On November 15 Bitcoin Cash hard forked when two developer groups disagreed on the future of Bitcoin Cash. I covered the background in this post. Read that for a primer on how we got here.
When there are multiple groups competing to be the default ruleset and client used to run the Bitcoin Cash network the issue is resolved using Nakamoto Consensus. At a high level Nakamoto Consensus says that in the event of a conflict Bitcoin miners will choose what software to run thus declaring a winner (via majority) and, very importantly, a loser (more on that later). From the Bitcoin Whitepaper:
They (miners) vote with their CPU power, expressing their acceptance of valid blocks by working on extending them and rejecting invalid blocks by refusing to work on them. Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism.
Nakamoto Consensus is baked into the design of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is the work of a group of geniuses providing many breakthroughs such as: Byzantine General’s problem, Triple Entry Accounting, Game Theory, Turing Completeness in Bitcoin script, AI etc. Anyone who does not recognize the staggering achievement of Bitcoin as a system is ill informed or disingenuous about their motivations for being in the Cryptocurrency space and not to be trusted.
Furthermore, I am quite clear who is the surviving member of the Satoshi team. I believe this person will be stepping forward with proof soon. And if they do not, that is OK. Bitcoin was designed for Satoshi to be anonymous. Satoshi would only step forward to save Bitcoin, and that may be where we are headed.
Most geniuses are rarely appreciated in their own lifetime. The magnitude of their genius only recognized once the full impact is realized, which often takes decades. Another fact that is lesser known, many geniuses are assholes. You need look no further than Sir Isaac Newton for an example. In the Forbes article ,Why was Sir Isaac Newton Such A Jerk?‘, Steven Ross Pomeroy writes:
He was not given to lightness of manner, nor did he show any capacity for self-irony. When angered, he became unbalanced and, it must be said, vindictive and petty.
Though his personality didn’t endear him to almost anyone, it served his career remarkably well. Ruthlessness is a surprising bedfellow to scientific success. When two other scientists, Robert Hooke and Gottfried Leibniz, offered criticism or competed with Newton for claim over the revolutionary ideas of gravity and calculus, Newton pursued personal vendettas against them. These grudges persisted even after Hooke and Leibniz were in their graves, with Newton trashing the reputations and discoveries of both Leibniz and Hooke while elevating his own.
Dr Craig Wright, the Chief Scientist of nChain, fits the asshole genius description well. Dr Wright, when crossed, is a world class jerk and this character flaw may have been very costly during the past week’s events. Much like Isaac Newton, Dr Wright, “when angered, he became unbalanced and, it must be said, vindictive and petty.”
It’s unfortunate. Here’s why:
In the BCH hash war there are two sides. Bitcoin ABC, led by Amaury Sechet and Bitmain vs Bitcoin SV, led by Craig Wright and nChain.
In the weeks leading up to November 15 Craig Wright bluntly told a lot of people to “fuck off”. Here’s an email he wrote to Roger Ver, the CEO of Bitcoin.com
That was just one example. Other notable statements were made about bankrupting exchanges that chose to run Bitcoin ABC software. Basically, anyone who disagreed with Craig was mocked, blocked and/or publicly flayed. Not a good look when heading into a battle for the future of Bitcoin. Dr Wright’s many attacks on persons and organizations in Crypto opened the door to ABC offering a safe haven alternative to a powerful nChain fighting for Satoshi’s Bitcoin.
Why was Craig so cocky? Craig had reason to believe that with his investment in hash power he could beat ABC. To prepare for threats during the year leading up to the past week nChain and sister company Coingeek invested HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS to build a Bitcoin mining operation in support of defending Bitcoin Cash as outlined in the Bitcoin Whitepaper.
When Bitcoin ABC proposed changes that differ from that path the November 15 upgrade became the deadline for a hash war.
On November 15 there were multiple livestreams broadcasting the fork with ongoing commentary from Crypto experts. Something was odd from the start. Watching the pro ABC teams there was something fishy. They looked incredibly confident, cocky even. Something in their mannerism was not consistent with a team at war in a high stakes battle. Then, this was said by Andreas Brekken on a livestream:
What is Andreas saying? Bitcoin ABC changed the rules of the fight. They broke from Satoshi’s design of Bitcoin to avoid a negative outcome from Nakamoto Consensus. They used a software checkpoint to prevent any group of miners from rewriting their chain.
Further, they distributed this software change to exchanges in secret. They created a cartel. Bitcoin was designed to be decentralized. ABC is now centralized by the group of players who are holding the checkpoints.
Putting it bluntly, ABC cheated. But all is fair in love and war, right? OK in that case, I’ll retract the “cheated” statement. Even so, the facts are ABC subverted the design of Bitcoin and Nakamoto Consensus to ensure their chain survived. This has caused a split. Now BCH is two coins: BAB (Bitcoin ABC) and BSV (Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision).
That means double the coins ~17M to 34M. Two chains. Inflation. Confusion. Rather than a decisive battle won by hash we have a protracted war with two blockchains sharing the same resiliency features. Bitcoin was not designed to split. It is designed so that the strongest version survives. That is what makes Bitcoin Bitcoin. It’s resilient. Evolving. Always getting stronger. Bitcoin ABC put that aside in their own self interest.
With a single line of code Bitcoin ABC dealt a massive blow to the hundreds of millions in real capital nChain invested in securing the BCH chain.
BRUTAL is an understatement.
ABC ignored what makes Bitcoin Bitcoin and instead chose to create a new genesis block at the checkpoint. Unfortunately, many are following this coin as if it were Bitcoin. ABC is DEFINITELY not Bitcoin. ABC is an experiment with altered economics.
Bitcoin is a system. It draws on multiple disciplines. One of the primary features of Bitcoin is the economic model of mining and security. ABC threw economics out the window. Forcing a split vs a winner take all has a hugely negative impact on all of Crypto.
So now what? ABC is claiming victory. SV is vowing to fight on.
The Hash War continues. And we know there are no winners in war. This graphic from Cointelegraph shows the current 24 hour burn rates. Actual cost are likely much higher as the war has escalated. nChain has stated they are prepared for a very long war. At some point the losses will be too large to sustain and ABC or SV will have to concede.
Here’s my personal take:
Bitcoin ABC does not understand Bitcoin. They are a group of developers. As developers everything they see is through the eyes of a developer. Their answer to everything is MORE code. Their major backer is the mining giant Bitmain who is behind a new coin called Wormhole which is generated by burning BCH. Bitcoin ABC is a threat to the promise of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is about the economics, stupid. Code is a tool to express the economic model, not the other way around.
Craig Wright is a dick. Craig’s tirades and personal attacks opened the door for ABC to collude with exchanges so they accept a checkpoint as compromise and protection from nChain. There has been a lot of damage. Jimmy Nguyen, Calvin Ayre, where were you? We needed calmer heads to prevail. We now have a huge mess with two coins and an extended battle ahead.
With that said. I firmly support Bitcoin SV and I denounce Bitcoin ABC.
Bitcoin is hard money. It’s world changing, but it’s not invincible. There are real world economic and adoption problems to solve before the next halvening. Plain and simple, the only Crypto I see that has a chance at fulfilling on the potential of world money is Bitcoin SV.
I encourage everyone to consider what you support and then make it known. This is a Call to Arms.
Lords and ladies, call your bannermen.
The battle isn’t over. It has just begun.