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Longtime Bitcoin enthusiast, miner, and coder Jonathan Toomim rather suddenly became a major factor in the civil war for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) this year. His crypto roots go back about 8 years ago-ish, dabbling and then eventually becoming more involved in cryptocurrencies. Toomim's tenure also includes being a junior developer for Mike Hearn's Bitcoin XT and co-founding Bitcoin Classic. His work on XThinner and block propagation earned him praise across the BCH space. More recently, he's a central figure in a heated debate about the Bitcoin Cash difficulty adjustment algorithm (DAA) and a leading critic of dominant BCH implementation Bitcoin ABC.
Coin Fugazi Podcast 1: Jonathan Toomim
This is the full enchilada, the episode in its entirety. It has four parts in an otherwise organic conversation: Toomim as a masked avenger; a deep dive into the BCH DAA controversy; drilling-down on his essay Dark secrets of the Grasberg DAA; and a final segment about Toomim's thoughts on the future of Bitcoin Cash.
The episode is also broken down into those respective parts as stand-alone podcasts (below), numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5.
In one fateful week, August 3 - 7, 2020, Toomim went from a relatively obscure background developer and big block advocate to a decidedly more public Bitcoin Cash figure. It's a change or difference worth documenting.
Around the same time, supporters of Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN), a startup implementation in direct protest/competition against ABC and its backing of the Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP), gathered signatories vowing not to support ABC.
And on August 6, 2020 Bitcoin ABC and Amaury Séchet pivoted. They announced détente with regard to the dust up over DAAs, suggesting Toomim's version would prevail. With it, however, came the caveat of an 8% block reward redirection with the IFP-like arrangement returning.
That prompted a contingent of Bitcoin Cash miners to publicly oppose Bitcoin ABC, setting in motion a major showdown heading into the scheduled November 15, 2020 network upgrade.
On Friday, August 7, 2020 Toomim and I chatted about it all.
Bitcoin Cash handicappers are wading through Séchet and ABC versus Toomim and BCHN, which itself is a glib take on all the moving parts involved. Séchet and ABC have a track-record in BCH and deep ties to influential mining pools and increasingly important speculative exchanges. With them, however, comes internal dysfunction and a bleeding of developers, alienating what amounts to most of the BCH ecosystem at present.
Toomim and BCHN, on the other hand, are untested as a unit. Their rise in recent months has been impressive: new levels of node cooperation, greater overt reaching out to China, and professional-level transparency. They've managed to coax over to their cause essentially the English-speaking/West Bitcoin Cash community, many of whom are former ABC developers or allies. Critics will charge projects like XT and Bitcoin Classic ultimately went nowhere, and it took the moxie of Séchet and ABC to move the peer-to-peer project forward back in 2017.
At this point in BCH history so many unknowns exist. Toomim right now is an important piece of putting that future puzzle together.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and masks are not, not, the topic of this episode. Instead, they're a muse upon which a listener can get a better sense of Jonathan Toomim's thinking and how he approaches problems. The danger in publishing his thoughts on such matters is prompting more lame arguments over masks and government policy.
Instead, I hope what comes through is how he approaches problem-solving and the steps involved. He's seldom a tourist. He rarely just sits back and watches goings-on with regard to issues he's passionate about.
The middle-part of 2020 for Bitcoin Cash was consumed with difficult adjustment algorithm talk. The DAA for BCH became a proxy for lingering personality disputes and growing resentment toward dominant Bitcoin Cash implementation Bitcoin ABC and its lead developer, Amaury Séchet.
Séchet casts a very large shadow for Toomim, and the DAA controversy serves as a background and context as to why. This episode's danger is in veering into ad hominems. That's for listeners to decide. What is clear is Toomim's view: Séchet's influence by way of Bitcoin ABC is not a net-plus for Bitcoin Cash going forward.
We drill down into Toomim's essay, his recent polemic against Séchet and ABC. I wanted to note the change in Toomim's tone, ask him about it, and focus upon a couple of finer points maybe lost in its popular digestion. He provides a lot of insight as to his motivation and rationales.
At the end of a long conversation, I asked Toomim to make predictions about where Bitcoin Cash is headed and what he expects to happen in the coming months. His answers are worth comparing to what might eventually unfold just months from now.