The War for the Soul of Bitcoin

The War for the Soul of Bitcoin

“War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
— Carl Von Clauswitz, On War

In my last article, What Will Bitcoin Look Like in Twenty Years, I warned that Bitcoin might not survive over the long haul not because it’s a fraud or a scam like the bankers and dictators think but because of its utter lack of governance and bitter political infighting.

Little did I know that the very next week we’d see the first shots fired in a brutal Bitcoin civil war.

On one side of the battlefield stands the core developer army of the undisputed king of crypto, Bitcoin.  On the other, a fork of the original project, backed by the upstart guerrilla fighters of Bitcoin Cash.

The war started with shock and awe.  On Nov 9-11th 2017 Bitcoin crashed from its recent all time high while Bitcoin Cash surged in value climbing from the pit of despair to over $2000.

At the same time prominent websites like Bitcoin.com suddenly ran messages claiming that the collapse of the New York SegWit2X agreement, which would have upgraded Bitcoin to 2MB blocks, had forced their hand and they had no choice now but to throw their full support behind Bitcoin Cash.  A flurry of messages pounded social media claiming that the 1 MB block size limits and huge transfer fees on Bitcoin were crippling its future.

Even worse, the memory pool that holds unconfirmed transactions for Bitcoin suddenly flooded, filling rapidly with tiny transactions that the network struggled to process.  Confirmation times for sending your money anywhere jumped from 10 minutes to two hours.

Some exchanges even suspended Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals as the congestion piled up.  Coinbase listed the network as degraded as transactions got slower and slower.

 

Not long after droves of miners abandoned Bitcoin right after the difficulty adjusted, which dramatically lowered the hash power on the network.  This crushed the network’s ability to process transactions when it was already under load from transaction flooding.

It all amounted to a perfect storm that smashed Bitcoin’s price and pumped Bitcoin Cash to the moon.

By the next day Bitcoin Cash has raced to become the second biggest crypto in the world, passing Ethereum and prompting congratulations from Ethereum mastermind Vitalik Buterin.

Many crypto personalities on Twitter and Reddit started calling the sudden and dramatic rise of Bitcoin Cash “the flippening” meaning the alt coin would soon overtake Bitcoin and become the one and only “true” Bitcoin.

Panicked traders wondered if they should dump all their Bitcoin and buy the coin’s dark twin fast.

And by Sunday, Nov 12 2017, only a day after its meteoric rise, Bitcoin Cash crashed down 50% in only a few hours.

If the timing of all of that seems incredibly suspicious that’s because it was incredibly suspicious.

What we witnessed wasn’t a natural movement of the market.

It was the first full scale battle of the age of crypto.

It amounted to an all out attack on the Bitcoin network.

It won’t be the last.

The Perfect Storm

The signs of the guerrilla assault were obvious and everywhere if you were looking.

Many of social media posts were sock puppets and used nearly the same phrasing and language, a tell tale sign of an orchestrated propaganda campaign. The messages were all some variation of “Bitcoin’s fees are too high and its blocks are too small so it can’t process transactions fast enough.”

These type of campaigns work because people only follow one or two news forums or subreddits. So many people today live in an echo chamber of their own belief systems, gathering on sites where they can hear their own voices reflected back to them ad infinitum.  But if you watch a crypto news aggregator like CryptoPanic you see the same messages streaming across the screen a hundred times and it’s clear you’re watching the start of an info war campaign.

Hilariously enough, I even saw a post on a Dash forum about how a user hadn’t used Bitcoin in years but just tried.  He complained that the fees were so high and the network was so slow that he was never going to use it again, only Dash or Bitcoin Cash.  Whether he’d just bought into the narrative or really believed that I have no idea but the tide was turning.

After a social media assault, the mem pool filled from near zero to a backlog of 90,000 transactions over the course of a few days, seemingly proving the point of the posts.  Coincidence?  No way.  It was a deliberate spam attack on the mem pool, with wealthy Bitcoin owners pounding the network with microtransactions to flood it

Even worse, many of the miners were in on the attack too.  To understand why you just need to know a little about how the network works.

Miners secure the network by solving a math problem over and over again.  As faster chips and more processing power come onto the network the problem gets easier and easier to solve, so the network adjusts the difficulty of the problem every two weeks.  That ensures that new blocks of confirmed transactions are generated at a fairly steady pace of about 10 minutes.

What the big miners did was wait for the difficulty to adjust and then flipped their processing power over to Bitcoin Cash’s mining pools.

This sure seems like a deliberate attempt to exacerbate the problem of slow transaction times.  It worked because the difficulty adjustment can hurt the network just as much as it helps.  If lots of miners simply disappear off the system right after the difficulty skyrockets, it means the problem just got harder to solve but there are now tons less processors to solve it.

Think of it like this:  Imagine I gave you a brand new computer with the fastest chip to solve a really hard physics problem. Your shiny new machine can solve the problem in two days if it runs full tilt.  Now pretend I snatch the computer back and drop a piece of crap computer from 1998 on your desk and tell you to keep working.  If the faster processor took two days the slower processor might take two weeks.

It all lined up, an info war campaign on social media, a massive pump by wealthy Bitcoin whales, a spam assault on the mem pool and a miner flippening.

It was a perfectly coordinated storm, something right out of a cyberpunk novel.

Welcome to economic warfare 2.0.

Game of Thrones

At stake is a $100 billion dollar market cap that’s growing by the nanosecond.

Like all wars it erupted seemingly out of nowhere but it was built on the back of resentment, failed diplomacy and a long simmering rage that finally boiled over.

At the heart of the conflict is a debate on scaling.

While Visa easily rips through 150 million transactions per day and can handle as many as 24,000 transactions per second, Bitcoin puts up a measly 7 transactions per second.  This drastically limits its chances of becoming the ubiquitous global payment system that visionaries see as Bitcoin’s ultimate destiny.

But just how to scale is the problem.

Bitcoin can’t simply copy Visa, which relies on centralized trust to make it go.  Bitcoin is decentralized.  We need new ways to scale a decentralized system to truly take on the power of centralized payment masters like Paypal.

There’s just one little problem:

We don’t really know how to do it.

Decentralized scaling is an area of active and ongoing research with a flurry of proposals and papers hitting the digital airwaves every day. Computer scientists gathered only days before the big battle at the annual Bitcoin Scaling conference to trade the latest ideas for boosting scale and speed.  Most of these proposals are still in the planning and idea stage.

We haven’t yet built a truly decentralized global payment processing system that can rival the scale and power of Visa and Paypal.  Anyone who claims to know how to do this with absolute certainty right now is straight up fooling themselves.  Until we have it all coded, put into action and in use by billions of people, not millions, we won’t really know what will and won’t work when the ideas hit the hard wall of reality.

The best laid plans of rocket builders sometimes go terribly wrong as they smash head first into friction, dust and heat.  The best laid digital plans have a way of going terribly wrong when confronted with human psychology and the brittle infrastructure and terrible security of the net.

Of course, that won’t stop people from taking a hard stance and declaring with self-righteous certainty that they’ve already figured it all out.  For some reason humans seem hardwired to take a stance on issues even when they have no idea what they’re talking about.

That’s what we’re seeing right now with Bitcoin’s Civil War.

The banner men have rallied around two overly simplified scaling solutions in the Bitcoin Game of Thrones.

The dividing line is clear: on-chain scaling or off-chain scaling.

Currently Bitcoin blocks are limited to 1MB.  As you probably already figured out, big blockers see the best way to scale as bigger blocks.  The thinking is straightforward and seemingly intuitive.  There’s only so many transactions you can jam into a space that small.  The obvious solution is to jump up the size.

On the flipside the core team sees Segregated Witness, or SegWit, as the answer to scaling glory.  It leaves the block size the same, for now, and strips out signature data to make the blocks smaller, which lets miners cram more transactions into the existing limit.  But SegWit also offers another tantalizing possibility: sidechains.

Sidechains push the majority of transactions off the main Bitcoin blockchain.  The heavy lifting moves to payment channels which can cram thousands or millions of transactions together before flushing them to the main chain.  That makes Bitcoin more of a “settlement layer” or an impartial arbiter of disputes.

The most well known proposal for off-chain scalability is the Lightning Network, a still under construction solution which uses a neat cryptographic trick called a hashed time locked contract to potentially process billions of transactions within the current 1MB straightjacket.

On the surface it may seem obvious that both ideas should work in concert to help Bitcoin scale to new heights but that’s not what’s happened.

Instead the debate turned sour, with core developers pushing back on block size upgrades because they saw the issue as more complex.  While blocks increase throughput they don’t necessarily equate to scaling.

Outsiders calling for big blocks saw the developers as unresponsive and thwarting the will of “the people.”  It doesn’t help that many of the core developers work for a company called Blockstream who proposed one of the first sidechain solutions in 2014.  To many people that seems like a strong conflict of interest.  They accuse the core devs of deliberately keeping the block size small to force payments to big centralized payment providers, destroying the original decentralized nature of Bitcoin.

It also doesn’t help that the core team struggles with public relations.  Censoring the debate on the biggest Bitcoin subreddit doesn’t assist their cause though it is understandable when forums get bombarded with repetitious and annoyingly oversimplified arguments posted over and over and over.  As Churchill once said “a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

Military strategists talk about winning the battle of the narrative Wars aren’t won by firepower alone but by winning hearts and minds.  It’s often the side that tells the best story wins.

Right now, Bitcoin Cash’s story rings true for many people.  It’s simplified and easier to keep in mind.  Well told stories bring true believing soldiers into the fold to fight and die for a cause.

Of course, the appearance of truth does not truth make.

For example, tens of thousands of Linux developers are employed by companies all over the world and Linux still manages to remain a free and open source masterpiece that’s used for a million purposes that none of those corporations would approve.  Just because you have the appearance of conflict of interest doesn’t mean that there is one.

I think what pisses me off more than anything about Bitcoin Cash’s hostile takeover attempt is that the team does have some good ideas and some good points.  If they just let their coin flourish on its own merits maybe it could have a chance of replacing the king but by attacking the network they destroy their credibility before they even get going.

Even Jihan Wu, the most powerful miner and ASIC maker in the world and a supporter of Bitcoin Cash echoed the same feelings about the takeover push.

So what has Bitcoin Cash done that makes sense?  Bigger blocks for one.  They can temporarily relieve the problem of transactions.  They also recently hard forked to adjust their emergency mining difficulty and that’s pretty smart under certain dire circumstances although miners appear to have gamed it again and again in the past.  It helps solve the miner attack we saw in the first battle of Bitcoin.  If too many miners drop off the face of the Earth the difficulty adjusts faster to deal with the problem that will keep transactions flowing smoothly, and that can be a damn good thing.

Personally I also resonant with the rugged individualist appeal of their dev team’s message.  Their “un-governance manifesto” lays out a framework for no bosses and no fixed rules.  One of the original Bitcoin leads, Gavin Andresen, threw his support behind the spirit of their message recently.

But I also know from personal experience that their “un-governance” probably won’t scale.  It’s the Brave New World problem I talk about in my last article.  If nobody can give orders and everyone just wants to work on the fun parts, nobody does maintenance or takes out the trash.

And inevitably their team will run into problems where they don’t see eye to eye and somebody has to make a decision.  When there are no rules in place to govern disputes, it’s usually brute force that decides and decisions that come from brute force always suck.

Lastly, while I respect Gavin’s love of the freewheeling coding principals of the early days of Bitcoin I think he’s missing a crucial point.  Like Gavin, I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t like orders and who works best in the early stages of an organization where there’s no rules and you have to figure everything out on the fly.  But I am exactly the type of person an organization doesn’t need when the organization scales.

As the bureaucracy piles up and decisions that used to take five minutes take two weeks I slowly lose my mind.  But that’s OK.  At that point the organization has a different purpose and it needs different people, people who can do the boring work of maintaining something that’s already a strong working business model.

Bitcoin now moves billions of dollars in a heartbeat around the world.  Like Wikipedia, it’s something that just shouldn’t work but somehow manages to work beautifully.  It should have suffered a crucial bug or security flaw at this point in its evolution and it’s not for lack of trying that hackers have failed to exploit it.  Back in 2013, security researcher Dan Kaminsky called the system “preternaturally sound” after trying to take it down for months. It’s been four years and still hasn’t suffered a major security breach.  That is an amazing achievement and unprecedented in the digital age of horrible Equifax level security and daily data leaks.

This is not an ecosystem we should screw with lightly.

This ain’t DevOps.  This is go slow and don’t freaking break things.

The People’s War

In so many ways the Bitcoin civil war mirrors many of the growing political schisms we see rippling around the world.  One side is seen as the unresponsive elites and the other as “the people” a rag tag band of true salt of the Earth soldiers ready to fight for truth and justice.  This myth goes back thousands of years.  It’s at the center of our greatest fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and Harry Potter.  It goes all the way back to the very first stories like the Iliad.  It holds a powerful grip on the human imagination.

That’s why Bitcoin Cash’s decentralized development teams see themselves as the keepers of Satoshi’s “original vision.”  They want to preserve Satoshi’s dream of a truly decentralized payment system and protect it from the corporate overlords who want to destroy it before it’s too late.

It’s a great story.

But that’s all it is, a story.

Nobody can lay claim to knowing what Satoshi thinks now.

He or she left the project.  He hasn’t communicated in years unless you actually believe that Craig Wright is Satoshi which pretty much nobody does until he proves it, which he refuses to do, the classic sign of a big fat fraud.  Maybe the real Satoshi is dead or maybe he doesn’t want to deal with the fame and pressure.  Claiming to be the keeper of his original ideas is the same thing we see in religious wars where different sects claim to have the only ture interpretation of some mythical book.  Only I can see, everyone else is blind!

The only one who can tell us what Satoshi thinks is Satoshi and he’s not here.  And really who gives a shit what he thinks anymore?  If he wanted to stick around and govern the project like Linus Torvalds did with Linux he had the freedom to do it and he chose not to, so it’s up to the rest of us to figure out what to do next.

But instead of a real debate we get mobilized armies and economic techno war.

That’s a path to self implosion not to scaling.

Like most things in life that get reduced to simple sound bites the reality is much more nuanced and complex.

Economies of Scale

Anyone who has ever looked deep into the problem of scaling soon realizes it’s a rabbit hole that seems to go down forever and ever.  There are no easy answers despite what true believers tell you.

We’re at the cave man stage of decentralized systems development.

The systems we’re working on now will look laughable to people a hundred years from now.  They’ll be no better than cave paintings.  To call any digital ledger truly immutable at this point is pretty pointless.  We’re not ready for immutable, which is why Ethereum hard forks all the time to upgrade its protocols.  The protocols aren’t set in stone with best practices written up in easily consumable O’Reilly books by third tier programmers.  They’re getting invented as we speak.  At best we’re still learning how to crawl and nothing will be truly immutable but death and taxes until we solve some serious and unsolved problems for scaling and robustness and security with these networks.

Take this paper written by a team of researchers who looked at the best ways to scale.  I found the paper while reading a nasty back and forth on Twitter between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Core soldiers.  It was posted by an adherent to the Bitcoin Cash religion to prove that bigger blocks were the ultimate answer.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that the paper’s conclusion was almost diametrically opposed to what the poster hoped to prove.

While the paper does call for slightly bigger blocks (though only 4MB, which is smaller than Bitcoin Cash’s 8MB) their ultimate conclusion is that a “fundamental protocol redesign is needed for blockchains to scale significantly while retaining their decentralization.

It was almost as if the poster hadn’t even read the article at all.

Then I realized he probably just didn’t understand it.

And that’s the real problem.  This stuff is incredibly complex.

Cryptography is rocket science.

There are only so many people in the world who can really understand the math behind it or create new algorithms or new protocols.  It just so happens that many of those folks are super smart and social skills don’t always go hand and hand with super smart.  It’s hard to explain this stuff to the average person.

But that doesn’t stop the average person from taking a side.

Humans are wired to pick a belief system even if that belief system has no bearing on reality whatsoever.  How else could billions of people decide that communism worked even as hundreds of millions of people starved to death?

When people can’t understand something they reduce it to simple concepts that they can get their heads around.

The big block versus sidechains debate is exactly that, a gross oversimplification of something that requires deep knowledge to really comprehend completely.

Take the fabled big blocks problem.  Bigger blocks aren’t just a matter of storage space, they also introduce latency to the network as the blocks propagate around the world.  You not only have to store the blocks on a disk, taking up more space, you also have to transfer the blocks to every single miner on the planet.  That takes time.  Internet connections get flaky or drop off or traffic spikes slow the system down at unexpected times.

The scaling paper points out that at 4MB 90% of the nodes get the block in time.  Bitcoin Cash already uses 8MB blocks.  The bigger they get the less and less nodes get it fast enough, reducing security on the network.  By the time you hit 38MB only half of the miners are getting the blocks quickly.

Don’t get caught up in trying to precisely prove which blocksize is perfect through some complex mathematical proof.  The research paper uses conservative numbers deliberately so you could probably make the case that 8MB work just as well and I won’t debate you.  But do 50MB blocks or 75MB or 200MB?  No.

Bigger blocks mean slower transmission, so whether 4MB blocks or 8MB blocks are the reasonable limit for the reality of today’s internet bandwidth and throughput doesn’t matter all that much. Here’s the graphic from the paper On Scaling Decentralized Blockchains by Kyle Croman et al:

8MB blocks give us 56 transactions per second.  That is a far cry from Visa’s average throughput of 4000 transactions per second.  In other words, it doesn’t solve the problem, it just kicks the can down the road for a little while, maybe a few months to a year at best.

The company backed by fake Satoshi Craig Wright and linked to the Bitcoin Cash collective built a gigabyte block test network to try to scale to those levels on-chain.  Seems like an OK idea until you realize that a gigabyte block would take well over ten minutes on average to transfer around the world without some kind of fiber link to dedicated miners everywhere.  It would destroy a regular person’s harddrive and their bandwidth caps in a few days. It would also result in tremendous centralization as only miners who could afford petabytes of storage to back their nodes could store the entire blockchain.

Wright doesn’t seem to care about that problem in the least:

Having worked in datacenters my whole life I can tell you it would be a lot more expensive than that to run if gigabyte blocks were the standard.  Five petabytes of storage would run you a couple hundred grand, not $20,000.

The Bitcoin Cash team claims that they’re fighting the centralization that off-chain scaling will bring but if big blocks are the only answer, with mega-miners using petabyte SAN clusters on the backend their vision leads us right to the same place.

Yet the Bitcoin Cash team’s concern that off-chain scaling could lead to more centralization is a real one too.

The Lightning Network will likely end up acting like a “mutual settlement network”. The reality is that most users won’t open a simple payment channel as it’s not much better than just paying on-chain, unless Alice and Bob have thousands of little transactions to conduct between each other for a long time.  Instead, the more likely scenario is many people will end up trusting more centralized payment channel providers and exchanges like Counterparty.

Craig Wright certainly believes SegWit gets us to mass centralization as he outlined in his presentation at the Future of Bitcoin conference.

Of course him saying that throws another monkey wrench in his claims to be the true creator of BTC.  Of all the countless reasons not to believe he’s Satoshi, the best and most concise is Vitalik’s “signaling theory smackdown”.  But yet another is the fact that Craig Wright said we don’t need off-chain scaling, which means he seems to forget that the real Satoshi outlined a method to do just that with off-chain payment channels using a time lock where two users could open a connection to each other and conduct multiple high frequency transactions before committing the final payment to the blockchain.

“An unrecorded open transaction can keep being replaced until nLockTime. It may contain payments by multiple parties…One use of nLockTime is high frequency trades between a set of parties. They can keep updating a tx by unanimous agreement…Only the final outcome gets recorded by the network.

Guess he just forgot he wrote that bit.

Postcards from the Edge

So where does that leave us?

After digging into the white papers and articles, watching dozens of YouTube videos, reading the forums on both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, listening to madmen and fools, as well as a few certified geniuses on this debate, I’ve come to one one unfortunate conclusion:

Both visions seem to be leading us to the same place, big centralized pools, dominated by the rich and mega-corporations.

It’s important to qualify that statement though.

The core vision does have an edge.

I know, I know must be a paid shill right?  Don’t worry, if you don’t agree and can’t make a sound, logical argument just go ahead and call the other side paid shills/corrupt/elites/in on the conspiracy and it’s enough to convince half the idiots in the world of anything these days.

Look, layered networks are the only type of networks that we know can scale.  One monolithic network trying to solve everything never seems to work.  This has only ever been achieved by breaking down the problem into smaller ones that can be solved locally.  That’s actually the heart of decentralization.  Think of TCP/IP on the network.  Internet routers don’t worry about traffic on your home network or in a company datacenter.  They don’t need to because the admins there set up routing and switching architecture to handle their specific use case.

The core team’s approach holds out the possibility of decentralization in that nobody is required to use a payment channel, you can still conduct transactions on-chain and you can always open up a private payment channel directly with a local party.  Alice and Bob and can open a channel if they’re buddies.  Also, if some of the nodes become highly centralized and regulated, you can always route to a node in a non-regulated part of the world.  I can also see clustered and semi-distributed hubs popping up similar to the decentralized Slush pool for miners.

On the flipside, Bitcoin Cash’s petabyte storage requirement almost definitely leads us to centralization with only miners who can afford to buy and run a SAN or a Ceph cluster able to participate.  It’s not just the cost to buy it, it’s also the cost to run it.  The only way out is that we get a dramatic breakthrough in storage capacity in the next few years which seems unlikely without a black swan event considering Moore’s Law is dead.  Or they can potentially come up with a compression technique that drastically reduces the stored and transmitted blocks.  But as it stands, I am not holding out much hope.

If all paths leads us to centralization it makes me wonder what this battle is really about?

It sure looks like a pump and dump and an ongoing arbitrage play as miners load up on both coins and flip them back and forth.  On any given day now they start to move like mirror images of each other.

It looks like we traded unelected central bankers for an unelected group of unaccountable miners.

That’s not Satoshi’s vision, that’s a complete and total corruption of his vision.

Or is it?

Satoshi’s famously predicted the rise of ASICs and specialized hardware to run the network.

“At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with server farms of specialized hardware.” – Satoshi Nakamoto, on The Cryptography Mailing List, 2008.

It sure seems like Satoshi backed centralization and massive central miners and payment processors.

Maybe that fraudster Craig Wright is Satoshi after all.  He certainly favors that approach, since it was his former company, nChain, that backed the gigabyte block testnet.

Wouldn’t that blow some minds?

But whoever the mythical man behind the coin is, it appears our patron saint of decentralization might just be a centralist, just not a government centralist. His quote about specialized hardware reads a lot like “might makes right.”  As long as you’ve got the money, you can run a node.

It reminds me of a nagging feeling that I had back in 2013 when I first started following the king of coins.

Bitcoin almost seems designed for centralization and destined to become a cyberpunk like corporate coin.

It will probably take a different coin to lead us to true decentralized glory, one with an entirely different philosophy.

But if I’m just reading too far into things and Bitcoin’s developers and users do want to keep it decentralized than what we really need is a fundamental redesign of the protocol, just like the paper said.

If that doesn’t work we need a better coin to win out.

For now let’s pretend that both camps really do want a decentralized coin.

Mo Money, Mo Problems

To get there we need to break out of the big block versus off-chain scaling discussion and start talking about real solutions that change the way we do business on the blockchain.

There are dozens of proposals out there, like sharding all blocks or just historical sharding of older blocks, while keeping the main blocks processed by everyone. Compression also comes to mind, something like Gavin Andresen’s Graphene compression, which uses bloom filters to shrink blocks down big time.

Other projects are already working on new ideas in a classic example of economic Darwinism.  Ethereum is actively working on a proof of stake hybrid and sharding and Vitalik recently hinted they may be further along than anyone expected.  A new project that started as an offshoot of Internet of People, the Libertaria project, proposes to use Hydra to punt the scaling issue out to localized chains that can each make their own rules and experiment at the community level.  Instead of scaling the whole world, it allows local chains to deal with local transactions and global scaling only happens when communities interact, which radically reduces day to day traffic on the main chain.  There are also alternatives to blockchains that are starting to come online, like IOTA’s Tangle, that promise to scale in completely new ways.  Time will tell if current projects work out but there’s little doubt that people will invent alternatives to the blockchain for mass decentralized systems.  Blockchain is only the beginning.

Dash and Decred have worked to build in governance for their coins so the type of hard fork battles we see with Bitcoin don’t happen as much, although Dash did fork into PIVX.  Time will tell if they got the governance right because algorithmic governance is hard to do and it may take a generation of developments to make it work in real life.

Tezos, despite its current legal quagmire, is still an awesome idea.  If they can’t do what they want to do, someone else should.  Tezos basically abstracts every aspect of the coin and allows any part of it to change from its block size all the way down to its consensus protocol.  It does all that without hard forking, allowing the forks the exist on the same network at the same time.

And without a doubt there’s some young Satoshi of tomorrow out there working on a completely new and radical solution, a black swan we can’t predict.  Maybe he or she will be the one to really change the world.

The fact is Satoshi is gone.  He abandoned the project and he left it to the rest of us to figure it out.  We’re doing a terrible job.  What we have now is a religious war that makes no sense.  It papers over the more complex reality that scaling will take time and complex algorithmic upgrades to make decentralized networks compete with their giant centralized counterparts.

But with more and more people using Bitcoin every day the race against time is on.

Bitcoin needs to get its act together or one day we might just wake up and find that another coin solved the problem for them.

If that happens Bitcoin will go the way of the model T, a good idea that led to better ones.

 

About Daniel Jeffries: I’m an author, futurist, and thinker.  You can follow me right here on Strategic Coin, the premier spot for utility token research and ICOs, and on Medium.  If you love crypto as much as I do, come on over to DecStack, the virtual co-working space for cryptocurrency and decentralized app projects because it’s free forever and you can rub elbows with the best of the best.  You can also find me on my private Facebook group, the Nanopunk Posthuman Assassins, where we discuss all things tech, sci-fi, fantasy and more.  If you love my work you may want to support me on Patreon because it let’s me keep cranking out amazing content for you.

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