BitcoinXT Blasts Bitcoin Cash Governance, Abandons Upcoming Hard Fork

By CCN.com: Bitcoin XT developers announced late yesterday that they would not be following the upcoming scheduled hard fork for Bitcoin Cash. In a somewhat lengthy post, the developers speak of their history as big block proponents and their participation in the Bitcoin Cash network.

Bitcoin XT Protests Bitcoin Cash Governance

They have always favored miners being able to make protocol-level decisions without the need for "forks."

Bitcoin Cash routinely hard forks as part of its development process.

In most cases, such forks create no problems. But in the case of the upcoming fork, XT has decided they will no longer go with the flow.

XT isn't advocating a fork to create a new blockchain, as was the case with the original Bitcoin Cash fork and later the Bitcoin SV fork away from that. But, the decision means that miners and users who prefer XT's software must switch to something else. XT suggests Bitcoin Unlimited because it is, in their estimation, the next best thing.

XT developers believe that regular forks have made it so that one implementation – namely, Bitcoin ABC – has too much control over the decisions made for the network. They write:

"Instead, they pursue a strategy of scheduled hard forks at regular intervals. Such a strategy allows for a majority implementation to effectively act as gatekeepers of determining the content of these scheduled forks and is anything but representative. The artificial deadlines are a centralizing and ultimately destabilizing force on development."

The effect of Bitcoin XT's exit is minimal, as there are only six nodes in operation at press time. Meanwhile, there are nearly 800 Bitcoin ABC nodes and approximately 700 Bitcoin Unlimited nodes.

According to Coin.dance, there are currently only six Bitcoin XT nodes.

Bitcoin XT developers believe this is the intended effect, writing:

"With the governance strategy BCH had adopted, the advantage of multiple implementations is negligible."

'The Advantage of Multiple Implementations Is Negligible'

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and the majority of cryptocurrencies are protocols, with multiple node and wallet implementations. XT developers have raised the alarm about the increasing centralization of Bitcoin Cash development. Pointing to the "arbitrary" nature of Bitcoin ABC's releases, XT believes that an inferior governance model is emerging. They prefer a model where Bitcoin miners have more control than developers, but, as quoted above, feel that miners don't care.

"We […] expressed our ideals by adopting, along with Bitcoin Unlimited, the broader BIP135 framework for executing any kind of forking change, soft or hard, in the same way that BIP9 was used to successfully activate new features on BTC, and also to successfully defeat activation of [SegWit], until that change's supermajority threshold was drastically lowered."

Mike Hearn, a prominent Bitcoin developer who eventually threw in the towel in the early days of the Bitcoin scaling wars, originally founded BitcoinXT. In an AMA session, he once said:

"I wouldn't participate in Bitcoin Core development again, if that's what you mean. It's important to understand that the issues are deeper than block sizes. Core has lost its way. They are just deeply uninterested in growth and mainstream adoption. For instance, they've turned their back on unconfirmed transactions, even though that's an important feature. They have spent a lot of time lately dumping on SPV wallets, even though they're the most popular kind of wallet on Android and becoming highly popular on iOS (via Breadwallet)."

Hearn earned the Bitcoin community's scorn when he eventually quit all Bitcoin development and declared Bitcoin a failure.

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P. H. Madore @bitillionaire

P. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to bitillionaire+phm@gmail.com. He lives in Maine, USA. A single father of four young children, he does not discourage financial donations, provided they do not come with strings attached.

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