Editorial 9 January 2019Eli Afram
The split, and the future… Now we build
The following is reprinted with permission from the author, Eli Afram. This post was originally published on Yours.org, where content creators get paid for their work. Please visit Yours.org and support content creators.
I’ve gone silent on my thoughts… because like many of you, I have been devastated by the fallout of the split. We’ve seen friendships obliterated, people who once fought side-by-side during the big blocker campaign, now hurling insults at one another, an ecosystem of developers, and products, split into two. While exchanges remained loyal to ABC, much of the application development went with BSV.
And this split was much more frustrating than [Bitcoin BCH/Bitcoin Core (BTC)]. BCH was a liberation. The split with BCH/[Bitcoin SV (BSV)] is a failure of the community. Two factions presented opposing roadmaps. BSV developers wanted to lock down the protocol that they believe already works, is capable of scaling with some software improvements, and ABC wanted to keep building on it, and introduce new features including the upcoming preconsensus move called avalanche.
BOTH camps did not budge, and BOTH camps refused to compromise. nChain’s Dr Craig Wright is a controversial who has a knack for saying things that pisses everyone off. So controversial, that a large part of the eco-system sided with ABC for the mere fact that Wright was on the other team. We know who, because these same people rejected ABC’s CTOR [canonical transaction order rule] change in the beginning, but when push came to shove, sided with ABC. I guess many picked what they perceived as the lesser of the two evils… All this while ignoring the fundamental issue at hand – the software. Bitcoin… It became about the hatred of one man, that the software is overlooked.
Software is apolitical. No matter the coder, developer or head. In open source coding, the code is there, visible, usable, transparent. When we support an implementation because of a person, there is a problem.
But moving on;
Bitcoin.com and Bitmain sought to rent hashpower from BTC to immediately illustrate accumulated Proof of Work advantage. But it seems so fearful were they of Dr Wright’s taunts, that ABC implemented a series of changes, some of which were only known by a handful of people, to prevent any re-org attack. This secretive, back-door deal, is… by all accounts nothing short in likeness to deep state movements.
We talk about the greatness of open-source projects, but secretly make coding changes that only few are aware of. There is NOTHING open source about such movements. The move represented everything that Bitcoin stands against.
I for one was sickened the moment I learned of the checkpointing saga. On that day, admittedly my blood boiled. In part, I had accepted that ABC might win, and I was ok with that, but I was not ok with an ABC win that has forever tainted its project. On that day, I publicly tweeted that I now understood why Jihan Wu always said BitcoinCash is BitcoinCash and not Bitcoin because it supported the move of “implementing a centrally governed variable to destroy competition”. Not long after I deleted the post. Because again, I felt that this was a one-off and so be it… I may end up supporting ABC – I was open to it. I deleted it, but not before Jihan Wu responded [on Twitter] with the following:
“There are super crucial sensitive economics activities happened on the blockchain around the fork point. Keeping an exposure to 51% attack risks to your boss CSW is not an option of BCH community. Go away, build your BSV eco with Negative Gamma science. Leave BCH alone.”
Then ABC went forward and implemented a 10 block rolling checkpoint, and I began to regret ever deleting my original tweet. Messing with Proof of Work is NOT Bitcoin. Secret changes to something supposed to be “open source”, is NOT Bitcoin.
The 10 block reorg prevention mechanism heralded something new and for me, changed BitcoinCash [sic] forever. Firstly, the original checkpoint was something that infuriated me, but I was able to do some mental gymnastics to get over it. For example, the fact that Satoshi himself implemented checkpoints early on somehow makes it a little more valid… But even then, I have the following two points to make concerning it.
1. Are you Satoshi?
2. Are you Bootstrapping the project?
See we don’t talk about it often, but Satoshi, as the creator of the software is afforded a number of concessions on his actions. For example, he was the first sole miner… but nobody holds this against him. He implemented spam prevention methods and introduced temporary fees, and a block size limit, even though these went against the ultimate design of the system and so on. These were early bootstrapping moves. This includes checkpoints.
Bitcoin is passed that and using these methods to once again centralise control of the blockchain is a crime on Bitcoin. A crime in the metaphorical sense. I don’t support the lawsuit.
ABCs defense is that they made emergency changes to prevent an attack. The issue is that a group of people decided ahead of time who the threat is, making themselves judge, jury and executioner. This is problematic on a number of levels. It is no different to emergency laws imposed by a state in order to gain more control over a system. Think of the emergency laws instated by Turkey following [the] revolt against the presidency. Erdogan now has more power than we could have dreamed of. The Australian government itself is pushing for companies of apps like [Facebook] and WhatsApp to provide them with a backdoor to spy on messages… all in the name of combating terrorism.
The rolling checkpoint in my opinion changed Bitcoin Cash forever. You depart from a fundamental tenet of Bitcoin (the longest chain), and you have forfeited Bitcoin’s name.
I’ve in all sincerity made peace with BCH and ABC. But I accept it as Bitcoin Cash, and not as Bitcoin. This is [afterall] the wish of it’s [sic] lead developer Amaury Sechet and of the main financier Jihan Wu. I hold BCH, and will continue using it. But my love affair with calling it Bitcoin has come to an end, and I hope you can see why.
When Bitcoin Cash first forked, little did any of us know that Amaury Sechet was funded by Bitmain to create a specialised coin headed by ABC. Calvin [Ayre] and nChain started to call it Bitcoin, and they flew to meet Roger, and got him on-board to also call it Bitcoin. Bitcoin.com and Coingeek.com both posted sensational articles claiming BCH is Bitcoin. Much to Jihan’s anguish, who moved away from this rhetoric.
[Wu stated on Twitter], “America is not England. America is America. Bitcoin Cash is not Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin Cash.”
Amaury echoed similar sentiment…
Jihan Wu is not a bad person. In fact, I actually think he’s genuinely good. But my word, he got into a horrible pickle. He helped create Bitcoin Cash and probably saw it as his special project… but only to see an army of people come on-board and rename his project to Bitcoin, and claim other things about it. It’s very similar to Amaury’s position on calling it BCC… only to have exchanges settle on calling the ticker BCH. Amaury wanted the logo Orange, everyone else went for Green. Jihan would surely have felt himself losing grip of a pet project that he helped steer. I truly believe that if nChain had known of ABC’s plans and their immovable position, that they would have stuck with BTC and gone for their original move to attempt to block segwit… and perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided.
In the end there can only be one Bitcoin. That is the one that honours the founding vision, and locks the protocol to a workable and scaleable version of the original, within reason to ensure applications can be developed.
Why lock the protocol? Because if we don’t, we are literally heading for a forking nightmare. Keeping the protocol under constant feature development, not only moves away from Bitcoin’s fundamental protocol but will also undoubtedly bring contention time and time again over many features. Do you [really] think this is the last split?? No… Splits will remain a natural part of the cycle, as every time there is a disagreement between miners, they will split. The only way to prevent splits is to seek stability. Establish a protocol that works, and stick to it. Developers can build a plethora of on-chain applications – their job does not end.
I’ve slowly watched many rational minds become so fixated on their hatred of CSW that they themselves have turned into shells of their former selves. The incessant chants of “Cult of Craig” has in retrospect turned many into the church of hate. – Not that CSW doesn’t bring a lot of this on himself. His outbursts and behaviour on social media doesn’t bode well for him. But the pendulum has swung so far that it is bordering on fanaticism.
I used to defend CSW on injustices. When people attacked him as a person, I let it go as fair game, because he brings that upon himself. But when people made false accusations, I’d turn around and provide evidence to the contrary. But I’ve stopped doing that also… Simply because I’ve realised that people don’t care for the truth. Last year CSW was accused of plagiarising certain texts – only for it then to be uncovered that the pages he plagiarised were from a chapter that he actually originally authored. Then he supposedly plagiarised planetmaths – yet little did anyone know that he did reference the original source that planetmaths themselves took the piece from.
I’m no longer going to defend CSW on such things. Because this tirade is endless, and because nobody cares for the truth. This was evidenced in the plagiarism accusation where the accusation received countless comments and likes, but the truth of his authorship on the source material, got very little traction. Most people don’t care… but some do. Those that really want to seek, will do so of their own accord.
Jihan thinks I work for CSW – no doubt many do. CSW has never given me a dime. Nor do I work for Calvin either. I have a deep seated reason for this, but it comes down to me wanting to maintain my own voice. The moment I am paid, I am at the mercy of the financier. I’m far too opinionated to be a mouth piece.
There are many things CSW has said that I disagree with. His email to Roger was poor form. His cheering for the Lawsuit against Bitmain and co is something I don’t support either. I can say similar things about Coingeek… I certainly don’t agree with everything that Coingeek does and says… For all of the flaws I can count, none of it matters. Because nChain and Coingeek are the only two entities with the balls in the space that have shown they are willing to defend the original Bitcoin implementation. Seriously, nobody else is here defending Bitcoin.
Character traits, egos, and all the bullshit aside. This is about Bitcoin. This is about software, economics, and what works and what doesn’t. Bitcoin is what we all invested in. The whitepaper resonated with us and we saw value in it. Now every one wants their own pedestal, their own voice.
I am no longer going to write these pieces as regularly. For all of the work and unpaid effort that I put in to trying to spread awareness and be a voice in support, I watched it all get obliterated in a week. I on-boarded many merchants in Australia, and none of them now support BCH or BSV. Everything I have ever written seems to have been in vain, because in the end people will hear what they want to hear.
But this realisation has catapulted me into where i need to be. 2019 is the year we are going to build. No more talking, just building. I have projects I am working on that will truly show why Bitcoin is important. The blockchain that builds the most, and the blockchain with applications that serve companies, organisations and governments most, facilitating the most transactional requirements will win. We now build for real life use cases. Deliver on things that over a billion people want.
Some people are bitter with BSV because Calvin called it government friendly. This doesn’t mean what people think it means. Building an app for government use isn’t about the blockchain being government friendly. You can build your app however you want. Some will choose to support government needs, and some will choose not to. The blockchain is your platform to build on. If a government wishes to build on the blockchain, who are we to stop them? Isn’t censorship resistance all about allowing anyone to build? How much better would the world be today if we allowed transparent voting on the blockchain? Bitcoin will bring transparency and honesty and it will forever revolutionise the world. It’s time we support our miners… and build in all manners to generate traffic and support the infrastructure.
PS. To the countless BCH friends I’ve made along the way… including wtfkenneth, porlyb, maplesyrup, Peter R, Roger V, David, Hayden and many many more… I’m sorry – wish things could be different. But it’s for the best we work on our own projects now… and make global sound money a reality.
Nothing After Paywall. Do not pay.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.
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