Monday, December 14th, 2020
Dear Brian Armstrong,
Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of your Medium post: "Coinbase is a mission focused company".
I found it bold, refreshing, and an example of the type of leadership we desperately need more of. The message hit especially close to home since I'm an avid cryptocurrency enthusiast who passionately shares your mission to "use cryptocurrency to bring economic freedom to people all over the world."
Which is why I was disappointed with the recent decision your company made not to recognize the Bitcoin Cash fork tentatively known as "BCHA".
I could understand if Coinbase was taking a wait and see approach to make sure the network was even viable, but to predetermine that you won't support this chain before seeing the evidence makes your organization look hasty and uninformed. I can't help but feel you are making a political choice to support one chain over another when that is exactly the type of thing you are fighting against.
I know you probably don't want to hear this from some anonymous person on the internet, but I was once told, "Never trust anyone who does not annoy you from time to time, it means they only tell you what you want to hear." Well, I'm sorry to say this, but I'm here to annoy you a little.
In your follow up to Coinbase being a mission focused compay, you said Coinbase doesn't just stand for making a profit but "for accomplishing the mission and for creating a great place to work. Growing revenue and profit is the only way we will be able to grow our team to build all the things that are needed to accomplish the mission."
I bring up this quote because in many ways it perfectly captures why Bitcoin ABC decided to fork away from BCH in order to accomplish their own mission, which is:
"The goal of Bitcoin ABC is to help create sound money that is usable by everyone in the world. We believe this is a civilization-changing technology which will dramatically increase human freedom and prosperity."
To me it’s clear that Coinbase's mission and Bitcoin ABC's mission are one and the same. But perhaps even more importantly, both organizations also share the same values and want to instill the same culture.
When faced with employees who want to turn their jobs into political theater, you made it clear what Coinbase is about, what your mission is, and what everyone signed up for. With this recent fork, Bitcoin ABC has done the same thing. The irony is that the one company that should be the most supportive is the one that is dismissing them.
Over the past three years Bitcoin ABC has come to realize that without proper funding they can't scale their team or the network. As a result, they made the decision to implement a new coinbase rule requiring miners who run their software to divert 8% of their mining rewards to an address under Bitcoin ABC's control. This money will be used to fund protocol development and critical infrastructure while also aligning the incentives of the protocol developers with miners.
I truly believe that cryptocurrencies are the future, that for the first time in my life we have a tool that can bring about real change, not just on a technological level but on a cultural level as well. I also realize how much work is left to do. Fortunately this industry has thousands of projects working to solve a multitude of problems, but I don't think any one of them are quite as focused on quite the right problems as the team at Bitcoin ABC.
I understand diverting part of the coinbase reward to developers is a radical change in the way Bitcoin works. But I firmly believe this is what Bitcoin needs in order to finally evolve. For the first time miners are being given an opportunity to pay for a core dev team's services.
It's the free market at work, and miners can choose to hire Bitcoin ABC or mine another chain.
This could be the solution to the freerider problem, otherwise known as the tragedy of the commons. It might even end up being a defining moment in the history of Bitcoin itself, and in fact, I believe the mere existence of BCHA is already historic.
But by not listing BCHA, I think Coinbase is doing the exact opposite of what your Medium post stated. Rather than be laser focused on the mission, you are playing petty politics with a cryptocurrency community when instead you could have remained neutral and let the market decide.
It wasn't Bitcoin ABC's desire to divide the BCH community. But like you said, sometimes changing out team members is needed in order to avoid distractions. And over the past couple of years the Bitcoin Cash community has provided nothing but distractions.
The new coinbase rule is ABC's memo to the community that they are focused on the mission of creating electronic cash for the world, and you are free to follow them, or go your own way.
I'm here to tell you that the BCHA project isn't going anywhere. The network is up and running smoothly. Despite various attacks, the chain has defended itself easily and proven itself resilient.
Up next is the launch of a completely new name and ticker for the project. After that comes the formation of the Global Network Council. The GNC will be responsible for dispersing exactly half of the 8% earned through the new coinbase rule using a token based voting mechanism. A total of 73 votes will be up for grabs each year, 52 votes going to the miners based on the ~52,000 blocks mined each year, and 21 votes going to the top 21 holders who can cryptographically prove their holdings. Each voting member must then attend or send a representative to an annual conference where the decision making will take place. The purpose of this is to insure the future of this project is decided by those who have actual skin in the game and not just the loudest voices on Reddit or Twitter.
I don't know if BCHA will accomplish its mission, but I do know that I believe in what it stands for, that the incentives make sense, and its leaders are acting in good faith. I hope that Coinbase can recognize another championship team when they see one and help one another accomplish your shared goals by listing BCHA.
Thank you for your time.
A long-time Coinbase customer and fan