To Our Customers, Regarding the Bitcoin Cash Network Upgrade in November
Dear Bitcoin.com Customer,
Our mission at Bitcoin.com is to bring decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash to the world, as we believe this transformative technology can truly engender economic freedom and greater individual liberty for everyone on Earth— especially you. Presently we believe the incarnation of this technology that is most essential to our mission is Bitcoin Cash, and for that reason we feature this particular cryptocurrency above all others in every product we build for you. We deeply desire to see Bitcoin Cash continue to grow and mature as peer-to-peer electronic cash and to become widely accepted as money everywhere so that you may transact with whomever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want, free of destructive and intrusive centralized financial authority or costly and inefficient middlemen.
One of the greatest things about Bitcoin Cash— and Bitcoin as originally envisioned by its creator Satoshi Nakamoto— is that anyone is free to associate with this vision of peer-to-peer electronic cash or not. Additionally, those who desire also have the right to modify anything and everything that has been created in the greater Bitcoin open source domain since its inception so that they may offer their own competing vision for the future. Bitcoin Cash itself was born of one such competing vision when it split from Bitcoin on August 1st, 2017. In fact, these splits have happened numerous times in the history of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Over the past decade, free association and the right to modify have given rise to competition and choice in the greater cryptocurrency marketplace and that is definitely a Good Thing™ for the world. This does not come without a price for some, however. As more and more splits happen, developer teams become more and more fractured, and the market share and real value of individual implementations diminishes. This has been true of Bitcoin Cash in the past, and current circumstances indicate it may be at risk of happening again during this year’s November network upgrade.
Recently, competing teams of open source software developers have proposed changes to the Bitcoin Cash network that diverge at the fundamental level again. These changes are scheduled to take effect in November. The main point of contention between these teams is whether or not to implement a technical and economic mechanism to fund ongoing open source software development. This mechanism, colloquially known as “IFP”, has been controversial to say the least. Endless debate of its technical, economic, and governance merits (or lack thereof) rages on in social media and in private and public meetings.
In this situation— as has happened in the past when developers have been unable to reach consensus— it appears that the network will ultimately decide as to whether IFP is implemented or not, and whether any new coins are created in a split from Bitcoin Cash as a result. The role of the network participants that decide such things is that of the “miner”. Those who mine Bitcoin Cash— whether they are dyed-in-the-wool Bitcoin Cash true believers, or opportunists who choose only to mine when there are conflicts such as this— will vote with their respective computational power in accordance with the bitcoin protocol.
Bitcoin.com is one such miner and for the record, we will not be mining with any Bitcoin Cash software that implements the IFP feature in the November 2020 network upgrade. At this time we also have reason to believe that most other miners have come to the same decision. Ultimately and irrespective of our choice however, market forces will determine whether or not IFP is implemented and when.
The reason Bitcoin.com is choosing to run software that does not implement IFP is that we do not observe that this feature is supported by what we see as a prerequisite governance model necessary to ensure that funding raised via its use is spent in furtherance of the vision of Bitcoin Cash that we freely associate with. Thus, we can neither risk our vision of peer-to-peer electronic cash nor the future value of our customers’ Bitcoin Cash by implementing IFP at this time. Furthermore, we encourage all network participants who share our perspective to run only Bitcoin Cash software without IFP specifically during the November 2020 network upgrade.
We understand that proper funding for Bitcoin Cash network development is needed in order for the network to grow and mature along with the rest of the cryptocurrency marketplace. Certainly the IFP feature itself, incomplete as it may be without a corresponding governance model, is an attempt to address this serious need. With this in mind, Bitcoin.com will continue to fund ad hoc Bitcoin Cash network development as we have done in the past, and at increasing levels commensurate with the growth of our company. We additionally desire to join free associations of developers as a financial supporter of and corporate participant in development and we will continue to encourage other businesses in our industry to do the same. Thus in our view, the ideal outcome this November would be for all competing Bitcoin Cash software implementations to jointly agree to not implement the IFP feature at this time and instead come together to form such a free association so that we may also join and contribute.
Personally, I am willing and able to assist in any way I can in such an endeavor and I will continue to reiterate our vision for peer-to-peer electronic cash and our position in this matter at each and every opportunity I have with any network participant… especially our customers and users of Bitcoin Cash.
Finally, to you, our customer, I want to assure you that your funds are safe. Whether you transact using the Bitcoin.com Wallet, trade with Bitcoin.com Local or the Bitcoin.com Exchange, or wager with Bitcoin.com Games, all of our products will continue to support Bitcoin Cash come November, 2020.
Free the markets, free the world.