Serge Toarca

Startups, AI, and macroeconomics.

  1. BitCollapse: Bitcoin's hard problem of latency

    High latency between miners gives an exponential advantage to miners closer to the highest concentration of compute. Unless this problem is solved, it is not possible to mine Bitcoin on multiple planets at the same time. Mining "collapses" to the single largest low-latency mining cluster.

    Consider the following thought experiment.

    There are exactly 2 computers in the universe, sitting 60 light minutes away from each other. Each is exactly as powerful as the other, and both are spending all of their compute mining bitcoin. Suppose they both start mining the same block at the same time ("same time" according to an observer sitting halfway between them). After about 10 minutes, one of them (call it computer A) will have mined the first block. A sends it over to B.

    But it takes 60 minutes for the block to arrive at computer B. In that time, B will have mined an

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  2. Why the hell am I building a product with a tiny market?

    This article was originally published on

    Two months ago, I launched a regex tester.

    Why would I ever build a product around helping people with their regular ex­pres­sions? The market is tiny. There are dozens of free al­ter­na­tives, and only a small percentage of people I've asked said they would pay for my product.

    There are a few big advantages to be had competing in a smaller market.

    In a smaller market, everything happens on a smaller scale. Successes and failures are smaller in magnitude and take less time to pan out. Less effort is required to build a competitive product, since the existing ones are not as well-developed. The result is a tighter feedback loop for your learning. Debuggex is my first product, so I want to optimize for learning and profit rather than just profit.

    To date, I've spent less than

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