Those who want to corrupt the real Bitcoin, and make a strawman against which they can argue their altcoin is superior, have often pointed to double spends and orphan blocks make the digital currency unsafe. In his latest Medium article, Dr. Craig Wright shows the truth about these concepts, and how Bitcoin was built to manage them.
Titled “Economic Security,” the article dives into the specifics of orphan blocks and transactions first. The fear with these are that if miners abandon an orphan block, or reorganize the blockchain, transactions could be lost. That’s just not true though. Wright explains:
“Miners are supposed to maintain the orphan chain in memory. Where an orphan chain or an otherwise forked chain occurs, miners are supposed to keep both chains for a period of time.
“When a fork and orphan blocks occur, miners track transactions under the protocol from both forks. If you don’t get it, read the original alpha code.”
Those who have argued that this is somehow a flaw in the system, and thus requires protocol changes, have done so because they are trying to perpetrate a system to suit their own interests. Wright sees that in Tether, explaining: “The fact of the matter is a badly designed system that is designed with the sole purpose of enabling criminal money laundering, and Tether is being used with other equally poorly designed systems as an argument as to why Bitcoin needed to change. It doesn’t need change.”
The next fear Wright tackles are double spends, which have been one of the primary arguments of those against zero confirmation transactions (0-conf). Again, Wright explains why these fears are unfounded. “Even 0-conf is safe when done correctly in Bitcoin,” he begins. “The problem is that very few people understand the system well enough to implement it correctly. It’s about using SPV [simplified payment verification] and the network as originally designed.”
He goes on to explain that for a miner to even consider facilitating double spends, they would need to put in an immense amount of work, and would almost certainly be caught by the community, and as a result, be in trouble with the law. All it takes is a poll of “a random selection of nodes,” and the activity is caught.
The problem Bitcoin Core (BTC) developers have with this system is that they do not want a system that in any way relies on government intervention, and are building a crippled system to avoid living in a society. They argue against any flaws in the original Bitcoin, now reborn as Bitcoin SV (BSV), because they perceive them as not 100% safe, and they build even more flawed systems as an alternative.
Wright knows there’s no such thing though. “Bitcoin was never cryptographically secure in the way that they’re arguing,” he points out. It’s not designed to be. It’s based on economic security… There is no such thing as ‘100% safe.’ There is only ‘safe enough,’ and it’s all Bitcoin was designed to be.”
For Bitcoin to work as the world’s new money, it needs to be able to handle millions of transactions, and quickly. It can’t get bogged down with hours of waiting time for each transaction. To be able to handle the load, it needs to depends on SPV. He concludes:
“I didn’t have SPV working when I first launched Bitcoin, and I’m glad that I didn’t.
“I’m glad because SPV is utterly critical to making Bitcoin work and scale. And the thing is, nobody got it. As simple as it was, as many hints as I tried to give people, in a decade nobody came close. So consequently, one of the most critical parts of Bitcoin is covered by a patent. Like it or not, there is no way to make Bitcoin scale and work without SPV.”
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