Why I leave Bitcoin Unlimited
It has become a tradition that people leaving Bitcoin Unlimited write a farewall post. The first post was from a developer who left BU in 2016 (and has later worked on Bitcoin Private), and recently we had a wave of ABC developers leaving Bitcoin Unlimited.
Now I leave, too, and I will write about my reasons. The truth is: Andrew Stone, Andrea Suisana, Peter Rizun, Peter Tschipper and Andrew Clifford are some of the people with most integrity in crypto. I have nothing but good words about them, and I will forever be thankful for what they have done. It was always a pleasure to interact with them, be it in chats, in forums or on conferences. They are polite, reasonable, helpful, honest, competent and carry a vision.
But I did not join BU in early 2016 to get friends. I joined because I liked the vision of having a client which is compatible with any hard fork to come (I did not expect other hardforks than blocksize-liftings to happen), and the vision to get the blocksize limit out of consensus, leave it to an emergent consensus instead of a developer consensus and solve the problem once and for all.
During the years I have always run one or several Bitcoin Unlimited nodes. I participated in the slack discussion, shared my experiences with running a node with Bitcoin Unlimited developers and enjoyed the communication with them. I wrote several release notes for Bitcoin Unlimited and am the author of the FAQ on the website. On my blog (bitcoinblog.de) I defended Bitcoin Unlimited against the numerous rumors and accusations when BU was the spearheading big block client in late 2016. It was a pleasure to help the project.
Some weeks ago I realized that the vision of Bitcoin Unlimited has been fulfilled. Some miners on Bitcoin SV (BSV) mined a series of blocks bigger than 120mb, but the blocks got orphaned. What many people painted as a failure was a massive success for me: Orphans and reorgs create a natural blocksize limit for Bitcoin, exactly as Peter Rizun and Andrew Stone predicted in papers released in late 2015. The system is working. It doesn't need a blocksize limit at all. With BSV we have a Bitcoin network running an emergent consensus. Mission fulfilled.
I realized there is a minumum requirement for emergent consensus: The blocksize limit must be above what the network can handle. As long as the miners are not able to produce blocks which are too big and get orphaned, we have a developer set limit: A committee of developer decides how much traffic the miners are allowed to produce. When the miners must find the limit for themselves, and test, touch the borders, pay for producing too big blocks - then we have an emergent consensus. Then the mechanic of orphans and reorgs comes into play.
The developers of Bitcoin ABC made it very clear on a lot of occassions, that they will never tolerate a limit which is higher than what the network can handle. They insist on being the developer committee which examines what the network can carry and prohibit the miners to produce more. This makes the vision of ABC fundamentally incompatible with the vision of Bitcoin Unlimited. ABC developers do not even understand the economic role of orphans, as Andrew and Peter researched long ago, which is demonstrated that they want to reduce orphan rate before lifting the limit. Since ABC's role as a dictator of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is strengthened after the November hard fork, there are not much chances that Bitcoin Unlimited will succeed in furthering its vision on Bitcoin Cash.
In general, this would not be so bad. 32mb is far above the demand, and having it could be a nice compromise, a much better compromise than Classic's 2mb, which Bitcoin Unlimited supported in 2016. However, it is not enough, when you have a better alternative: A Bitcoin blockchain with an emergent consensus.
You would expect that Bitcoin Unlimited cheered when a Bitcoin blockchain realized its vision. That they move energy toward it, that they invest their resources to push their superior scaling technology like Graphene or ParVal to the BSV chain, participate in the Scaling-Testnet and help to move the natural limits of what a bitcoin blockchain can carry.
But - no. This did not happen. Instead of celebrating that BSV proofs their thesis in the wild, Peter Rizun and Andrew Stone seem to find it more favorable to distance from the thesis which have become founding stones of Bitcoin Unlimited. And instead of putting resources into pushing the limits of emergent consensus, Bitcoin Unlimited members voted to drop support for BSV completely. Emergent consensus - but without Bitcoin Unlimited.
After the recent vote Bitcoin Unlimited reduced their choices of activity on a chain dominated by a development group which acts hostile toward Bitcoin Unlimited. A group which is known for producing bugs, while accusing Bitcoin Unlimited developers - which fixed their bugs - of incompetence. A group which has a history of rejecting things because they are from Bitcoin Unlimited, of replacing Bitcoin Unlimited's work with inferior work from other groups, of voting in malice in Bitcoin Unlimited ballots, of taking every chance to slander Bitcoin Unlimited in public and so on. Getting volontarily in total dependence of this group seems like a very bad move strategically and politically.
It might be helpful, though, to focus energy on one chain. It might also be helpful to distance from BSV and its nightmarish leaders to integrate better in the BCH community. Being focused on BCH might also help to gain influence over the direction of the project. So maybe it was a good vote for BU, the organization, and BCH, the coin. I am sure the BU officials have their reasons, and I fully respect it.
But this is not what is interesting for me. For me Bitcoin Unlimited was a vehicle to free the blocksize limit from developer consensus and hand it over to emergent consensus. This will not happen with ABC's Bitcoin Cash, but has happened with Bitcoin SV. It is sad for me to see Bitcoin Unlimited acting against its own founding vision. But this is what has happened, and I honestly hope that it will make the live of the Bitcoin Unlimited developers and offials easier.
Thank you for all you have done, and best luck on Bitcoin Cash.
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