This is a continuation of my first article on this subject; “Alternative Infrastructure Funding Plan Proposal”, I recommend reading that article first since it provides context and covers preceding arguments:
The primary advantage of my initial proposal was political, considering that I changed very little from the initial Infrastructure Funding Plan. Allowing these major parties to more easily agree to these changes, while solving many of the ethical, corruption & centralization problems. Acknowledging that my initial proposal was not ideal, far from it as a matter of fact. I would prefer fully decentralizing both the process and the mechanism but that is not practically possible at this point in time. This is why I represented my proposal as a pragmatic compromise that would at least set a positive precedent for now, in order to set the stage for further evolution down the line.
This is why I am very happy to see that the most recent proposal by Jiang Zhuoer; (BCH Miner Donation Plan) has taken these ideas even further then I initially proposed, including incorporating the single change that I suggested in my initial proposal, which was to decentralize the voting mechanism for the distribution of these funds, by giving miners a proportional vote based on their hashing power. The Bitcoin Mining Parliament by Javier Gonzales is perfectly suited to this task, considering Gonzales has already laid much of the groundwork to make this possible, I am happy that this particular voting mechanism is being considered, supporting its adoption by the miners and the larger community.
Overall this latest proposal includes some big improvements but also introduces new problems. I would like to address some of these newly introduced problems, which is why I have written this continuation of the first article following this ongoing BCH governance debate.
The biggest problem with this proposal is the potential of whitelisting on the protocol level or potentially orphaning blocks which do not comply with such a potential whitelist. The first option would require doing a hard fork in order to introduce a whitelist on the protocol level, this is not advisable since it does not solve the question of who decides on that whitelist in the first place, thereby potentially causing further power lock in. Orphaning blocks that do not comply with such a whitelist would also reinforce majority rule instead of taking a more parliamentary approach as I suggested in the previous article, which would reduce contention and potentially lower the barrier to entry for new implementations which is important for implementation diversity and competition.
The solution to this problem is committing to not introducing such a whitelist in any form, allowing miners to send this part of the coinbase reward to wherever they want. The intent of this mechanism though should be clearly stated and miners can always choose to orphan blocks if there is a wide consensus that the recipient of this funding is illegitimate. Individual miners can have their own whitelists and coordinate this with other miners but a “formal” or “official” whitelist should never be created. This negates some of the risk associated with introducing any type of whitelist which is rife with centralization issues.
This mechanism should still be introduced on Bitcoin Cash during a precheduled hard fork, enforcing the rule that miners have to send a proportion of their coinbase award to wherever they want. I do acknowledge that there is room here for abuse and corruption. However, considering that the majority of miners are already onboard with such a proposal I think that we can accept it if a small minority of these funds do end up in the wrong hands.
I also consider the reduction of funding to be a wise decision, since it also reduces the contention of this proposal, after all this should be seen as a temporary solution and experiment. Considering the way that this would be implemented is not ideal, it should be considered a transitional phase while we develop better solutions.
Setting up multiple foundations to receive these funds is a great idea since it makes it much easier for the miners and implementations to distribute and receive funding respectively, while also using the BMP voting process in order to decide whether to even implement this mechanism in the first place, this should also help to further legitimize this change.
The miners have skin in the game, they are the only group that have a “proof of positive incentive” acting upon them which can be cryptographicly proven. Proof of Work is the only Sybil resistant voting mechanism within Bitcoin. This is why miners are perfectly suited to take this role within the governance of Bitcoin, while they are also in turn kept in check by other powers within Bitcoin in a type of checks and balances.
The miners should not implement this plan without wide community support since risking a major chain split over such a change should not be considered worthwhile. As my “Theory On Bitcoin Governance; The Three Stage Model” states; the miners are kept in check by the market as a whole through the splitting mechanism. The economic majority determine market dominance post split, therefore the ultimate arbitrator of dominance is the market itself. Miners as a whole should keep this in mind since in this case a split will not add more value to BCH a whole since the trade offs for this proposal are not worth risking such a large division within the community. This is why it is so important that we spend time on this discussion and find agreement with the super majority of Bitcoin Cash participants, before we should even consider implementing such a radical change.
I do hope to see further improvements to this proposal and a more concrete and definitive plan before we enter into any further stages of miner voting, with further clarification I could see myself supporting this proposal as it does incorporate my primary requirement of decentralizing the voting process, while at the same time acknowledging the temporary nature of this proposal in part due to its flawed nature.
This is an exiting time for Bitcoin Cash history, we are on a crossroads to decide its destiny. Whether this idea is rejected or accepted as a whole it has great significance for us all, setting precedents while also informing our understanding of the governance of Bitcoin itself.
I implore everyone to be open minded to new ideas and foster an environment where everyone can feel free to express themselves. Let us celebrate difference, learn from opposing arguments and not fall into the trap of tribalism. Staying united by assuming good faith and keeping in mind that we all want Peer to Peer Electronic Cash for the world, which makes us all allies in this great cause.