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Bitcoin Is Having a Civil War as It Enters a Critical Month (bloomberg.com)
371 points by discombobulate 188 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 317 comments



This is a fight for control of Bitcoin. It is business interests on both sides fighting for a position of authority. SegWit2x is an attempt to remove control from the core dev team, which while technically strong is full of zealots with questionable motives and terrible management skills. Bitcoin ABC and Unlimited have their own parts to play as factions. It's getting tense, but it's been years in the making. Groups unwilling to compromise on the most basic points. I suspect that SegWit2x will end up taking over the network, but I'd rather see a pure large block faction like Bitcoin ABC. Either way the core developers are going to lose control of a 40 billion dollar network, possibly one of the biggest fails in modern technology. They will be left on a minority chain which will have little relevance going forward. I've said it before but anyone who put money into Blockstream has to seriously be wondering what the hell they are doing, there CEO should have been kicked out a long time ago, he has no relevant experience to actually running an organization and has royally messed it up.


> SegWit2x is an attempt to remove control from the core dev team

I disagree. SegWit2x is a misguided attempt to make Bitcoin "more efficient" without realizing that it puts at risk the core value proposition of Bitcoin: censorship resistance.

At the root of this debate is a disagreement about what the blockchain is for. On one side, you have all the developers working on the Core project and activists like Amir Taaki or "crypto-economists" like Paul Sztorc (creator of the decentralized prediction market which Augur is trying to re-implement), who believe the blockchain is for financial sovereignty. Bitcoin mining is a way to decentralize transaction validation, after all, such that no central authority can tell you which transaction is valid or not. Therefore, if you cannot run a full node and validate the mined blockchain yourself, Bitcoin is basically pointless because you have lost your ability to transact with censorship resistance. Increasing the size of blocks makes full blockchain validation more difficult. The risk then is miners mining a blockchain and you are not being able to contest it. The miners can decide not to include your transaction, they can require KYC for you to submit a transaction, etc., and you will have little leverage against this because you won't be able to validate the work they are doing.

On the other side, you have businesses and corporations (BitPay, BitMain, etc.) who believe that the blockchain can replace VISA, essentially, so they will do anything to make the system more efficient. This includes sacrificing decentralization and making it more difficult for users to validate the blockchain. They believe that being a full node doesn't matter and all that matters is replacing whatever current financial institutions are running with a blockchain.

What the second side of the debate is missing, however, is that the blockchain will never be as efficient as VISA. There is a reason why when over 70 of the world's largest banks got together at R3 and assessed how Bitcoin can help them transact, they came up with a distributed database called Corda and not a blockchain: blockchains are not efficient [1]. They are inefficient but they are useful because they are decentralized and enable permissionless transactions.

[1] https://www.corda.net/2016/10/r3-corda-makes-different/


Why do you say it's an attempt to make Bitcoin more efficient? It's essentially exactly the code base of Bitcoin core with some very minor changes including a block size commitment in the future. Seems pretty clear that it is about control of that code base, and not really the technical underpinnings which are almost identical.

I think the issue is that people have a vision of what Bitcoin is, that doesn't align with the reality of a proof-of-work system with a computation bound hash. The block size is basically orthogonal to the proof-of-work, and the proof-of-work is distributed in the sense that anyone can do it. There is nothing stopping any entity from doing the proof-of-work if they have the resources and capabilities. So this idea that there will be one company that is the only one doing Bitcoin doesn't really make sense if it's cost competitive for other companies to be involved, regardless of the computation or bandwidth requirements.

End users can still validate transactions via SPV, which is completely valid and provable without storing the entire block chain. Consensus relay nodes can do the same thing, although they will start dropping off the network when the bandwidth costs become prohibitive. So in a small block system we have an extremely limited amount of space for transactions, which means the cost will eventually be excessively high and result in settlement between big players. That's the choke point that allows for KYC and AML. You can submit a transaction to the network, but you can't afford to because there isn't enough bandwidth to service your request so you are forced into regulated channels, onto exchanges, or through third party choke points that can be audited. To a certain extent this is already happening.

People who want small blocks for Bitcoin really need to be thinking about using an Alt coin, it was never in the plans to have an extremely low bandwidth pipe to keep things decentralized when the proof-of-work is by default a centralizing force.


> End users can still validate transactions via SPV, which is completely valid and provable without storing the entire block chain

fraud proofs don't work because if you want to prevent someone from creating a fraud proof, you never send them the data that would be necessary to prove a fraud ("the block is too big! nobody (but some list of companies) have the bandwidth to support the enormous bitcoin network!"). SPV users don't require (nor check) the block data-- exactly the kind of scenario where you need in place so as to hide fraudulent double spends or other rule violations.

> the proof-of-work is by default a centralizing force

sounds like a good argument for regular pow change hard-forks. also to be watchful for economies of scale-- but economies of scale can hide pretty well i think, even after significant capital accumulation, it's an interesting problem.


SPV does absolutely check the block headers, which is all you need to do the proof. You can say that transactions could be omitted from the actual block chain, but not that invalid header data could be served that let someone believe they were paid when they were not or some other falsification.


you're talking only about SPV proof of transaction inclusion, not about the other fraud proofs necessary for the version of SPV theorized in bitcoin.pdf

here's a recent one: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0180.mediawi...

But why would a miner give an SPV user the data that proves a fraudulent double spend in the same block?


Blocks aren't valid with double spends in them. You are saying the miner makes an invalid block by the rules in order to have a double spend transaction and then mislead the spv client with that information? I'm not making the argument that relay nodes are useless just that their security is being over stated, it catches this particular issue.


1. SPV is not sufficient for security because it requires whitelisted nodes. If your client connects to a malicious node, you are shit out of luck.

2. There is no non-blockchain alternative to online censorship resistant cash. So if the price to use it is high, you will either pay the fee for censorship resistance or use your credit card (which is faster, cheaper, gives you rewards or cash back, provides consumer protection, etc., but is not censorship resistant). Altcoins basically act as market forces which allow us to discover what the world is willing to pay for censorship resistant digital cash, and you see this when markets which actually need censorship resistance (eg. Silk Road, AlphaBay, etc.) talk about considering Monero or something else when Bitcoin's fees get too high.


1. You just need to connect to enough nodes that their is a statistical probability that you aren't being censored.

2. There are already alternatives which have better censorship resistance than Bitcoin, limiting the block size does little to fix those issues. I also don't think the market actually values censorship resistance in their digital cash as much as you think.


> I also don't think the market actually values censorship resistance in their digital cash

Alphabay processed $600,000 to $800,000 per day [1]. This is economic activity for tangible goods. In the list of other top uses of the blockchain might be ICOs, which are a way to leverage censorship resistance to raise money without permission from the SEC. On the high end, these accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars within minutes.

Please show me a use case for a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that even comes close to these numbers and that does not need censorship resistance.

[1] https://www.wired.com/story/alphabay-takedown-dark-web-chaos...


I'm not sure why you think $800,000 per day is a lot. Compare that to daily volume for usage of the currency itself across all applications. https://blockchain.info/charts/estimated-transaction-volume-...


It is a lot. Again, please show me an example application of the blockchain that comes close to that number but that does not need censorship resistance.

The estimate of daily volume provided by blockchain.info obscures our discussion, especially if you consider that the daily volume for BTC/USD pair is around $1B. There could be $1B-worth of outputs in a day all dedicated to providing liquidity to exchanges, but entering/exiting the network is not an application of the network itself.


Well i consider trading a very valid use case, as well as simple peer to peer payment for all goods and services. How much transactional volume is Bitpay doing? 800,0000 isn't a big number, and certainly it will only represent a small portion of the payment volume if Bitcoin went anywhere near main stream. It's also pretty evident that Bitcoin may be censorship resistant but it isn't anonymous or fully fungible, makes it a pretty terrible currency for dark market usage going forward.


If you can show me that bitpay processes around the same amount as dark markets, I will re-assess my position...

As for anonymity and fungibility: I believe tumbling services are good enough today, which is why buying on a dark market works. However, it is not perfect and this is why projects like Monero, ZCash, MimbleWimble, TumbleBit and Xim are important.


https://qz.com/931810/cheapair-and-bitpay-data-show-rising-b...

This isn't the most accurate thing, but looks to me like several millions USD worth of volume just in Bitpay. That doesn't account for all of the other payment processors, or the peer to peer payments, or the exchange trading, etc. I'm not saying dark markets aren't an early driver of Bitcoin, but it's not where the majority of the action is now at all.


"peer to peer" payments don't require a blockchain: see Venmo, Square Cash, Facebook Messenger, PayPal, TransferWise, Uber (paying the driver), etc.

Exchange trading is not really using bitcoin, it is buying/selling bitcoin. This is like saying buying a car is an application of cars...

Having said that, Bitpay is processing more than I thought. The data in that article would mean it's about $5M per day... I'd love to see a breakdown of this to figure out why people are spending bitcoin for everyday things if it'd be better for them to just use a credit card (to get rewards, to not have to hold a volatile currency, for consumer protection, for faster payments, etc.)


If you buy stuff via bitpay with your hugely appreciated bitcoin you probably have a good shot of successfully evading the taxman. I bet that's what a lot of that traffic is.

That and you can buy cash-like goods like gold bars which would be prohibitively expensive or impossible to purchase via credit card.


Well, that's a narrow definition of P2P. All of those are centrally cleared systems vs a decentralized one. Buying a car is an application of money. The killer app for Bitcoin is better money, that's the vision I subscribe to and the one I would like to see proliferate.


I agree; I am here to see something become similarly as powerful as the almighty dollar, and I have faith that Bitcoin or another altcoin will.


I'm sure a lot of those dark market coins are going through BitPay.


The standard financial example for blockchains is financial clearing, and the amount of money processed in these transactions is truly staggering. CHIPS alone processes $1,000,000 every minute.


The metrics aren't very comparable though because of the way they work, mostly just mainframe apps I imagine. Blockchains are going to require a lot of engineering to get there.


Does CHIPS use a blockchain?


is this a rhetorical question meant to show that blockchain is not the appropriate tool for financial clearing?


Yep, and the history of R3 Corda is evidence of how "bitcoin as a clearing house between banks" is a pipe dream.

Bitcoin is almost 10 years old. We have enough data now to be able to build strong cases for what it's actually useful for. It is no longer sufficient to talk about what Bitcoin will do without talking about why it has not done so yet.


Making sure I'm following your last sentence -- "centralizing force" because of the power miner teams wield over the blockchain? (Electricity power = control of network)


Big blocks increase decentralization and censorship resistance by allowing many more transactions and many more users.


Therefore Visa is decentralized?

Bitcoin as a high throughput transaction network for buying things like coffee is not a good goal. It should be for much larger transactions, but optimized for decentralization and sound money.

Derivative blockchains can be spun off of Bitcoin, and settled periodically to the "reference" blockchain, which is Bitcoin, through lightning networks or other off chain developments (perhaps some sort of forked derivative pegged chains).

Bitcoin only has value as either a distributed non-centrally controlled international settlement network for countries and large banks [0], and/or as a digital Gold.

Optimizing this value out of bitcoin to achieve transaction throughput destroys the necessity of Bitcoin for existing.

Bitcoin proper should remain resistant to change, distributed, unable to be coopted or controlled by a few organizations, and above all, to have the properties of sound money (so resistant to changes to expand the money supply). If it doesn't have these qualities, it has no reason to be valuable. It cannot be all things to all people, but it can to "one" thing very well.

[0] https://thesaifhouse.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/economics-of-b...


good luck reasoning that to any of the current userbase...


Maybe the problem with Bitcoin as it stands is it's trying to do too many things at once. If you separated the transactional component from the value store you could have two independent but inter-related systems and consumers could elect to use the one that best fits their needs.

Maybe Ethereum will pick up the slack on the transactional side and Bitcoin will be only for "investment".


how can't you validate a block if that is trivial, even with the changes? honest question. does the proposal screw things up that much that you need to do a trillion hashes to validate instead of one?


A bigger block requires at least as many resources as a smaller one to receive, validate and store the data.

I am not saying we should never increase the block size, but I am saying we should try all alternatives that make the network more efficient (more tx throughput for same total resource cost) without making it harder for users to validate the blockchain.


"I suspect that SegWit2x will end up taking over the network"

What? They had first release like yesterday, the project has released one tarball, no packaging, no very good marketing etc. The biggest marketers seem to be the tinfoil hat opponents who fear the fork so much that they speak about it everywhere.

I don't think it is at all likely that segwit2x client will gain support. Or if it will gain support, it will take years at this point for it to gain any considerable support.

The whole thins is totally exaggerated. People have nothing to talk about, so they will invent tinfoil hat scenarios and discuss those. Bitcoin protocol has staid fundamentally the same for many years and it is pretty likely that it will stay that way.


The only support it needs is hash power support. That's it. If enough of the hash power can be pulled into it, then it's game over for a minority chain. Running nodes costs almost nothing which means the network can be flooded with segwit2x supporting nodes, and companies will be motivated to switch over.


Miners can mine segwit2x blocks all they wish, but since services/exchanges are running core client, they are just mining invalid blocks from their viewpoint, and those blocks are ignored. That means miners can't sell their mined segwit2x bitcoins on exchanges. Mining blocks that services don't accept would be very, very stupid, essentially throwing good money to trash.


So if a huge number of nodes are Segwit2x capable, and the miners are mining Segwit2x blocks with the majority of the hash power, companies are going to stay on a less secure chain that can be attacked by the majority so that they can have a smaller block size and keep the core dev team because they love them? This isn't how that works. Proof-of-work will force those companies onto the dominant chain. Exchanges will probably keep trading the smaller coins also.


Bitcoin protocol is defined by bitcoin core client, and I would guess more than 99% percent of the services that process bitcoin transactions use that client. The services don't follow actively the hash rate and they won't change the client based on that - the network automatically adjusts to the hash rate available so that blocks come each 10 minutes. If there would exist some other cryptocurrency with more hash rate doesn't mean that services would start calling that one bitcoin.


That's not what it means. You are right that those clients would begin rejecting blocks, but you can be sure that when customers are calling them asking why their transactions aren't being validated that they will switch. It's not economically feasible to run a business on a minority hash power chain with low transaction throughput.


As long as one miner is still mining the core chain, the transaction will be validated. It may take a little while at first, but difficulty will adapt.

It's going to be 2 legitimate currencies that are going to differ in value in exchanges. And each current BTC holder will be able to spend 2 coins (provided they take precautions against replayability; like making at first a double-spend to different wallets on the two chains separately)

Now the question is: what will the most BTC-rich people do?


It would take years for the difficulty to adapt to a 10 minute block time if the hash power dropped that much, there is a limit per two week adjustment period. More than likely the code would have to be modified to accommodate a rapidly dropping difficulty. See my other post, but that essentially destroys the security of the minority chain.

BTC rich people are on both sides of the debate, expect to see some dumping all around as they make their positions known.


Not years. The difficulty is recalculated every 2016 blocks (14 days)[1].

If one chain has 10% hashing power, for less or equal to 14 days the transactions could take 10 times more to validate. But that's assuming markets aren't correcting miners in the "right" direction in the meantime. Who wants to waste electricity on undervalued coins?

----

Considering most of BTCs have been mined at the time bitcoin core had no competition; I'd say BTC rich people would tend to side with them. Because of emotional attachment, economic ties, and most importantly the dumb but very real reason of software maintenance.

[1] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Mining


But if blocks are being produced at 10% of the expected rate, it will take 14*10=140 days before the difficulty is recalculated.


If you're hard-forking, you can increase the recalculation rate for a few first new blocks. You can even recalculate every block for, say, 1000 or 5000 blocks .


But that wouldn't work for the 'victim chain' of the fork. In this case the idea is that 90% of the miners fork, while 10% remain on the original version.

I don't know if non-miners also check the difficulty or difficulty calculations, but if they do, even the minority chain can't fork without affecting existing users.

In that case everyone would need to fork in which case you're back to square one: what to do with the users that can't or don't want to fork. And if you need to fork anyway, it makes little sense to go with the minority chain.


Realistically, what will happen if mining power moves to an alternative chain but Bitcoins are still what is traded at exchanges, is that miners will move back very quickly. The first one to move will gain the most economically, so game theory dictates the move back will be swift.

In the end, miners mine what people buy. It's that simple.

Any speculation as to what happens if all miners move as one, motivated by ideology instead of economics, is just that.


Mining is centralised enough that large voting blocks already exist, so there is no telling right now which side will win. If the ETH/ETC split is anything to go by, both chaons will survive but only one is going to suceed


That's not true. If not enough people are mining the core chain, then it will be attacked, and your money will be stole due to double spend attacks.


You can't steal with a double spend. At worst you can send a transaction and then later undo it. But that would require the dishonest party to work together with or be the hostile miner.

I'm pretty sure the backlash against both the hostile miner and all of Bitcoin combined would not be worth it, except in a Joker 'Let's burn all this cash' kind of way.

The worst a majority can do, is to create a new longest chain without any transactions. But in that case the transactions would still exist and can be mined again later (and supplanted again later).

But that would require a miner to want to spend resources to hurt the minority fork.

If the minority fork is big enough to be a threat, that would require a lot of 'majority' miners to work together to pull off this attack, which would lead to a tragedy of the commons situation. Any majority miner who doesn't participate in the attack would gain.

If the minority fork is small enough to be a toy for a single miner, it still doesn't make sense to put in the still substantial effort.

Just look at the Ethereum fork. Afaik there have been no shenanigans pulled of by a majority miner on the minority fork, even though it's only about 10% of the size.


"when customers are calling them asking why their transactions aren't being validated that they will switch."

If majority of hashpower would start mining invalid blocks, there would still be some amount of hashpower mining the real chain. Transactions would confirm, albeit more slowly. For the miners mining the real chain the situation would be very good, because less competition from other miners -> more found blocks, more money. Probably the hash rate would grow pretty quickly, and if it wouldn't, the difficulty target would adjust after the 2 week difficulty adjustment period, and confirmation speeds would be back to normal.


The taking a little while to adapt is because their is less hash power, which means it takes longer to find blocks which means the remaining hash power will have less blocks for many many weeks. This means their expected return is lower, not higher, they aren't getting a larger percentage of found blocks, and those blocks occur farther apart.

Then when the difficulty has fallen enough to make mining profitable and have a consistent 10 minute block time the larger hash power chain will be able to mine at a significantly faster rate on the lower hash power chain and that will make it susceptible to a %51 attack.

The only way to avoid that scenario will be for them to switch the proof-of-work or manage to get a lot more hash power back on their chain. Being on the minority chain in that situation is frankly dangerous, the value should be discounted appropriately.


"This means their expected return is lower, not higher, they aren't getting a larger percentage of found blocks, and those blocks occur farther apart."

The blocks would happen farther apart, but it would also mean that the remaining miners would have much higher change of actually finding a block, since there would be less competition. Also as there would be the same amount of transactions and less blocks, the blocks would have more collected transaction fees -> bigger reward. Also probably people/exchanges would increase the fees since competition would be bigger to get the transaction to a block.

Also, it would make sense for exchanges etc to buy some mining power. That would make blocks appear faster, and also they would get the mining reweards, so it might be net positive. Or just simply bribe some miners to mine the valid chain. Very easy way to do that would be just to increase the transaction fees that they put to transactions.


> The blocks would happen farther apart, but it would also mean that the remaining miners would have much higher change of actually finding a block, since there would be less competition.

That's not true. The chance of finding a block is the same for every hash given a certain difficulty, regardless of competition. So a miner with a certain amount of hashing power will always have the same chance of finding a block until the difficulty changes.


Seems to me GP is right:

The remaining miners make the same amount per day, until difficulty is adjusted, and then much more.

Consider this: one pool with 20% hash power. They only get every 5th block, i.e. 1 coinbase reward every 50 minutes.

Now all the other miners fall away. Now this pool will still take about 50 minutes to find a block, but it will get 100% of them, thus still being rewarded a block every 50 minutes.

However, 2 to 10 weeks later (depending when the last difficulty adjustment was) (or longer, if difficulty adjustment is capped), a block is found every 10 minutes again, and the pool gets 100% of them, thus 5 rewards in 50 minutes.

On the other hand, gp also said: > Also as there would be the same amount of transactions and less blocks, the blocks would have more collected transaction fees -> bigger reward.

If I understand correctly, that the hypothetical 20% mining pool would immediately get 100% rather than 20% of all transaction fees when the other miners fall away.

However, AFAIK the coinbase (mining reward) dwarfs the transaction fees (for now), so that should not be that relevant.


This isn't the way it would go down. :) Let's wait and see...


Depends what you mean by secure. If users cannot validate the blocks, then no matter how much hashpower is available, it is vulnerable to miner attack.


If miners would do a hard fork with different protocol rules, that would be called something other than bitcoin, maybe "segwit2x-bitcoin" or something.


If the exchanges trade 'segwit2x-coin' as Bitcoin, it will become 'Bitcoin', and the legacy coin, if it is possible to use at all, will have to be renamed.


It's not that simple. Exchanges and custodial wallets hold other people's funds, so they are not allowed to decide arbitrarily which chain is "Bitcoin". That would be regulatory suicide.


If your thesis holds, it invalidates the central tenet of a decentralised network. If a central party can set the rules, why not use the much better centralised transaction systems and forgo things like POW?


Exchanges don't care about any particular coin. They only care about their users. If their customers demand trading of segwit2x then that's what what will happen. There could be a lot of opportunity for trading segwit2x because the volatility which is what traders like. Same goes for all other bitcoin forks, it's going to be a trading bonanza for the exchanges!


Maybe I'm misinformed, but aren't SegWit (without 2x) blocks backwards compatible?

From what I understood, a valid SegWit block will appear valid to an old client.

Certain invalid SegWit blocks will also appear valid to old clients, but those blocks will be rejected by SegWit-enabled miners, so they have little chance to be included should the miners change.


> Maybe I'm misinformed, but aren't SegWit (without 2x) blocks backwards compatible?

You're correct. However, I'm fairly sure OP was talking about Segwit (with 2x).

If most users/exchanges/services don't get on board by the time the scheduled segwit2x hardfork happens, then those blocks would be considered invalid.


That makes sense. However from what I've read, the timeline is "SegWit -> multi-month transition period -> 2x HF".

So by the time the 2x fork comes up, the segwit-enabled chain will already be in use for several months.

Another point I'm wondering (sorry if that's a noob question) : Assume that some of the forks actually lead to a chain split with hashpower distributed 90%/10%.

At some point, the difficulty of the chains will adjust to bring both of them back to the "one block every 10 minutes" rate. However, this will not happen immediately but only when the current difficulty period would complete. Before that happens, the minority chain will still have the difficulty from before the split - the one that assumes 10x as much hash power as now is actually available. That sounds as if the minority chain could become effectively unminable for the rest of the difficulty period. Worse, as the period durations are measured in mined blocks, if blocks are mined slower, the difficulty period will also go on for a longer time.

Does that make any sense?


Super late response, but...

> So by the time the 2x fork comes up, the segwit-enabled chain will already be in use for several months.

Correct. But there's an asterisk here: most people (78%) are running bitcoin core, some run Core/UASF (5%), and some run bitcore (2%). Together, that's 85% of nodes. Core 0.14, Core/UASF, and bitcore are all compatible with segwit, but not with the blocksize increase. Even if you wait multiple months, if people stick with Core (a possible outcome) then they will see 2x blocks as invalid.

> That sounds as if the minority chain could become effectively unminable for the rest of the difficulty period.

The chain wouldn't be unmineable, it would just get mined slower (mining profitability wouldn't be impacted for miners staying on the chain provided the price stays the same). But you're right, blocks will come slower, throughput will be lower, and the adjustment will take longer.


That's true - but then the potential split would be between segwit and segwit2x and not whether or not segwit is activated, would it?

Thanks for replying at all! That was really interesting and informative.


>That's true - but then the potential split would be between segwit and segwit2x and not whether or not segwit is activated, would it?

Yep, you're 100% right.

Thanks for being interested, haha.


Note however that several services/exchanges are part of the NYA (segwit2x supporters) too. That's one thing that makes this hard fork much different than previous attempts.


AFAIK btc1 produces normal segwit blocks that will be accepted by Core; that's the point of the compromise.


Until the hard fork 3 months down the road, then the blocks won't be accepted.


If the legacy chain has too little hashpower then it can be easily attacked.


I apologize for asking what is probably a bitcoin-noob question, but can you explain (or elaborate on) why hash power has that effect? What does a "minority chain" mean? If you have two groups using different hashing algorithms, why would that have any effect on either group?


The issue is that both groups derive from a single block chain at some point, so everyone who held BTC before that split can spend them on both forks, whereas those who receive them or mine them after the split only hold the currency on one fork.

Additionally, if the split of hash power is highly asymmetric, then the difficulty of the majority fork will become much higher than that of the minority fork, over time. This opens the minority fork up to 51% attacks. Say the split is 90/10, then just 15% of the miners from the majority could team up and switch back to the minority fork to wreak havoc.


They are using the same hashing algorithm with different consensus rules. That's exactly the issue. They are fighting over the same pie because proof-of-work is what defines Bitcoin.


but if the hash power users leave to another blockchain, and holders of imaginary tokens remain and trust the old blockchain, then the remaining lower hash power users became the dominant hash power.


How is it going to have value if the client people download at bitcoin.org don't support the chain with massive hashing power you speak of? Not to mention PoW change.

So, no, hashing power is not "all you need" to take over Bitcoin. For many people, Bitcoin is whatever their wallet supports.


90% of the hashing power has signaled their intention to adopt segwit2x as of late June. I assume it will become the dominant chain once it locks in right before August 1st.


That's assuming hashing power will determine the outcome.

In the exchanges runs will take place. The actual economic users will vote this issue out.

In the end spreadsheets will be updated, and miners won't want to spend their electricity on a chain that went unprofitable.

Miners may have the software coming from segwit2x, and be the ones who actually provide the technical consensus. But the economic consensus will trump everything else; and late software along with questionable roadmap does not inspire confidence.


Hashing power is what mines the blocks. There will be no "voting the issue out" if the dominant chain is using Segwit. Just because you buy a few BTC on GDAX or something doesn't somehow give you more say than the miners over what software gets run on their own machines. Vast amounts of hashing power is concentrated in the mining pools that are signaling support for this and 99% of the people speculating on these currencies don't care about the underlying protocol, they just want to make money.


Which do you put more stock in? What they are signaling now or what they promise in a blog post?

This makes their opposition to Segwit2X clear: https://blog.bitmain.com/en/uahf-contingency-plan-uasf-bip14...

Its clear the opposition is to Segwit-- and Segwit2X contains Segwit.



Segwit2x is an olive branch, they want the increased block size and are willing to implement Segwit to get it.


That's misunderstanding even the basic issue here. Segwit signaling needs to begin August 1st, it won't lock in for about 2 weeks and that has nothing to do with the 2x part which won't even happen until November.


Incorrect. NYA begins locking in Segwit as early as July 21st. The point is to get Segwit locked in before August 1st so the UASF has no chance of creating a second chain that has any chance at life. You are correct that the 2x portion will require a hardfork that will presumably come down the road.


They have a huge amount of committed hashpower and the support of most major Bitcoin companies.


No major bitcoin company has stated that they will run segwit2x client. If you have conflicting information, please link announcement/blog post about that.

As for the hashpower, it doesn't matter what clients miners run. You can't force the nodes to run specific client with hashpower.


I'm not picking a side, just delivering info:

You can see the signalling process here: https://coin.dance/blocks

90% are signalling the NYA intent to support Segwit2x. Since the software release 20% have signalled with segwit2x blocks.

You can see business support here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Segwit_support#Businesses

I'm not sure if you consider Coinbase a major bitcoin company yourself, but I think they qualify.

If I was to make a prediction, everyone will be running segwit2x or another client faking segwit2x support, to get segwit passed by Aug 1st. Then once October comes along we'll have another fight over the actual blocksize hardfork.


> You can see business support here: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Segwit_support#Businesses > I'm not sure if you consider Coinbase a major bitcoin company yourself, but I think they qualify.

That doesn't look like a very good proof. If coinbase plans to adopt segwit2x, why haven't they released an announcement? I wouldn't trust that wiki list very much.


You can click through to see the sources on each one on the table there.

And don't trust the wiki, no need to. Trust the hash power. The NYA signal was just a promise, so don't trust that one. But the BIP91 signals are coming in already. Just need to get that over 80% for just over 2 days. Then we'll see the original segwit signals jump to the 95%+ it needs.

But the truth is, you don't have to worry about finding any support proof or anything. We'll know what happens over the next week or two for sure. I don't care whatever direction it goes in, I just want it to go smoothly.


Well certainly it will be interesting if this trick gets miners to signal segwit, as currently the segwit signaling is only around 45%.


They did release an announcement. They signed the original new york agreement letter.


Wrong. Coinbase is on board.

They were an original signer of the new york agreement, which is how segwit2X was created.

If you want a link, just read the new york agreement announcement.


You basically can do exactly that. Unless the companies involved want to run on a minority chain with much less hash power, which means they are exposing themselves to a 51% attack as soon as their difficulty drops significantly behind the majority. Hash power is a very big stick.


All those claiming that coinbase is planning to run segwit2x, please link to a statement provided by a representative of that company. I think you are just talking bullshit.


Disclaimer: I don't know anything about bitcoin or if segwit2x is even the same as segwit...But a quick google for "coinbase segwit" shows this tweet from the Coinbase CEO - https://twitter.com/brian_armstrong/status/81725801561932185...


That's from before the New York agreement (SegWit2x) so it's not definitive. In fact many who explicitly don't support SegWit2x support plain SegWit.


https://medium.com/@DCGco/bitcoin-scaling-agreement-at-conse...

The digital currency group (dcg.co) includes Coinbase in its portfolio.


That agreement seems very general, doesn't indicate that the participants will run specific code. Segwit2x client didn't even exist at that time, first release was yesterday.

People are just making this bullshit up.


Not making it up, talking to real people in the space.

You can also check out the SegWit2x mailing list archive [0] for companies actively testing SegWit2x. From there I've seen BitGo, Blockchain, Bloq, OB1 (Open Bazaar), Purse.. these are significant companies in the Bitcoin economy.

[0] https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-segwit2x...


> companies actively testing SegWit2x

Testing is very different from actually running it in production. Companies test out a lot of different things. I think with consensus code companies will be very careful and if they plan to do something regarding that, they will announce it clearly, not in some half-assed wiki site or medium post.


> some half-assed wiki or medium post

That's... you're woefully out of touch with how people communicate in this space.

Show me where on these companies' sites it says "We run 0.14.2 of the reference client, with this patch set, and don't plan to ever change"?

Anyway, we'll see what happens in the next two weeks I guess. I'm expecting we lock-in SegWit via the SegWit2x client and then have another debate in a few months about the hard fork. Hoping not too many sw2x supporters get cold feet in the meantime.


Let's assume the segwit2x is being activated, how long long will it take to start trading again?


> I've said it before but anyone who put money into Blockstream

You seem to have taken sides against BitcoinCore team, following the typical conspiracy theories. But FYI, Blockstream is not Core, Core is not Blockstream. More info: https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/622bjp/bitcoin_cor...


I have taken sides, but against the general core development process and the corporate interests that are permeating it. Yes, blockstream is not core, but they have exerted a tremendous amount of influence on the team and direction. In addition to directly employing many core developers, sponsoring contractors, and tirelessly advocating for a vision of Bitcoin that frankly differs substantially from anything put forth in Satoshi's paper. It's not a conspiracy theory, I've watched it unfold in person for years.


Even if most of what you say seems to be completely false, I wouldn't even worry a tiny bit even if it was true, in the same way I don't worry by the fact that many Gnome developers are paid by Red Hat.


You are making the mistake of equating Bitcoin development with other open source projects. It's just not comparable to Gnome, Linux, or any other open source development. If I don't like the gnome developers I just don't run their code, but if I don't like the consensus driven code of Bitcoin my only choice is to sell. The stickiness of the implementation is extremely important to the overall discussion.


> but if I don't like the consensus driven code of Bitcoin my only choice is to sell

Wrong. What's the choice you have when you disagree with what the maintainers of an opensource project do? You can fork. You're welcome to fork at any time. And in fact this is what we're seeing these days: an attempt of a fork. I believe that, as with the majority of the forks in the opensource world, the fork will not succeed, because the alternative developers are less capable.


You seem to be missing my point.

I can fork Linux right now, make some random changes and I have a fully functioning equivalent system with those minor changes.

I can fork Bitcoin right now, make some random changes to the consensus code, and I have a useless token that has absolutely no value.

These two things, are not the same. How can you possibly refute that?


> I can fork Bitcoin right now, make some random changes to the consensus code, and I have a useless token that has absolutely no value.

The value and usefulness of the token you would create is directly proportional to how good your change (divergence) to the software is.


Because you can take those minor changes deploy to a smaller group where a decentralized exchange is required. For example an ad buying network. Or you can make your own coin and market it.

It's the same as forking facebook's website code if they allowed that. You have a product you can use but without the scale of people and data it would give you a similiar level of value.


People have been downvoting you because you're wrong, but someone should say why: the difference between your two examples is that a social network has some sort of value with a limited network, but a currency only has value where it is accepted.


Core is one of the best managed team I know of: they stay true to the most important feature of bitcoin: decentralization. They do this on many levels. What most people don't realize is that Bitcoin is the best method for storing value even in it's current form, without any protocol update. Also value storage is the reason why Bitcoin is hyped so much, and why it's so emotional for people to talk about it.

Any update to the network that is able to take away from it's value storage characteristics is bad, and core deeply understands this, unlike many other teams.


Core developers never had control in the first place. No one has control; it's weird to see so many people applying authoritarian concepts to an anti-authoritarian system.


This is false. Bitcoin is a consensus system, and the default client for better or for worse has a stickiness that doesn't exist in normal open source software because of this group consensus. So there is definitely a measure of control. Yes, it's not total or complete, but it is there.


Bitcoin Core does not have control over the software users run on their machine. If you believe differently, you don't understand how Bitcoin works. You might be confusing network effect with control.


I think they mean that a blockchain doesn't exist in a vacuum, someone has to write the code. While anyone can write a new client/protocol upgrade people won't upgrade to just anyone's new client given how much value Bitcoin represents.

No one has hard-control over bitcoin, but the leading dev group has some manner of soft/non-coercive control (by momentum alone).


That measure of control extends about as far as it did for the default bit torrent client. Negligible.


There is a pervasive misconception that "power" is "I tell someone what to do, and they do it, because I have power."

That is not how power works.

For one thing, it isn't a binary value. It is not that either have power or don't. It is a very complicated thing; even calling it a "continuum" greatly oversimplifies because power is much more nuanced than can be mapped to a mere straight line.

If that is not something you already deeply know, consider replacing all instances of the word "power" with "influence", which is much closer.

It is safe to say that the core developers have had some power/influence. It is safe to say that certain large minors have also had power/influence. Small minors also have small amounts of power/influence, it's just dominated by other concerns, but it exists.

Decentralized doesn't mean nobody has any power or influence, it means a lot of people have power and influence, and nobody is supposed to have enough to simply dictate the result. And while I'm not involved with this and don't care, it definitely sounds like a classic power struggle. Bitcoin was never premised on the idea that there would never be power struggles... indeed, the promise of extreme decentralization is all but a promise that there will be lots of power struggles. The question is, which do you prefer: A system which attempts to structure things so that one central authority can not arise and every thus question is settled by a power struggle, or one in which power struggles are resolved by the rise of a central authority who simply wins them all?

(And if you conceive of "power struggle" as always being a vicious war, that may sound very dystopian. However, bear in mind that all voting systems, agreements to follow Robert's Rules of Order, mostly-hierarchial system such as most companies use, and any number of other structures are all systems for resolving "power struggles". Power struggles can be vicious and disproportional, or polite, genteel, and not a major hassle for anyone. But they're all still "power struggles".)


By design, miners control Bitcoin. Before Ethereum, miners were fine with Bitcoin core because they were still making tons of profits, and blocks weren't full. They were almost all following core and that's why core has a lot of power.

Now that Bitcoin hit a scaling ceiling and a competitor who can scale way beyond Bitcoin is rapidely taking the lead, they finally realize why Core/Blockstream strategy is bad for them, and bad for Bitcoin. Hence they came up with setwit2x, wich is a weak attempt to get ride of Blockstream (because its segwit first, then 2Mb blocks, then... not much), but a strong signal that something is changing.


Miners provide security for the system, but they do so at the behest of the users. If they don't enforce the rules that the users desire, the users will reject their blocks and the miners won't get paid.


Miners provide security and thus value to the system, if the users don't follow them, their coins lose security and thus value. The chain with the most hashpower has the value and the users have no choice but to go with it or they risk their coins losing value. The users are not in control.


Yeah I don't think the core developers have ever claimed to have control. Isn't this one of the main reasons why they have refused to implement auto-upgrade in Bitcoin Core?


This misunderstanding comes up often, but the code and the blockchain are different domains.

You need consensus on the blockchain, but you need a benevolent dictator, coupled with good communication, to make great opensource software.

While the Blockchain is democratic in nature, a dev team is oligarchic - an open technocracy. You want the best idea to win, not the most popular one.

Maybe in 100 years we will make great software by group vote, its a much harder problem to solve.


They don't control, but they have lots of power in the sense that 99% of people will just run the bitcoin core client without researching too much, what is in the code.


Not true, the miners are heavily vested and do their research. Speculators who just buy and sell go wherever the market is which is wherever the miners are.


>Speculators who just buy and sell go wherever the market is which is wherever the miners are.

Isn't "wherever the market is" wherever spending power is?


Speculators have various reasons buy and sell many of which have little to do with miners.


Yes. There is no Bitcoin to control. Bitcoin is an idea, and there can be as many variations as people have ideas. There will be a main trunk, centered around the middle of the market, but the whole point of cryptocurrencies is they can be forked and survive.

In the new world, everyone has their own universe. The sooner one believes, the stronger their position in the 2030 economy.


Name one that has forked and survived. Ethereum Classic is not "surviving".


Ethereum Classic today has more market cap than Etherum did the month before the split, how is that not surviving? They have grown immensely since the split.


It's early days my friend.

Imagine a "Confederacy Coin" that forks from a "US Federal Coin". You don't think that cold survive?


> Core developers never had control in the first place.

True.

> No one has control

Also true. For now.

> it's weird to see so many people applying authoritarian concepts to an anti-authoritarian system.

Not true. First of all, it's a system and you can't get more authoritarian than a system.

Then are externalities called people. And people collude and cooperate and form factions. That's because they're people and that's what people do.

So while they don't have control directly, if they form a majority they will. The minority are free to vacate this virtuality if they don't like the new rules.

You see, BitWorld really isn't so different from the real world.


You're right that this is a fight for control over bitcoin, but you're wrong on who the players are.

There's the corporate faction: BitMain plus Bloq and the ones who want to embed KYC and AML into the bitcoin protocol. Their heavy hitter is Jihan Wu who controls %70 of the hash power, via his mining chips and his pools, and his customers being amenable to his wishes (because they want to remain customers). No visible engineering expertise, and has has backed a series of code projects over the past two years all of which have been spectacular failures: BU, XT, Classic, ABC and BTC1-- all have had significant vulnerabilities.

Their goal: Very large blocks that cannot cross the Great Firewall of China easily, increasing Chinese centralization.

On the other side you have The Engineers: Hundreds of engineers who have contributed to Core, starting with Satoshi Nakamoto and going forward to the present day. They are called "corporate" because Blockstream hired some of them, but the blocksteram engineers are prominent only because of their contributions and smarts, not because they exercise any control.

These engineers for the past 8 years have delivered quality software and 2 years ago delivered Segwit-- a misnomer that covers a large number of improvements for bitcoin that require a soft fork to activate. Segwit enables scaling and so many more applications to be built on Bitcoin, including smart contracts and side chains.

However, Segwit also reveals an exploit. An exploit that Jihan Wu has been using to give him a competitive advantage and which is in part why he has been able to gain centralized control over bitcoin hashing. This exploit is called ASICBOOST and segwit would put a stop to it.

This is why Jihan has opposed it.

Worse the corporates have spent millions on a 50-cent army of shills to spread FUD and misinformation and conspiracy theories to discredit core.

At the end of the day-- its the engineers who know what they are doing vs the corporate shills who sneer and think it can't be that hard to deliver bitcoin software -- but have so far completely failed to deliver anything that wasn't unmitigated crap.

How it's going to play out:

Jihan Wu has declared he will hard fork his own coin (and remove Segwit) because the real bitcoin industry and core agreed on Segwit2X .... he has hash power, so he may be able to make his coin dominant... for awhile. But core has solutions to this, and at the end of the day we will likely see chain split with the hash power on one side and the engineering resources on the other. That hash power advantage can be fixed within a few weeks.... the lack of engineering talent can't be fixed for love nor money-- as any engineer worth a damn understands what is at stake and will never join Jihan's Jihad.


You are ascribing to the Bitcoin core narrative of a bunch of freedom fighters who are building a decentralized future of freedom, but that narrative does not hold water. First off, Gavin, Jeff, Mike Hearn, you know the guys that have spent a lot of time working on Bitcoin since the beginning aren't in the core project, and in the case of Jeff are actively working on the alternative. That tells you that the allegiances and motivations within "core" have changed in just the last few years. Trying to draw back some unbroken line of succession to Satoshi Nakamoto whose paper basically completely spells out a big block vision is ridiculous.

Second of all, the great firewall of china isn't crap, a significant amount of data can pass through it, and actually if the block size gets to be too large this actually damages their ability to effectively process blocks quickly. The miners are not interested in SegWit because it completely changes the economic structure of incentives around mining. It pulls control into channels and reduces direct fees into some hand wavy future about settlement. It's an attack on their real economic interests, i.e the interests that have driven the entire ecosystem of proof-of-work.

If we are worries about centralization in China, then we should just compete outside of China. If you are saying we can't compete than why are we trying to change the system so that we can? Both sides are about corporate control of the protocol to a certain extent with a bunch of useful idiots drawn in on the basis of arguments that are tangentially related.


I'm not sure if it's economically possible to compete with Chinese Bitcoin miners for a number of reasons. To get around capital controls Chinese nationals invest in ASICs and mine to move money out. There is incredibly cheap power in China due to government subsidized hydroelectric and coal. Supposedly many miners bribe power officials and get free electricity. ASICs for Bitcoin mining are made in China and I assume are much cheaper there? It doesn't really matter where the miners are though unless they are colluding due to political reasons to reject transactions.


> but that narrative does not hold water.

Right, because your narrative is "righter" than his.

> First off, Gavin, Jeff, Mike Hearn, you know the guys that have spent a lot of time working on Bitcoin since the beginning aren't in the core project, and in the case of Jeff are actively working on the alternative.

With little to no input outside of Jeff and the miners that are funding him. This is the nth (where n > 4) iteration of Bitcoin that Bitmain has funded with the intent of maintaining some degree of control over the reference client. As of yet, he hasn't been successful.

> Trying to draw back some unbroken line of succession to Satoshi Nakamoto whose paper basically completely spells out a big block vision is ridiculous.

I agree, particularly since there's been 100s of contributors to the project. Which makes Blockstreams impact much less valuable than the original comment implied.

> Second of all, the great firewall of china isn't crap, a significant amount of data can pass through it, and actually if the block size gets to be too large this actually damages their ability to effectively process blocks quickly.

That's actually false. Block sizes aren't really an issue for the miners, they are an issue for the nodes. Each miner only needs single full node. What increasing the block size does is make running a full node (which has to store the entire block chain) extremely expensive. The larger the block sizes, the more expensive a full node becomes.

> The miners are not interested in SegWit because it completely changes the economic structure of incentives around mining.

SegWit does nothing of the sort. Lightning Network and Sidechains, which can be built on top of SegWit, certainly reduces off-chain fees. SegWit itself only reduces the fees on witness data, but that's moot for the time being. SegWit will have little impact on fees right now.

> It pulls control into channels and reduces direct fees into some hand wavy future about settlement.

See, this implies you have limited technical knowledge on the subject. That's LN, potentially SC. But that has nothing to do with SegWit.

> It's an attack on their real economic interests, i.e the interests that have driven the entire ecosystem of proof-of-work.

PoW is just the security policy, it's not the ecosystem. The economy is the ecosystem. Miners mine, the economy chooses what they mine.

Long-term, miners need to adapt. Instead of looking at off-chain solutions as a bad thing, they need to consider that they are best suited as a Lightning Node. But that requires a longer vision than the miners have.

No one is EVER going to buy coffee on-chain. No amount of increasing block sizes are going to make instant transactions. It's either off-chain transactions or some other altcoin.

> If we are worries about centralization in China

I don't care about where the centralization occurs, I care about the nature of it. Centralizing mining is bad because it gives them power they shouldn't hold. Centralizing nodes gives governments power over Bitcoin. That is dangerous.

> Both sides are about corporate control of the protocol to a certain extent with a bunch of useful idiots drawn in on the basis of arguments that are tangentially related.

LN is an opensource implementation of something not dissimilar to smart contracts. Calling that control is laughable.


>I agree, particularly since there's been 100s of contributors to the project. Which makes Blockstreams impact much less valuable than the original comment implied.

This always get's bandied about. There are less than 20 people responsible for the vast majority of the commits in the last year, the other 90+ are small scattered changes. Easy to verify, go look at the commit logs. Oh, and 3 of the top Contributors aren't even working on core anymore.

>SegWit does nothing of the sort. Lightning Network and Sidechains, which can be built on top of SegWit, certainly reduces off-chain fees. SegWit itself only reduces the fees on witness data, but that's moot for the time being. SegWit will have little impact on fees right now.

Segwit is all about sidechains, that's the main application, and the real purpose. Side chains mean transactions off chain. Transactions off chain mean less fees for Bitcoin miners. It's not rocket science. The only way they make it back is if the settlement costs become huge.

> That's actually false. Block sizes aren't really an issue for the miners, they are an issue for the nodes. Each miner only needs single full node. What increasing the block size does is make running a full node (which has to store the entire block chain) extremely expensive. The larger the block sizes, the more expensive a full node becomes.

The reason nodes are expensive is because they are doing full historical validation which is almost completely useless and unnecessary. Minor changes to the Bitcoin block header would make that completely irrelevant. The nodes need all data ever argument is total junk.

>LN is an opensource implementation of something not dissimilar to smart contracts. Calling that control is laughable.

How much does it cost to open and close a channel on the main bitcoin blockchain at a 1 megabyte limit with millions of users? It's not a free thing, it's very expensive. To say that won't result in centralization is ridiculous. LN is not a solution without larger block sizes.


> Segwit is all about sidechains, that's the main application, and the real purpose.

You're just wrong. Segwit is about a major malleability bug. It happens to open the way for sidechains, but do you honestly think we shouldn't fix the bug purely because it happens to make sidechains more feasible?

> Side chains mean transactions off chain. Transactions off chain mean less fees for Bitcoin miners. It's not rocket science.

Correct, but you don't seem to be following the problem the same way I am. Your major concern is how much miners get paid. My major concern is network adoption and decentralization. Pretending that your values are the only values is what makes your position distasteful.

> The reason nodes are expensive is because they are doing full historical validation which is almost completely useless and unnecessary. Minor changes to the Bitcoin block header would make that completely irrelevant. The nodes need all data ever argument is total junk.

You just literally dismissed how an open block chain works. If nodes don't have the entire history attacks become arbitrary.

> How much does it cost to open and close a channel on the main bitcoin blockchain at a 1 megabyte limit with millions of users? It's not a free thing, it's very expensive.

And guess whose in the best position to implement channels (and collect the fees associated with it)? miners.

> To say that won't result in centralization is ridiculous.

Less than would exist by big blocks.


You've broken some pretty obvious rules of modern propaganda here. Ascribing Satoshi to your cause is akin to using the Great Leader proof by authority. Your arguments sound too early 20th century.

The obvious problem is both sides can make a claim to Satoshi while forking. I'm commenting here because the one thing I do know about Bitcoin is that Satoshi apparently suggested increases in block size to compensate for an increased number of transactions.

Whatever Satoshi wanted is irrelevant, but the only thing I can gleam from your amateur propaganda attempts (Satoshi is only one of your mistakes above) is that you shouldn't be trusted.


I have no bitcoin on either camp - but for engineering reasons, came to the conclusion that the 1MB block is the real bottleneck.

I think its possible Jihan and many others are acting in the best interests of Bitcoin community, on behalf of future potential users of crypto-currencies, not purely out of self interest. Many early adopters and evangelists support this view, they clearly care about bitcoin as a human technology, not just its monetary value.

I genuinely feel it is immoral to limit widespread bitcoin use by keeping the blocksize artificially small. Just as it would be to limit the distance a person can travel, or how many books one is allowed to read.


Serious question, why doesn't core switch hashing algorithms at the fork to something ASIC-resistant like Dagger-Hashimoto PoW. Seems like a win-win for them since they don't have to worry about the competitive faction causing havoc on their chain, the miners are more distributed, and there is an army of GPU hashing power that is looking for a place to direct their mining power towards with the Ethereum move to PoS on the horizon.


That's a really good question, it's because doing so would create an alt coin that isn't Bitcoin, and this is all about control of Bitcoin.


I think that arguing in that manner with that username will be a very effective strategy, but not for your side.


> I've said it before but anyone who put money into Blockstream has to seriously be wondering what the hell they are doing

Thank you! As someone who has put money into Blockstream, I can assure you I'm following the situation very close.

Blockstream has few developers contributing to Core and associating with it is a very partial and poor view.

It is not a conventional company and the actual CEO (recently nominated) has the ability to keep such a group of talented minds together.

I humbly consider Blockstream the best investment I have done in my life under many aspects but the main one is the quality of the people working in it.


On the other hand, Bitcoin ABC puts a 40 billion dollar network in the hands of one developer. Nevermind the other dozen or so who have context and expertise from maintaining the codebase for years.


The current Core developers drove the long time developers out with vitriol and petty personal attacks. All those long time developers are now working on the alternative implementations like Unlimited, Classic, ABC, and btc1.


Thank you!

As someone who has put money into Blockstream I must say:

1. I follow the situation very close

2. The CEO was nominated not long ago

3. He has got the ability to keep such a group of talented minds together

4. Blockstream is not a conventional company

5. Core is an independent group of talented developers and FEW of Blockstream founders are part of it

6. I humbly admit that Blockstream is the best investments of my life under many aspects the main of which being the quality of the people working in it.


> [Blockstream's] CEO should have been kicked out a long time ago

He was. http://www.montrealintechnology.com/austin-hill-out-as-block...


Wrong one.


It isn't up to just the above parties, but also to the people who actually hold bitcoin. Those holders who prefer sound money will sell on the chain that isn't.


An article that talks about the purpose of SegWit 2x:

https://medium.com/@WhalePanda/the-corporate-takeover-attemp...


I completely agree with everything you've said. The only thing I'll add is that Blockstream's CEO was replaced. It was originally Austin Hill and the current CEO Adam Back replaced him. Not an improvement, but it was a change.


Good luck with that, I for one will be dumping any bitcoin ABC or unlimited coins. If it by some miracle ends up as the dominant chain, I will walk away from bitcoin for good.


Can you explain why for those of us not following as the bitcoin turns closely.


I always wonder how people external to an organisation can judge the work of an executive. Are you maybe solely looking at outcomes, that may only slightly be influenced by his decisions and dominated by randomness and other factors anyway?


You just need to look at results. We have a fragmented and fractured community. The guy tweets non stop in some ideological holy war. They were even called out by Fred Wilson at Consensus for basically not delivering anything of value, and the leadership is the result of an internal shake up that ousted the previous CEO in favor of someone more in tune with the technology. I don't think it takes divination or insider knowledge to smell when something is going sour.


I would be interested in hearing why so many people downvoted a fairly neutral question. Please let me know.


Yahoo was sold. We need a new dead horse.


The basic question is how to scale; off-chain or on-chain. The rest is just theatrics and typical nerdy hyperbole.

One side of the fight (Core / blockstream) wants to scale off-chain, pushing transactions to side-chains and/or lighting networks, and want to profit from off-chain solutions.

The other side of the fight (segwit2x / miners) wants to scale on-chain, making the blocks bigger, and profit from block fees.

Both sides have pros and cons.

Pros of off-chain solutions - more scalable, don't need expensive confirmations for each transaction, more long-term. Cons: the solutions don't exist yet and might be vaporware; segwit etc are just stepping stones.

Pros of on-chain solutions - making the blocks larger can be done now, no need to wait for new software and new networks. Cons - makes the blocks larger, which makes running bitcoin nodes harder. Also cannot scale this way infinitely (you need to keep all the transactions on a disk forever).

The discussion about segwit is in reality just discussion about how to scale, and who profits.

As for me, I don't really care, Bitcoin is inefficient either way


> Also cannot scale this way infinitely (you need to keep all the transactions on a disk forever).

The whitepaper itself mentions that the Merkle tree can be pruned so that doesn't need to be the case. Do you know why there hasn't been more effort towards implementing that yet?


AFAIK the paper is referring to thin clients, right? You can already run those with the stock Bitcoin Core client. There's a command line argument that tells it to prune any blocks older than X. The disk space required by such clients is X times the maximum size of blocks + the size of the UTXO.

But you still need full nodes who maintain all historical data. Because, AFAIK, there's no way other way to trustlessly establish a UTXO without rescanning the whole blockchain. Maybe there are ways; I'm not that deep into Bitcoin's internal at the moment.


I think perhaps a soft-fork is possible where you store a hash of the UTXO pool in e.g. the coinbase transaction. This way you can verify a given UTXO pool by just checking the hash.


The leaves still grow with the square root of the tree size, which is certainly better than linear, but doesn't really solve the problem. It buys you one less order of magnitude you have to scale to, but only one.

If you're growing by an order of magnitude every few years, it's just buying you an extra few years lead time.


If we only wanted to track the current unspent outputs we're sitting at 54M which interestingly has been holding relatively constant since June. Where as the total number of transactions (size of blockchain in general) is at 240M and is strictly monotonically increasing.

See UTXO here: https://blockchain.info/charts/utxo-count

See total TX here: https://blockchain.info/charts/n-transactions-total

Every block for the near future will include one new UTXO, but it can increase, decrease or keep the total number of UTXO the same.


It is implemented, the command line option is a -prune=<n>


It would appear the Bitcoin network has a hard time agreeing on breaking changes :)


I think you understate the cons of the on-chain solutions. This said as a big-blocker myself.

I think the size of the node is a consideration, but not a huge one -- before we started butting up against the limit, blocks were naturally much smaller than the 1MB limit -- the fear of spam and dust transactions never materialized, so there's no reason to expect that the economics are fundamentally different now.

The biggest con by far is the hard-forking nature of the change. Changing the limit means that clients will have to accept blocks that they currently don't accept. This applies to core, of course, but also to the innumerable other implementations of the bitcoin protocol. Don't make the mistake of thinking that core is the only player here -- a hard fork is trouble for everyone, miners included, and has a substantial risk of causing two viable chains to appear, which is much more of a disaster for Bitcoin (because of how long it takes to adjust difficulty) than it was for Ethereum. With sufficient consensus, this becomes less of a problem for the same reason -- the defunct 5% chain (with 95% consensus) will take 280 days to converge on a new difficulty, during which time that network will be extremely congested. But if miners are misconfigured, etc., even if there is consensus there may be an unintentional hard fork.

The second biggest problem is the rise in the risk of orphaned blocks. This, I think, is probably what holds most miners back -- the longer it takes to transmit and verify a block, the greater the chance of a block being orphaned is. Orphans hurt the security of the network by making it so that a smaller fraction of the net hashing power is actually being applied to the problem of securing the network. As much as people complain that the proof-of-work is "wasteful" in the ecological sense, wasting even that wasted work would make nobody happy.

Segwit, on the other side of the debate, has the attachment to off-chain scaling, but also offers a solution to transaction malleability, which is a huge problem for bitcoin businesses as it can be difficult to tell whether a transaction ever made it to the network, much less rely on features like child-pays-for-parent. Since the current version of segwit is a soft fork, it should, in theory, work with existing non-core clients, and the Litecoin adoption should give us some information on how that works in practice, but Litecoin doesn't have nearly the adoption that Bitcoin does, so it's hard to generalize.


> One side of the fight (Core / blockstream) wants to scale off-chain, pushing transactions to side-chains and/or lighting networks, and want to profit from off-chain solutions.

I think that gives the wrong impression. First off, Core != Blockstream.

Secondly, the consensus amongst Core developers, as I read it, is they want as much on-chain as possible. Their definition of possible is what can a Bitcoin client handle on the average user's PC. The problem is that, today, the answer is not much. Increasing the blocksize to allow more transactions requires an exponential increase in the computational requirements of the Bitcoin client. So it's not really feasible to just "scale on-chain", as of today.

SegWit accomplishes two things. 1) It's a stopgap. It's an effective blocksize increase to 2MB, and it enables lightning network which should hopefully reduce congestion on the Bitcoin network. 2) It's an optimization; SegWit transactions are cheaper than traditional transactions.

SegWit is just a stopgap while developers implement a series of optimizations to the Bitcoin network that allow it to handle more capacity, without increasing the computational resources to the point where average users can't run the software.

But those optimizations are going to take a long time.


> Core != Blockstream

The overlap is very large. In the same way, segwit2x != Chinere miners, but come on, there is an clear overlap.

> It's an effective blocksize increase to 2MB

If all users start using segwit addresses and segwit transactions, and if all wallets software will know how to send and receive it. And that will mean users will need to send their money to their segwit-enabled addresses first, which might, you know, clog the network. (In reality, nobody knows what will happen. Almost nobody uses segwit on litecoin right now, but litecoin is a toy currency...)

hardfork would solve that issue immediately - no need to upgrade wallets, no need to figure out how do segwit-inside-P2SH addresses work (they are different from normal addresses!).

> enables lightning network which should hopefully reduce congestion on the Bitcoin network

Again nobody knows. Lightning network might be a vaporware. Literally nobody is using it, since it does not exist.

> SegWit transactions are cheaper than traditional transactions

Well, that's a matter of "policy", and I am not sure if segwit2x nodes will implement the segwit discount or not. There were some issues about that, but I think they didn't have time to remove the segwit discount yet. But they plan to.

(Again I am not advocating big blocks, increasing blocks that way is not something that can be done forever. Segwit is fine, it solves some issues like maleability, but it's overhyped IMO. There is no scaling solution for bitcoin yet. And maybe there will not be?)


> In the same way, segwit2x != Chinere miners, but come on, there is an clear overlap

there's more overlap with core developers and chaincode labs.

> Lightning network might be a vaporware. Literally nobody is using it, since it does not exist.

it does exist, https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd and http://lightning.community/release/software/lnd/lightning/20... and other implementations of lightning also exist.


Interesting. I will try the docker example later

BUT you have to admit it is still in research and not widely used/accepted/tested by users


Chaincode shares at least one affiliate with Blockstream.


> If all users start using segwit addresses and segwit transactions

SegWit blocks can vary from 1MB in non-ideal conditions to near 4MB in ideal conditions. 2MB is just the average.

You're right, yes, ideally we'd want everyone using SegWit transactions. But we don't need all users to start using them to start seeing congestion relief.

I would expect 90% of transactions are generated by 10% of Bitcoin's users. Maybe even more skewed than that. (That 10% is likely businesses, power users, etc). Getting those 10% to switch to SegWit transactions will be relatively easy; they'll feel the value of reduced fees more readily.

It's likely Bitcoin Core would start using SegWit addresses by default some time after SegWit is activated. Since the majority of users use Bitcoin Core, the shift wouldn't take too long.

> hardfork would solve that issue immediately - no need to upgrade wallets, no need to figure out how do segwit-inside-P2SH addresses work (they are different from normal addresses!).

Hardfork _does_ require upgrading wallets. In fact, it requires upgrading _all_ wallets. Anyone who hasn't upgraded cannot participate in Bitcoin any longer if a hardfork is used.

Contrast that with SegWit. SegWit doesn't require that everyone upgrade. And yet everyone will benefit from the increased block capacity, even those not using SegWit addresses, because the fees overall will go down.

> Again nobody knows. Lightning network might be a vaporware. Literally nobody is using it, since it does not exist.

The plan was for SegWit to activate, providing a more immediate ~2MB increase in block size, and then mid-term we'd see things like the lightning network come online and provide further relief. Long term developers would continue improving network efficiency which means the existing blocks can carry more transactions, and also eventually a hardfork to add some mechanism for increasing blocksize (that doesn't require further hardforks).

> Well, that's a matter of "policy"

I didn't mean that SegWit transactions were inherently cheaper in terms of fees. Sure, fees are always policy. But, AFAIK, SegWit transactions are actually cheaper in terms of network load. The discount on SegWit transactions is not just to expand the blocksize; they're also discounted because they put less strain on the network compared to old-style transactions.

EDIT: And to be clear, the SegWit discount we're talking about is a discount on the weight of a SegWit transaction's size in calculating the total blocksize. AFAIK, there is no fee discount on SegWit transactions; they pay the same per byte fee. SegWit2X has no way to remove that discount without changing consensus rules. So that specifically is not a matter of policy; it's matter of consensus. It would thus required another hardfork to change those rules.


> Secondly, the consensus amongst Core developers, as I read it, is they want as much on-chain as possible. Their definition of possible is what can a Bitcoin client handle on the average user's PC

I'm curious if you have some sources on this -- most of the anti-big-block claims that I have seen tend to settle on the hard fork being problematic, which is a very legitimate criticism (thought I need to dig up citations to play by my own rules here). There's also a significant group (I think unaffiliated with Core) that worries about the increase in orphanage that big blocks can lead to.


Sources would be nice, but I don't have the time to dig through the mailing lists for quotes from developers. To be fair, those claiming that Core is conspiring to move transactions off-chain would also need to cite sources.

But quotes from developers are not particularly interesting anyway. What's far more interesting is what the Core developers have actually accomplished. Actions speak louder than words.

They released SegWit which _is_ a 2MB upgrade to blocksize, as a softfork. It's exactly what the community wanted at the time (2MB), without any of the downsides (hardforking).

In addition to that, it increased transaction efficiency, fixed bugs, and enhanced the protocol.

SegWit is a thoughtfully designed protocol upgrade that accomplishes an order of magnitude more than any "upgrade" proposed by any of the alternative clients (Bitcoin-XT, Bitcoin Unlimited, and now SegWit2X).

Post-SegWit the developers are already looking at Schnorr signatures to further increase throughput. They've worked tirelessly to optimize signature verification times and improve the efficiency of the P2P protocol.

Why would they make all those efficiency improvements if their "evil plan" was to move everyone over to a lighting network?

EDIT: To be clear, yes I realize not providing sources is a total cop out :P But not everyone has limitless time to peruse the mailing lists for quotes. I just try to provide my best understanding of things, given my experience working with Bitcoin and keeping eyes on the community and ecosystem.


Do any of these optimizations even get close to a 10x improvement? The network needs a 10000x improvement.


> The network needs a 10000x improvement.

Says who?

Would I like Bitcoin to support 10,000x more transactions per second than it does now? Of course. But just because I _want_ it to, doesn't mean it's magically going to be able to. Bitcoin is what it is.

I'd like ships that can go faster than the speed of light, but physics isn't going to bends its rules just because I want it to.

We cannot, physically, increase Bitcoin's throughput 10,000x. We could change one constant, the max blocksize, make it 10GB and ... oops, now the network is broken. No one on Earth can actually validate 10GB blocks in the span of 10 minutes. And even if they could, who could handle 1.4 TB of increasing disk space per day?

10,000x is an extreme example of principals that apply to any blocksize increase. If we increase the blocksize, it means less and less PCs are capable of actually running the Bitcoin software. And it won't take much before the exponential complexity of validating blocks eats everything.

Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on optimizing the Bitcoin network if we want any kind of scale. It will take time and it will take innovation. In the meantime, we have SegWit which enables lightning networks, which we can use for anything we don't need the full guarantees of a Bitcoin transaction for.


No.

Except for Lightning Network, which is this software that somehow routes transactions on a separate network, and it's not bitcoin; it doesn't have the same assurances, there are some third-party channels that route the transactions. (I admit, I haven't studied LN in detail.)

It uses bitcoin as a "backbone", sort of like you have SWIFT which is slow and expensive, and then you have credit card payments/paypal/whatnot that is built on top of it.

LN specifically requires segwit (the main issue of this "civil war").


> and it's not bitcoin; it doesn't have the same assurances, there are some third-party channels that route the transactions. (I admit, I haven't studied LN in detail.)

lightning clients pass around bitcoin transactions to each other, check the protobufs: https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning/blob/2bf92c9063...

admittedly the protobufs have changed since i last looked, here's the canonical diagram describing the hashed timelock bitcoin transaction concept: https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning/blob/2bf92c9063...

or read the paper https://lightning.network/lightning-network-paper.pdf

> LN specifically requires segwit

false, see http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/scalingbitcoin/hong-kong/o...


Thanks for the links. I was under the impression that LN needs maleability fix. (And I am not the only one who thinks that - see https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/segwit-lightning/ )

I don't take FlexTrans as serious attempt at malleability fixing


The days are counting down to the "Segwit2X" rollout, the idea supported in the "New York Agreement" (NYA)[0].

There is a contingency plan in place should the Core-supported User Activated Soft Fork become activated.[1]

Segwit2X has working code, has been tested in beta, and is now in RC.[2]

Without commenting on the merits of the different approaches, the current situation is thrilling to watch as a spectator. To call it a "Civil War" is not an exaggeration.

[0] https://medium.com/@DCGco/bitcoin-scaling-agreement-at-conse...

[1] https://blog.bitmain.com/en/uahf-contingency-plan-uasf-bip14...

[2] https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-segwit2x...


> the current situation is thrilling to watch as a spectator

Is there a good "live-thread" where I can follow the events?


People follow block signaling a lot. Note however that miners cah signal whatever bit, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they actually run some specific software. For example "NYA" signal doesn't mean actually much, maybe intention to run segwit2x. The first software was released one day ago, the NYA signaling started way before that.

http://coin.dance/blocks


Not a live thread, or interactive much but:

https://www.xbt.eu/

Once the BIP91 hits 80%, an as long as it does so before August 1st, this issue is going to go dormant until November.


> Without commenting on the merits of the different approaches, the current situation is thrilling to watch as a spectator. To call it a "Civil War" is not an exaggeration.

I totally disagree. The whole discussion is totally overblown when you consider what is actually happening. I would bet 99% of services accepting bitcoin are running core, and the rest 1% maybe with minor patches which doesn't affect consensus code. That is very unlikely to change.

Miners can run whatever they want and probably already are running custom code. However for the rest of the network matters if they mine core compatible blocks or not. Some miners can choose to mine 2MB blocks or whatever, but the rest of the network will ignore those, since they are not compatible with core.


After working in the space for about a year, after being a developer and enthusiast surrounding crypto since the early days of BTC this "bickering among core devs" is nothing new.

Any press or "talks" that say otherwise are either being influenced with serious bias or are simply reporting false information.

I like DLT tech, however, if bitcoin has shown us anything it's that once you solve the double-spend problem you're still left with an even more grotesque problem of governance.

People pick fun at ETH since it has a "single leader", but Vitalik is more of a back-seat conductor than a "grand leader". Also, most arguments of "bitcoin being a truly decentralized platform because our devs are decentralized" can easily be diffused by vaguely looking into how BlockStream operates...

The political shit-storm being paraded by BTC needs to end soon, we really don't need another 2-3 years of douchey BTC core devs arguing on the internet and bad-mouthing any project that isn't BTC.


The governance issue is, to me, the 'final boss' of Bitcoin. They way it's set up, Bitcoin should ruthlessly follow the will of the majority and generate new consensus. I cannot think of another system that could potentially do this as effectively.

It's ugly, bitter, and has real costs, but the way it's playing out gives me confidence that cryptocurrencies are truly a novel form of human communication about value.


Why would you want a financial system that follows the will of the majority? Financial systems are incredibly complex, and the majority is easily influenced by ideas that seem correct because they can be stated simply, though those ideas may actually have no hold over reality.

The whole point of bitcoin is that it is stable, trustworthy software. You don't have to worry about the latest fad screwing up your ability to use the financial system.

Democracy can easily be achieved with rigid protocols: just have multiple coins! (Bitcoin, ethereum, etc), and if you prefer one over the other, use the one you prefer. Then make a system that keeps them mostly interoperable (they already are, it's very easy to change funds between them), and viola! Nobody becomes victim to the will of the majority, while the majority can still pick between multiple options.


> Bitcoin should ruthlessly follow the will of the majority and generate new consensus.

This might be a dumb question, but the majority of what?


As I understand it, the majority of the hashing power. The trick is that hashing power alone can not dictate the network, else the users disappear and all that hashing power becomes worthless. So we have cryptografically reproduced a problem of governance present since the dawn of time.


It's ruthless because existing nation-state actors or other rich actors could invest in mining hardware to take control of the network.

Existing power structures (wealth & access to GPU) translates to power over BTC.


BTC governance is already "solved". The point is that there is no inherent governance. "Civil wars" and forks are by design, not a problem.


To me this whole process shows how great cryptocurrencies really are. The process is live, it is public and it is messy.

Compare with how our usual currencies are handled. Behind closed doors with powerful banks or private companies deciding for our governments.


Exactly! Could you imagine if we could watch a live twitter fueled debate about how to upgrade our central banking system? It's a beautiful sight. Flawed, but beautiful.


With an up-to-the-second, 24-hour market behind it where fortunes can be made or lost on single tweets. Fun!


Fiat isn't much different. Forex is 24h a day and jumps around on central banker quotes all the time.


At the same time, I'm glad this doesn't happen with the federal reserve, because I enjoy stable value in my day to day currency.


I'm starting to see a bit clearer on how a fork would pan out:

Miners: Hashing power has little influence. As long as there are miners, and two chains rejecting each other transactions will be processed. At first, transactions processing might take a while, but difficulty will adapt. This will create two legitimate currencies. Now everybody in possession of 1 BTC would have 1 BTCa + 1 BTCb.

Exchanges: Little power. They will trade both BTCa and BTCb, and accept commissions.

Trader of goods, in embedded devices: They might have to modify their client to accept both currencies, but they would have to follow the market rates. Otherwise they would have to suffer income loss from people using them to profit from arbitrating the markets.

BTC-rich individuals: They have now 1 BTCa + 1 BTCb. But there is transaction replayability. If they spend 1 BTCa, their BTCb can also get spend the same way. And they lose their BTCb. Chains have a strategic advantage to replay transactions getting to the other one because: 1) they get to keep the commission, 2) they ascertain themselves as more encompassing economically (not sure on this one maybe, they want to stay neutral).

Now, if BTC-holders can wallet-emptying-double-spend them to 2 different addresses they control on the 2 chains. And, compared to the ones who got their transaction replayed, they have kept both their BTCa and BTCb.

TL;DR: IMHO, come the technical fork, some BTC-holders will be tumbling until they irrevocably acquire their BTCa + BTCb, and use them to make runs on the markets, effectively materializing the economic fork.

----

I'd love the opinion of someone who lived through the ETH-ETC split, especially about the transaction replayability part.


I was there at the ETH/ETC split and replay was a thing. Someone put together a special smart contract that received 2 addresses (one for the ETH chain and one for the ETC chain), checked which chain you were in and wired ether to either address accordingly.

After doing that (and because valid transaction execution was contingent on the actual chain you were in) each wallet became independent and you were free to use funds in each as desired.

This is the contract:

https://etherscan.io/address/0xaa1a6e3e6ef20068f7f8d8c835d2d...

And this is the related helper that checks which chain you are in:

https://etherscan.io/address/0x2bd2326c993dfaef84f696526064f...

I'm not clear on what a BTC equivalent of this operation would be. Seems like smart contracts saved the day, as trying to move BTC to 2 different wallets on split chains by hand risks a race condition.


Thanks for this reference code!

I got to say, Ethereum really is showing the way to Bitcoin here. The smart contract ecosystem surrounding it is astounding.

----

The BTC equivalent would be to do it by hand; and I don't think it is all that risky, as long as you keep control of all three addresses.

Or, ... maybe a BTC smart contract could help us do it easily? What do we need to enable smart contracts on BTC?

Oh wait, that's right. We need Segwit. The thing potentially causing a fork itself.

We're supposed to have it by the time Segwit2x's double-sized blocks hardfork come, though ^^.


> and I don't think it is all that risky, as long as you keep control of all three addresses.

By "doing it by hand" I meant the following:

  - Original wallet A holds BTC before hard fork
  - Chain splits and forks coexist (lets call them C1 and C2)
  - New wallet W1 is created for use in the new chain C1 exclusively
  - New wallet W2 is created for use in the new chain C2 exclusively
  - You connect to network that uses C1, and move all the funds from A to W1
  - You connect to network that uses C2, and move all the funds from A to W2
The problem is in such a scenario you can expect that malicious software will exist that monitors transactions being broadcasted in C1 to try to replay them in C2. By the time you attempt to perform the last step outlined above, you might find that the funds are gone from A in C2 because some replayed your transaction on C2 already.


A solution would be to add a dependency on the chain itself. By definition, in a hard fork you have blocks in one chain which won't ever be accepted by the other. Suppose C2 has a block, let's call it B2, which won't ever be accepted by C1 (because it's larger than the C1 maximum block size, for instance).

Now get the block reward from B2, or some other coin which depends on it. This block reward, and any coin which depends on it, will never be accepted by C1. Mix it somehow with your coins from wallet A, and send the result to W2. Wait a few confirmations for it to stick.

Now you have in C2 all your coins in W2, and in C1 all your coins are still in A (the A->W2 transaction can't be replayed in C1, since it depends on an invalid block). All that's left is to move all funds from A to W1; this will happen only on C1, since it would be a double-spend in C2.

As you can see, it's not that complicated. The only hard part, if you aren't a miner, is to get the "one-sided" coin, but I'd expect either a service to pop up soon to do the mixing for you, for not much more than the transaction fee (the "one-sided" coin can be recycled indefinitely), or a "faucet" to pop up on C2 to give out tiny "one-sided" coins for anyone who needs them, for free.


> The only hard part, if you aren't a miner, is to get the "one-sided" coin

Indeed, but this is the kind of technical annoyance that cripples the "it just works" perception/marketing of BTC. I guess this is what makes people look forward to BTC ETFs as opposed to the real thing for their investo-gambling.


But by ensuring that A, W1 and W2 wallets are yours, you are able to try as many times as you want (provided you're willing to pay for the fees). And the more times you try, more your probability of success approaches 1.


Yes, but that's hardly practical. I guess someone will make software for this (with the corresponding caveats, bugs, security and trust issues, etc).


They fixed the transaction replay ability I believe. I still have all my ETC, seems like it's not going anywhere.


How is that technically possible to prevent?

The miners in the two chains gain from listening to what is going on in the other chain, and could just copy transactions and take the commission.

Have no miner attempted to grab some fees? Or maybe the price of ETC is so low that it would be unprofitable?

----

Addendum:

It is addressed in EIP #155 [1], where they changed the signing of transactions and put some sort of chain identity to be included in the transaction signatures.

Which brings the question: Is there something changed in transaction signatures in the segwit2x hard fork? Is there already some chain identity in it?

[1] https://github.com/ethereum/eips/issues/155


In btc1 there is not any replay protection right now, as the timeline didn't allow for development of this. It is an important feature request though, maybe follow along here:

https://github.com/btc1/bitcoin/issues/34


If Bitcoin splits, what do you predict would be the effect on holders of bitcoins?

- They have twice as much money (yay!)

- They have twice as much money but the value is split, so it's worth approximately the same.

- One of the branches wins or mostly wins.

- The split does so much damage that some (all?) value of coins is lost.


My guess is that a split of any initial ratio (even 50-50) will quickly converge to 90%+ of all users on one side. Quickly, as in minutes to hours.

Also, by "users", I don't mean holders. I mean entities that actually transact bitcoin on a daily basis. Exchanges and merchants. They can't afford to lose any time (money) on waiting for their favorite chain to win. They have to use the longest chain (and they are the only ones that matter).

Seeing that there is no way in hell the initial split will be anything worse than 75-25 (against Core), I predict that the price will quickly stabilize on the markets after the initial panic (which is already underway, IMHO).

The value of "bitcoin" (the winning side) after the split (and recovery from panic) will have lost an amount equivalent to what "minority coin" is worth at the time (if anything).


Exchanges and merchants transact... with users. Also, you definitely don't have to use the longest chain. That's one of the key innovations if Bitcoin, you only follow the longest chain that your node sees as valid. At the moment of the split, most nodes will not see the 2x chain as valid, so they will not follow it even if it is the longest chain. But those nodes will keep working.


You can look at ETH vs ETH classic to see the effect. Initial huge drop while things get reorganized, then after a long time, with the legacy chain worth 10% of the main chain, with unknown extra value lost due to the split.

This assumes enough hashpower where people can still transact on the legacy chain, and with some sort of replay protection to where exchanges can safely actually convert the funds to have two separate tradable tokens. Right now that doesn't exist, so exchanges won't touch it. This is a huge reason why Bitcoin Unlimited was a non-starter.


I really have not being paying much attention to crypto (apart from seeing the odd thing on reddit and here).

I hold some BTC and ETH, is it a case that what I have is no longer holding the value I believed it has?


I think this is the problem or at least what permits what we're seeing. If coin holders had to choose a side for their coins to be found on I bet things would be rather different. However, this is in no one's financial interest.

Right now, the risk isn't that high as the worst case (added uncertainty breaks bitcoin completely) is very unlikely. Instead, (a) one side wins you still have the same amount of coins or (b) both sides win and you probably have +2x the value long term.


Already discussed a few days ago on HN https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14758587


The scary thing is that the developers want to go from initial release of new code to wide deployment in a few days. This on something where any security flaw can be attacked anonymously and profitably. What could possibly go wrong?


99% of the code has been in testing for a long time. Also the guy leading Segwit2x, Jeff Garzik, is a pro with a ton of opensource experience. You probably run his code on your Linux box and don't even realize it. He wrote rngd for example.


What is Bitcoin and friends good for right now besides speculating with and trading for other currencies?

A while back there was a BTC marketplace where among other things, I spent 1 BTC on a steam key for the game Portal (a poor trade in hindsight).

But they shut down and the only other place that I can think of that accepts BTC is humblebundle.com - and presumably they convert it to USD right away.

Actually:

> Bitcoin payments have been disabled for the Humble Capcom Rising Bundle.

So, yea, who accepts BTC right now?


it is great for money laundering which is why it is so popular in china. You can buy btc in cash no questions asked and it is untraceble and then sell it at a legit exchange in another country and claim it as legit income or just move it from country to country bypassing currency controls in places like china where no bank will allow you to send more than 50k USD per year out of the country


"it is great for money laundering"

People like to say this but it just isn't true. Nobody is laundering large amounts of money buy buying Bitcoin for cash and almost by definition you don't need to launder small amounts of money.


Steam accepts bitcoin.

Quite a few domain/web hosting/VPS companies accept it, like Namecheap and Namesilo.

Online gambling sites accept it for obvious reasons.

It's hardly ubiquitous, but for some things it's fairly practical.


Many vendors (including Amazon & Walmart) indirectly accept bitcoin via gift cards (Gyft, cardcash.com, etc).


It's great for those of us who are skeptical of central government control of currency.


I just moved ~20% of my crypto holdings from BTC to LTC. The rest I'll likely keep close to 40% of my cryptoholdings in BTC, but move it onto my own wallet. If a fork actually happens, I'd prefer to be in control of the private keys.

It's kind of odd that there is still so much FUD about segwit, as it has already activated on LTC. It hasn't appeared to open any security holes.


The arguments about Segwit are not about security holes. Segwit would enable off-chain transactions using systems that are patented and centralized, allowing others to control things on top of the bitcoin network. LTC isn't used for purchases, so Segwit hasn't had much of an effect there.


> Segwit would enable off-chain transactions using systems that are patented and centralized

Why is that a problem, so long as it is enabled, not mandated?


Didn't say it was a problem. I'm only saying that it being activated on LTC isn't an indicator of segwit's merits and faults.


Your private keys should be fine, no matter how the fork happens. In every scenario discussed everyone keeps their old coins, as far as I'm aware.


Has there even been a single Segwit transaction on the LTC network? No problems have appeared because no one uses it. More generally very few people use LTC


How is this different then what happened with Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin classic?


XT/Classic was a mere skirmish compared to this.

On one side you have Chinese miners and one developer gunning for segwit2x because it gives them a significant advantage related to their hardware.

On the other side you have the other dozen or so core developers who want a more conservative approach. As a side-effect this version levels the playing field for miners.


"it gives them a significant advantage related to their hardware"

What are you talking about? Pretty sure this is false. Please don't say ASICBoot.


Why is it an either-or situation? Couldn't they increase the blocksize and use side chains?


Miners don't want side chains because that reduces their fees. Miners want Bitcoin to be VISA where they are the conglomerate that controls it.


I'm not sure what you are talking about. Because what I see from my point of view is a dozen of Blockstream employees pushing for segwit, with barely no support from the community nor the miners. And on the other side I see a growing majority of miners, a growing majority of the community asking for a simple block size increase, wich is a matter of 10 lines modified, compared to 5 000 lines and a great bunch of complexity that segwit bring.

But I'm probably wasting my time with you, looking at your comment history you seems to be a typical pro-Blockstream troll.


I find it sad (but not at all surprising) that this is the state of the Bitcoin community. The level of discourse for what is supposed to be a technology that is billed as "liberating money from the whims of governments" has neatly conformed to exactly that of the current state of political discourse. Everyone who disagrees with you is a shill/troll or an idiot. Adding math and "decentralization" doesn't magically prevent humans from being humans.

I'm sure given just enough time the "community" will structure itself into a perfect replica of a modern bureaucracy.

edit: I'm not just extrapolating from this one post a gander over at /r/btc or /r/bitcoin shows the same lovely trend


How sad that a human-created and human-run endeavor turned out to be merely human after all.


Yes, that is the one-line throw away dismissal of the whole affair if you innately believe that everything we do will always devolve to the status quo.

I reject this form of behavioral nihilism and prefer to believe that ideas can exact change in this world[1] and move people up and out of the status quo, and lament the failure of even efforts I think were doomed from the beginning.

[1] Which isn't to say I reject the notion that a large portion of people are just out to get theirs and to hell with the rest


I am bullish on Bitcoin, even knowing this potential upcoming split. But as early as 2010 one could read criticism that power would become centralized in miners, it was only logical that if their interests and the communiity's diverged that they would have and exert this extra and very human influence.


"But I'm probably wasting my time with you, looking at your comment history you seems to be a typical pro-Blockstream troll."

Is there any need for this kind of incivility? Around here we don't call people with differing opinions a 'troll', we just respect the differences. This could easily have been written as "based on your posting history, I don't expect to change your mind".


The stupidity of not raising the block side and pushing for segwit and side chains (or LN) as a way of scaling has been debunked so many time that still believing in it is like believing the earth is still flat. Come on, even a newcomer seeing full blocks, skyrocketing fees, growing transactions backlog will understand how brain dead it is to not increase the block size...

I know there are still people believing in Blockstream because of the intense censure and (paid?) trolls in /r/bitcoin and bitcointalk.org. But this bullshit show is going for more than 3 years now, if you still can't see through that, I'm sorry, but you deserve to be called a "pro-Blockstream troll". If calling things the way they are is incivility, then I'm happy to be incivil!


I'm disappointed that you concluded a valid argument with an ad-hominem attack. It's not helpful.


Segwit2x has the hash power to end this.

Also, with XT there wasn't really n alternative scaling solution to a blocksize increase, as far as I know. This time we have SegWit as an alternative and with the threat of UASF, the community is being forced to compromise on SegWit + a 2MB hardfork.


Hash power follows value not the other way around. For some reason a lot of people seem to think the entire economy follows the miners.


Sorry if this is a stupid question, but why not both? It doesn't appear that the two strategies are mutually exclusive. Is it just that SegWitX2 is considered too rushed? Is it just that miners have a vested interest in maintaining influence?

Personally it seems like smart contracts and other similar services beget an ecosystem that could swell the market cap by a significant amount, I assume miners would have a long term goal of doing just that.

As a disclaimer, I own Bitcoin, but I'm definitely a layman and I don't really have a horse in the race. What I'm most concerned is what these changes are going to accomplish when looking back 10 years from now. I'm in BTC for the long-term, and this whole thing stinks of petty bias and tribal power plays.


> Sorry if this is a stupid question, but why not both?

By both you mean, SegWit + Bigger blocks?

It's not possible today to raise the blocksize without exponentially increasing the computing resources required to run a Bitcoin node. So it's not a parameter that can be easily tweaked without drastic consequences.

Also, increasing the blocksize requires what's called a hardfork. That's a backwards incompatible change. Anyone who hasn't updated their Bitcoin software will be left in the dust, and potentially dangerously so.

SegWit, on the other hand, raises the effective blocksize to 2MB, patches a bunch of issues, and provides a means to safely enable off-chain transactions on top of Bitcoin. It does all this as a soft fork; backwards compatible.

That doesn't mean a blocksize increase isn't appropriate; it needs to happen at some point. But because hardforking is so disruptive, it would be best to roll in other breaking changes while we're at it. We should have a solution to the exponential computation issue, and we should have a mechanism to increase blocksize again in the future without another hardfork. Those are hard problems to solve that will take time. SegWit was meant to be a stop-gap.

All that said, I'm not personally opposed to the idea of a more immediate hardfork, ala SegWit2X. I don't think it's the _best_ idea, and I think the hardfork should happen at least 12 months down the road, not 3 months as SegWit2X plans, but the perfect is the enemy of the good. The big issue with SegWit2X is that the developers working on it are not competent for the task at hand, and it's being pushed by parties with perverse incentives.


Thanks for the explanation, that makes the bit about 80% of miners needing to adopt make sense.

Why do you lack confidence in the SegWit2X developers? It seems the miners would be the last ones wanting a potentially fatal bug. Do they have less to lose if an exploit/honest bug burns the blockchain?

Again, apologies if these are uninformed questions- I have only a layman's understanding of BTC.


> Why do you lack confidence in the SegWit2X developers?

I think the fact that they're pushing a hardfork 3 months after SegWit activates says a lot. We're talking about making all existing clients on a 40 billion dollar network obsolete and open to abuse. Giving only 3 months time to upgrade is absurd. Also, I believe SegWit2X was spawned some time in May? Being generous, that's only been 3 months of development so far.

When it comes to software like Bitcoin, where the slightest bug can result in catastrophe, I want the most conservative developers imaginable.

The development of btc1 (the SegWit2X client), AFAIK, has not been open. Most of it has occurred behind closed doors, with only the merges to the public repo being visible.

Another notable concern is there was a pull request submitted recently against the SegWit2X client (btc1). It changes the "seed nodes" list; adding in nodes that will run SegWit2X software. That's fine, except one of the nodes belongs to a company who's goal is to monitor and de-anonymize the Bitcoin network. For those not familar, seed nodes are the nodes the Bitcoin client initially connects to, from which they can learn about other nodes on the network. Giving a company that is actively trying to make Bitcoin unfungible is ... concerning to say the least.

> It seems the miners would be the last ones wanting a potentially fatal bug. Do they have less to lose if an exploit/honest bug burns the blockchain?

Just because you have a massive mining farm under your belt, doesn't mean you know the first thing about the ins-and-outs of Bitcoin. Mining is such a small part of what is otherwise a massive ocean of domain knowledge needed to understand Bitcoin. The people who contribute to Bitcoin Core have been doing it for 8+ years! And they're a band of cutthroats who aggressively review each other's code. The developers working on SegWit2X have no of those advantages.


There are many reasons, but one is that few people in the technical community support a somewhat rushed hard fork that does nothing but increase the block size a bit. There are plenty of other things that would be great to clean up if a hard fork is to be deployed. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Hardfork_Wishlist



both sides are in many ways right in their criticisms about the other side, they are just fundamentally conflicting visions of the long term nature of the network.

In my opinion the problem here is the network was built so that it operated only by people acting on incentives and those incentives being aligned with the good of the network, and it turned out that miners acting in their own interest wasn't actually good for scaling past a certain size and operating on certain types of transactions.


You should ask the question about Core developers' incentives: what do they personally gain from scaling bitcoin? Nothing, at best increase in value of their holdings which they share with lots of free-riders, and only until they sell. They only gain continuously if scaling is prevented as that opens space for their second-layer solutions - presumably to be enabled by planned 'improvements' to bitcoin. Ie. their only incentive is to capture bitcoin for rent extraction.

Miners are the only entities that have a continued incentive to improve bitcoin directly.

THAT'S the real conflict, everything else is BS.


Sounds like you already know. The Core devs say that SegWit2x is too rushed (and I tend to agree), but it's also putting forward a new client that could become the default over Core (btc1), and a potential refresh of the dev team.

This is less about the tech and more about the politics, at this point.


I see a lot of mention of 51% attack; the selfish miner attack could be done with closer to 33%(!):

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.0243v4.pdf

https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/38273/have-bitco...


Can someone show some math on how much more expensive it would be to run a node if block size is allowed to increase from 1 MB? It sounds like a silly made-up excuse.


It seems to me it is. From Gavin Andresen, one of the original developers: http://gavinandresen.ninja/does-more-transactions-necessaril...

"So it looks to me like the actual out-of-pocket cost of running a full node in a datacenter won’t change with a 20 megabyte maximum block size; it will be on the order of $5 or $10 per month."


That's nauseating. I have to hear all this vitriol over a silly difference like that? Why doesn't anyone just bring this up every time Blockstream talks? I feel like I'm in bizarro land.


Because it is nonsense. What Gavin did in that post was napkin math that completely ignored all of the complexities of secure blockchain design.

It's like a guy showing that we can get humans to Mars eailsy just by greatly increasing the amount of fuel in the rocket. Any rocket scientist would have heart attack if such a notion became broadly popular, because it's so naive.

A lot of this debate can be summarized by saying that the popular opinion is being propagated by non-experts spouting incorrect ideas that seem correct to the general population because they are accessible, because they ignore the hard (but important) parts of blockchain design.


Well what are your numbers?


Blockstream has raised something like $76m. If you look at their business model and which developers they support, it doesn't take a genius to connect the dots. They really want side-chains to become both possible and economically necessary.



To be specific, fully 88%(!) of miners are actively signaling support for the upgrade plan known as "segwit2x".[1] The contention was between whether Bitcoin should scale via block growth or via a different transaction serialization format that allowed for more transactions and also opens the door for certain forms of off-chain transaction. Segwit2x does both: it doubles the block size, and introduces the new transaction serialization format.

This should result in an immediate transaction capacity increase of at least ~3x. On top of this, the new transaction serialization format allows for technologies such as the in-progress "lightning network", which allows for very very substantial transaction volume off-blockchain. (Think on the order of thousands of times higher volume at the very least. Probably on the order of millions is attainable.)

[1] https://coin.dance/blocks


> To be specific, fully 88%(!) of miners are actively signaling support for the upgrade plan known as "segwit2x".[1]

Unfortunately, signaling is more like a bumper sticker you slap on your blocks. The rules you deploy and actively use don't really have to conform to what values you place in the blockheader. It's supposedly a way to communicate your intentions regarding your future enforcement of certain rules...

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/6ns1o6/antpool_jus...

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/6ntfhd/superb_segw...


Because btc1 is not released yet. Once it is, start expecting the real blocks to be mined.


Can someone please ELI5 why ASICBOOST would be considered an exploit?

Especially considering Satoshi clearly got caught off guard by the quick rise in GPU mining-- which led to the bootstrapping mechanism putting Bitcoin in fewer hands than it otherwise would have. But I never saw Satoshi call GPU mining an exploit.


From a technical analysis perspective (yeah i also do palm reading and seances), Bitcoin's chart looks like a perfect triangle continuation pattern.


This is why I'm bullish on Litecoin. Already has segregated witness, lightning network, low transaction fees, and a low drama community.


Bullish up to the point where Bitcoin inherits all the features... If the BTC scaling debate gets solved successfully, then LTC will fade back into the background...


pretty sure LTC doesnt have lighting sidechain


@roasbeef posted about ltcd running on Litecoin with SegWit in May [0].

[0] - http://lightning.community/release/software/lnd/lightning/20...


It appears the emotional power of "money" coincidences with zealotry. It must be exciting to have your money tied into something that could split. If the split does happen and both forks keep running won't the world economy of bitcoins simply doubled? I assume someone will provide an exchange to move to/from bitcoin-zeal vs. segwit2


This just in: centralized authorities worried about the deflation of our fiat bubble and crypo currencies position as the next generation of digital commodities capitalize with FUD propaganda two weeks before a software patch (proposed last year) is rolled out exactly* in the way it is intended to.


I was a bit surprised by the crash, I would have sold and buyed back cheeper. But I thought the information was already in the price. I could imagine someone tried to make it crash hard by selling a lot and creating a panic, and failed.


I'm not sure why SegWit is put forward as a "scaling solution". It does make some room by moving signature data out of the main block, which may allow 2.5x as many transactions - but thats a one time improvement, afaict.

The real problem is simply that the blocksize is way too small. At peak daily loads we are trying to put 20MB of transactions into a single 1MB block. Of course the unprocessed transactions pool up in the 'mempool' waiting for the next block, and are eventually cleared later in the day in off-peak times.

The reason they don't just pool up indefinitely, and crash the server, is due to economics - people pay higher transaction fees to get their important transactions into the next block. Miners earn part of their income from those fees, so they put the best paying transactions into the block first.

Most people who might like to use Bitcoin to pay for actual things, will balk at paying 3$ to send 500$, which means less people use the system, or they only use it for important big trades - thus, an equilibrium is set up where transaction volume is kept low.

Keep in mind bitcoin blocks occur on average every 10 minutes. A global rate of 3 trans/sec is clearly not a large number for a system used by millions, all across the globe.

Litecoin has the same architecture, but doesn't have this bottleneck problem - they have 3/4 the blocksize, process 4x as frequently and handle less that 1/10th the volume of transactions. So there is no mempool, fees are low etc.

The max blocksize is set to 1MB in code [ think #define or static const ], so increasing it means releasing new software - old versions will not be able to process large blocks, so this means a "hard fork".

I would argue that a blocksize increase is urgently needed and justifies a prudent hardfork - because it is currently preventing Bitcoin from growing. Not only do we need a 2MB block yesterday [ some say 8MB ], but we need a clear block size upgrade schedule for the next few years so Bitcoin can handle steady growth, without the need for many future hardforks.

Blocksize increase over the next few years could yield a 20x to 200x increase in throughput using the current architecture ... this releases the stranglehold on transaction flow and user growth, and buys time to build out all the other nice new technologies that can augment, or scale beyond, the linear architecture of the blockchain.

This issue has been delayed and debated for 2.5 years, so now it really is urgent and people on both sides are pretty angry. Sadly, its metastasized into an ugly political civil war .. but I think at heart it is a fairly normal engineering issue that could have been resolved routinely. Maybe having a ton of cash riding on your code makes easy choices hard.


Standard. This is what bitcoin leaders do.


TL;DR: Bitcoin is popping, and Ethereum is going to be the new bubble.


Ethereum already went bubble and popped. Maybe it'll go again though.

I personally got out @2600 and am probably done with cryptos for a while. Was a good 3 year hold and appreciate though.


Ethereum is up 17x in 4 months. So uh... popped aint the right word


Fair, but it's also down >2x in 1 month so...


You mean you didn't hold for 1 million a coin. :)


Its starting to rise again now, I really would not be surprised if it peaks $500 over the next two weeks.


Not really. It's explaining the dynamics around the possible hard. Who wants what & why they want it. It's the most concise overview I've seen.


Sure, it is not a bubble, but a new paradigm... Oh, wait.


Personally, I wouldn't call it a new paradigm. It's quite similar to what already exists. With one improvement (which comes with trade-offs).


It was irony: "new paradigm" is a well known euphemism for "bubble".


Really? Your comment seemed so sincere!

I'd say the use of 'paradigm' is more taken as overused bullshit in general. Frist used by business-types as a buzz word (or at least gaining popularity within that population).


With this much uncertainty, paying ~$2000 for 1 bitcoin seems insane to me. But that's why I don't invest in cryptocurrencies; too much volatility for my taste.


You can't invest in a Cryptocurrency. It's called gambling.

edit: autocorrect.


All investments are speculative in nature. Some are just riskier than others.


Do you want to know the secret to making a small fortune in cryptocurrencies? Start with a large one.


Wait, you missed the part where I have to buy your ebook.


What's the difference?


The difference is that when I buy a stock, they have a balance sheet, usually physical and/or digital assets like buildings, datacenters, warehouses, trucks, intellectual property, software programs, patents. They usually also have people, and some type of plan to leverage everything so that the sum is greater then the parts. That's an investment, when you pay them to leverage their assets and people.

Even in a situation like yahoo, because there are real assets, even though they didn't leverage on the dream, the were still parted and sold for scrap because there was real value behind the stock. That won't happen with BTC.


So buying gold is gambling because gold doesn't have a balance sheet? The distinction seems naive, if not disingenuous.


Gold is a commodity of a specific know content, it doesn't need a balance sheet. The only thing left is to set the price, which you can speculate on. But is does have physical value at some price floor and you're just speculating on the demand. Basically the same for any commodity, oil, wheat, orange juice.

Just like the the USD is not a commodity, neither is BTC, so that's a bit disingenuous to compare it to gold, or a publicly traded and regulated stock. It's not even close.


You could always pay $2 for 0.001 bitcoin. ;)


Paper trading futures I saw how volatility was the moneymaker coffee futures were as jittery as I am after drinking it.


Bitcoin continues to evolve. With that comes growing pains. And internal struggles as it is mostly an open source project.

But for Bloomberg to use a 'civil war' hyperbole signals fear from the establishment. Established capital more specifically. And really, that is bitcoin's biggest threat.

Disclosure: I own bitcoin.


I think you're reading too much into it. It's clickbait.


No the factions in the world of BTC have been very contentious for a long time now. It may be hyperbole but not by much.


> for Bloomberg to use a 'civil war' hyperbole signals fear from the establishment. Established capital more specifically.

That may or may not be true, but it's definitely a non sequitur narrative. In this situation, it doesn't matter whether or not "the establishment" is fearful of Bitcoin. All that will ultimately matter is whether or not the "winners" of this debacle end up killing Bitcoin in the process, and that will necessarily play out in terms of markets.

>And really, that is bitcoin's biggest threat.

Only if it survives long enough to truly compete at the level of "established capital".


I wouldn't call a technical decision that threatens the monetary value of bitcoin a mere "internal struggle". If this can happen once, what's to prevent it from happening again over some other issue? How can anybody have confidence they'll be able to spend Bitcoins in the same way they do now?


We see this over and over again with OSS projects. That's actually kinda the point. If this split is allowed to happen, I assume that it will happen again because it's being treated as and OSS project (which it is) and not a currency (which it sort of is).


People refer to "holy wars" for such silly things as tabs vs spaces. In that light, "civil war" seems like pretty much what this is.


Uhhh, a civil war is exactly how Id describe it.

People are talking about doing a freaking proof of work change, so I'm not sure how much more nuclear you can get.


If you think "The Establishment" is scared of Bitcoin, I've got some bad news for you.


If they really didn't see anything in it (be it profit or wanting to get to market "first"), then there wouldn't be so many large firms investing in their own blockchain tech.


It's called hedging bets. That's how you become an established player.


You hire 50k people and throw 5/10 at block chain just to make sure you don't get caught with your pants down. That's barely an investment.


They will acquihire when the time is right. They have absolutely no need to do any in-house tech whatsoever.


Permissioned blockchains contain almost none of the interesting properties of a public, untrusted-node blockchain, and function mostly as a signed-transaction append-only database.


Investment (in blockchain tech) by major players does not (in and of itself) prove that they feel threatened by Bitcoin. Blockchain tech can have utility to those players outside of Bitcoin.


If I wanted to grab an altcoin like Nxt/Ardor -- would it be safer to buy bitcoin now, or wait till Segwit when it could become cheaper? Nxt/Ardor and all crypto's are downward spiral now--because of the bitcoin split coming, so I feel now's a buyers paradise.. and Nxt/Ardor chains look very promising from a tech standpoint.


Do not buy anything right now. Too risky. When BC bleeds, the whole ecosystem goes down.

Go on a holiday, enjoy the sun, do nothing.


Also wondering if it's time to sell mine. Already sold like 70%...


Personally I wouldn't sell now, especially if you can wait it out a year or two. The dust will settle eventually, and it'll be on the rise again, most likely, higher than it got a couple of months ago. But I don't know what's going to happen anymore than anyone else claims to.


If you're convinced it's going to fall, then it's stupid to hold. You can sell and rebuy at lower price.


Well, I'm not convinced it's going to, or at least how much longer it will, or how low it's going to get before rebounding. It's damn hard to predict what's going to happen with a high confidence of accuracy. Personally I'd rather just hold instead of trying to catch falling knives. I'm just buying a little more while everything has dropped instead.




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