Bitcoin Association: Call for interest in new BSV Technical Standards Committee

In 2019, Bitcoin Association has so far sponsored two Bitcoin SV Wallet workshops, which have both been very productive. The first in February gave us the new Paymail protocol (to remove cumbersome Bitcoin addresses from the user experience); the second in August delivered a commitment from many parties to contribute to a wide range of technical standards for BSV.

Bitcoin Association would like to open up this workshop process to the wider ecosystem. The reason this hasn’t been done to date has been the need to protect intellectual property arising from the outputs of these cooperative efforts for the benefit of the Bitcoin SV ecosystem. The two prior Wallet Workshops were conducted on the understanding that their work product was kept confidential until such time as the outputs could be assessed for potential patentable subject matter, and if appropriate, filing of patent applications to protect any relevant inventions generated by the workshop. This was done for the benefit of the Bitcoin SV ecosystem, to prevent competing blockchain and technology platforms from using innovations from the workshops.

After the prior Wallet Workshops, we have determined that some patentable inventions were created and filed patent applications to protect them for free use on Bitcoin SV. To date, those patent filings have been funded by and held by nChain with the commitment to license them for free use on Bitcoin SV only (under Bitcoin Association’s Open BSV License). Going forward, any new patentable inventions or other protectable intellectual property arising from Bitcoin Association workshops will be held by the Bitcoin Association and made available for the benefit of the Bitcoin SV ecosystem (i.e. under the Open BSV License). It should be noted that none of the patentable inventions generated from the prior wallet workshops apply to the base Bitcoin protocol. The Bitcoin consensus protocol was defined 10 years ago and is all prior art. The Bitcoin SV commitment is to return to this original protocol and lock it down.

Even though the confidentiality expectation governing the Wallet Workshops has been time limited, it does present some challenges – namely the process of bringing in a wider audience for feedback and review of standards during the design phase is more cumbersome than we would like, and thus limits the contributing audience.

Additionally, we have identified a large range of subjects requiring standards development and we simply cannot achieve them all within the circle of people that were involved in the prior Wallet Workshops. Therefore, Bitcoin Association intends to create an industry Technical Standards Committee (TSC) to address many subjects: governance, people resources, process, and priorities for technical standards that will benefit growth of the entire BSV ecosystem.

It is very important to note that technical standards are not requirements. Bitcoin Association does not expect and cannot require all developers, projects or businesses to use any proposed standards. However, technology history has repeatedly demonstrated the value of seeking agreement on technical standards to fuel industry growth through compatibility.

We have much planning to do in order to establish a framework for this TSC. Whilst that may sound a bit process-heavy, the proposed TSC does require some proper planning to avoid some of the disarray, inactivity, and ineffectiveness we have seen in previous attempts to do this with BSV’s predecessors.

As such, in December, we would like to convene a small group in London to meet for several days and come up with a framework for the Technical Standards Committee. That group will likely also form the initial (but not exhaustive) membership of the TSC and be responsible for its implementation. Representation from across the Bitcoin SV industry is important for a body of this nature to be effective.

We are publishing this to announce our intention to create the TSC, and are now calling for expressions of interest from the wider Bitcoin SV society to participate in the TSC process. In order to be considered eligible, you must able to confidently commit to the following criteria:

• Strong technical knowledge of Bitcoin SV in at least one area (wallets, mining, node development, application development, data services, etc)
• Demonstrated track record of technical delivery
• Demonstrated commitment to building business
• To have both time and interest to take one or more standards or governance projects and drive them forward to completion
• To be able to commit time to attend both workshops and TSC governance meetings in person (travel will be funded by Bitcoin Association).
• Be comfortable with the idea of protecting intellectual property generated from the output of these processes, as long as such as IP is made available for free use only on the Bitcoin SV blockchain.

Bear in mind most of the people involved will be volunteering their time for the good of the wider BSV ecosystem. If you do not have the ability to commit a reasonable amount of time to managing a standards workgroup, you should not apply. Although some of the content of these workgroups will remain confidential to members for a short time, the overall process (and eventually the content) will all be transparently disclosed. Therefore, TSC members will be somewhat accountable to the public for their activity or lack of it.

Key items that need to be resolved at the inaugural meeting in December are:

1. Roadmap of application layer standards to be developed over the next 12 months.
2. Defining an easy process for entry to a workgroup along with easy opt-in to confidentiality requirements.
3. Creating a framework for technical workgroups including roles, responsibilities and operating procedures.
4. Appointing initial workgroup managers.
5. Creating a strategy to communicate workgroup goals and attract appropriately qualified and interested members.
6. The TSC leadership group (once determined) will also be responsible for the administration of further workshop sessions (similar in style to wallet workshops) throughout the year where they are deemed necessary to pushing a standard through to completion and implementation. Please note that logistical support for all of the above will be provided by Bitcoin Association.

We are calling for expressions of interest to attend the inaugural meeting in the first week of December 2019. The travel will be funded. It is intended to keep the working group reasonably small, so we expect that we cannot accommodate all requests. In order to apply, please email your expression of interest to [email protected] with an explanation of the reasons for your interest and your ability to commit time to the processes along with addressing all of the criteria stated above. The deadline for receiving EOI’s is Monday 23rd September 2019 and we will notify you whether your application is accepted within 7 days following the deadline.

Thank you to everyone who is helping to build the BSV. Collaborating together in healthy cooperative competition, we can see Satoshi Vision succeed.

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