Bitcoin’s price dropped by $30 this morning (July 31st, 2016) as market uncertainty increases due to a closed door meeting between Bitcoin miners and Bitcoin Core developers.
Details are sparse as no media representatives or independent observers have been invited to arguably the most important bitcoin related meeting in it’s almost eight-year history.
What is known is that the meeting is attended by seven Chinese miners or representatives of mining companies and 20 Bitcoin Core/Lightning Network developers. No one has been invited from the Bitcoin Unlimited or Bitcoin Classic team as far as is known with Roger Ver, a bitcoin early adopter and angel investor publicly stating:
“To be clear, myself, Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain.info, and I assume just about every other consumer facing business were not invited. It seems to only be Miners, and Core.”
Although the meeting is publicly referred to as a “social event”, at the top of the agenda is likely to be on-chain scalability, particularly in light of earlier indications that miners may move to a different client on or around August the 1st.
There is little, if any, discussion in r/bitcoin about this meeting. On the other hand, r/btc seems to be full of anticipation with numerous threads debating all aspects. Overall, it is likely that the entire community is now focused on the outcome of what may turn out to be an historical meeting for the digital currency.
The price drop may suggest that the market expects a continuation of the current status or it may be just a response to the current uncertainty of outcome as well as, perhaps, insider trading.
Officially, no announcement is to be made and the “social gathering” will not result in any decision, however, it is likely that by tomorrow miners will make a conclusive decision on whether to continue without on-chain scaling or move to another client. An announcement, therefore, whether formal or informal, is to be expected.
The mood on r/btc seems to be that tomorrow is the day when they conclusively decide on how to move forward and end this year and a half long debate. Two options are suggested by various individuals in a grassroots manner. One option is to switch to Ethereum which has an impeccable development team and has announced plans for unlimited scalability.
Ethereum’s community, however, has a very different culture and philosophy, seeing the project more as a technology in its early stages, rather than an ideology with rigid rules or principles. Numerous individuals are therefore suggesting a second option, a pow hardfork, first suggested by Luke-Jr, a Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream contractor.
Anyone can hardfork any public blockchain without requiring any permission. Care will need to be taken in regards to any relay attack and there is likely to be high short term volatility as the market decides which chain they support most, but both chains can continue in their parallel universe.
Although a btc pow hardfork is likely to start with few highly experienced developers, if all three development teams of Bitcoin Classic, XT and Unlimited combine, there would be around ten or so developers with many others likely to join, depending on the market price response.
Whichever option anyone chooses, either is better than none, in my view. This debate has now continued for more than a year and a half, taking up time and resources, hampering progress. It’s time to make a decision, end this constant attacking of our own people and move on to attracting new participants, new businesses, new VC capital, and towards building things.
Chart from BitcoinWisdom.
Featured image from Shutterstock.