Editorial 16 July 2018Eli Afram
A year in review for Bitcoin Cash
This time last year, the Bitcoin community was heavily divided. On one hand, we had “big blockers”, a significant group of developers, miners and investors, who understood and agreed with the original implementation and scalability plan to scale on chain, and on the other hand we had a group of developers who had taken hold of the primary Bitcoin repository, didn’t believe in on-chain scaling, and refused to allow any ‘big blocker’ to participate in development or scaling discussions.
Amaury Sechet once said, that if you have a team of developers who believe you can’t scale on-chain controlling the repository of a project, it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It was a turbulent time, and to say that things were uncertain for ‘big blockers’ would be the understatement of the year as far as the crypto world was concerned.
Miners weren’t voting Segwit in… and in fact, Segwit on its own had significantly less hashpower supporting it than the big blocks, as evidenced by the miner support for Bitcoin Unlimited at the time. But with no proposal receiving the required support to activate, Barry Silbert of DCG, brought together major entities and miners of the eco-system, to agree and sign on what is now known as the New York Agreement. Signatories of the agreement represented 90% of the mining hashpower and assuming all parties remained honest, it would have been a done deal to secure both Segwit, and a doubled blocksize increase. The catch however, was that the blocksize hardfork, would happen months after the Segwit soft-fork would be enacted.
The timing of the NYA couldn’t have been more critical to activate Segwit. Bear in mind that it was only months later, that BTC fees and wait times literally skyrocketed to astronomical heights, creating panic and confusion among new investors, and likely prematurely ending BTC’s gigantic bull-run. Had the NYA not come in to rescue segwit from non-activation, the economic pressure of the fee situation in those months may very well have seen Bitcoin Unlimited win out.
The NYA agreement turned out to be a fraud. With a large number of signatories backing out of the blocksize increase component of the deal, Core devs ended up getting everything they wanted in the first place. Segwit. No blocksize increase, and as evidenced by the astronomical fees and congestion, no scalability either.
If the NYA was designed with ill intent purely for the activation of Segwit, at the most critical time, then it was an incredibly well executed plan by entities that didn’t want Bitcoin to scale.
But of equal genius was Amaury Sechet’s initiative to fork and save the pre-segwit Bitcoin fork. At “the future of Bitcoin” conference in Amsterdam last year, the Bitcoin ABC lead developer explained his plan to fork Bitcoin as a counter measure, in case the signatories renege on the NYA, and “to keep them honest”.
His initiative not only proved to be vital for the untainted, legacy Bitcoin chain, but it was also prophetic in anticipating and making the right moves in what looked like a game of 3d chess at the time.
The fork maintained the existing ledger and ensured the survivability of the chain by implementing a temporary emergency difficult algorithm, which ensured the chain lives on despite the reduced hash power. The ‘EDA’ has since been removed and replaced by a much improved Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm.
Fast forward to today, and Bitcoin Cash has restored an entire eco-system. Particularly with BitPay and Coinbase moving to support BCH, it has meant that a vast majority of merchants that used to accept BTC, now by default also accept BCH.
But the year in review isn’t just a story about restoring what was lost, it has been a story of what has been gained. We’ve witnessed a year of unprecedented development.
The vast array of projects that have sprung up utilising the BCH chain are truly too many to mention here. The website http://devs.cash/ is a good start for anyone curious. But to acknowledge that this impressive list is merely the work of less than 1 year, should make even the sceptics stand up and take notice.
With BCH taking leaps and bounds in its first year, we can only imagine what’s in store for its second year. Stripped away from its shackles, Bitcoin can grow – indefinitely. In year 2, we will see smart contract tokenization, more wallets with built in mixers bringing privacy and fungibility, prominence of on-chain gaming, voting, and gambling. Big businesses will take notice and begin to build and host their data on the network, and utilise the chain at enterprise level. The future is bright.
Meanwhile off-chain supporters will argue that increasing the blocksize is “the easy way out”. The BCH community knows, this is where real engineering is at. Bitcoin is the blockchain, and if we want to scale Bitcoin, we have to scale the blockchain. Off-chain is off Bitcoin. It’s a work-around. It doesn’t address the fundamental nature of scaling Bitcoin itself.
The world is in dire need of sound money. Bitcoin Cash has the power and capacity to do the job. So for year 2, as Tom Harding likes to say, “Let’s fix money”.
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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