Coinbase CEO Speaks out against Bitcoin Core Hard Fork, Trumpets Bitcoin Classic

Posted in: Archive
February 22, 2016 8:47 PM UTC

CEO and co-founder of bitcoin wallet and exchange service Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, has deemed the recent proposal to scaling Bitcoin as merely “words” and not action while trumpeting Bitcoin Classic as a better solution for bitcoin’s scaling debate.

Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase has, in a blog post titled “The Bitcoin Roundtable Consensus Proposal – Too Little, Too Late”, dismissed the recent proposal to scale bitcoin.

The proposal to scale Bitcoin was achieved over the past weekend among a group of the major mining pools, wallet and exchange service providers & Bitcoin Core developers. The consensus saw a Bitcoin Core-approved hard fork which is expected to see its code made available in July 2016, following the release of Segregated Witness (SegWit), a soft fork solution that will be released over the next two months and firmly a part of the proposed scaling roadmap. Eventually, the hard fork is expected to come into being in July 2017.

The proposal also discussed the possibility of raising the capacity of blockchain’s transaction blocks up to a total of 4 MB.

However, Coinbase CEO Armstrong who sees Bitcoin-scaling as “the most urgent problem” that needs to be solved, contends that the consensus and roadmap “misses the mark” with the proposed solution to scaling concerns.

He cites that prioritizing SegWit before – what he deems as the more urgent – block size increase is a mistake.

My understanding is that [Bitcoin] Core believes SegWit contains features which are necessary to add before a hard fork can safely occur (to prevent certain attack vectors).

In adding to the statement, Armstrong contended that Bitcoin Classic already contains the code to prevent such attack vectors.

Furthermore, the Coinbase executive insisted that July 2017 is already too far in to the future to be raising the block size.

If the plan is followed as written, SegWit would provide a slightly less than doubling of capacity by April 2016 (while adding some, I believe, unnecessary complexity). Then we would go another fifteen months (until July 2017) without any additional capacity increase. If bitcoin transactions per day continue to more then [sic] double annually, as they have been for the past few years, we will be in a worse position than we are today in the first half of 2017. This feels like a major oversight of the proposal.

Bitcoin Classic: ‘A Better, Already-Available Solution’

Armstrong looks to make a marked point in noting that the consensus and the Bitcoin Core proposal to scale the cryptocurrency is, as things stand, “a series of words and it’s still unclear if those will be upheld.”

Stating that “words” differ from “action,” Armstrong points to Bitcoin Classic instead, showing his support to the team behind the alternative fork who, he highlights, has “already taken action” in proposing a scaling solution in code that can be used immediately.

Bitcoin Classic released an updated code earlier this month, one which would see the doubling of the block size from 1 MB to 2 MB. Armstong was quick to back the alternative hard fork, stating that Coinbase would integrate Bitcoin Classic nodes, alongside existing nodes.

Furthermore, the chief executive also deemed the Bitcoin Core roadmap to scaling bitcoin “perpetuates a centralized, single party system, in bitcoin.”

Instead of a single group, Armstrong states that Bitcoin “would be better off with a multi-party system,” one which would see several competing teams looking to add features to the protocol. With multiple proposals to choose from, Armstrong sees it as a better scenario wherein the industry can then “vote on which [feature] to adopt,” by having votes encoded on the blockchain.

Armstrong proposes that the industry  should collectively continue upgrading to BitcoinClassic over the next few weeks, a move which he states would provide “immediate relief to bitcoin’s scaling problem and help restore confidence in the system.”

If the call to adopt BitcoinClassic goes through when 75% of recent blocks mined include a vote for Classic, there will be a 30-day waiting period for the remaining 25% to adopt Classic.

If the switch to Classic were to happen, Armstrong believes that price of the cryptocurrency will scale up, along with increased confidence among the community. Furthermore, he believes that if the upgrade to Classic were to happen, bitcoin will ultimately come to exist in “an era of multiple competing teams and nodes, which will accelerate bitcoin’s protocol development. Future protocol upgrades proposed by Core, Classic, or any other team will be determined by a consensus vote using the blockchain, with the longest valid chain deemed the winner, envisioned Armstrong.

Ultimately, Armstrong states that he believes in Core’s promise to shipping an improvement to the protocol in the future. But, he isn’t willing to wait a year for it.

I have no problem running that software. But if they haven’t shipped that software yet, and someone else has, there is no reason to wait.

Last modified: May 21, 2020 10:33 AM UTC

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Samburaj Das @sambdas

Samburaj is the Chief Editor of, one of the earliest and foremost publications covering blockchain, cryptocurrency, and financial technology news. He has authored over 2,000 articles for Reach him at Visit his LinkedIn profile here or his Muck Rack profile here.