Re: Ethereum - Doomsday machine or not?

Hello Mathias,

On Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 10:37:03PM +0200, TRON-DELTA.ORG wrote:
> in your April 2015 post you said, "I think we can stop the mafia contract at the
> gateway to the real world by blacklisting it, everything it creates and any
> known "proxy" service in the blockchain it could use to hide."
> I wonder now, in which way that could possibly be implemented. Also I don't yet
> understand what you meant by "gateway to the real world".

All of this is based on my understanding of the Ethereum architecture in 2015
and may have loopholes or be out of date. I did not follow the developments 
since then.

My example was a contract that threatens random people/orgs with DDOS attacks
if they do not pay some amount of Ether. For this, the contract has to use
gateway services that offer Internet computing resources for Ether. I was 
further assuming that the contract uses state of the art obfuscation to 
hide itself and what it is doing.

If you operate such a gateway service and get a complaint about abuse, you 
should be able to see which contract caused the abuse. The gateway operator can
block this specific contract - which is easily circumvented as contracts can
create other contracts.

It would be more effective to follow the chain of contract creation up to the 
root Ethereum account and block everything created directly or indirectly by 
this account.

If the gateway operator is serious about preventing abuse, he will not make
exceptions for proxy and mixing services on the blockchain and block them 
permanently once they cause harm.

To continue its operation, the abusive contract will have to persuade humans
to create (obfuscated) copies of itself via new accounts. This assumes
that Ethereum accounts cannot be easily created by machines.

> Further you stated, "By banning mixing services or any funds coming out of them,
> the incentive to help the mafia contract could be reduced to a minimum."
> Would you please go more into detail regarding the nature of such bans? How
> would you implement that using an Ethereum application?

I was only considering bans and social norms outside of the Ethereum blockchain
to limit potential harm coming from the blockchain.

> Finally I'd like to know whether you started any Ethereum project in the
> meanwhile.

No. This is just a thought experiment that may be far removed from reality.


Michael Brunnbauer

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Received on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 07:51:17 UTC