It appears we finally have some brief respite in the Bitcoin scaling debate. But as we look back on the chain of events that brought about Segwit2x, and ahead to future challenges, the biggest lessons we can learn are not about the technical implementations of Segwit, or theories on block limits and transaction speeds, but about the evolution of the community itself.
It’s often been said that Bitcoin has, in some ways, become a victim of its own success. The king of cryptocurrencies has grown at a phenomenal rate. As a result, it’s been taking so long to complete payment processes that the prospect of Bitcoin blossoming into a genuine mainstream payment mechanism has been cast in doubt.
No Quick Fix
The Segwit2x implementation, which handles signature data separately and will look to increase the block size limit to 2MB, unblocks bandwidth in the system (to a degree) and paves the way for a better operating environment, but it doesn’t cure all ills. The resolution, if you can call it that, has been warmly welcomed with Bitcoin market prices reacting positively, but let’s not for a moment think we’re out of the woods yet. In fact, this is just the start. Segwit2x helps soothe some of the current pain points but it’s a band aid, at best. Further, far bigger challenges are on the horizon.
There has been a lot of solutioneering, conjecture and obfuscation circling the crypto community in the lead up to Segwit2x. Amid the maelstrom of heated debate the most interesting thing to have emerged has arguably been the inherent desire for people to work together for the collective good of Bitcoin and the future of blockchain. Despite warring factions in the community, the bottom-line is that the majority of those actively involved in the evolution of Bitcoin want it to succeed and so compromises must be found within the struggles and conflicts. And this is what will make Bitcoin a globe-changing triumph or a huge, fascinating experiment destined to fail.
When Milton Friedman predicted the advent of digital currencies way back in the late 1990s he did so with this sense of community, social democracy and human interaction at heart. He foresaw an advanced internet-driven world that would ultimately create decentralized platforms and negate the need for government intervention. But the technology is merely an enabler of the idea. For such concepts to be realised, and something like cryptocurrency to be successful in the long run, they are reliant on everyone working together cohesively, with the forces of good overcoming the forces of bad.
Much like Bitcoin could well be the start of a new kind of monetary system, where each user can benefit from one another and there is no centralized authority, we have seen a similar socialisation of investing over the last 10 years. On trading networks like eToro, there is no requirement for asset managers, financial advisers or investment pundits to dictate investment trends – the global community of 6 million users becomes your collective insight. You can interact with top traders, watch their investment strategies and even copy their every move should you wish. The user-base is so vast that you can find experts in everything from developed market equities to gold trading to new, emerging cryptocurrencies.
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