A year ago, I’ve written How I learned to stop worrying and love the fork, espousing my view that a split of Bitcoin into two networks is possible, and might even be good under the right circumstances and with proper preparations.
Half a year ago, I’ve followed up with I disapprove of Bitcoin splitting, but I’ll defend to the death its right to do it, which elaborated a bit and aimed to refute some misinformation.
I’ve been meaning to write another followup to address some questions that have been raised…
And then Ethereum Classic happened.
In a slideshow published by Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, he promotes the view that Bitcoin is currently undergoing a winner-takes-all elections, and that variety in Bitcoin protocols is akin to variety in web browsers.
I find this incorrect, misleading and destructive.
Unlike physical currencies, governed by the laws of nature, and centralized currencies, governed by the whims of their issuers, it’s not at all obvious what ultimately governs a decentralized digital currency such as Bitcoin. There’s the protocol and the code, of course, but those are mutable and thus adhere to a higher authority.
It’s hot in Israel in August, but not nearly as hot as the global debate surrounding the release of Bitcoin-XT and the contentious hard fork that would ensue if enough people adopt it. It seems that both proponents and opponents of Bitcoin-XT dread the possibility of the network splitting in two, and focus on making sure everyone switches to their side to prevent this from happening. Contrary to this post’s title, I don’t actually like the prospect of a fork; but I do claim that having two networks coexist side-by-side is a real possibility, that it is not the end of the world, and that we should spend more energy on preparing for this contingency.
Some men and women are creators. They believe in dedicating their time and wealth to advancing a cause. They build things for others to enjoy, they help, they respect those around them in words and actions. They put their personal interests behind the greater good, and they always do the right thing, or at least try to. Over years of effort they prove their integrity and wisdom. If they do not have the means to contribute, they offer their gratitude and support to those who do.
When they disagree, they talk, ask questions, discuss. They make an honest effort to reach a mutual understanding in a respectful way. If when everything is clear the disagreement persists, they offer constructive criticism, they cherish the good and work to fix the bad.
But some have no interest in creation, only in destruction. They make little contribution of their own and impose impossible and arbitrary standards on those that do. They attack and slander the creators without correlation to what they do right or wrong. Whatever they have a gripe about, they strive to tear it down completely. When they disagree, they condone hateful speech, bullying, verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. Their only way of making themselves heard is by insulting those in front of them.
Bitcoin is only as strong as its community. When the goings get tough, when the community is torn asunder with infighting, when good men are subject to humiliation, when there is no unity, camaraderie or love, I take comfort in reminding myself who I’m struggling for. I’m not here for the destructors; I’m here for the creators.