Mike Hearn Has Left The Bitcoin Building - Bitcoinist.com
Mike Hearn Has Left The Bitcoin Building - Bitcoinist.com
Reactions to Mike Hearn’s Departure, Aside from the ...
The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment. By Mike Hearn ...
The Deeper Meaning Behind Mike Hearn's Post On Bitcoin
Mike Hearn. All about cryptocurrency - BitcoinWiki
Ummm, remember those "Expert" Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2019 ..... ohhhhh dear .....
Lots of cryptocurrency "experts" put whatever "reputation" and "credibility" they had on the line with Bitcoin predictions in 2019, and and came up wayyyyyy short. Eggs on Face ... by the cartoon. Any credibility thay had, completely destroyed, exposing them for the coin schills that they truly are. Luckily for these lying, delusional morons, Butters has a very short selective memory, and he will still believe everything they say again and again in the future, no matter how wrong or corrupt they are. Without further ado, I give you the "Expert" Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2019:
Question: Why isn't anyone holding the above "experts" accountable for their bogus, bullshit predictions ??? In addition, we have some gems from various Redditors, and here are some of the stand-outs:
Result: Every single prediction I am tracking was wrong. Question: Why isn't anyone holding the above "experts" accountable for their bogus, bullshit predictions ??? Promises / Claims / Predictions still to be determined:
So, according to these "experts" Bitcoin will be anywhere between $20K and $150K in just over 2 months time. Also, there will be a financial collapse, bank cards will stop working, and Bitcoin mainstream adoption will happen, according to the clueless, coin schill asshole u/diydude2. WOW, the world sure is going to change in ~2 months. . EDIT: Fix deadline to 2019-04 for Dan Morehead's "$20,000 within a year [by 12-Apr-2019"] prediction. Thanks to u/Prom3th3an.
Hello again. It's been a while. People have been emailing me about once a week or so for the last year to ask if I'm coming back to Bitcoin now that Bitcoin Cash exists. And a couple of weeks ago I was summoned on a thread called "Ask Mike Hearn Anything", but that was nothing to do with me and I was on holiday in Japan at the time. So I figured I should just answer all the different questions and answers in one place rather than keep doing it individually over email. Firstly, thanks for the kind words on this sub. I don't take part anymore but I still visit occasionally to see what people are talking about, and the people posting nice messages is a pleasant change from three years ago. Secondly, who am I? Some new Bitcoiners might not know. I am Satoshi. Just kidding. I'm not Satoshi. I was a Bitcoin developer for about five years, from 2010-2015. I was also one of the first Bitcoin users, sending my first coins in April 2009 (to SN), about 4 months after the genesis block. I worked on various things:
My main effort was an implementation of a Java library called bitcoinj. This was the engine used in the first p2p mobile wallet ("Bitcoin Wallet for Android"), and the first p2p desktop wallet that was faster to run than Bitcoin [Core] itself (MultiBit). These together were responsible for around 2.5 million user installs at a time when downloading the full block chain was becoming too slow for normal users to tolerate and the only alternative was a "bitbank" or cloud-hosted wallet. It was used in the first trustless gambling site (SatoshiDice), over 100 products and projects, and many academic research papers.
With Gavin Andresen and others I designed some upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol like Bloom filtering and BIP70.
With Matt Corrallo I implemented and demonstrated the first version of (micro)payment channels. I put together a demo of a file server that charged micropayments using a GUI called Payfile (mentioned in New Scientist here). I used to have a video of this but unfortunately it no longer seems to be on YouTube. Payment channels went on to be used in the design of the Lightning Network.
You can see a trend here - I was always interested in developing peer to peer decentralised applications that used Bitcoin. But what I'm best known for is my role in the block size debate/civil war, documented by Nathaniel Popper in the New York Times. I spent most of 2015 writing extensively about why various proposals from the small-block/Blockstream faction weren't going to work (e.g. on replace by fee, lightning network, what would occur if no hard fork happened, soft forks, scaling conferences etc). After Blockstream successfully took over Bitcoin Core and expelled anyone who opposed them, Gavin and I forked Bitcoin Core to create Bitcoin XT, the first alternative node implementation to gain any serious usage. The creation of XT led to the imposition of censorship across all Bitcoin discussion forums and news outlets, resulted in the creation of this sub, and Core supporters paid a botnet operator to force XT nodes offline with DDoS attacks. They also convinced the miners and wider community to do nothing for years, resulting in the eventual overload of the main network. I left the project at the start of 2016, documenting my reasons and what I expected to happen in my final essay on Bitcoin in which I said I considered it a failed experiment. Along with the article in the New York Times this pierced the censorship, made the wider world aware of what was going on, and thus my last gift to the community was a 20% drop in price (it soon recovered).
The last two years
Left Bitcoin ... but not decentralisation. After all that went down I started a new project called Corda. You can think of Corda as Bitcoin++, but modified for industrial use cases where a decentralised p2p database is more immediately useful than a new coin. Corda incorporates many ideas I had back when I was working on Bitcoin but couldn't implement due to lack of time, resources, because of ideological wars or because they were too technically radical for the community. So even though it's doesn't provide a new cryptocurrency out of the box, it might be interesting for the Bitcoin Cash community to study anyway. By resigning myself to Bitcoin's fate and joining R3 I could go back to the drawing board and design with a lot more freedom, creating something inspired by Bitcoin's protocol but incorporating all the experience we gained writing Bitcoin apps over the years. The most common question I'm asked is whether I'd come back and work on Bitcoin again. The obvious followup question is - come back and work on what? If you want to see some of the ideas I'd have been exploring if things had worked out differently, go read the Corda tech white paper. Here's a few of the things it might be worth asking about:
Corda's data model is a UTXO ledger, like Bitcoin. Outputs in Corda (called "states") can be arbitrary data structures instead of just coin amounts, so you don't need hacks like coloured coins anymore. You can track arbitrary fungible assets, but you can also model things like the state of a loan, deal, purchase order, crate of cargo etc.
Transactions are structured as Merkle trees.
Corda has a compound key format that can represent more flexible conditions than CHECKMULTISIG can.
Smart contracts are stateless predicates like in Bitcoin, but you can loop like in Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum we do not invent our own VM or languages.
Transactions can have files attached to them. Smart contracts in Corda are stored in attachments and referenced by hash, so large programs aren't duplicated inside every transaction.
The P2P network is encrypted.
Back in 2014 I wrote that Bitcoin needed a store and forward network, to make app dev easier, and to improve privacy. Corda doesn't have a store and forward network - Corda is a store and forward network.
It has a "flow framework" that makes structured back-and-forth conversations very easy to program. This makes protocols like payment channelss a lot quicker and easier to implement, and would have made Lighthouse much more straightforward. A big part of my goal with Corda was to simplify the act of building complicated decentralised applications, based on those Bitcoin experiences. Lighthouse took about 8 months of full time work to build, but it's pretty spartan anyway. That's because Bitcoin offers almost nothing to developers who want to build P2P apps that go beyond simple payments. Corda does.
The flow framework lets you do hard things quickly. For example, we took part in a competition called Project Ubin, the goal of which was to develop something vaguely analogous in complexity to the Lightning Network or original Ripple (decentralised net-out of debts). But we had about six weeks and one developer. We successfully did that in the time allowed. Compare that to dev time for the Lightning Network.
Corda scales a lot better than Bitcoin, even though Bitcoin could have scaled to the levels needed for large payment networks with enough work and time. It has something similar to what Ethereum calls "sharding". This is possible partly because Corda doesn't use proof of work.
It has a mechanism for signalling the equivalent of hard forks.
It provides much better privacy. Whilst it supports techniques like address randomisation, it also doesn't use global broadcast and we are working on encrypting the entire ledger using Intel SGX, such that no human has access to the raw unencrypted data and such that it's transparent to application developers (i.e. no need to design custom zero knowledge proofs)
Average Bitcoin transaction fee is now above five dollars. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. So much for "banking the unbanked."
80% of Bitcoin's potential user base, and the group that stands to benefit the most from global financial inclusion, are now priced out of using Bitcoin. Very sad that it's come to this. edit: since this post is trending on /all, I'll share some background info for the new people here:
The vast majority of old-school bitcoin users still believe that Bitcoin should be affordable, fast, and available to everyone. Bitcoin development was captured by a bank-funded corporation called Blockstream who literally believe that the more expensive and difficult to transact Bitcoin is, the more valuable it will be (because they apparently think that cost and difficulty of use are the defining characteristics of gold). Just a couple of days ago the CEO of Blockstream re-affirmed that he thinks even $100 transaction fees on Bitcoin are acceptable: https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/6fybcy/adam_back_reaffirms_that_he_thinks_100/ This subreddit, /btc, is where most of us old timers hang out since we are now mostly banned and censored from posting on /bitcoin. That subreddit has become a massive tool for pulling the wool over the eyes of new users and organizing coordinated character assasinations against any prominent individual who speaks out against their status quo. It was revealed that the Blockstream/Core group of developers even have secret chat groups alongside the moderators of /bitcoin for coordinating their trolling campaigns in: https://telegra.ph/Inside-the-Dragons-Den-Bitcoin-Cores-Troll-Army-04-07
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today. During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it) In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited. For more threads like this see UASF
Peter Todd's RBF (Replace-By-Fee) goes against one of the foundational principles of Bitcoin: IRREVOCABLE CASH TRANSACTIONS. RBF is the most radical, controversial change ever proposed to Bitcoin - and it is being forced on the community with no consensus, no debate and no testing. Why?
Many people are starting to raise serious questions and issues regarding Peter Todd's "Opt-In Full RBF", as summarized below: (1) RBF violates one of the fundamental principles of the Bitcoin protocol: irrevocable cash transactions.
Interesting point! Th[is] really is [a] drastically different vision of what Bitcoin according to the core dev team... It would be nice [if] they [wrote their] own "white paper" so we know where they are going...
"From a usability / communications perspective, RBF is all wrong. When the main function of your technology is to PREVENT DOUBLE SPENDING, you don't add an "opt-in" feature which ENCOURAGES DOUBLE SPENDING."
Intentionally doing zero-conf for any reason other than expediting a payment to the same recipients is nothing more than attempted fraud. There needs to be a good reason for enabling this, and last time I looked the case has not been made. People with a black and white view of the world who believe "0 conf bad, 1 conf good" simply do not understand how bitcoin works. By its random nature, bitcoin never makes final commitment to a transaction. Even with six confirmations there is still a chance the transaction will be reversed. In other words, bitcoin finality is not black and white. Instead, there is a probability distribution of confidence that a transaction will not be reversed. Software changes that make it easier to defraud people who have been reasonably accepting 0 conf transactions are of highly questionable value, as they reduce the performance (by increasing delay for a given confidence). If transactions with appropriate fees start failing to ever confirm because of "block size" issues, then bitcoin is simply broken and, if it can not be fixed bitcoin will end up as dead as a doornail.
Transactions spending the same utxo were (until now) not relayed (except by XT nodes). So it wasn't as simple as just sending a double spend, because the transaction wouldn't propagate. FSS-RBF seemed like a good option to get your tx unstuck if you paid too little. Pure RBF I'm not sure what the point of it is. What problem is it solving?
When F2Pool implemented RBF at the behest of Peter Todd they were forced to retract the changes within 24 hours due to the outrage in the community over the proposed changes. So the opposite is actually true. The community actively do not want this change. Has there been any discussion whatsoever about this major change to the protocol?
My business accepts bitcoin and helps people with minor cash transfers and purchases. Fraud has NEVER been an issue as long as the transactions have been broadcast on the blockchain with appropriate fees. We usually send people their cash as soon as the transaction is broadcast. Now we have to wait 10 minutes to avoid getting cheated out of hundreds of dollars, vastly increasing the service cost of accepting bitcoin. And we have to tell customers we promote bitcoin to that they are likely to be cheated if they don't wait 10 minutes while buying their bitcoin. It is such a spectacularly stupid thing to do, adding uncertainty and greater potential for fraud at every link of the transaction chain. Thanks a lot, Peter.
Jeez, we need to give this "zero-conf was never safe" meme a rest already. Cash was also "never safe", but it's widely used because it works reasonably well in the context it's used. These people would probably advocate for a cashless society as well.
I believe it'll be possible for a payment processing company to provide as a service the rapid distribution of transactions with good-enough checking in something like 10 seconds or less. The network nodes only accept the first version of a transaction they receive to incorporate into the block they're trying to generate. When you broadcast a transaction, if someone else broadcasts a double-spend at the same time, it's a race to propagate to the most nodes first. If one has a slight head start, it'll geometrically spread through the network faster and get most of the nodes. A rough back-of-the-envelope example: 1 0 4 1 16 4 64 16 80% 20% So if a double-spend has to wait even a second, it has a huge disadvantage. The payment processor has connections with many nodes. When it gets a transaction, it blasts it out, and at the same time monitors the network for double-spends. If it receives a double-spend on any of its many listening nodes, then it alerts that the transaction is bad. A double-spent transaction wouldn't get very far without one of the listeners hearing it. The double-spender would have to wait until the listening phase is over, but by then, the payment processor's broadcast has reached most nodes, or is so far ahead in propagating that the double-spender has no hope of grabbing a significant percentage of the remaining nodes.
Zero conf was always dangerous, true, but the attacker is rolling a dice with a double spend. And it is detectable because you have to put your double spend transaction on the network within the transaction propagation time (which is measured in seconds). That means in the shop, while the attacker is buying the newspaper, the merchant can get an alert from their payment processor saying "this transaction has a double spend attempt". Wrestling them to the ground is an option. Stealing has to be done in person... No different then from just shop lifting. The attacker takes their chance that the stealing transaction won't be the one that is mined. With rbf, the attacker has up to the next block time to decide to release their double spend transaction. That means the attacker can be out of the shop and ten minutes away by car before the merchant gets the double spend warning from their payment processor. Stealing is not in person and success is guaranteed by the network. Conclusion: every merchant and every payment processor will simply refuse to accept any rbf opt in transaction. That opt in might as well be a flag that says "enable stealing from you with this transaction"... Erm no thanks. There might be a small window while wallet software is updated, but after that this " feature " will go dark. Nobody is going to accept a cheque signed "mickey mouse", and nobody is going to accept a transaction marked rbf. Strangely, that means all this fuss about it getting merged is moot. It will inevitably not be used.
This opens up a new kind of vandalism that will ensure that no wallets use this feature. The way it works is that if you make a transaction, and then double spend the transaction with a higher fee, the one with the higher fee will take priority.
RBF as released is a really, really stupid policy change that will open up Bitcoin to blackmail and wholesale theft of transactions. Bitcoin XT can easily be better than the confused, agenda-ridden rubbish being released by Blockstream and their fellow-travellers.
"opt-in" is a bit of a red-herring. As I understand: say I'm a vendor who doesn't want to accept RBF transactions. So I don't opt-in. I'm still stuck accepting RBF transactions because the sender, not the receiver, has the control.
Yes it is opt-in, which means I have to anticipate ... congestion beforehand to use it. This has caused me troubles recently. Normally I use low-fee mode to transact and switch mode when the network is congested. A few times either I did not know about the congestion or forgot to switch mode and my txn got stuck for 12-48h. So for me this opt-in does nothing of help. If I was conscious about the congestion I would have switch to high-fee mode, no RBF needed. ...Or I have to enabled RBF for all my txns. Then there's problem of receivers have to all upgrade their wallet after the wallet devs choose to implement it. And just to add one more major complication when consider 0-conf.
It seems to me like RBF is addressing a problem (delays due to too-low fees) which would not exist if we had larger blocks. It seems fishy to make this and lightning networks to solve the problem when there's a much simpler solution in plain view. We should set the bar for deceit and mischief unusually high on this one bc there is so much at stake, an entire banking empire.
PT [Peter Todd] is part of a group of devs who propose to create artificial scarcity in order to drive up transaction fees. IOW [In other words], he's a glorified central planner. A free market moves around such engineered scarcity. See also: the music business. tl;dr stop running core.
This maybe a needed feature if Bitcoin get stuck with 1MB.. You might need to jack-up the fee several time to get your fees in a blocks in the future.. It seems that 1MB crrippecoin is really part of their vision.
RBF makes sense in a world where blocks are small and always full. It creates a volatile transaction pricing market where bidders try to outbid each other for the limited space in the current block of txns. It serves the dual goals of limiting transactions and maximizing miner revenue resulting from the artificial scarcity being imposed by the block size limit. The unfortunate side effect is that day to day P2P transactions on the Bitcoin network will become relatively expensive and will be forced onto another layer, or coin.
To say it a bit harsher but IMO warranted: P. Todd seems to be busy inventing useless crap and making things complicated for wallet devs...
— awemany https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/3ujc4m/consensus_jgarzik_rbf_would_be_antisocial_on_the/cxfkwvi (8) Why is the less-safe version of RBF the one being released ("Full") rather than the "safe(r)" version (FSS - First-Seen Safe)? Peter Todd had proposed two different versions of RBF: "Full" vs "FSS" (First-Seen Safe). "Full" is the more dangerous version, because it allows general double-spending (I can't even believe we're even saying things like "allows general double-spending" - but that's the kind of crap Peter Todd is trying to foist on us). "FSS" is supposedly a bit "safer", because is only allows double-spending a transaction with the same output. What's being released now is "Opt-In Full RBF".
First-seen-safe restricts replace-by-fee to only replacing transactions with the same output (prevents double spending). The reason this feature is being added is they see Bitcoin as a settlement network, so when there's a backlog users should be able to replace their transaction with a higher-fee one so it's included. It's to deal with the cripplingly low blocksizes. Someone should just implement and merge first-seen-safe, since that's much more non-controversial. Keeps 0-confs safe(r) while enabling re-submitting transactions.
Ok, so if the only benefit of RBF is to unstick stuck transactions by increasing the fee; why did you use "Full RBF" instead of "FSS RBF"? Full RBF allows the sender to increase the fee and change who the receiver is. FSS (First-Seen-Safe) RBF only allows the sender to increase the fee, but does not allow the sender to change who the receiver is. Tldr: FSS RBF should be enough to enable your wanted benefit of being able to resend stuck transactions by increasing their fee, but you chose Full RBF anyway. Why?
The benefit of opt-in RBF: Now, when a transaction is not going through because fee was accidentally made too low or if there is a spam attack on the network, a user can "un-stuck" his/her transaction by re-sending it with a higher fee. No more being held to the mercy of miners maybe confirming your transaction, or not. The user gets some power back.
If this was the actual problem at hand, why not restrict the RBF to only increasing the fee, but not changing the output addresses. RBF in it's current form is nothing but a tool to facilitate double spending. That is, it lowers the bar for default nodes to assist facilitating double spending. Which is VERY BAD for Bitcoin, imho. Serisouly, I don't know what's gotten into those devs ACK'ing this decrease in Bitcoin's trustwortiness.
And what if some/all miners simply hold RBF-enabled transactions into a separate pool and extract maximum value per transaction i.e. wait until senders cough up more & more ... A very dangerous change that will actively encourage miners to collaborate on extracting higher fees or even extorting senders trying to 'fix' their transactions.
A miner could simply separate all RBF-enabled TX into a separate list and wait for higher and higher fees to be paid. It's kind of like putting a "Take my money, Pls!!!" sign on your forehead and and going shopping.
It's not uncontroversial. There is clearly controversy. You can say the concerns are trumped up, invalid. But if the argument against even discussing XT is that the issue is controversial, the easy ACK'ing of this major change strikes many as hypocritical. There is not zero impact. Someone WILL be double spent as a result of this. You may blame that person for accepting a transaction they shouldn't, or using a wallet that neglected to update to notify them that their transaction was reversible. But it cannot be said that no damage will result due to this change. And in my view most importantly, RBF is a cornerstone in supporting those who believe that we need to keep small blocks. The purpose for this is to enable a more dynamic fee market to develop. I fear this is a step in the direction of a slippery slope.
(12) How does the new RBF feature activate?
Does anyone know how RBF activates? I mean if wallets are not upgraded this could be very dangerous for users. Because even if its opt-in this could kill zero confirmation for good.
the solution to all this, is actually rather simple. Take the power away from these people. Due to the nature of bitcoin, we've always had that power. There never was a need for an "official" or "reference" implementation of the software. For a few years it was simply the most convenient, the mo[s]t efficient, and the best way to work out all the initial kinks bitcoin had. It was also a sort of restricted field in that (obviously) there were few people in the world who truly understood to the degree required to make a) design change proposals, and b) code for them (and note that while up until now this has been the case, it's not necessary for these 2 roles to be carried out by the same people). The last few months' debates over the blocksize limit have shown and educated thst a lot of people now truly understand what's what. And what's more one of the original core-devs (Gavin), already gave us the gift of proving in the real world that democracy in bitcoin can truly exist via voting with the software one (or miners) runs, without meaning to. BitcoinXT was a huge gift to the community, and it's likely to reach its objective in a few months. It seems an implementation of bitcoin UL will test the same principle far sooner than we thought. So the potential for real democracy exists within the network. And we're already fast on our way to most of the community stop[p]ing using core as the reference client. Shit like what Peter pulled yesterday, I predict, will simply accelerate the process. So the solution is arriving, and it's a far better solution th[a]t it would be to, say, locking Peter out of the project. Thi[s] will be real democracy. I also predict in a couple of years a lot of big mining groups/companies/whatever will have their own development teams making their internal software available for everyone else to use. This will create an atmosphere of true debate of real issues and how to solve them, and it will allow people (miners) to vote with their implementations on what the "real" bitcoin should be and how it should function. Exciting times ahead, the wheels are already in motion for this future to come true. The situation is grave, I won't deny that, but I do believe it's very, very temporary.
I was planning to submit a pull request to the 0.11 release of Bitcoin Core that will allow miners to create blocks bigger than one megabyte, starting a little less than a year from now. But this process of peer review turned up a technical issue that needs to get addressed, and I don’t think it can be fixed in time for the first 0.11 release. I will be writing a series of blog posts, each addressing one argument against raising the maximum block size, or against scheduling a raise right now... please send me an email ([email protected]) if I am missing any arguments
In other words, Gavin proposed a hard fork via a series of blog posts, bypassing all developer communication channels altogether and asking for personal, private emails from anyone interested in discussing the proposal further. On May 5 (1 day after Gavin submitted his first blog post), Mike Hearn published The capacity cliff on his Medium page. 2 days later, he posted Crash landing. In these posts, he argued:
A common argument for letting Bitcoin blocks fill up is that the outcome won’t be so bad: just a market for fees... this is wrong. I don’t believe fees will become high and stable if Bitcoin runs out of capacity. Instead, I believe Bitcoin will crash. ...a permanent backlog would start to build up... as the backlog grows, nodes will start running out of memory and dying... as Core will accept any transaction that’s valid without any limit a node crash is eventually inevitable.
He also, in the latter article, explained that he disagreed with Satoshi's vision for how Bitcoin would mature:
Neither me nor Gavin believe a fee market will work as a substitute for the inflation subsidy.
Gavin continued to publish the series of blog posts he had announced while Hearn made these predictions.  Matt Corallo brought Gavin's proposal up on the bitcoin-dev mailing list after a few days. He wrote:
Recently there has been a flurry of posts by Gavin at http://gavinandresen.svbtle.com/ which advocate strongly for increasing the maximum block size. However, there hasnt been any discussion on this mailing list in several years as far as I can tell... So, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'll provide a little bait to get some responses and hope the discussion opens up into an honest comparison of the tradeoffs here. Certainly a consensus in this kind of technical community should be a basic requirement for any serious commitment to blocksize increase. Personally, I'm rather strongly against any commitment to a block size increase in the near future. Long-term incentive compatibility requires that there be some fee pressure, and that blocks be relatively consistently full or very nearly full. What we see today are transactions enjoying next-block confirmations with nearly zero pressure to include any fee at all (though many do because it makes wallet code simpler). This allows the well-funded Bitcoin ecosystem to continue building systems which rely on transactions moving quickly into blocks while pretending these systems scale. Thus, instead of working on technologies which bring Bitcoin's trustlessness to systems which scale beyond a blockchain's necessarily slow and (compared to updating numbers in a database) expensive settlement, the ecosystem as a whole continues to focus on building centralized platforms and advocate for changes to Bitcoin which allow them to maintain the status quo
The point of the hard block size limit is exactly because giving miners free rule to do anything they like with their blocks would allow them to do any number of crazy attacks. The incentives for miners to pick block sizes are no where near compatible with what allows the network to continue to run in a decentralized manner.
I'm not so much opposed to a block size increase as I am opposed to a hard fork... I strongly fear that the hard fork itself will become an excuse to change other aspects of the system in ways that will have unintended and possibly disastrous consequences.
there has been significant public discussion... about why increasing the max block size is kicking the can down the road while possibly compromising blockchain security. There were many excellent objections that were raised that, sadly, I see are not referenced at all in the recent media blitz. Frankly I can't help but feel that if contributions, like those from #bitcoin-wizards, have been ignored in lieu of technical analysis, and the absence of discussion on this mailing list, that I feel perhaps there are other subtle and extremely important technical details that are completely absent from this--and other-- proposals. Secured decentralization is the most important and most interesting property of bitcoin. Everything else is rather trivial and could be achieved millions of times more efficiently with conventional technology. Our technical work should be informed by the technical nature of the system we have constructed. There's no doubt in my mind that bitcoin will always see the most extreme campaigns and the most extreme misunderstandings... for development purposes we must hold ourselves to extremely high standards before proposing changes, especially to the public, that have the potential to be unsafe and economically unsafe. There are many potential technical solutions for aggregating millions (trillions?) of transactions into tiny bundles. As a small proof-of-concept, imagine two parties sending transactions back and forth 100 million times. Instead of recording every transaction, you could record the start state and the end state, and end up with two transactions or less. That's a 100 million fold, without modifying max block size and without potentially compromising secured decentralization. The MIT group should listen up and get to work figuring out how to measure decentralization and its security.. Getting this measurement right would be really beneficial because we would have a more academic and technical understanding to work with.
When Bitcoin is changed fundamentally, via a hard fork, to have different properties, the change can create winners or losers... There are non-trivial number of people who hold extremes on any of these general belief patterns; Even among the core developers there is not a consensus on Bitcoin's optimal role in society and the commercial marketplace. there is a at least a two fold concern on this particular ("Long term Mining incentives") front: One is that the long-held argument is that security of the Bitcoin system in the long term depends on fee income funding autonomous, anonymous, decentralized miners profitably applying enough hash-power to make reorganizations infeasible. For fees to achieve this purpose, there seemingly must be an effective scarcity of capacity. The second is that when subsidy has fallen well below fees, the incentive to move the blockchain forward goes away. An optimal rational miner would be best off forking off the current best block in order to capture its fees, rather than moving the blockchain forward... tools like the Lightning network proposal could well allow us to hit a greater spectrum of demands at once--including secure zero-confirmation (something that larger blocksizes reduce if anything), which is important for many applications. With the right technology I believe we can have our cake and eat it too, but there needs to be a reason to build it; the security and decentralization level of Bitcoin imposes a hard upper limit on anything that can be based on it. Another key point here is that the small bumps in blocksize which wouldn't clearly knock the system into a largely centralized mode--small constants--are small enough that they don't quantitatively change the operation of the system; they don't open up new applications that aren't possible today the procedure I'd prefer would be something like this: if there is a standing backlog, we-the-community of users look to indicators to gauge if the network is losing decentralization and then double the hard limit with proper controls to allow smooth adjustment without fees going to zero (see the past proposals for automatic block size controls that let miners increase up to a hard maximum over the median if they mine at quadratically harder difficulty), and we don't increase if it appears it would be at a substantial increase in centralization risk. Hardfork changes should only be made if they're almost completely uncontroversial--where virtually everyone can look at the available data and say "yea, that isn't undermining my property rights or future use of Bitcoin; it's no big deal". Unfortunately, every indicator I can think of except fee totals has been going in the wrong direction almost monotonically along with the blockchain size increase since 2012 when we started hitting full blocks and responded by increasing the default soft target. This is frustrating many people--myself included--have been working feverishly hard behind the scenes on Bitcoin Core to increase the scalability. This work isn't small-potatoes boring software engineering stuff; I mean even my personal contributions include things like inventing a wholly new generic algebraic optimization applicable to all EC signature schemes that increases performance by 4%, and that is before getting into the R&D stuff that hasn't really borne fruit yet, like fraud proofs. Today Bitcoin Core is easily >100 times faster to synchronize and relay than when I first got involved on the same hardware, but these improvements have been swallowed by the growth. The ironic thing is that our frantic efforts to keep ahead and not lose decentralization have both not been enough (by the best measures, full node usage is the lowest its been since 2011 even though the user base is huge now) and yet also so much that people could seriously talk about increasing the block size to something gigantic like 20MB. This sounds less reasonable when you realize that even at 1MB we'd likely have a smoking hole in the ground if not for existing enormous efforts to make scaling not come at a loss of decentralization.
In short, without either a fixed blocksize or fixed fee per transaction Bitcoin will will not survive as there is no viable way to pay for PoW security. The latter option - fixed fee per transaction - is non-trivial to implement in a way that's actually meaningful - it's easy to give miners "kickbacks" - leaving us with a fixed blocksize. Even a relatively small increase to 20MB will greatly reduce the number of people who can participate fully in Bitcoin, creating an environment where the next increase requires the consent of an even smaller portion of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Where does that stop? What's the proposed mechanism that'll create an incentive and social consensus to not just 'kick the can down the road'(3) and further centralize but actually scale up Bitcoin the hard way?
I am - in general - in favor of increasing the size blocks... Controversial hard forks. I hope the mailing list here today already proves it is a controversial issue. Independent of personal opinions pro or against, I don't think we can do a hard fork that is controversial in nature. Either the result is effectively a fork, and pre-existing coins can be spent once on both sides (effectively failing Bitcoin's primary purpose), or the result is one side forced to upgrade to something they dislike - effectively giving a power to developers they should never have. Quoting someone: "I did not sign up to be part of a central banker's committee". The reason for increasing is "need". If "we need more space in blocks" is the reason to do an upgrade, it won't stop after 20 MB. There is nothing fundamental possible with 20 MB blocks that isn't with 1 MB blocks. Misrepresentation of the trade-offs. You can argue all you want that none of the effects of larger blocks are particularly damaging, so everything is fine. They will damage something (see below for details), and we should analyze these effects, and be honest about them, and present them as a trade-off made we choose to make to scale the system better. If you just ask people if they want more transactions, of course you'll hear yes. If you ask people if they want to pay less taxes, I'm sure the vast majority will agree as well. Miner centralization. There is currently, as far as I know, no technology that can relay and validate 20 MB blocks across the planet, in a manner fast enough to avoid very significant costs to mining. There is work in progress on this (including Gavin's IBLT-based relay, or Greg's block network coding), but I don't think we should be basing the future of the economics of the system on undemonstrated ideas. Without those (or even with), the result may be that miners self-limit the size of their blocks to propagate faster, but if this happens, larger, better-connected, and more centrally-located groups of miners gain a competitive advantage by being able to produce larger blocks. I would like to point out that there is nothing evil about this - a simple feedback to determine an optimal block size for an individual miner will result in larger blocks for better connected hash power. If we do not want miners to have this ability, "we" (as in: those using full nodes) should demand limitations that prevent it. One such limitation is a block size limit (whatever it is). Ability to use a full node. Skewed incentives for improvements... without actual pressure to work on these, I doubt much will change. Increasing the size of blocks now will simply make it cheap enough to continue business as usual for a while - while forcing a massive cost increase (and not just a monetary one) on the entire ecosystem. Fees and long-term incentives. I don't think 1 MB is optimal. Block size is a compromise between scalability of transactions and verifiability of the system. A system with 10 transactions per day that is verifiable by a pocket calculator is not useful, as it would only serve a few large bank's settlements. A system which can deal with every coffee bought on the planet, but requires a Google-scale data center to verify is also not useful, as it would be trivially out-competed by a VISA-like design. The usefulness needs in a balance, and there is no optimal choice for everyone. We can choose where that balance lies, but we must accept that this is done as a trade-off, and that that trade-off will have costs such as hardware costs, decreasing anonymity, less independence, smaller target audience for people able to fully validate, ... Choose wisely.
this list is not a good place for making progress or reaching decisions. if Bitcoin continues on its current growth trends it will run out of capacity, almost certainly by some time next year. What we need to see right now is leadership and a plan, that fits in the available time window. I no longer believe this community can reach consensus on anything protocol related. When the money supply eventually dwindles I doubt it will be fee pressure that funds mining What I don't see from you yet is a specific and credible plan that fits within the next 12 months and which allows Bitcoin to keep growing.
We've successfully reached consensus for several softfork proposals already. I agree with others that hardfork need to be uncontroversial and there should be consensus about them. If you have other ideas for the criteria for hardfork deployment all I'm ears. I just hope that by "What we need to see right now is leadership" you don't mean something like "when Gaving and Mike agree it's enough to deploy a hardfork" when you go from vague to concrete. Oh, so your answer to "bitcoin will eventually need to live on fees and we would like to know more about how it will look like then" it's "no bitcoin long term it's broken long term but that's far away in the future so let's just worry about the present". I agree that it's hard to predict that future, but having some competition for block space would actually help us get more data on a similar situation to be able to predict that future better. What you want to avoid at all cost (the block size actually being used), I see as the best opportunity we have to look into the future. this is my plan: we wait 12 months... and start having full blocks and people having to wait 2 blocks for their transactions to be confirmed some times. That would be the beginning of a true "fee market", something that Gavin used to say was his #1 priority not so long ago (which seems contradictory with his current efforts to avoid that from happening). Having a true fee market seems clearly an advantage. What are supposedly disastrous negative parts of this plan that make an alternative plan (ie: increasing the block size) so necessary and obvious. I think the advocates of the size increase are failing to explain the disadvantages of maintaining the current size. It feels like the explanation are missing because it should be somehow obvious how the sky will burn if we don't increase the block size soon. But, well, it is not obvious to me, so please elaborate on why having a fee market (instead of just an price estimator for a market that doesn't even really exist) would be a disaster.
No. What I meant is that someone (theoretically Wladimir) needs to make a clear decision. If that decision is "Bitcoin Core will wait and watch the fireworks when blocks get full", that would be showing leadership I will write more on the topic of what will happen if we hit the block size limit... I don't believe we will get any useful data out of such an event. I've seen distributed systems run out of capacity before. What will happen instead is technological failure followed by rapid user abandonment... we need to hear something like that from Wladimir, or whoever has the final say around here.
it is true that "universally uncontroversial" (which is what I think the requirement should be for hard forks) is a vague qualifier that's not formally defined anywhere. I guess we should only consider rational arguments. You cannot just nack something without further explanation. If his explanation was "I will change my mind after we increase block size", I guess the community should say "then we will just ignore your nack because it makes no sense". In the same way, when people use fallacies (purposely or not) we must expose that and say "this fallacy doesn't count as an argument". But yeah, it would probably be good to define better what constitutes a "sensible objection" or something. That doesn't seem simple though. it seems that some people would like to see that happening before the subsidies are low (not necessarily null), while other people are fine waiting for that but don't want to ever be close to the scale limits anytime soon. I would also like to know for how long we need to prioritize short term adoption in this way. As others have said, if the answer is "forever, adoption is always the most important thing" then we will end up with an improved version of Visa. But yeah, this is progress, I'll wait for your more detailed description of the tragedies that will follow hitting the block limits, assuming for now that it will happen in 12 months. My previous answer to the nervous "we will hit the block limits in 12 months if we don't do anything" was "not sure about 12 months, but whatever, great, I'm waiting for that to observe how fees get affected". But it should have been a question "what's wrong with hitting the block limits in 12 months?"
This post covers what happened in Decred last month. Let's get down to business and have About section at the end.
Wallet and node software version 1.2.0 has been released. Decrediton wallet highlights: improved startup experience, redesigned overview page, added basic graphs to visualize statistics and an export to CSV (helpful for tax reporting). dcrd node software highlights: significantly faster startup and compact filters to support light clients. See full release notes and downloads here, for Decrediton use 1.2.1 bugfix release. The release process has been improved. Instead of announcing a release date and trying to meet it, a Release Candidate 1 (RC1) will now be posted. After it has been tested an bugfixed with the help of the community, a second candidate (RC2) will be released. This is repeated until an RC version with no apparent bugs becomes the final release. The new process removes a ton of pressure from developers and users and gives more time for testing. As our primary consumer-facing product, Decrediton, is growing in features and complexity, more testing will be required for new releases. Politeia is "Getting close to a public beta of voting" (slack). Decred plugin merged, paywall and voting are in the testing stage. Ticket voting works on testnet via CLI. Trezor support got closer as Decred patch was merged. Please note this is only firmware support, to be usable it also needs wallet integration. WooCommerce Decred plugin alpha version is ready for testing. Decred.org received a new sleek exchanges page. The contributors page has been updated to add 10 new faces. Some of them are new to the project but others have been contributing for a while. Dev activity stats for April: 152 active PRs, 125 commits, 21,656 added and 10,288 deleted lines spread across 7 repositories done by 2-7 developers per repository. (chart)
Hashrate: April started at 2.0-2.7 PH/s range and seen a general increase with some big fluctuations between lows at 2.2 and new all time high above 5.2 PH/s. Nodes: there are 200 public listening and 500 normal nodes per dcred.eu as of May 1. 169 nodes already upgraded to version 1.2.0. Some 30 nodes were observed to be testing Release Candidate versions before the final release. Ticket price 30-day average has seen a steady rise to 87.5 DCR. Stake participation is solid 46.1% with 3.53 million DCR as of May 1.
Updates from Obelisk's Taek:
We got results back. They are more or less on line with the simulations I didn't realize this, but we don't get the real chips back for 3 more weeks. The ones we've been testing are hacked together into a DIP package (they are BGA chips) that really screws up the results There's a decent chance that the full bga chips perform better For the time being though, we're pretty much on track for the hashrates estimated on the website (slack, Apr 12)
And regarding the June delivery date:
We're still on track for batch 1. We've ordered most of the parts we'll need, including the chips. We've got working chips, we've got test boards, test units, test everything. We've signed manufacturers to produce everything. Obelisk is going strong. (reddit, Apr 23)
We are thankful for his updates in our #pow-mining channel and hope other ASIC manufacturers will also join. Fellow Sia miners are discussing the design of Obelisk SC1 case. Halong: B29 units are shipping. The amount of units in first batch was estimated 450-600 by our community member. Review of DragonMint B29 published, people are discussing shipping and running the miners. By surprise, Innosilicon announced the sale of D9 DecredMaster ASIC miner with specs identical to Halong B29 while being much cheaper ($6800 Inno vs $10499 Halong). Expected shipping date of the first batch is April 28-30. The company is active on their bitcointalk thread, also see our reddit. Just 9 days later Innosilicon announced second batch with delivery on May 7-11 and same price of $6800. (reddit)
Decred's Brazilian community made good progress with integrations this month.
emiliomann: On April 2nd @Rhama will launch the first BR exchange of altcoins with fiat market and totally within the laws of the Brazilian government. Decred will have the two markets DCBTC and DCBRL. It’s very difficult to fulfill all the legal requirements and get authorization to work with FIAT here.
The exchange turned out to be Profitfy. Profity is innovating by using dcrtime for their blockchain ID login via Original My. Great to see this deeper engagement with the tools that Decred provides, and not a surprise that it comes from @Rhama, who has been a community member since day one. This seems to have spurred another exchange, Braziliex, to bring forward their launch of DCBRL and DCBTC pairs, coming just 2 hours after Profitfy launched. Not stopping there,
viniciusfrias: We're excited to announce PagueCripto.com, a Brazilian crypto-to-fiat payment gateway which accepts Decred among other cryptocurrencies for Brazilians to pay daily bills, such as credit cards, energy, rent, etc, and also to make local bank transfers. Our service is both a web platform and an Android app, and as our community is relevant in Brazil, we are offering a discount coupon (50%) in service fees using DCR until May 14, 2018. Check it out at paguecripto.com and in Google Play Store. (slack)
Moving to other countries, good news from Canada:
michae2xl: Decred is now available on @ezBtcCanada, an exchange with DCCAD trading pair. From Toronto – ezbtc.ca
Eventually we hope to offer the pair in GBP and YEN as well
changenow.io, a non-custodian exchange for fast conversions, added DCR. You can see all exchanges known to support Decred in a spreadsheet maintained by snr01. Many of them are missing from coinmarketcap.
RAurelius: I think that a law firm accepting Decred is a worthy distinction from other previously publicized companies that accept Decred for typical consumer products. Legal services are severely lacking in the Crypto-sphere, so the publicity is good for everyone in this arena.
Great to see business owners reaching us directly in chat. VotoLegal is migrating from Ethereum to Decred blockchain:
emiliomann: VotoLegal, a Brazilian project that uses blockchain technology to allow election campaign funding to be transparent and that all transactions conducted are tracked and made available to the citizens, now uses dcrtime and Decred blockchain. https://twitter.com/decred_bstatus/986610826051276800 (slack)
YBF Ventures and Decred announced partnership in building a blockchain-focused development and business hub in Australia.
With the YBF Ventures partnership, Decred hopes to grow their Australian contractor network and scale their operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. (btcmanager.com) We specifically chose Decred for a more robust corporate partnership, and it is the first time that a decentralised autonomous organisation is partnering with a ‘traditional’ organisation in such a capacity. (ybfventures.com)
Dustorf joined on the marketing front and is conducting a brand discovery analysis:
Decred is soliciting the input of our user community. In order to better understand you, what you think of Decred, and where you would like it to focus its efforts, we've come up with a short (4 minute) survey. Your input of all varieties is most appreciated https://www.surveymonkey.com/2LHK3FV
April targeted advertising report released (previous March report here). Reach @timhebel for full version. The iconic "Not Overly Scammy" t-shirt by cryptograffiti is available for purchase. For those wondering, the meme originates from @fluffypony. Some hilarious promos by @jackliv3r: onetwothree.
Community event at YBF Ventures in Australia. Meetup in Wroclaw, Poland. BBQ with @scalarcapital team in Austin, USA. Blockchain Expo in London, UK. Decred was well represented at this large-scale industry event. Project Lead Jake took part in several interview and the Decred stand manned by community members was flooded with inquisitive visitors. (video, photo 123) First Decred meetup in Hangzhou, China. (slack) Business of Blockchain at MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, USA. Presentation: Blockchain Sovereignty and Blockchain Integration for Businesses by Jake Yocom-Piatt. (event, reddit, photo 123) Cambridge Blockchain Meetup in Cambridge, USA. Talk: Cutting the Head off the Snake by Jake Yocom-Piatt. (event, photo 123) Upcoming events:
Madison Blockchain Meetup in Madison, USA on May 21
Second episode of Lightning Network educational series is out, exploring topics such as payment channels, onion routing, centralization risk, and challenges that still lie ahead. (youtube) A user’s perspective and introduction to blockchain governance (Richard Red) The Importance of Governance: Analyzing the Aftermath of the Monero Hard Fork by Noah Pierau (btcmanager.com) The Crypto Show w/ Marco from Decred (youtube) Interview with Jake at @Blockchain_Expo by Crypto Coin Growth (youtube) Interview with Jake at @Blockchain_Expo by Cryptocurrency Academy (youtube) Alternative Blockchain Governance Systems With Jake & Kyle From Decred at @Blockchain_Expo by Crypto Disrupt (youtube) Decred Looks Ahead: An Interview with Project Lead Jake Yocom-Piatt (Exclusive) (sludgefeed.com) How Complex Bitcoin Politics Led to the Creation of Decred (btcmanager.com) Interview with Decred’s Project Lead Jake Yocom-Piatt on Crypto Ad Bans and Market Volatility (cryptoslate.com) Decred’s Jonathan Zeppettini: The Industry Is Going To Be Displacing Wall Street (blocktribune.com) On Chain VS. Off Chain Governance: The Ins And Outs (coinjournal.net) Decred: On true decentralisation, Bitcoin communities, and avoiding the ICO route [Video] (blockchaintechnology-news.com) Marco in shitcoin talk episode 54 (youtube)
Reddit highlights: A debate on Decred protocol security and attack cost, a comparison of expected and actual block production times, a write-up on distribution of powers and how Monero could benefit from a PoS governance layer, twoother threads on ASIC resistance, and one discussing different types of decentralization. Very thoughtful discussion on whether it is appropriate to use half naked photos in marketing, followed by meta-discussion how to handle very polarizing issues and unwanted contributions to the marketing efforts of a decentralized project. (slack, continued) A new #governance channel was created to discuss governance in Decred and other projects. politeia subreddit was recovered for Decred community. Thanks to Tivra for filing the request. Politeia can bring a lot of value outside Decred so it well deserves its own sub. A new Slack invite page has been setup and onboarded 40 people in 48 hours. Decred StackExchange site proposal was closed due to inactivity in a 7 day period, according to Area 51 rules.
In April Decred showed a confident recovery after previous months. DCUSD moved from below $40 to nearly $90 and the more liquid DCBTC from 0.0058 to 0.0093. OOOBTC showed unexpectedly huge DCR trading volume of $19 m on April 10 (reddit), it went back to normal 2 weeks later. On April 25 a wild rush took the price from 0.00777 to 0.0177 BTC in under 30 minutes on Poloniex, setting a new USD all time high of ~$165 ($141 world average). Prices on other exchanges followed to a lesser degree. Possible causes were discussed on reddit. Talking about all time highs, an indicator tracking difference between ATH and current price shows Decred is competitive at retaining USD value.
Bittrex finally opened registrations again. ASIC debates are raging after Bitmain stealth-launched ASICs for Sia, Monero and Ethereum. Most opinions reflect on whether and how to resist ASICs, but some are recognizing the Decred way, like this excellent piece. The importance of governance is gaining recognition as well. One notable example is Mike Hearn's AMA where it was a hot topic.
About This Issue
This project was motivated by the desire to expose just how much is happening in Decred and save the time for people unable to actively follow our channels. It aims to cover all relevant developments with a short description and links to read further. It shows the depth of the project and the involvement of the community. We also plan to launch a newsletter and consider a shorter version if there is such a demand. This is the first issue and feedback is welcome to discover what is best for our readers. Please join our Slack and write us on #writers_room or comment directly on GitHub. Any help is welcome too. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, jazzah, Richard-Red, snr01 and vj.
This is my goodbye. I think it's great that classic blocks are now above 6% in the last 1000 blocks. Clearly the smaller miners out there continue switching to classic. Unfortunately it doesn't matter, as a small group of Chinese miners really decide what happens and for whatever reasons are locked arm-in-arm with core. If you can honestly assess the situation in bitcoin right now you might, as I have, come to the conclusion that we are in this situation because bitcoin is already centralized. Mining is centralized and development is centralized. Whatever bitcoin is, it's not decentralized. Bitcoin's centralization might be ok if bitcoin were on a positive, functional track, however bitcoin is completely dysfunctional and also I cannot trust the centralized development team for a number of reasons. Due to this I have to agree with Mike Hearn that bitcoin has most likely failed. If you haven't read Mike's post, you should as it covers most of what has gone wrong and how it has gone wrong. https://medium.com/@octskyward/the-resolution-of-the-bitcoin-experiment-dabb30201f7 It's taken me a long time to come to a conclusion, but I've finally decided to abandon bitcoin while it still has decent value left. I doubt it will have this much value by next year (I expect a total price catastrophe around the halvening). It's been a good ride but there are now better places to put my money and having a better place for my capital has always been the key reason I sell something. Below are some responses to arguments that might be made against giving up on bitcoin. I've gone over these and more a thousand times in my head already. I simply don't see a positive outcome for Bitcoin now. Segwit Segwit will most likely help nothing as it takes too much infrastructure change to have an effect. If anything it levels the playing field to competing cryptos that also face infrastructure work. If the last year has shown me anything it's shown me most of the people in bitcoin are not even paying attention. It will take years for a soft fork upgrade to have an effect and meanwhile bitcoin is maxed out and stagnant. Growth is moving elsewhere rapidly. I don't see investors being keen to invest in bitcoin infrastructure upgrades under current bitcoin leadership over investments in alternative cryptos that are moving forward without the drama, censorship, and centralization. Even if segwit goes well that would actually be worse. If segwit allows bitcoin to limp along in its current state under current leadership for another year or two bitcoin will surely die. The main reason why is there is no future under current bitcoin leadership. Current core leadership either has no vision or has been unable to convince users of their vision. They have no humility, do not respect users, and generally have been doing everything possible to chase users away. They have been acting in bad faith, behind closed doors, hiding behind censorship, etc. all to keep centralized control with themselves. These guys are so stupid they think the problem with bitcoin right now is a technical problem to be solved by writing code. I would not trust these guys to mow my lawn let alone develop a decentralized money system (and I'm a software development executive with 30 years experience in software development, so I know a thing or two about the subject). Lightning Vaporware is not a reasonable plan. The moment some promise of pie-in-the-sky vaporware took over in place of real existing bitcoin technology/vision that was the beginning of the end for bitcoin. Plus see the points under Segwit as they still apply. Classic might take off This has been the only argument that has kept me around this long. I no longer see it likely to happen. If bitcoin were properly decentralized we wouldn't be in this situation, but instead we sit around waiting on a few Chinese miners to decide our fate. They are too cowardly to move bitcoin where it needs to go but that's not even the problem. The problem is we have to rely on them as they continue to support a corrupt centralized dev leadership. Everyone else in the bitcoin space, all of us users--we are IRRELEVANT. THAT is the problem. THAT is why if you consider it critically you must conclude that bitcoin has already failed by definition. How can a functional decentralized money system be at the mercy of a few Chinese guys? Answer: Bitcoin has failed. If some miracle happens and miners revolt against core and switch to classic (or something similar) I might be back. Unfortunately I suspect bitcoin price will be a fraction of what it is now by the time that happens... and the centralization problem will still exist. So more than likely I won't ever be back. Bitcoin has the lead and the infrastructure It does for the moment but things change. Bitcoin no longer deserves to have the infrastructure and the lead and I suspect won't have those for long. Other cryptos that are not dysfunctional exist, have momentum and huge growth opportunity, and they are already drawing significant investment and excitement. Their infrastructure is building up while bitcoin stagnates. Riding that infrastructure growth is a huge opportunity itself and is where my capital would be better placed right now over waiting for godot with bitcoin. Best of luck to everyone.
Are miners simply insane? These capacity problems are going to DESTROY Bitcoin!
I can't get my head around this, it must be clear to anybody at least half-intelligent that not increasing the block size limit ASAP is going to destroy Bitcoin. The current unacceptable delays to confirm legitimate transactions is so bad experience for new users that they'll probably never try Bitcoin again, what's worse, they're going to tell their friends about the experience - it's creating a negative network effect where many people get discouraged to use it for a long long time if not forever. Do the miners not see that this destroys the future price of Bitcoin and therefore their earnings? Are they this blind? Do they not see that SegWit is NOT a scaling solution at all and is bloatware  that will redirect their earnings to a 2nd layer "solutions" which are years away from being even potentially in widespread use (if Bitcoin would exist by then). Why do they let this trojan horse into their gates? The Core team was warned about this long time ago and knew about the issue, they've pushed away the devs who were warning us this would happen (Gavin Andersen , Mike Hearn  ...) A year ago, you could say they were just incompetent, I do not think one can reasonably believe so now - they're simply malicious. We knew state actors would try to disrupt and destroy Bitcoin, is this it? I don't know but it surely looks like it . The only sane option is to completely amputate this cancerous "dev team" and replace it with Bitcoin Unlimited  team/implementation which has the original vision of Bitcoin as its goal. And for those who believe Core brought many improvements to Bitcoin - it does not need any improvements, it needs to work! It is years before any exotic new uses need to be implemented, it needs to follow its original vision and work well first and foremost. Do not fall for this smokescreen, ordinary Joe and Bitcoin businesses do not care about SegWit or Lighting Network, they need reliable, consistent experience! Don't let me even get started on the decentralization issue, if they valued decentralization so much, they'd welcome another implementations, instead they fight them tooth and nail - so another smokescreen. Is this so hard to see? So the question considering all the above - are the miners actually insane and suicidal? Why are they not switching to Bitcoin Unlimited ASAP as a matter of survival?  http://www.deadalnix.me/2016/10/17/segwit-is-not-great/  http://gavinandresen.ninja/why-increasing-the-max-block-size-is-urgent  https://medium.com/@octskyward/the-resolution-of-the-bitcoin-experiment-dabb30201f7#.yfsh5zt3s  https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57vwvp/a_page_taken_out_of_the_national_security_report/  https://www.bitcoinunlimited.info/
My draft for a new /r/btc FAQ explaining the split from /r/Bitcoin to new users
If /btc is going to actually compete with /Bitcoin, it needs to be just as friendly and informative to new users, especially given its position as the “non default” or “breakaway” sub. The current /btc sticky saying "Welcome to the Wiki" doesn't even have any content in it and I feel this is a bit of a wasted opportunity to create an informative resource that new users will see by default and everyone else can link to instead of retyping things over and over about the history and difference between the subs. Here's what I've written as a starting point. I've done my best to keep it as concise and relevant as possible but in all honesty it is a complicated issue and a short but effective explanation is basically impossible. I hope the community can expand/improve on it further. Quick bit about me I got into Bitcoin in October 2013, when /Bitcoin had around 40k subscribers if I remember correctly, so by now I've actually personally experienced a large portion of Bitcoin's history - including the events preceding and since the creation of this sub. I have been an active and popular poster on /Bitcoin for almost all of that time, until the split and my subsequent banning. With the recent censorship fiasco, I'm finding I have to reiterate the same points over and over again to explain to newer users what happened with the /Bitcoin vs /btc split, questions about hard forks, what is likely to happen in the future and so on. So I put a couple of hours into writing this post to save myself the trouble in future.
There is a TL:DR; at the bottom, but it is exactly that. If you skip straight to the TL:DR; then don’t expect sympathy when you post questions that have already been covered in the lengthy and detailed main post.
New to Bitcoin?
I am totally new to Bitcoin. What is it? How does it work? Can/should I mine any? Where can I buy some? How do I get more information? All of these questions are actually really well covered in the /Bitcoin FAQ. Check it out in a new tab here. Once you've got a bit of a handle on the technology as a whole, come back here for the rest of the story.
What's the difference between /btc and /Bitcoin? What happened to create two such strongly opposed communities? Why can't I discuss /btc in /Bitcoin? Historically, the /Bitcoin subreddit was the largest and most active forum for discussing Bitcoin. As Bitcoin grew close to a cap in the number of transactions it could process, known as the 1MB block size limit, the community had differing opinions on the best way to proceed. Note that this upcoming issue was anticipated well ahead of time, with Satoshi's chosen successor to lead the project Gavin Andresen posting about it in mid 2015. Originally, there was quite a broad spread of opinions - some people favoured raising the blocksize to various extents, some people favoured implementing a variety of second layer solutions to Bitcoin, probably most people thought both could be a good idea in one form or another. This topic was unbelievably popular at the time, taking up almost every spot on the front page of /Bitcoin for weeks on end. Unfortunately, the head moderator of /Bitcoin - theymos - felt strongly enough about the issue to use his influence to manipulate the debate. His support was for the proposal of existing software (called Bitcoin Core) NOT to raise the blocksize limit past 1MB and instead rely totally on second layer solutions - especially one called Segregated Witness (or SegWit). With some incredibly convoluted logic, he decided that any different implementations of Bitcoin that could potentially raise the limit were effectively equivalent to separate cryptocurrencies like Litecoin or Ethereum and thus the block size limit or implement other scaling solutions were off-topic and ban-worthy. At the time the most popular alternative was called Bitcoin XT and was supported by experienced developers Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn, who have since bothleft Bitcoin Core development in frustration at their marginalisation. Theymos claimed that for Bitcoin XT or any other software implementation to be relevant to /Bitcoin required "consensus", which was never well defined, despite it being seemingly impossible for everyone to agree on the merits of a new project if no one was allowed to discuss it in the first place. Anyone who didn't toe the line of his vaguely defined moderation policy was temporarily or permanently banned. There was also manipulation of the community using the following tactics - which can still be seen today:
Default thread sorting changed to "controversial" in selected threads instead of "best" like nearly every other subreddit
Comment/upvote scores hidden by default (combined with the previous point this prevented theymos and other unpopular mods like StarMaged and BashCo from ending up at the bottom of every thread they posted in)
The implementation of a custom CSS sheet that disguises long threads of [removed] comments. This was especially effective at the time as the censorship was obvious since threads were becoming wastelands of hundreds of deleted comments, similar to other Reddit throw downs like GamerGate
This created enormous uproar among users, as even many of those in favour of Bitcoin Core thought it was authoritarian to actively suppress this crucial debate. theymos would receive hundreds of downvotes whenever he posted: for example here where he gets -749 for threatening to ban prominent Bitcoin business Coinbase from the subreddit. In an extraordinary turn of events, Theymos posted a thread which received only 26% upvotes in a sample size of thousands announcing that he did not care if even 90% of users disagreed with his policy, he would not change his opinion or his moderation policy to facilitate the discussion the community wanted to have. His suggested alternative was instead for those users, however many there were, to leave. Here are Theymos' exact words, as he describes how he intends to continue moderating Bitcoin according to his own personal rules rather than the demands of the vast majority of users, who according to him clearly don't have any "real arguments" or "any brains".
Do not violate our rules just because you disagree with them. This will get you banned from /Bitcoin , and evading this ban will get you (and maybe your IP) banned from Reddit entirely. If 90% of /Bitcoin users find these policies to be intolerable, then I want these 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. Both /Bitcoin and these people will be happier for it. I do not want these people to make threads breaking the rules, demanding change, asking for upvotes, making personal attacks against moderators, etc. Without some real argument, you're not going to convince anyone with any brains -- you're just wasting your time and ours. The temporary rules against blocksize and moderation discussion are in part designed to encourage people who should leave /Bitcoin to actually do so so that /Bitcoin can get back to the business of discussing Bitcoin news in peace.
/btc was therefore born in an environment not of voluntary departure but of forced exile. This forced migration caused two very unfortunate occurrences:
It polarised the debate around Bitcoin scaling. Previously, there was a lot of civil discussion about compromise and people with suggestions from all along the spectrum were working to find the best solution. That was no longer possible when a moderation policy would actively suppress anyone with opinions too different from Theymos. Instead it forced everyone into a "with us or against us" situation, which is why the /btc subreddit has been pushed so far in favour of the idea of a network hard fork (discussed below).
It has distracted Bitcoin from its mission of becoming a useful, global, neutral currency into a war of information. New users often find /Bitcoin and assume it to be the authoritative source of information, only to later discover that a lot of important information or debate has been invisibly removed from their view.
Since then, like any entrenched conflict, things have degenerated somewhat on both sides to name calling and strawman arguments. However, /btc remains committed to permitting free and open debate on all topics and allowing user downvotes to manage any "trolling" (as /Bitcoin used to) instead of automatic shadow-banning or heavy-handed moderator comment deletion (as /Bitcoin does now). Many users in /Bitcoin deny that censorship exists at all (it is difficult to see when anyone pointing out the censorship has their comment automatically hidden by the automoderator) or justify it as necessary removal of "trolls", which at this point now includes thousands upon thousands of current and often long-standing Bitcoin users and community members. Ongoing censorship is still rampant, partially documented in this post by John Blocke For another detailed account of this historical sequence of events, see singularity87 s posts here and here. /btc has a public moderator log as demonstration of its commitment to transparency and the limited use of moderation. /Bitcoin does not. Why is so much of the discussion in /btc about the censorship in /Bitcoin? Isn't a better solution to create a better community rather than constantly complaining? There are two answers to this question.
Over time, as /btc grows, conversation will gradually start to incorporate more information about the Bitcoin ecosystem, technology, price etc. Users are encouraged to aid this process by submitting links to relevant articles and up/downvoting on the /new and /rising tab as appropriate. However, /btc was founded effectively as a refuge for confused and angry users banned from /Bitcoin and it still needs to serve that function so at least some discussion of the censorship will probably always persist (unless there is a sudden change of moderation policy in /Bitcoin).
The single largest issue in Bitcoin right now is the current cap on the number of transactions the network can process, known as the blocksize limit. Due to the censorship in /Bitcoin, open debate of the merits of different methods of addressing this problem is impossible. As a result, the censorship of /Bitcoin (historically the most active and important Bitcoin community forum) has become by proxy the single most important topic in Bitcoin, since only by returning to open discussion would there be any hope of reaching agreement on the solution to the block size limit itself. As a topic of such central importance, there is naturally going to be a lot of threads about this until a solution is found. This is simply how Bitcoin works, that at any one time there is one key issue under discussion for lengthy periods of time (previous examples of community "hot topics" include the demise of the original Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, the rise to a 51% majority hash rate of mining pool GHash.io and the supposed "unveiling" of Bitcoin's anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto).
Bitcoin Network Hard Forks
What is a hard fork? What happens if Bitcoin hard forks? A network hard fork is when a new block of transactions is published under a new set of rules that only some of the network will accept. In this case, Bitcoin diverges from a single blockchain history of transactions to two separate blockchains of the current state of the network. With any luck, the economic incentive for all users to converge quickly brings everyone together on one side of the fork, but this is not guaranteed especially since there is not a lot of historical precedent for such an event. A hard fork is necessary to raise the block size limit above its 1MB cap. Why is /btc generally in favour of a hard fork and /Bitcoin generally against? According to a lot of users on /Bitcoin - a hard fork can be characterised as an “attack” on the network. The confusion and bad press surrounding a hard fork would likely damage Bitcoin’s price and/or reputation (especially in the short term). They point to the ongoing turmoil with Ethereum as an example of the dangers of a hard fork. Most of /Bitcoin sees the stance of /btc as actively reckless, that pushing for a hard fork creates the following problems:
The possibility of an irrevocable community divergence, as has happened in Ethereum (discussed below)
The chance of introducing new code bugs by forcing a network update without totally comprehensive software developer review
The possibility of reducing decentralisation in the network as higher hardware requirements puts greater strain on network nodes and miners
According to a lot of users on /btc - a hard fork is necessary despite these risks. Most of /btc sees the stance of /Bitcoin as passively reckless, that continuing to limit Bitcoin’s blocksize while remaining inactive creates the following problems:
Transaction fees are continuously rising as transactions compete for the limited space in each block
Confirmation times for any given transaction are also increasing, especially ones without a rapidly escalating fee attached
Fee and confirmation times is making BItcoin hostile to new users, who are confused by their difficulties with this “revolutionary” new technology
Restricting Bitcoin’s growth increases the likelihood it will be overtaken by another unrestricted cryptocurrency
Passively validating the stance of /Bitcoin to continue censoring the debate about this important issue
Bitcoiners are encouraged to examine all of the information and reach their own conclusion. However, it is important to remember that Bitcoin is anopen-source projectfounded on the ideal offree market competition (between any/all software projects, currencies, monetary policies, miners, ideas etc.). In one sense, /btc vs /Bitcoin is just another extension of this, although Bitcoiners are also encouraged to keep abreast of the top posts and links on both subreddits. Only those afraid of the truth need to cut off opposing information. What do Bitcoin developers, businesses, users, miners, nodes etc. think? Developers There are developers on both sides of the debate, although it is a common argument in /Bitcoin to claim that the majority supports Bitcoin Core. This is true in the sense that Bitcoin Core is the current default and has 421 listed code contributors but misleading because not only are many of those contributors authors of a single tiny change and nothing else but also many major figures like Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn and Jeff Garzik have left the project while still being counted as historical contributors. Businesses including exchanges etc. A definite vote of confidence is not available from the vast majority of Bitcoin businesses, and wouldn't be binding in any case. The smart decision for most businesses is to support both chains in the event of a fork until the network resolves the issue (which may only be a day or two). Users Exact user sentiment is impossible to determine, especially given the censorship on /Bitcoin. Miners and Nodes Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network. Node Support Information Miner Support Information What do I do if the network hard forks?* Do we end up with two Bitcoins? Firstly, in the event of a hard fork there is no need to panic. All Bitcoins are copied to both chains in the case of a split, so any Bitcoins you have are safe. HOWEVER, in the event of a fork there will be some period of confusion where it is important to be very careful about how/why you spend your Bitcoins. Hopefully (and most likely) this would not last long - everyone in Bitcoin is motivated to converge into agreement for everyone's benefit as soon as possible - but it's impossible to say for sure. There isn't a lot of historical data about cryptocurrency hard forks, but one example is alternative cryptocurrency Ethereum that forked into two coins after the events of the DAO and currently exists as two separate chains, ETH (Ethereum) and ETC (Ethereum Classic). The Ethereum fork is not a good analogy for Bitcoin because its network difficulty target adjusts every single block, so a massive drop in hash rate does not significantly impede its functioning. Bitcoin’s difficult target adjusts only every 2100 blocks - which under usual circumstances takes two weeks but in the event of a hard fork could be a month or more for the smaller chain. It is almost inconceivable that a minority of miners would willingly spend millions of dollars over a month or more purely on principle to maintain a chain that was less secure and processed transactions far slower than the majority chain - even assuming the Bitcoins on this handicapped chain didn't suffer a market crash to close to worthless. Secondly, a hard fork is less likely to be a traumatic event than it is often portrayed in /Bitcoin:
The Bitcoin Core and /Bitcoin stated policy is to avoid a hard fork at all costs. So there is no risk of a hard fork on that side.
The Bitcoin XT/Classic/Unlimited and /btc side is prepared for a hard fork if necessary, but it will only come to pass if a clear majority of miners (and presumably users, although that's harder to determine) are already signalling that they would be onboard. There is no exact threshold value, but no miner is going to risk publishing a block larger than 1MB until they are very confident the network will follow them.
What Happens Now
How do I check on the current status of opinion? Coin.dance hosts some excellent graphical representations of the current opinion on the network. Node Support Information Miner Support Information Users are also welcome to engage in anecdotal speculation about community opinion based on their impression of the commentary and activity in /btc and /Bitcoin. Haven't past attempts to raise the blocksize failed? There is no time limit or statute of limitations on the number of attempts the community can make to increase the block size and scale Bitcoin. Almost any innovation in the history of mankind required several attempts to get working and this is no different. The initial attempt called Bitcoin XT never got enough support for a fork because key developer Mike Hearn left out of frustration at trying to talk around all the censorship and community blockading. The second major attempt called Bitcoin Classic gained massive community momentum until it was suddenly halted by the drastic implementation of censorship by Theymos described above. The most popular attempt at the moment is called Bitcoin Unlimited. /btc is neutral and welcoming to any and all projects that want to find a solution to scaling Bitcoin - either on-or off-chain. However, many users are suspicious of Bitcoin Core's approach that involves only SegWit, developed by a private corporation called Blockstream and that has already broken its previous promises in a document known as the Hong Kong Agreement to give the network a block size limit raise client along with Segregated Witness (only the latter was delivered) . What if the stalemate is irreconcilable and nothing ever happens? Increasing transaction fees and confirmation times are constantly increasing the pressure to find a scaling solution - leading some to believe that further adoption of Bitcoin Unlimited or a successor scaling client will eventually occur. Bitcoin Core's proposed addition of SegWit is struggling to gain significant support and as it is already the default client (and not censored in /Bitcoin) it is unlikely to suddenly grow any further. If the stalemate is truly irreconcilable, eventually users frustrated by the cost, time and difficulty of Bitcoin will begin migrating to alternative cryptocurrencies. This is obviously not a desirable outcome for long standing Bitcoin supporters and holders, but cannot be ignored as the inevitable free market resort if Bitcoin remains deadlocked for long enough.
Bitcoin is at its transaction capacity and needs to scale to onboard more users
The community was discussing different ways to do this until the biased head moderator of /BitcoinTheymos got involved
Theymos, started an authoritarian censorship rampage which culminated in telling 90% of /Bitcoin users to leave. /btc is where they went. Here is the thread where it all started. Note the 26% upvoted on the original post, the hundreds of upvotes of community outcry in the comments and the graveyard of [removed] posts further down the chain. Highly recommended reading in its entirety.
To this day, /Bitcoin bans all discussion of alternative scaling proposals and /btc
Bitcoin is about freedom, and can’t function effectively with either an artificially restricted transaction cap or a main community forum that is so heavily manipulated. This subreddit is the search for solutions to both problems as well as general Bitcoin discussion.
Debate continues in /btc, and generally doesn't continue in /Bitcoin - although posts referencing /btc or Bitcoin Unlimited regularly sneak past the moderators because it is such a crucial topic
Eventually one side or the other breaks, enough miners/nodes/users get on one side and Bitcoin starts scaling. This may or may not involve a hard fork.
If not, fees and average confirmation times continue to rise until users migrate en masse to an altcoin. This is not an imminent danger, as can be seen by the BTC marketcap dominance at its historical levels of 80+% but could change at any time
“But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short-term, the long-term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.” Mike Hearn is a Bitcoin developer and former senior software engineer at Google, where he worked on Google Earth, Maps, Gmail, anti-spam and account security.He now works full time on the Bitcoin system doing app development, research and work on the protocol. He is the original author of Bitcoinj and a former contributor to Bitcoin Core.He quit Bitcoin in January 2016. Bitcoin Hearn Paradox- With him, consensus is hard to reach, btc suffers. w/o him, consensus is easy to reach, bitcoin prospers.he can’t win — Mike Komaransky (@mkomaransky) January 14, 2016 Even though a lot of people are on the fence regarding what Hearn said in his post on Medium, there are some valid points to be found in his comments. In a period of two days, the bitcoin price fell by close to 15%. This is after Mike Hearn, one of the most visible Bitcoin lead developers, announced on the 14th of January, 2015 that he had decided to throw in the towel and walked away for good. === As a matter of fact, thanks to his departure, for the first time in 2016, the Bitcoin price crossed the $400 mark on its way down. Ironically, at ...
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