Friday, November 20th, 2020, 5 days after the fork
Let me start by saying that I don't presume to speak for anyone. I also don't consider myself an expert on anything, and I'm not a mind reader, or fortune teller either. I just love to write and share my thoughts, which lately is mostly about Bitcoin.
I feel like there's some confusion about what happened to the Bitcoin Cash network five days ago. People who haven't been closely following the "community" don't seem to understand the reasons why it happened, and what to expect moving forward. So let me try to explain.
The BCH mission has always been to become money for the world. Fast, cheap, and reliable payments that can be made without the need for a trusted third-party. BCH was supposed to bank the unbanked, replace the traditional financial system, and be the best money the world has ever seen. So why hasn't it?
Three years later and it feels like BCH is moving backwards. In other words, the project has stagnated. From my perspective this is because we were too busy bickering about nonsense and ignoring the real problems, all while assuming that things would just magically get better. Someone else will fix it and it'll all work itself out.
Even when we had someone amongst us who kept trying to get us to see we were completely lost, we turned a blind eye to reality and acted like paradise was just past the next hill. Meanwhile, this person constantly complained about the lack of funding for developers and that we were kidding ourselves if we thought we were going to find the way out of this mess without first figuring that shit out.
Frustrated by the situation, he even said he'd probably be better off shorting BCH and quitting the space altogether rather than continue wandering forever.
The person I'm talking about is of course Amaury Sechet, the lead developer of Bitcoin ABC, and arguably the person most responsible for the creation of Bitcoin Cash.
I was one of the many people who thought why can't he just be more positive and be a leader who inspires rather than shitting on everything all the time? Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and finally stopped lurking and gave Amaury a piece of my mind. He promptly told me to fuck off.
Having never really interacted with him before, his reaction caught me by surprise. It gave me pause, and rather than take offense I wanted to understand. I asked him questions and little by little I began to sympathize with his frustration. I proposed ABC should put in the work to raise the necessary funds. Others in the channel started offering to help put a business plan together, to which Amaury seemed less than enthusiastic.
At that point I figured I'd tried. I couldn't help it if the guy just had bad leadership skills.
Then there was the Bitcoin.com fundraiser, and some drama following the fundraiser, followed by the Bitcoin Cash City conference in September that year.
That's where Amaury gave his presentation titled "Bitcoin Cash's Culture". I remember watching it that weekend and for the first time I understood what he'd been trying to say. In fact it was eye opening. It was like waking up and realizing you're in a burning building and the one guy telling us everything's on fire was the only sane one, not the people telling us everything's fine.
I listened to his talk and learned new terms like infrastructure decay, schelling points, and commitment strategies. His explanation for why BCH was only worth 3% of BTC made perfect sense, as did his answer for how to get out from under BTC's shadow.
Even as someone who isn't a developer, I thought it was such an important talk that I took it upon myself to spend several hours transcribing the entire presentation and putting it up as my 4th ever article on read.cash.
But despite Amaury telling everyone what needed to happen, his message fell upon deaf ears.
Fast forward a few months and Jiang Zhuoer, the CEO of BTC.TOP, announces the Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP). It was proposed that 12.5% of the coinbase reward would go to infrastructure development for a six month trial period from May to November of 2020. There were three other signatories on the announcement: Jihan Wu, Haipo Yang, and Roger Ver.
Initially the reaction to the announcement was mixed. Some were excited, others weren't so sure. There were tons of questions, but ultimately people took offense to the way it was presented as not up for debate, as well as the mysterious Hong Kong corporation that was supposed to handle the funds.
Another version was rolled out a short time later as a kind of compromise, but by then everyone's mind seemed to be made up. It's a tax, they said, and taxes are evil. (It's not a tax, and if you still think it's a tax, I'm sorry but I can't help you.)
Eventually the four signatories all caved. Some even pulled a complete 180 and made Bitcoin ABC out to be the bad guys.
With the IFP now off the table, ABC put together a business plan and tried to raise money the way everyone had asked them to. They spent valuable time and resources creating a detailed plan on how much funding they would need, what those funds would be used for, and estimated delivery dates for each of their goals. Despite all that they raised only enough to barely survive another year. And there's a big difference between surviving and growing.
Then came the flipstarter campaigns. ABC humbly asked for help once more, and pretty much everyone turned their backs.
Bitcoin ABC had no moves left. They couldn't accomplish everything they wanted to accomplish without the necessary funding, so they took matters into their own hands and announced they were activating the IFP regardless.
Some vocal members of the community threw a fit. It's a tax! You can't do this to us! This isn't Bitcoin! they said.
People have argued the activation of the IFP breaks the social contract of BCH. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't, I'm not an expert on such things, but what I do know is I refuse to support a system where developers aren't allowed to earn a paycheck for their work, especially when the people paying them are doing so voluntarily.
As for diverting 8% of the coinbase reward to fund developers not being Bitcoin, I ask you to reread the last sentence of the white paper: "Any needed rules and incentives can be enforced with this consensus mechanism."
To me the new coinbase rule falls under "any". Also, I'd like to point out that it's the last fucking sentence of the white paper. Trust me, Satoshi didn't just include that sentence for no reason. As someone who likes to write, I will say I probably scrutinize the final sentence of each article more than any other, and I doubt it was any different for him. Any needed rules and incentives, not some, any.
So while most BCH supporters have chosen to stick with BCH side of the split believing that things are going to get better because they've gotten rid of Bitcoin ABC, I will follow the team who I think has the best chance of preventing me from dying of starvation.
But like I said, I'm not an expert, I can't see the future, I'm just a guy who likes to write.