An intramural debate among Bitcoin Cash developers about the future of the BCH protocol is heating up, with a development group backed by nChain and Craig Wright vowing to create a new full node client that does not include the so-called "unnecessary changes" being added to Bitcoin ABC, the most popular full node BCH client.
Dubbed Bitcoin SV -- a not-so-subtle acronym for “Satoshi Vision” -- the software, in nChain’s words, is designed “to provide a clear BCH implementation choice for miners who support Bitcoin’s original vision, over implementations that seek to make unnecessary changes to the original Bitcoin protocol."
The company says that Bitcoin SV will double down even further on Bitcoin Cash’s commitment to on-chain scaling (as opposed to second-layer scaling through technologies such as Plasma and the Lightning Network) by raising the block size limit to 128MB from the current 32MB limit. For reference, the vast majority of recent BCH blocks mined over the past several days have been smaller than 100KB, or less than one-third-of-one percent of the current limit.
Additionally, the first release of Bitcoin SV will restore four “Satoshi opcodes” -- scripting operations that had originally been included in Bitcoin but were disabled in later software updates. These opcodes are: OP_MUL, OP_LSHIFT, OP_RSHIFT, and OP_INVERT. Additionally, Bitcoin SV will remove the limit of 201 opcodes per individual script.
Jimmy Nguyen, CEO of nChain, said:
“Answering the call of miners, nChain is happy to provide technical capabilities needed to support Bitcoin SV. Once the Bitcoin protocol is fully restored and maintained, global businesses and developers can reliably build robust applications, projects and ventures upon it – just as they reliably build upon the long-stable Internet protocols. The future of Bitcoin is big blocks, big business, and big growth. Bitcoin SV is an important step toward that big future by advancing the professionalization of Bitcoin.”
CoinGeek, a Bitcoin Cash mining pool founded by billionaire entrepreneur Calvin Ayre, has already announced publicly that it will mine with Bitcoin SV following the software’s release ahead of the scheduled Bitcoin Cash hard fork in November and has said that it will “continue to support only consensus changes that restore the original Bitcoin protocol, and those that may be demonstrated as absolutely necessary to meeting the goal of massive on-chain scaling to terabyte+ blocks.” At present, CoinGeek's mining pool accounts for approximately 22 percent of the BCH hashrate.
“Because miners should drive the roadmap in the Bitcoin space, CoinGeek and other miners asked nChain to create a professionally-driven implementation of the Bitcoin full node software (for use on BCH) that restores the original Bitcoin protocol,” Ayre said. “CoinGeek is sponsoring the project and intends to mine with Bitcoin SV. We invite other BCH miners to join us in using Bitcoin SV to voice their support for the Satoshi Vision.”
The decision of nChain, with CoinGeek’s backing, to launch Bitcoin SV is the culmination of heated debates within the Bitcoin Cash technical community over the future of the BCH protocol.
Bitcoin ABC, the full node implementation developed by Amaury Séchet and currently used by most miners, has announced plans to activate, among other changes, two new opcodes during the protocol’s November hard fork -- OP_CHECKDATASIG and OP_CHECKDATASIGVERIFY -- as well as implement canonical transaction ordering.
These proposals have been met with strong resistance by Wright and Ayre, who have argued that, among other things, these opcodes could lead to “unlicensed gambling" since they can be used to implement "oracle" services such as those that make decentralized prediction markets possible. Ayre, incidentally, made his fortune through an online gambling empire, though it is Wright in particular who has used this as an argument against these opcodes.
According to nChain, Bitcoin SV will be based off BItcoin ABC v0.17.2, and its development will be led by BitcoinJ-Cash developer Daniel Connolly. The firm plans to have the SV codebase ready for a full security audit in mid-October.
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