Communication is key not to risk privatising Bitcoin network, Bitcoin Foundation head reiterates
As Virgilio Lizardo Jr., the Vice President of International Affairs at Bitbank Group earlier noted in an interview with 8btc.com, a lack of proper communication between Bitcoin stakeholders has again popped up as a key factor that could have changed the course of the lingering debate on how to resolve the ongoing Bitcoin scalability issue.
Unlike Virgilio who is into mining in China, the view this time is coming from the Executive Director of Bitcoin Foundation, Llew Claasen, whose organization is the oldest and largest industry group focussed on Bitcoin with a variety of corporate members, individuals and international chapters. The Foundation’s primary focus areas are on increasing adoption, fostering more Bitcoin development and encouraging global decision makers to seek technical over regulatory solutions for Bitcoin related matters.
Claasen notes in his piece published on Medium that the high-level technology requirement for Bitcoin to scale “actually appears to be quite simple and clear” and “has hardly changed since December 2015 when a large number of Core contributors signed up to a statement of Capacity increases for the Bitcoin system”. Based on his analysis of the current situation in relations to background events dating to the Hong Kong agreement, he adds that: “As it turns out, our scaling problem is not one of technology limitations, but rather a problem of mining centralization and communication.”
Bitcoin is presently not doing well. An overview of the Bitcoin market shows that investors are fleeing due to the imminent hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain which could lead lead to a huge split in the community. The price of Bitcoin is dropping at a fast rate at even below $900 while some altcoins particularly Ethereum and Dash are picking up. This is not the usual ups and downs but a legitimate down that has to be addressed before it could go back up.
As part of efforts to proffer a solution to the standoff, one of the three Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers BitFury has reportedly mined a block with a “BIP 148” (=UASF-SegWit) tag which has triggered another debate among node operators. They are discussing pushing further for a user-activated soft fork as an attempt to force Segwit into reality without needing to reach the 95% threshold.
It could seem that BitFury considers the hard fork/Bitcoin Unlimited/SegWit saga a bane to its business success hence the need to signal a way forward to survive. While the UASF could be supported just as any other initiative like the BU, it will depend on the free market to choose what would be the most efficient path for all stakeholders to benefit from the process.
Either way, the ensuing situation is a good test of Bitcoin’s fundamental properties. If it looks like there will be a solution, there would be buy-ins later. But for now, the industry would have to wait and see if any bridge will have to be mended to facilitate the communication gap between main players or just wait for a clear winner to emerge in the ensuing saga so as to forestall a repeat of such an occurrence.
Worthy of note is the statement by Claasen that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that anyone on either side of the scaling debate – Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited – is “evil” or trying to “destroy Bitcoin” as being spread in certain quarters. Rather, as miner economic incentives are not aligned with what appears to be the optimal Bitcoin network upgrade path and there is enough money at stake for rational actors to push for control, he suggests the need to “urgently decentralize mining or risk privatising the Bitcoin network.”