A comment was posted in the internet that the Coordinator doesn't make IOTA any more centralised than Bitcoin because Bitcoin has checkpoints.

Someone even said,

The purpose of the checkpoints was to prevent attacks because of Bitcoin’s young age and susceptibility. Similarly, IOTA also works now without the coordinator. However, the issue is that without the coordinator, it is open to attacks due to its early age and susceptibility similar to Bitcoin.

Is this true or is it misleading?

  • What have you done to find out yourself? SE questions require some basic research effort on your end. – Helmar Dec 7 '18 at 14:48
  • Is there a good secondary (non-IOTA) source that you have found to suggest for research? I am interested if you have some independent verifiable sources of good information on this subject. – The Coordinator Dec 19 '18 at 10:28
  • You can try this : google.com/search?q=bitcoin+checkpoint – ben75 Dec 19 '18 at 13:54
  • Great idea! I just found this and it is a wealth of information such as bitcoin.stackexchange.com/a/75735/13120 – The Coordinator Dec 19 '18 at 14:31

Initial motivation for checkpoints in bitcoin is to prevent 51% attacks as explained by satoshi (July 17, 2010):

The security safeguard makes it so even if someone does have more than 50% of the network's CPU power, they can't try to go back and redo the block chain before yesterday. (if you have this update)

I'll probably put a checkpoint in each version from now on. Once the software has settled what the widely accepted block chain is, there's no point in leaving open the unwanted non-zero possibility of revision months later.

Motivation for Milestone is very similar as explained by Sergey Popov in the Tangle white paper (see discussion p18-19)

the input flow of “honest” transactions should be large compared to the attacker’s computational power. [...] This indicates the need for additional security measures, such as checkpoints, during the early days of a tangle-based system.

So making an analogy between both concepts is valid.

Note that the latest checkpoint in bitcoin-core was updated in 2014. (checkpoints are hardcoded in client and so are dependent of the client implementation)

Both concepts goes against the idea that consensus should be completely decentralized in a DLT, and so both community are discussing how to get rid of it.

Removing checkpoints is discussed in bitcoin community, but not so easy because it would expose the network to kind of spam attack : without checkpoint an attacker would be able to start a fork on very old blocks where the difficulty was ridiculous compared to what it is today... and even if chances to build the longest chain are practically zero, the attacker may be able to DoS the bitcoin network with flood of blocks.

Removing Milestones/Coo is discussed in IOTA community, but it is not so easy because it expose the network to double-spend attacks.

Of course implementation details are very different... because consensus mechanisms are very different. But the problem solved by those concepts is similar (and need to be solved in all permissionless DLT).

  • The fact that the initial motivations are similar does not make the analogy valid. It might make the initial motivations similar, but it does not make the actual implemented reasons similar. There is a good reason that Bitcoin has the last checkpoint since 2014 and that reason is also why Bitcoin does not depend on it for consensus at all. Arguably, checkpoints do not even protect Bitcoin from a 51% attack and they could be removed today (and always) with no consequence. That's what I think you are missing. – The Coordinator Dec 23 '18 at 14:39

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