The second annual Satoshi Roundtable, a group of blockchain technology developers, investors and early adopters, discussed important issues such as block chain capacity and the scalability of bitcoin this past weekend, but according to posted comments, they did not reach any conclusions during the invitation-only event. The roundtable was limited to 75 members.
Bruce Fenton, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, posted a notice about the roundtable on Reddit. The roundtable’s Facebook page says it is a select group of leaders in the blockchain technology industry who gather for a private weekend retreat. While Fenton is the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, there is no mention of the roundtable on the Bitcoin Foundation website.
Attendees tweeted that the forum was helpful in exchanging ideas about critical issues such as bitcoin forking, the size of the blocks in the blockchain, and the problems these issues present to bitcoin’s growth.
Several noted that while the exchange was helpful, there was not a lot of agreement on changing the bitcoin protocols.
Anthony Di Iorio, chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange and co-founder of Ethereum, tweeted his take-away is that opposing camps are still far apart despite the fact that they agree the problems can be solved. Di Iorio wonders if the solutions will come too late.
Bitcoin investor Roger Ver tweeted that having multiple bitcoin distributions makes bitcoin more resistant to regulators.
Chris DeRose, community director of the Counterparty Foundation and self-described bitcoin evangelist, conducted a live streaming video coverage in the public area of the event. During the livestreaming video, DeRose hosted Bruce Fenton. The two debated the privacy of the event, which DeRose criticized and Fenton defended.
Fenton said some people wanted to discuss capacity and consensus issues. DeRose said the forum was polarizing and exclusive. Fenton said he was limited by space. He said there is a desire among participants to have private conversations. “This isn’t designed to be a huge conference,” he said.
DeRose hammered in on the criteria for who gets invited to the event. Fenton stressed the fact that it is a private event. Fenton said he does not have an agenda.
In defending the way in which the event was organized, Fenton asked DeRose if the capacity debate to date has been a success. DeRose said the capacity debate has been ongoing. When pressed by Fenton on whether or not the capacity debate has been working, DeRose said he did not know how to answer the question. He said the developers have the technical expertise.
At one point, DeRose accused Fenton of acting in ways that are self-serving.
Fenton said he told the attendees that it was a private meeting when DeRose asked him if a transcript of the discussion would be released. Fenton said he would have to ask the attendees about this. He said many attendees came because the discussion would be private.
Fenton told DeRose that he, DeRose, did not have permission to film video. DeRose admitted he filmed some people without their knowledge, but he pointed out he had permission to film video in public spaces.
Following are some comments about the event posted on Reddit.
“The Bitcoin Foundation + C4 + BAC is partnering to address the lack of developers in the bitcoin space with a training conference in June”
“Why are there so few new developers being attracted to contribution to Bitcoin Core? Getting an understanding of how Bitcoin works internally is incredibly difficult without having a lot of conversation with a lot of people. Core needs to do a better job of that.”
“There are academics, and there are developers. The academics are doing research that is very important, but there also has to be developers that are implementing wiz-bang features and shipping code. But the two groups have to find a better way of talking to each other.”
“Some speakers stated they were fine with 2MB fork first followed by segwit. Same speaker said he was OK with the other order, but it wasn’t his preference.”
“We need to do something in the short term, because medium and long-term solutions aren’t here yet. As to how we accomplish that, who knows, we’re just posturing. It’s all just bullshit political posturing.”
“There are giant companies that want to add Bitcoin, large banks, large companies, large websites, with millions of users – they have rejected adding Bitcoin because it doesn’t scale”
“In the future we probably won’t have a block size limit – technology will evolve”
“What if Core merged in the work Classic has done, and just tweaked the activation date/miner percentage? That way it would still activate, but the risk of two chains existing is lower because they share the implementation”
“Bitcoin Core has been able to better define what it is now that XT and Classic exist”
“Without layer 2 services there is no way to scale Bitcoin”
“Later 2 technologies such as Factom allow for data to be dumped onto the Bitcoin blockchain without taking up space on the blockchain”
“Readiness signalling is something that seems to have consensus across the room: an ability for end-users to include a signal within a transaction that says “I am ready for the upgrade to ______ which makes it easy for devs to plan hard upgrades.”
“Transaction signalling allows the broader community to indicate support, or indicate a lack of support, which is huge”
“Satoshi didn’t envision the way mining would cluster”
“If a network is full with spam transactions, and we’re not intending to censor that spam (which we aren’t), the network is still full”
“And we’re back to miners saying that there is protocol development that has to be done, maybe Bitcoin needs ‘managers’ and not just ‘developers'”
“Chinese miners don’t want to see a situation where there are two chains”
“Miners suffer with slow block propagation because they could be mining transactions that are already mined (but they don’t know they’re mined)”
“Would a mining crash and price crash cause Bitcoin to fail completely?”
“My opinion: I think that everyone is answering a different question to what’s being asked, the conversation feels confused”
“What would miners do if an emergency hard fork had to be pushed through to signal to the market that Bitcoin is not dead?”
“A suggestion was made for mining companies to consider moving some of their mining equipment to different jurisdictions to reduce the clustering of mining”
“If a company is working on Lightning or side chains or whatever they need to be loud and proud about it so that Core Devs feel comfortable with the direction everyone is going in”
“A contributing issue is that industry representatives aren’t really talking about their work on Layer 2 solutions”
“Services that build on the blockchain are already looking at non-Bitcoin currencies because they have more space available”
“Cryptocurrency Security Standard is a collection of 33 security controls to protect private key material. So it’s like PCI, which tells companies how to secure credit card data, but for cryptocurrency.”
“They have a Certified Bitcoin Expert certification as well, coming out June 2016. 200 multiple choice questions, plus s practical component.”
“The Certified Bitcoin Professional has been updated. It’s a 75 question multiple choice exam, and it tests whether the person has a basic understanding of Bitcoin and its workings.”