Why I will be voting NO on the proof-of-research roadmap poll

in #gridcoin5 years ago (edited)


I will be voting "No" on the poll seeking to explore the possibilities of a proof-of-research blockchain in 2018.

The question I find myself asking over and over is:

While PoR is an amazing concept that may become reality in the future, why attempt to invent something that we don't immediately need -- a new blockchain security mechanism -- when we have so much else to do?

I feel that on the list of potential roadmap goals, PoR is toward the bottom due to its possible flaws and exploits, outlined in this post by TheCharlatan. These flaws and exploits do not have solutions at this time, and seeking out those solutions would be a very time consuming task that might very well turn up no real solutions.

I think our time could best be spent focusing on improving the already proven novelty and utility of Gridcoin - Minting a currency based on work done for external entities such as BOINC. There are plenty of issues to work on other than developing an entirely new blockchain protocol, which is a very intense project. On my list of development oriented tasks are (note that this is my list, not the community's -- your list might differ from mine which differs from everyone else):

  • New users need to get their ERR without being forced into a pool
  • Stats gathering needs to be decentralized and made to scale
  • Superblocks need to be prepared for expansion outside of solely BOINC (not any time soon, but we need to start thinking about it)
  • Account verification (beacons) need to be improved
  • Removal of the BOINC team requirement needs to be put back on the table

Several of these are other roadmap polls running as we speak. I may write at length as to why I support a few or each one.

On top of these development issues, I think we still have some base organizational processes to work out including (but definitely not limited to):

  • Concrete and Visible Poll parameters
  • Voting weight parameters
  • Treasury creation
  • Treasury distribution
  • Development path consensus processes
  • UX/UI redesign and improvement
  • Whitepaper and documentation
  • Development, marketing, and business plans

Several of these non-development oriented issues are well underway, though even those still need a lot of attention. Attention that would be split if we had to focus on developing, designing, and creating an entirely new blockchain protocol, particularly one with known security flaws.

Who knows. Maybe working on one of these more straight forward tasks will present solutions to the known PoR issues.

I do like the idea of proof-of-research, and I do hope that we will be able to one day actually build a secure and functioning blockchain protocol at least partly based on the amount of research done by users. At this time, however, it seems impractical to expect us to solve very real flaws and attack vectors while also putting the work in elsewhere to make Gridcoin what we all know it can be.

I see no real reason not to use proof-of-stake, a proven and secure protocol that is actively being developed by hundreds of crypto-communities, to secure the blockchain while using GRCResearch-Mint to mint and distribute the majority of GRC.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have something to add?

Continue the conversation below!

And whatever you think, VOTE! The poll ends on February 7th.


Proof of Research is great, it's however not appropriate for securing a blockchain as demonstrated back in September.

I think we'd be best implementing the fixed POS block rewards for the short term benefit of network health, then work on improving decentralization/beacons/scaling & MRC.

I agree that PoR should not be used for blockchain, at least not short term. However it is not for the weaknesses, which are minor compared to other current issues.
The issues with PoR blocks that you both are basing on can be almost entirely avoided. The september exploit was a trivial one, not even in the true PoR part of the protocol.

Short term, absolutely.

Long term (5-10 years), if we get users stats built into the blockchain instead of fetched from a central server... anything is possible.

As I see it the way things are going in the cryptocurrency world at the moment, as we grow and bring on more devs paid by the foundation, that 5-10 years will be too long for integration of PoR .

We do need to keep our eyes on that prize as an aspiration and maybe a goal.


Courtesy of @joshoeah

Well put ..

We need to attend to immediate matters, as much as I like the concept of PoR it is 'pie in the sky' but on the 'wish list' at the moment ..

There are other matters that need attention and are far more immediately important, stability and security are foremost in my mind ..


Courtesy of @joshoeah

After reading your very persuasive argument, I think you are right. For those concerned about Research payment frequencies, the research payments need to be decoupled from staking by providing an alternative payment trigger mechanism, which is covered in other threads.

I will also add that it is difficult to conceive of an appropriate, secure POR mechanism that could be extended to provide research credit for other distributed projects besides BOINC within a reasonable amount of time and/or effort, whereas offering a POS secured blockchain that provides transaction based rewards that have been generalized in such a way as to be extendable to other distributed projects is very achievable.

People that are hung up on POR are confused about what this coin is really about. The POR aspect of it is just about irrelevant from a value point of view. The true differentiator is that people are rewarded for providing computational power to distributed computing projects (for good causes...).

Someone who is very much inclined towards GRC solely for the fact that my computation power is not going to be wasted but utilized in forms of BOINC results here is what i am thinking.

  1. I would prefer we only let people focus on what they are already doing i.e. BOINC.
  2. We need to find a way such that people can proudly start claiming the rewards for the work they do. At this point we have an entry barrier atleast 2000 GRC (at current 200$ investment). existing BOINC users have stats already why should they leave it to go pool mining to earn initial amount or why should someone invest in GRC. on top of this they will also have to switch teams.
  3. Staking is proven i hear you on that but the current way how staking works is absurd at best. I get rewards if an when (all to chances). I would much rather prefer having a system where every node gets a say and is able to collect rewards once per day or we form a queue where once you claimed you move back to the bottom and then rise through the entire crew. That would make this same for everyone.

At this point uncertainty around when i can get my rewards , leaving my current team, forced to go pool or spend $$ are major hurdles in pushing GRIDcoin to masses. Focus should be on how we can work towards easing these things out.

While I agree with you, what you are discussing is not related to this poll. This poll is related to how we create a blockchain, which is the critical technology behind all cryptocurrencies.

What you are talking about is more connected to the poll: Receiving Earned Research Rewards.

There are proposed solutions to the issues you raise.

Thanks for pointing to the correct thread. Still learning about gridcoin and piecing things together.

No problem -- there's a lot to learn, and these polls in particular are covering several major issues. Stick around and it'll all make sense soon enough = )

Elsewhere I have also suggested that staking be done in a cue fashion. Modified a bit.

  • Everyone starts in staking group "a"
  • Let staking be POS as it is now, all the randomness in place.
  • but once you stake you go to into staking group "b"
  • Once staking Group "a" is emptied groups A & B swap and it starts over.

With 960 stakes per day you could stake about 172,000 users in six months.

i think this is an interesting idea, but save it for the (or make a) Receiving ERR thread = )

You are forgetting that there are no ID cards on the Internet. Users can create as many addresses and wallets as they want.

I definitely think the "estimated time to stake" is not in line with my observations.

I agree with you. Especially the team requirement. That's not to say the team is a bad thing, it's free publicity but it would be much easier to get people from big teams to join in if they didnt have to abandon their community.

Completely agree. I think the solution would be to limit staking to once per day. Very big holders get to stake a lot whitout much profit, while small holders cant even stake.

This may reduce network weight but i believe that with the increased amount of nodes it should balance out.

This would be massively insecure. A single person could create a ton of duplicate accounts, seed each with the minimum amount to stake once per day, and dominate the network weight. The whales could do nothing about it if they're only allowed to stake once per day. The point of PoR or PoS is to make it extremely expensive to attack the blockchain; a staking limit undermines the ability of either to do so.

I think a common thread in this post and others is that (at least when it comes to network security) it would be wise not to stray too far from the tried-and-true methods.

You are right, i just hadnt thought about that. But anyway some compesation that isnt too insecure would be nice . (anything that has the effect of only needing a 33% of the stake weight instead of the 51% would be ok to me) Even 10% should be safe considering the actual sell supply.

You are forgetting that there are no ID cards on the Internet. Users can create as many addresses and wallets as they want.

I do not understand. The solution to what?

I think you have a great point! Are there benefits in being the first and only blockchain to be running off PoR though?

There are benefits to being first. There are also risks.

There are greater benefits and fewer risks when building something secure, practical, and accessible without regard to being first.

Google wasn't first. Amazon wasn't first. IBM wasn't first. Even BOINC wasn't first.

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