Bitcoin Cash, Forks, and Governance
As everyone following Bitcoin Cash knows there's a tremendous amount of drama lately surrounding the upcoming hardfork. If you follow my tweets you know that I'm pretty solidly in the ABC camp. Those of us who support this vision for Bitcoin Cash have been accused of trying to force CTOR on everyone while blocking other changes. And, of course, we feel the same way about BSV. But what has been lost in this fight is our understanding of what forks mean for Bitcoin Cash and how the Bitcoin Cash protocol is meant to be governed. In November of last year Rick Falkvinge wrote an excellent document laying out of the founding principles of Bitcoin Cash (as he sees them) and describes how governance ought to work. If you've never read it, please take a moment and read it: Official Statement from the CEO of Bitcoin Cash In it he describes how we resolve protocol disputes:
Everybody is free to take any initiative for the Bitcoin Cash project. Everybody is also free to follow any initiative taken by any other person. Everybody is free to take no action at all. However, nobody may tell anybody else what to do, what initiative to take, not take, follow, or not follow.
That's it. Whether you like it or not, that's how protocol changes work. In this particular case ABC took an initiative with CTOR (which others outside of ABC also agreed with) and ran with it. Everyone in the community is free to either follow this initiative or not follow the initiative. As it turns out, most members of the community have voluntarily decided to follow. Some grudgingly, but of course they always remain free to not follow it. The same applies to Bitcoin SV. While I personally think that increasing the blocksize to 128MB while we know such a blocksize would crash the network under sustained loads is very reckless, they remain free take that initiative if they so choose. If they do not want to adopt CTOR, they are also free to do that as well. You might say, "That sounds terrible. If anyone can fork at any time wont there just be a ton of forks?" Maybe. But with each fork we learn more about what works and what doesn't work and what the market values. Eventually market consensus will start to form around a certain rule set and initiatives that diverge from that consensus will find little support. This is how decentralized governance works. Now I want to highlight the last bullet point above:
However, nobody may tell anybody else what to do, what initiative to take, not take, follow, or not follow.
On the ABC side of the debate, we are perfectly willing to let Bitcoin SV fork and compete directly with Bitcoin ABC. May the best fork win as it were. However, notice you don't see the same respect offered by the other side. Rather than competing in the marketplace, Craig and his friends are threatening to exploit a known vulnerability in Bitcoin (the 51% attack) to destroy the ABC side of the fork if people don't follow them. Craig has said "Either I win, or I will destroy everything". That type of anti-social behavior is the antithesis of the founding principles of Bitcoin Cash and our governing process. It's destructive. Not just for those who voluntarily chose to follow ABC, but also for Bitcoin SV as such an attack would permanently seal the coin's irrelevancy.
Rick also listed out seven social principles which I think would do us all of us in this community a world of good to follow: WE ASSUME GOOD FAITH. WE REWARD THE POSITIVE. WE ACT WITH DIGNITY. WE TRUST EACH OTHER TO FAIL WELL. WE DO NOT ASK PERMISSION. THE NETWORK IS MOTHER, THE NETWORK IS FATHER. WE HAVE FUN, BECAUSE IT ATTRACTS MORE PEOPLE.
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