Editorial 28 August 2018

Steven Stradbrooke

The background on the Bitmain ABC fork

When it was published, the original Satoshi white paper was groundbreaking in that it removed the third parties from handling your money—it was perfect in its simplicity. It gave the people the formula for electronic cash that all it required was for the cooks to follow the recipe.

Jihan Wu of Bitmain and Bitcoin ABC are looking to add their spices to the original protocols by changing and adding to those original protocols, and they are slowing any attempts at massive on-chain scaling by limiting the block size to just 32MB.

People will argue otherwise, but Bitcoin is a purely capitalist system. If you invest and you are successful you will be rewarded, but you are in a competitive marketplace, you’re competing with other miners who are also looking to be successful. It takes time, effort and, more importantly, investment to ensure you remain competitive.

In limiting block size, the software developers are acting as a controlling body—controlling the means of production and subsidizing inefficient or worse, miners that refuse to invest to compete in the open marketplace.

It’s not a bug; it’s a feature.

Greg Maxwell (formerly of Blockstream) warned of a dreaded Big Block Attack where larger miners would push out the smaller less-invested miners, intentionally misrepresenting or misunderstanding the importance of aggressively scaling the network.

Aggressively raising the block size cap will force the miners who can’t compete or don’t want to, to drop out and it will leave the space open for groups willing to invest in their operations which will ensure the long-term viability and security of Bitcoin.

To reach the level of a global currency and payment system, Bitcoin needs network operations on the level of Visa, MasterCard and the big banks. Apologies to your home laptop mining setup, I’m sure it’s lovely.

Change for the sake of change?

Bitmain and ABC seem to want to introduce change for change’s sake, and they haven’t considered the impact those changes will have on the ecosystem. If they’re going to experiment like it’s science class, they can use a test net, or they can fork off.

Their attempt to change the underlying BCH protocols would be the equivalent of allowing an internet service provider to manipulate the underlying Internet protocol.

The proposal to include Canonical Transaction Ordering Rule (CTO) shows they haven’t thought this through. In CTO, transactions are sorted based on their block identifiers changing the underlying protocols—that’s problem one. The second problem is that it doesn’t solve the issue of future network scaling.

What it accomplishes, and the only thing it accomplishes is to make chainless apps more capable. Which is all well and good for developers, but it opens up a host of other problems for the network as it forces people to trust a third party or software “oracle.”

Another problem with CTO is that it does not—and can not—support 0-confirmation transactions. Given that Bitcoin is designed to be used as cash, as BCH has routinely shown itself to be, eliminating the possibility of 0-confirmation transactions erodes the ecosystem that is driving the digital currency. Even Amaury Séchet, who helped develop CTO, recognized that it would be an issue, saying, “The actions I have to take along the way will surely irritate many, but this is too important not to be tackled now.”

Bitmain’s CEO Jihan Wu, who most acknowledge is the secret benefactor to ABC’s Amaury Séchet, is a strong supporter of CTO. Wu also backs Wormhole, a layer-2 technology that allows for the creation of smart contracts.

On the surface, it sounds like a positive step forward, but ultimately it drives innovation backward. It produces a cryptocurrency that emulates Ethereum (ETH), resulting in the BCH network turning more into a developer’s playground, which, in turn, could open up to government and securities regulations.

There is also the concern that Bitmain and Wu, are most likely funding ABC. As Bitmain is a strong proponent of both CTO and Wormhole and has a history of supporting limited block sizes, red flags immediately raise. Why a mining company would support changes that have yet to be proven effective.

Wu was an essential cog in getting Segregated Witness (Segwit) implemented on the BTC blockchain, which has severely limited the network’s potential. Segwit also paved the way for Lightning Network’s incorporation into BTC, supposedly to ease transaction times. To date, however, Lightning has yet to perform as intended.

The Bitcoin BCH ecosystem is not a toy to be frivolously manipulated on a whim. Developing the system as originally intended is the only way to ensure that it can be taken seriously and survive as cryptocurrency was meant to be.

You can’t build on moving sand.

For Bitcoin to reach the moon, it needs adoption—adoption by businesses, merchants, app developers, users and everyone who wants to earn and spend electronic cash.

With their suggested changes to the original protocols, Jihan Wu and Bitcoin ABC are essentially asking people to invest their money in building on moving sand. It’s unstable, and the landscape will change randomly at a moment’s notice.

The stakes are too high, and we believe that the original white paper needs its chance to succeed on its own as is the way in a free market.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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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