I support the Infrastructure Funding Plan for a number of reasons, and I'll get to those in future articles, but there's one in particular I think is a little different from the rest.
For me the IFP represents more than just a funding mechanism. I also see it as a unique opportunity for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem to demonstrate to the world what this project is all about. It's a symbol, a chance to do something of significance that will show outsiders that while our overall mission is to build a peer to peer electronic cash system, we're simultaneously trying to build a new culture as well, one that is focused on achieving clearly defined goals and is able to rid itself of those who create unnecessary disruptions while contributing little to nothing in return.
"Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system for the world. This means we want to use cryptocurrency to bring economic freedom to people all over the world. This is difficult and important work, and every employee at Coinbase signed up because they are excited about this mission."
As the leader of Coinbase, he is drawing a line in the sand and telling everyone what his company is and isn't about. He's even willing to pay people to leave if they don't agree with this vision.
Though Bitcoin Cash doesn't have a CEO, I believe the IFP can act in a similar fashion. It's an opportunity for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem as a whole to put a stake in the ground and demonstrate what it's core values are, what BCH stands for, and what lies at the heart and soul of this project.
So what does BCH stand for?
I'm not talking about our mission of building world money. I'm talking more along the lines of what is at the heart of Bitcoin Cash's core values, and for me, it's two things. The first is that BCH is a system built on proof of work and ensuring that productive work goes rewarded. The second is that all participants in the BCH ecosystem always have a choice and the freedom to act, whether that's by selling their coins, or forking the project, or mining on another chain.
What's great about the IFP (beyond the obvious benefits of adding a much needed infrastructure funding mechanism to the ecosystem), is that it embodies both of the above core values. It's not just a funding mechanism, it's a way to signal to outsiders that this community rewards hard work and that everyone is free to act in their own best interests and that it is okay to seek profit from your work.
One of the most beautiful things about Bitcoin to me is this sort of equilibrium that it creates where the network can't be controlled by a single party. Despite those who accuse Amaury of hijacking the chain, the reality is that he isn't hijacking anything because he can't. He can't force anyone to upgrade to ABC's new software on November 15th just as no one can force him to work for free. All he is saying is that if you want ABC to do the work, you're going to have to pay them.
Now compare that to how hijackings actually work. Is ABC holding a gun to the pilot's head? Are they threatening miners with a knife held at their throats? Clearly the answer is no.
What's really happening is that Amaury has been the de facto Chief Technology Officer of BCH for the past three years, and he is no longer interested in working for a project that is unwilling to give him the resources required to make it better. Now it is up to the rest of the ecosystem to decide whether to keep him on or let him go.
Naysayers have argued that diverting a portion of the coinbase reward to fund development has never been done in the history of Bitcoin. They point to this fact as if that alone is reason enough not to do it. I disagree emphatically. As I've written about in the past, the IFP is a chance for Bitcoin to evolve. It's a chance for Bitcoin Cash to send a signal to developers that this is a chain that rewards talent and hard work. It's also a chance to signal what decentralized governance is capable of, all while solving the funding problem at the same time.
Ask yourself what kind of signal the miners will be sending if they decide to reject ABC and mine only using BCHN after November? I know some of you think that would be a good thing, that it's a signal that miners are sending to reject giving too much power to a single entity. But the very fact that miners have a choice (and will always continue to have a choice) is a sign that the system is adequately decentralized, that there are enough checks and balances in place to insure no single group holds too much influence.
In reality, what a rejection of the IFP will signal is that the system is broken and that it doesn't properly incentivize those who do the most work.
Case in point, we have seen many flipstarter campaigns by people who have thus far contributed little to nothing to the BCH ecosystem but were succe