be sponsored to clean it up and properly document the spec? I'd chip in a
few bucks on Kickstarter or something to see that happen.

I had a chat to the folks on #bitcoin-dev and they seem pretty friendly and helpful, except they did confirm that currently the best spec is the reference client's behaviour. I started a document with them here yesterday to get more details: Apart from that there are a few wiki pages and forum threads and papers with scattered information (as well as the code for various clients). My plan is to assimilate this information and write a bitcoin client in extremely clear, well-documented Haskell, and then get people to read it, etc., and try to push that as the new specification (and maybe derive a formal and/or English specification from it). It will probably take me a few months (not my top priority right now), but of course it will be freely available on Gitorious for others to help :)

I'd be happy if someone were keen to go down the Kickstarter route with that project. I can't say I need any funds specifically for it though (they would just go to paying living expenses and shifting my priorities).


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