This is not an endorsement of BitcoinSV. I think the ABC roadmap looks fine. This is an analysis of the power dynamics within Bitcoin.
There is a balance of power within the Bitcoin system between miners, developers, and users, but it's not an equal balance, and it shouldn't be.
Ultimately, miners need to call the shots for Bitcoin development. Not devs nor users. It's not too difficult to understand why. Miners are businesses.
Take any other business. Say we're talking about Amazon. Who do you think should control the back-end development for Amazon? Should Jeff Bezos and company, should the developers writing the code Bezos uses, or should the customers of his platform?
It can't be the customers. That doesn't make sense. They might request features, but they shouldn't say "Use this technology or that technology... and make sure your servers process this amount of data..."
The customers are consuming what Amazon produces. They get the end-product. They can make requests to Amazon on what features they'd like as a consumer - but not how those features should be implemented.
The developers, too, should not control Amazon's back-end. Developers are a means to an end. They might maintain the code, but they should not be tasked with planning out the whole system, including all the features that customers will get.
If the developers don't do their jobs, they get fired and replaced. Developers who think of themselves as "really controlling the back-end of Amazon" are delusional.
Miners, on the other hand, are the ones providing crypto services to customers. They are the ones with the proper incentives to maintain the integrity and reliability of the network. They do not need to be altruistic.
With regards to scaling Bitcoin properly, miners have the most power and the most at stake.
Developers who say, "We cannot scale your business because it doesn't match our philosophic ideals" should be fired and replaced. Businesses have no reason to indulge their developers and listen to their moral preferences.
It's not a question of whether there will be a cryptocurrency with massive on-chain scaling. There will be. It's possible, and it's going to crush nearly all of its competition. The question is which developers will bring it into existence.
Bitcoin will survive on-chain scaling; particular devs might not. There is only so long that entrepreneurs will accept having their business throttled 10,000x due to the ideals of their developers. Billions of dollars await the entrepreneurs who bring digital cash to the world.
This is not an endorsement of Bitcoin SV. So far, I actually like the roadmap of ABC and BU. I hope it's those guys that will bring on-chain scaling into existence, and I think they can get it done. We don't need 128mb blocks this second.
However, if they don't, for whatever reason, they will be replaced with devs who have a different philosophy. It's that simple.
 

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Not sure what you mean by users, but it seems to me you forgot to mention the 1 party that actually holds most power - investors.
Miners can make a profit only if investors decide to keep capital in the token. If you make a move against the interest of investors, they can bankrupt you. However, the current setup produces an interesting affinity for miners to maintain status quo as long as they are already making a profit. Since they don't know what changes in software will do to price, it's preferable for them to support no changes / stall (as long as the current market prices enable them to make profit) - that's why they wouldn't upgrade BTC even thought it's the only rational long term strategy.
I like how the ABC client is forcing them to make a move one way or another by implementing regular planned forks. This saves us from another 3 years of discussions leading nowhere when a big conflict occurs.
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There are no "investors." There are asset-holders. The competence and success of the miners will determine whether those assets appreciate in the long run.
"Hodling" a broken asset might work for the short run (see Bitconnect), but it isn't going to turn a shitcoin into something of lasting value.
You have virtually no power over precious metals miners because you hold the assets they produce. They don't care about you and your holding. They care about creating something of value that people can use.
"Investors" who think they control development are just as delusional as "developers." They live or die based on the success of the businesses.
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Ultimately, miners need to call the shots for Bitcoin development. Not devs nor users.
I disagree.
1) In 2009, if someone showed up with a lot of hashpower, you think they should have been able to forcibly take Bitcoin development away from Satoshi?
2) If miners call the shots, then a state actor can just show up with a lot of hashpower, and take over Bitcoin.
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To answer your questions @normal_rc: a) Not enough information. Hashpower alone is not enough. Hashpower + competence + creating a valuable product would indeed be enough. If Satoshi was a bad businessman, he would be outcompeted by more competent ones.
b) I do not measure the influence of miners by their hashpower. It's their competence as businessmen. Lots of hash + bad business decisions = bankruptcy. Per state actors, yes, a 51% attack from the government is always a threat. Libertarians would certainly fork away from such a project, but if the masses were using Bitcoin - and it was created a huge amount of value for them - they wouldn't care whether government was in control or not.
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@stevepatterson
Hashpower alone is not enough. Hashpower + competence + creating a valuable product would indeed be enough.
So let them fork off, and let their new coin compete in the open market.
How should "competence" be determined?
a) By subjective opinion.
b) By open market competition, with users & merchants & businesses figuring out which works best in the real world as P2P electronic cash.
I say "b"
Per state actors, yes, a 51% attack from the government is always a threat. Libertarians would certainly fork away from such a project, but if the masses were using Bitcoin - and it was created a huge amount of value for them - they wouldn't care whether government was in control or not.
Building an entirely new ecosystem would take a lot of time, and even some libertarian users may just give up on crypto, because there's little point in spending years & money & effort to build something up, if it can be easily taken over by a state actor, again & again & again. After BTC was hijacked by Blockstream / Core, many early Bitcoiners like Gavin did NOT jump over to BCH, to fight as hard as they used to.
And if the masses don't "care whether government was in control or not", and if they don't move, then it would be almost impossible to rebuild an equivalent ecosystem. A merchant or business would say "old coin still has 99% of the users, and it still works, why should I bother trying out new coin, that only has 1% of the users".
The scenario we are both describing is a death blow to censorship-resistant P2P electronic cash, which is what many people currently need & rely on. Right now, as we speak, there are activists around the world organizing political resistance in the face of rising censorship. They're losing their paypal, patreon, bank accounts, and getting censored off of social media. Their homes are being raided by police, getting arrested, for posting the wrong political opinions online. The walls are closing in, and they're down to relying on crypto to keep the lights on. If the major coins are hijacked by state actors, these activists do not have the luxury to sit around waiting for another P2P electronic cash ecosystem to slowly rebuild. Takeover defenses need to be as robust as possible.
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> If the developers don't do their jobs, they get fired and replaced. Developers who think of themselves as "really controlling the back-end of Amazon" are delusional.
Great summary. I have huge respect for the ABC devs, but the impression they give off publicly is that they have a misunderstanding of their own power and role.
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