Bitcoin Reaches a Grand Compromise on the Scalability Debate

Journalist:
Andrew Quentson @Aquentson
April 1, 2017

What some said was impossible has been achieved. In a series of non-public meetings where, this time, independent journalists and observers were invited, key figures from Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Unlimited, almost all miners, as well as almost all significant bitcoin businesses, managed to reach an agreement after a week long discussion.

CCN can reveal that Gregory Maxwell, Peter Todd, Luke-Jr and others from Bitcoin Core, together with Andrew Stones, Peter Tschipper, Andrea Suisani and others from Bitcoin Unlimited, as well as Jihan Wu, Wang Chun, Bobby Lee, Alex Petrov and almost all miners, plus Brian Armstrong, Nicolas Cary, Mike Belshe and representatives from almost all significant bitcoin businesses, have reached the following understanding.

Bitcoin developers, from both Core and Unlimited, will merge within two weeks a maxblocksize increase to 4MB which will then further increase by 25% yearly until 32MB, together with modified segwit to remove the fee discount for signature data.

On July the 4th 2017, a flag-day upgrade will take place. All nodes are expected to have upgraded by that point. Explaining the reasoning, the document that is soon to be published states:

“After two years of lengthy debate where all minute details have been discussed at great length, we believe that a slightly more than two months lead time is more than sufficient for the network nodes to upgrade.

This announcement is expected to reach all cryptomedia as well as mainstream media. It is doubtful anyone sufficiently involved in this space would not be aware of this historic event. In any case, once a significant portion of nodes upgrade, node operators automatically receive a warning. There is no reasonable argument to provide any further time for this historical moment with freedom day the chosen date.”

Bitcoin will hardfork. As you read, developers have placed everything on hold to provide us with this monumental code. Once it is merged, all node operators must upgrade. Failure to do so means you are cut off from the network.

Ordinary bitcoin holders do not need to do anything. Nothing whatever will change as far as the vast majority of bitcoiners who do not operate a node are concerned. Node operators will simply upgrade their software. Things will continue as they have without any noticeable difference at any point, except that once the upgrade is activated capacity will increase and we will be able to welcome many more bitcoiners in development, investment, mining, businesses, infrastructure, and so on.

Theymos to Resign

There are whispers that Michael Marquardt, aka Theymos, the top moderator of r/bitcoin, is to resign this Monday. The document will say Theymos needlessly divided the community and created an us-vs-them attitude among bitcoiners for no good reason.

Theymos is expected to say he did what he thought was right and went against his own principles. However, since a grand compromise has now been reached, his assistance is no longer necessary. He will ask members of the wider bitcoin community to stand up for the task of top moderator of r/bitcoin. A vote is to then take place.

All those who have been banned from r/bitcoin on political grounds are to be unbanned, according to the document. The policy of censorship will end effectively immediately.

Andresen and Todd Friends Once More

Gavin Andresen and Peter Todd are once more on friendly terms.

Gavin Andresen and Peter Todd were spotted while having what appeared to be very friendly discussions. The two were laughing and having amicable conversations as their animosity comes to an end.

Mike Hearn made a surprise appearance on the last day after the document had been finalized. He was seen conversing with Gregory Maxwell on what appeared to be friendly terms with the two discussing fraud proofs for SPV clients.

Roger Ver was also spotted with Samson Mow who was dressed in tracksuits while wearing a “Make Bitcoin Great Again” hat backwards. The two were laughing as Roger joked about Mow’s chav-ish dress.

We Are One Again

This monumental achievement is down to all participants who spent long nights in lengthy, sometimes very heated, discussions, during the week of 22nd March to 29th March in London.

The deliberations were kept non-public so as to facilitate discussions, but there are recordings and I, together with other selected journalists, were invited to witness the events.

The end result is not exactly what Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Unlimited wanted, but it gives sufficiently to both sides for them both to claim victory. As such, any objection is likely to be insignificant considering the diverse nature of participants who reached this understanding.

After two years of vicious debate, we can now say the CryptoWar is over. The bitcoin community is once more united. The blocksize question has been solved. Bitcoin has withstood its greatest test and has come stronger out of the storm.

After some expected celebrations, with meet-ups to be organized across the world where free drinks are to be offered, the focus will probably move once more towards taunting Western Union, Visa, getting new merchants on board, providing efficient monetary alternative to developing countries, as well as adding new features.

In particular, Vitalik Buterin has agreed to assist with the addition of smart contract facilities to bitcoin. He is expected to say that the week-long meeting appears to be a transformational event for the entire bitcoin community, therefore his previous hesitance seems to no longer hold ground.

Bitcoin is one again. Bitcoin will very soon be fast and cheap again. Bitcoin will have smart contracts, faster confirmation times, as good as instant payments, plenty of capacity for years with a team allocated towards sharding research, bitcoin will once more be cash and gold, a payment network and a monetary system.

If only this had been written on a different day than April’s fools. In truth, bitcoin is more divided than it has ever been. Revolting political censorship continues to be applied. The hashpower may soon fork despite the objection of some Blockstream employees. Eth is nearing a $5 billion market cap with its transaction numbers nearing 100,000 a day. Even litecoin, that boring forgotten thing, is moving.

Nonetheless, I hope one day I do write this article not as an engagement in an ancient tradition, but as discharging my duty to the bitcoin community while reporting the news.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Andrew Quentson @Aquentson

Feel free to contact me at andrewquentson@gmail.com with any information you may have.