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  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship


    Should LTB put together one or a series of Equal-Time presentations with the Pro-XT and Pro-Classic camps to try and convince "the community" to make the change, or not?

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    I contacted Jerry Brito from for comment and he directed me to Eli Dourado who has been focused on Bitcoin governance for a while now, I asked him

    My Email

    The announcement of XT and a hard fork attempt is a major event and we're trying to understand the repercussions of it on bitcoins governance model. This is made especially complex because there are no "official" mouthpieces any more, you've got with a policy effectively forbidding exactly what Mike and Gavin have done

    Are you up to speed on this? Would love your thoughts and comments to share with our audience. If you want to jump into the conversation directly it's here we'll be covering it in a written piece and on the Let's Talk Bitcoin! show once we understand it a bit more.

    Eli's Reply

    First, let’s count our blessings. It’s good that there is no “official” organization that can control Bitcoin. Such an organization would be subject to political pressure and ultimately to political capture. Let’s be grateful that Bitcoin is so capture-resistant.

    Second, hard forks allow controversial decisions about the direction of Bitcoin to be made by the market, not by particular developers. They are the method by which we decentralize Bitcoin governance. A policy of never allowing hard forks is tantamount to a policy of letting core developers, not the market, choose how Bitcoin will behave. Consequently, I am unsympathetic to the policy of forbidding controversial hard forks.

    This is how the system is supposed to work. If the big-blockists are able to persuade the majority of miners, exchanges, and users that bigger blocks are better, they will win in the end. If not, the small-blockists will win. Either way, in the end, the shorter chain will be abandoned eventually, and there will be only one Bitcoin again.

    The community has several more months during which to debate this issue, since the fork will not occur before 2016. In the meantime, we should focus on improving the quality of arguments and communication so that the fork will be resolved in an informed manner.

    All the best,

    Eli Dourado

    Director, Technology Policy Program

    Mercatus Center

    George Mason University

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @edgelogic Sorry, but comments like: "For the record, at LTB we will be switching all our nodes over to BitcoinXT to ensure we stay on the proper chain when the fork is triggered early next year." Just confirm a clear bias and partiality.. "the proper chain" ... really?

    We decided to have this conversation in public since it effects LTB and Tokenly along with everybody else. We have no ideological stake in either camp, just a good outcome.

    Also it's important to note that @Cryptonaut is not representing "LTB" any more than I am here, we're just talking this out and asking questions so that if we're wrong that can be identified and we can avoid doing the dumb thing.

    A site such as LTB always had an opportunity to try and be impartial, but apparently has never bothered. Mike Hearn's open letter justifying his actions is full of so many logical contradictions its embarrassing. The essential nature of the whole Bitcoin movement is about 'consensus', anyone going along with this coup, clearly doesn't understand that. Disruptive innovation takes time.. Those who lack patience and want to force their ideas through without clear consensus are not in this for the right reasons.. But the history of the crypto currency movement over the last few years is full of people who took an opportunistic, tokensistic approach.. (pun intended).

    We are being impartial, we're talking about it and inviting anyone who wants to post their thoughts and try and convince those who disagree with them to change their opinion based on a better understanding. Nothing has been censored (even the one post that didnt really add anything besides saying they were in the thread lol)

    Wouldn't it be intellectually dishonest if we pretended we had no opinion and didn't care what anybody else said? This is a conversation, if you want to influence it please contribute rather than calling us out for having a conversation.

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @cryptonaut great points here

    @maxentropy Adam says:

    How has he shown this? Can you link to anything? - Why is development any less centralized with two voting developers compared to five? are they both really centralized by any standard? Why does "Andresen being a poster child for XT but control lies in London" matter?


    Software developers who can not lead the development activity are quickly moved aside - in development projects. Competent developers are unlikely to follow the designated lead developer, if the lead can not demonstrate leadership skills both technically and design.

    So... if Andresen has thrown the towel in with Bitcoin Core team and hence any possibility of achieving the bump to Block Size, then he is not seen as the lead developer.

    I don't believe Gavin is the lead developer of Bitcoin Core, and I don't believe he leads the team - They're all equals right? That's what's led us to this problem - If Gavin was the boss he wouldn't need to get every single person to agree and in practice this is them saying they don't believe they can


    Code changes incrementally... design features are slipped into the code base without distribution channels; 3rd party developers and customers... knowing. New software releases are always required, else the software becomes stale. This requirement introduces the need to keeping evolving the code base at different levels. There will be 'features' added that do not affect the backwards compatibility that advance someone's interests.

    It is the features that are slipped in that are subject to regional interests. Example, if Microsoft funded Bitcoin Core you would see Addon's and extensions and eventionally multiple implementations of Bitcoin Core... unique to Microsoft's interests.

    I do not sense that Reddit follows the code changes in Github closely... so who would know?

    Years ago I proposed a "Bitcoin Watchdog" that would have bitcoin media embed bitcoin-core "correspondents" within the developer haunts to pro-actively report and alert on anything important that might warrant educating the broader community about. The idea was for it to be somewhat cooperative and somewhat competitive and to limit the amount of developer time it required so they could focus just on developing. Might be time to revisit that idea if there is interest.


    California should not outsource Bitcoin software development to the UK, London group.

    I don't understand why this matters? I live in California, it's not a good environment here either

    @maxentropy Adam says:

    Do you also have this curiousity for who is funding developers supporitve of the no-block-increase school of thought? Seems like everybody is obviously operating in what they perceive to be their own best interest in both camps.


    I would have thought that if Hearn wanted to affect positive change, then he would have made a 'single code change' to the Bitcoin Core software for the Block Size fix. Anyone could have done this.

    He did not do that, he forked the project and has introduced a great many code changes.


    If as Hearn and Andresen argue, that the Block Size change is so urgent... simply advocate for changing the Bitcoin Core.

    They are not doing that.


    Because it's been made clear that it won't be allowed in core? It's not like they just proposed this in a vacuum, the discussion has been ongoing for months and lacking any sudden shifts of long-standing positions this won't be allowed in core. Are you just looking for the symbolism of having made the attempt even if it's obvious it cannot succeed in the current environment?**

    @maxentropy Adam says:

    Do you also have this curiousity for who is funding developers supporitve of the no-block-increase school of thought?


    No... I expect that the developers simply need a source of funding. MIT stepped up after the fiasco at the Foundation became apparent.

    I still advocate for California to take the project back.

    The project lives on Github, I don't get the importance here

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @maxentropy Adam raises valid objective questions... Adam says:

    Is there any possibility Gavin is pushing for the correct solution and in reality the developers you define as no longer being under Gavins control are just wrong in their opposition for whatever reason?


    A software development group, developers, and management would never throw their code base over for a competing system. They would seek an incremental solution to problem with a code base that introduces the LEAST amount of risk, to the solution to the problem - Block Size; and to the overall system.

    Developers always introduce bugs with code changes.


    So while your question, Adam, is constructive, it remains bizarre to the observer that Bitcoin Core guys would drop their work and jump on board for another system - just to fix a narrow Block Size issue.

    Bumping the Block Size can not be that difficult.


    Something much larger is at play.

    From my perspective everyone is acting in their self interest and since any one objection derails taking any action, and not taking any action is the course of action desired by one side in the dispute, it seems perfectly reasonable that the other three core developers simply have taken their stand and will not be moved. If that is the case then for XT not to be proposed in this way is to concede to the other side that nothing will be done because they can prevent it by not giving consensus

    The fact that this fork attempt is happening would seem to suggest that they HAVE exhausted their other less controversial options and this is what they perceive to be the lowest risk.

    So the question comes back around to the one I keep asking: **If both sides believe they have the right answer, and those answers are mutually exclusive from one another (going with one neccesarily means you did not go with the other) and because of their different perspectives all believe they are right and will not change, how does a decision get made? XT would suggest that a worst-case is where we are now "putting it to the community" because developers failed to come to a consensus.

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    Thanks to @bcohen for pointing me to twitter where much of the anti-xteffort seems to be focused.

    I have followed this from the beginning & I agree that it is an attempted governance coup. #NoPropagationWars— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) August 16, 2015

    @iang_fc @adam3us That's why I said "attempted" governance coup.— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) August 16, 2015

    @mola_io @pierre_rochard However, it won't get least not via that channel. In the meantime, s/w propagation war is dangerous.— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) August 16, 2015

    @mola_io @pierre_rochard Bitcoin is anti-fragile, but "suggested" changes fought via propagation degrade confidence and cause uncertainty.— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) August 16, 2015

    @mola_io @jonmatonis the open source metaphor breaks down quickly. A better example of "open source forking" is litecoin— Pierre Rochard (@pierre_rochard) August 16, 2015

    @mola_io @jonmatonis because it is de facto winner-take-all, like if everyone was forced to upgrade to python3— Pierre Rochard (@pierre_rochard) August 16, 2015

    @jonmatonis @pierre_rochard And I say "Yay! If it can be broken, break it now" Bitcoin ought not be treated gingerly like a feeble old woman— DI$RUPTIV3 (@BitcoinBelle) August 16, 2015

    @jonmatonis imo it's sabotaging. If they want an alt they can make their alt. Instead they want to rape btc.— bitcoinaire (@bitcoinaire) August 16, 2015

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @maxentropy Anyone who is working in software development will understand that Hearn and Andresen are hi-jacking the Bitcoin project. Hearn's argument in Medium today, is not believeable and not relevant, as he does not discuss the complete set of code changes in his XT version.

    These are my thoughts:

    1: Given that Andresen is currently a salaried employee of MIT and that he is presumably responsible for the other developers of the Bitcoin Core software - it is bizarre that MIT would let this employee function in the manner that Andresen does.

    What do I mean:

    A: Andresen literally throws his project and the development group under the bus, in order to switch to the Bitcoin XT version which is run out of London by Hearn.

    B: Andresen opens the Bitcoin network up to code changes that are way beyond that of the Block Size feature, as Hearn has made 100+ code changes to Bitcoin fork since 2014 December.

    C: Andresen os offshoring the Bitcoin development to London, England. Sure, you can say that the developers are global, but what is clear is that Bitcoin product control (arguably) has moved from the Bitcoin Foundation (California), to MIT (US East coast) to Lomdon, if Bitcoin XT is adopted.

    I don't really think Gavin or MIT view him as an employee under their control, when I've spoken with Gavin about the relationship it seems like its the equivilent of "how gavin gets paid to do bitcoin" and the specific institution is largely irrelevent, he didnt even remember his official job title - I really doubt they have much control over him at all

    2: Andresen appears to have lost control of the Bitcoin Core developers at MIT, and has thus jumped to the only other implementation of significance. If this is true, then we should dig into the issues at MIT.

    Is there any possibility Gavin is pushing for the correct solution and in reality the developers you define as no longer being under Gavins control are just wrong in their opposition for whatever reason?

    3: Andresen has shown that he is not capable of leading developers, projects, or holding the respect of the community. If Andresen had access to a compiler he could have taken the initiative and developed specific Block Size features himself. This did not happen. If there is a move to Bitcoin XT, then Andresen will be a poster child for the new XT software in the U.S., while the real control will be in London. Again, sure the developers can be global but the control will reside in London.

    How has he shown this? Can you link to anything? - Why is development any less centralized with two voting developers compared to five? are they both really centralized by any standard? Why does "Andresen being a poster child for XT but control lies in London" matter?

    4: Who is funding Hearn? It is time to look into who Hearn's group of developers and advisors are.

    Do you also have this curiousity for who is funding developers supporitve of the no-block-increase school of thought? Seems like everybody is obviously operating in what they perceive to be their own best interest in both camps.

    Hearn's Medium letter of 2015 August lacks merit.

    I thought he made a pretty compelling case, what specifically did you find lacking in merit?

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @shmadz @Adam afaik they intend to increase blocksize using BIP 101

    "Proposal to increase maximum possible block size, starting at 8MB in January 2016 and increasing on-pace with technological growth to 8,192MB in twenty years."

    This is the part that scares me. Increasing block size is not a solution to scaling, it is a stopgap.

    While I agree that 1MB is too restrictive, there must remain some kind of scarcity in the blockchain, otherwise you are opening up an entire new vector of attack. (Likely the kinds of spam attacks that the limit was implemented to mitigate in the first place) (Not even gonna get into miner rewards and how do you run a fee market if there is no scarcity)

    The initial spam attacks that necessitated the 1mb limit seemed to have more to do with the incredibly low value of btc and no dust limit thus making it really easy to do those fill-up-blocks spam attacks. I don't think that would come back just by adding more capacity

    If everyone agrees raising the block size isn't a final solution, it actually makes sense to codify something like BIP101 so that you dont have to have this argument every two years.

    As far as the economics of miner fees are concerned, I find myself thinking we've got a long way yet to go in terms of adoption and real use before I think fees can reasonably go up from where they are now. Even right now without full blocks the cost is about 2 and a half cents per tx which is not nothing and certainly not as cheap as it used to be. The next few years should be major ones for adoption, predictable low costs are important to that.

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship

    @twebit What ever happened to the hard fork policy at Does the XT violate this policy? Always wondered?

    I emailed Gavin for comment on this - One important question is who actually does this apply to? isn't an "official" anything, just another site on the internet that can pick what info it displays

    So the 'official" policy might just mean it won't be linked from

  • Re: Upcoming Bitcoin Hard Fork & /r/bitcoin censorship


    Welcome Mike as our new bitcoin overlord? This feels wrong.

    Wrong? Mike (and Gavin, apparently) just wants to get more than 75% of nodes to all use the same client. A client that he has complete control over.

    Once the switch is made, it will make it easier for Mike to roll out some of his other pet projects. Perhaps we get redlists with v11.1?

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Edit @Adam - re: "benevolent dictator or deadlock" .. how can you be sure that Mike Hearn is benevolent? Or that once he is given the keys to the kingdom he will stay that way?

    Once given the keys to the kingdom in the land of open source, if you behave badly with them then somebody BitcoinXT's you explaining why you're making bad decisions (or at least that you are) and the pendulum swings back to indecision 2015 where deadlock is percieved as better than the instability of non-benevolent or even just arbitrary dictator.

    And I haven't heard anyone mention the second part of the protocol change, the doubling every 2 years...

    I don't know anything about this, link or any light you can shed?

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