There is much debate and heated discussions about the future of BCH and it all boils down to one thing unfortunately, Money. To skip the background and just jump to my idea please jump to A way to move forward.
The long story how pay for it's continued development. I first bought some BCH and joined the crypto community in February of 2019 shortly before BTC's recovery from the 2017 bull market. Therefore I am relatively new but standing on the sidelines since its inception I am honestly not sure why I didn't take the plunge sooner. Because of me following it was clear to me that the Bitcoin of today was not what it was and that BCH continued to carry that torch.
The reason BCH exists today is thanks to people the BitcoinABC who eventually forked Bitcoin to create what we know refer to as BitcoinCash. Unfortunately hijacking, censorship and manipulation allegedly took place preventing BCH from becoming the majority chain or not having to fork at all and just increase the block size.
The split led to things like funding and mining issues. Those heavily invested in Bitcoin and didn't know any better stayed with BTC while those who truly understood what was happening either left or eventually made their way to BCH. Shortly after another fork eventually to be known as BSV happened a little over a year after the first. This lead to less funding, mining and development as well.
I believe the reason why funding wasn't as hard in the beginning is due to the bull market. People were looking for ways to invest their profits in crypto a good way was to help fund development of it. Plus anyone who held BTC at the time received BCH as well. Those who felt BTC was on the same course it was sold off whatever BCH they had gotten BCH did the same. This made funding much easier. Then on top of that the value of both coins just kept going up. It was a perfect storm that helped BCH thrive. Once the bull market was over and the bear market taking its toll this is when BSV split from BCH yet again dividing any resources. Also let's not forget the hash war which too used up even more of the resources. Resources that should have gone to further development went to mining to determine who would get to keep the BCH ticker symbol. I believe ever since this point funding became much harder.
Since the BSV split questions on how to fund BCH was at hand. I have seen several different funding campaigns come and go with helps from groups like Bitcoin.com and many other including well off individuals. Here is one example:
Problem is questions raised as to if it was ever distributed
Read more about it here: https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-cash-ifp-debate/
Long story short Jiang Zhuoer suggested taking a portion of block rewards and putting them in a wallet controlled by a 3rd party to distribute to Infrastructure developers. It was set to be only for a few months goal of raising 6 million USD. BitcoinABC implemented code to support this. It was met with much resistance. It created things like BCHN, a fork to BitcoinABC mining software to remove IFP and Flipstarter, a crowd funding platform similar to gofundme. In the end the code stayed but it did not receive the support from miners to activate.
Through Flipstarter multiple infrastructure teams were able to be funding through the community. The only unsuccessful fundraiser was BitcoinABC. While running the Flipstarter campaign Bitcoin ABC had been also running a fundraiser on their website https://fund.bitcoinabc.org/ it is still only 55% funded. The one thing that made flipstarter stand out vs other options is that any money donated was only taken upon a successful fundraiser. Otherwise funds didn't leave the owner's wallets.
Once everything settled down from the first IFP next big hurdle the infrastructure teams decided to work on was the DAA also known as the difficulty adjustment algorithm. The reason for this was oscillations in block time caused by miners moving hash power between chains to maximize profits. A new DAA was discussed to fix it. Two options were put on the table. One known as ASERT proposed by jtoomim. Find more info about it here https://read.cash/@jtoomim/bch-upgrade-proposal-use-asert-as-the-new-daa-1d875696 The second proposed by BitcoinABC Grasberg. Find more info about it here: https://blog.bitcoinabc.org/2020/07/23/announcing-the-grasberg-daa/ The big difference between the two is that Grasberg would adjust blocktimes to 11 minutes for the next 5 years as to get to the original block schedule. Much of the community was against changing the block time which lead to a BitcoinABC ultimatum. They would use ASERT on the condition that IFP 2.0 happens. Read more about that here: https://medium.com/bitcoin-abc/bitcoin-abcs-plan-for-the-november-2020-upgrade-65fb84c4348f
The answer is pretty straight forward. BitcoinABC doesn't feel it's getting the funding they need to follow the roadmap. A few reason's for this would be that there are multiple infrastructure teams looking for funding, and BitcoinABC's fundraising has been unsuccessful. Why has it been unsuccessful, because they have alienated much of the community and most would rather give funding to other teams instead of supporting BitcoinABC. The IFP is the only way they feel they would get the proper funding to follow the roadmap. BitcoinABC feels like they are between a rock and a hard place based on this article: https://read.cash/@deadalnix/a-message-from-chairman-maomaury-to-reachcash-cc8d06f0 The stance BitcoinABC on the IFP is one of the big reasons why they have alienated much of the community. Now the question is, is there a way to fix it? Is a fork the only way?
The way to move forward and even better try to avoid yet another split of resources would be to get a constant community flow of income coming in going to development. Flipstarter is a great tool however it has its short comings. Its great for project type work that needs short-term funding. What is needed is a tool like Patreon. One where recurring payments can be made either to the team or individuals for ongoing work with the infrastructure.
Unfortunately these funding issues have caused a huge rift within the community I see people supporting 1 flipstarter project but ignoring another based on their stance to the IFP. Good developers are hard to find the reason being is they are in high demand if the community isn't willing to fund their on going work maintaining the infrastructure we will lose them to other projects. Projects that from the beginning either started with a premine and use the coins to pay developers or have an IFP type system already in place and using it for development.
Every developer that works deserves to get paid. Remember to have a good infrastructure we need good developers, good developers don't come cheap. Especially due to competition. Look how many blockchain projects exist on top of that all sorts of other development gigs ones that pay! If we want to thrive we need to incentivize them, give them a reason to work on BCH. We can't expect developers to stay only on ideology or the hopes that their current holdings will cover all their own costs. Some do and do very hard but after a while burnout can set in and being paid is something that helps curb and helps to motivate. Having to hope for some grant or equivalent every six months is not the answer. But that is effectively what's been happening.
Anyone with a vested interest to see the infrastructure supported. It shouldn't just be miners covering the bill. It should be any business who has a business model built on top of it. They should be providing funding and/or development help to the infrastructure. I believe things would be different if the coinbase reward was 50 still and the first halving would take place August 1st 2021 however obviously that isn't possible without fundamental changes to the original Bitcoin white paper. We are currently at 6.25 and we are close to if not entered the next bull market.
Fee for Ethereum are already out of control Bitcoin following suite its only a matter of time before more people come into the space and realize there have to be other options. We all want BCH to be that option. But first we have to put the differences aside, figure out a way to properly support infrastructure developers and stop cutting off our noses to spite our faces just because someone supports the IFP. Or else we will lose developers with a proven track record and our dreams of a peer-to peer electronic cash system and another project will take BCH's place and we all lose.
Please note that I have purposely choose to leave specific names of people and businesses. Unfortunately links do not. Some of my ideas have come from community figures these examples help to prove it can work as a community we just need to take it up to that next level. If I have missed something or you have an idea on how to get funding infrastructure working please let me know. Thanks for reading.