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On June 26th 2020, four Bitcoin Cash nodes and crowdfunding tool Flipstarter had an AMA on Bihu, a top platform for the crypto community in China. During the two-hour-long event, over 9,000 crypto lovers came up multiple questions from block time reduction to smart contract. Here’s the full episode of the Q & A.
1.Self-intro of each team
Imaginary-uname from BCHN: Bitcoin Cash Node is new to many people. It was born as the result of the controversial IFP (Infrastructure Funding Proposal). Required by miners who were against the IFP, former members of Bitcoin ABC and developers from other nodes created BCHN.
We started a campaign with Flipstarter and successfully raised 978 BCH. We are committed to improving the utility of BCH. So far, such mining pools as easy2mine, SBI and bitcoin.com have publicly announced their support to BCHN.
Josh Ellithorpe from BCHD：BCHD is a full node written in the Go programming language, focused on providing a better experience for application developers and businesses that require a more complete API. The project was started by Chris Pacia, lead developer of Open Bazaar. More information is available at https://bchd.cash
The main features being used are a gRPC interface that provides a public API. This gives developers a much easier way to get block/transaction/address data, plus BCHD provides advanced features like an address index, plus fast sync to get a pruned node up in < 1 hour.
Josh Green from Verde：I founded Bitcoin Verde about 2-3 years ago. It’s supported by my company, Software Verde, a custom software development company of 6 people. We’re an implementation written in Java, completely from the ground up, with a focus on mining, indexing, and wallet augmentation.
Fernando Pelliccioni from Knuth node: Knuth is a BCH full-node implementation focused on extra performance and flexibility. In fact, Knuth is a multi-crypto node, supporting also BTC and LTC, but our main language is BCH.
Knuth is characterized by its modular architecture and beautiful code. 🤩
It is written in modern C++17, which gives us all the power and speed of C++ and the usability of a modern language. Knuth is also a development platform that offers a set of libraries as a foundation for building applications.
In addition to providing a full node as an executable program, Knuth is a full-node as a library.
This is designed so that any user can build applications on top of Knuth libraries in their preferred language.
In addition, given the provided tools, users can create their own libraries in the language of their preference.
John Nieri from Flipstarter: This is our team who worked very hard to create Flipstarter:
Jonathan Silverblood: A BCH developer who can do everything. He made the website and system design.
Dagur: A BCH developer who also can do everything. He made the plugin for the Electron Cash wallet. He worked in the past on Bitcoin XT.
Leandro Di Marco: A great business development person who also made our cat logo.
I also want to say that there are two other active BCH nodes that decided not participate in Flipstarter. They are great too 💚
2.Question about smart contract: 2020 is the year of DEFI. Does BCH have any DEFI products?
John Nieri: Yes, BCH has Flipstarter for funding. It also has a growing set of smart contracts to provide many abilities to BCH chain. Also we have companies like General Protocols - we created the AnyHedge (anyhedge.com/how-it-works#simulator) protocol which allows trustless, non-custodial derivatives on Bitcoin Cash.
General Protocols will continue to create protocols and products, and we expect more competition from other Bitcoin Cash companies also!
Josh Ellithorpe: So one thing to point out, there is a huge difference between custodial Defi solutions (ETH) and non-custdodial Defi (BCH).
With ETH you need to relinquish control of your funds, and trust the smart contract. With BCH you never lose control of your funds, and ultimately sign the final transaction without having to trust ANYTHING (code or a person).
John Nieri: Josh Ellithorpe's point about BCH vs. ETH contracts is very important. BCH scripting system has been extended to make sophisticated smart contracts possible and it works differently than ETH contracts. We think UTXO-based contracts will be superior in the long run.
Imaginary-uname: The UTXO-based contract has such advantages as privacy, security, and easy to upgrade.
3.Question about multiple dev teams: BCH dev teams are too decentralized. That will dampen its development efficiency. How do you look at this problem?
Josh Green: Having multiple development teams increases the robustness of the protocol. Bitcoin BTC had bugs become a part of the protocol due to a single codebase. The development diversity ensures these discrepancies are caught and not unintentionally codified into the protocol.
Additionally, having nodes in different languages enables a wider breadth of development talent. Not everyone enjoys C or Java or Go, etc. So multiple languages increases the pool of available talent.
Fernando : About BCH decentralization:
I would like to make an analogy with C++.
C++ is a decentralized language where many companies and individuals participate in the design of the language.
Everyone involved has to reach a consensus.
I think BCH should follow the C++ model that proved useful. All implementations should work independently and propose improvements to BCH that have already been tested on the nodes.
4.Question about relationships among different nodes: What’s the relationship between BCHN and Bitcoin ABC? How do these multi nodes coordinate and communicate with each other? Do you teams have any marketing plan to improve your publicity, especially in the Chinese community?
Imaginary-uname from BCHN：We positively contact the ABC team to discuss problems like DAA (Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm) and maintain some public communication platforms like bitcoinresearch.org.
JoshEllithorpe: The BCHD team runs a slack channel, plus we discuss things on other platforms like Discord and Telegram. We find that other developers are easy to talk to, and we regularly talk about our implementations and roadmap to stay on the same page.
BCHD is here to work with the other teams, develop advanced features, and hopefully spark interest in new technology like Neutrino wallets and UTXO commitments. The goal is to improve BCH as a whole and provide what the ecosystem needs.
Josh Green: We use telegram, slack, github, and email. We also use video chats. In fact, we’re using one right now to coordinate this event. We’re very amicable with one another for the most part. It’s great to collaborate. It’s not really about competing.
5.Question about funding: Who pays developers? Who donates?
The total result for completed campaigns was 164 pledges worth 2,039 BCH (roughly $510,000 USD).
Josh Ellithorpe: BCHD was fortunate enough to have more contributors than any other Flipstarter. It wasn't just a few people that provided funding, but the overall BCH community coming together to support our efforts. For that we are very thankful!
Imaginary-uname: With the Flipstarter campaign, we learnt that there are many crypto OGs and big whales in the community. As long as you have great ideas, detailed dev plans, you could reach out to them and get support.
6.Question about Flipstarter: How does Flipstarter maintain itself? Do you make any money?
John: Flipstarter is 100% volunteer. We create technology and we encourage other people to create platforms and build businesses with it.
The Flipstarter team works in other places. Jonathan and I work at the company General Protocols. Dagur works as a software Engineer and also works on BCHN. For Flipstarter, there is no risk of theft. The BCH that you donate stays in your wallet until the final transaction. The final transaction sends all coins together at the same time to the target.
Fernando: At Knuth we have adapted Flipstarter on our page in order to fund our future developments.
Flipstarter is a great tool!
Here you can see a preliminary version of our new campaigns:
7.Question about different consensus mechanisms: Will BCH stick to POW (Proof of Work) or will it switch to POS (Proof of Stake) someday?
Josh Ellithorpe: BCH is a POW coin, and I think that is a really good thing. The incentives between POW and POS are very different. The BCHD team believes the incentives of a POW system can not be replicated by other systems, and provides an advantage over other solutions.
Imaginary-uname: I think BCH will stick to POW in foreseeable future. To those who are working on POS, I have a word for them: “good luck!”
Josh Green: You can watch our developer meetings live and on YouTube. I have not heard any plans to move to POS, both publicly and privately. I think PoW is what we’ll be sticking with, even as a minority chain.
Fernando: About POW or POS. I haven't an answer. Any change of this magnitude must be agreed between all the ecosystem stakeholders.
8.Question about adoption: Is bch planning to work with any internet giants?
Josh Green: The local US government of Dublin Ohio is using BCH for its digital identity and token system. We are also discussing with a large retailer about using BCH SLP for rewards
9.Question about scaling: BTC is using Lightning network and sidechain to scale. BSV is even more radical. How does BCH remain competitive in scaling?
Josh Ellithorpe: BCH scaling is about adding capacity without destroying decentralization. The goal is to stay well above demand, make sure businesses have the capacity they need and iterate on block propagation improvements, parallel processing, and other on chain scaling tech.
I believe that BCH is happy to scale on chain, AND allow for layer 2 solutions. They key is always to keep on chain capacity available and keep fees on the base layer low and never force someone into a layer 2 solution because layer 1 is broken (slow, expensive, etc).
John Nieri: Regarding competition with other cryptocurrencies: BCH has many people with strong belief who have worked from the beginning of BTC and now BCH. Other coins can do other things, but BCH has a clear vision to be the best p2p cash.
10.Question about application: are there any well-known applications based on BCH?
Imaginary-uname: I strongly recommend Electron Cash wallet. I believe it’s the best BCH wallet. You could add many plugins on it. I think there more decentralized applications will be built on it.
11.Question about Bitmain: Jihan Wu is fighting with Micree Zhan for the legal person of Bitmain. If Jihan lost, how will BCH be affected?
Imaginary-uname: Though Bitmain has always been a supporter of BCH, there are many other investors/supporters in the BCH ecosystem. The Flipstarter campaigns we had already showed that.
12.Question about automatic replay protection: automatic replay protection is vital to BCH. Why would some people want to delete it?
Josh Ellithorpe: Honestly, I don't think automatic replay protection is nearly as important as some people want to claim. BCHD does not implement it, and it provides zero value in the splits we have experienced. Personally I think if you want a node to stop working, just have it auto shut down at a particular date..
Also the name makes no sense... ARP (automatic replay protection) is just a way to disable your node on an upgrade date if it is out of date. This could be done in a far simpler fashion. It also has NOTHING to do with cross chain normal replay protection.
Imaginary-uname: The so-called “automatic replay protection” is confusing. Actually, it has nothing to do with the replay protection what BTC and BCH have always adopted. There are better ways to make a node stop working.
13.Question about TPS (Transaction Per Second): How to achieve peer to peer electronic cash? BCH has so low TPS! How to improve it?
Josh Ellithorpe: Right now BCH can already handle Paypal scale. The goal is to safely stay about market demand and focus on scaling technology that still allows for BCH to stay decentralized. This includes research like Graphene, Bobtail, UTXO commitments and many other initiatives.
Also solutions like Avalanche and Storm can lead to improved mempool consistency that can help us get to much larger blocks and scale considerably larger than we have now.
14.Question about block time: Will BCH shorten its block time?
Josh Green: Block time is a function of block size and network latency. By decreasing the block time we could be limiting the decentralization of miners. I do not foresee reducing block time for BCH.
Josh Ellithorpe: The goal of block time reduction is to provide faster feedback to users that their transaction was accepted by the network. The real solution needs to be something that is < 3 seconds. Lowering the block time doesn't get us anywhere near this goal, which is why research is happening on other forms of pre-consensus.
Imaginary-uname: When talking about shortening block time, we aim to improve the problem of irregular block times. The DAA (Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm) causes great hashrate inconsistency. There are already developers researching this issue. Solutions might be given this November.
Shortening block time is not as simple as adjusting block times. We have to consider all cost.
15.Question about community leaders: ETH has Vitalik. BTC has Satoshi. Who does BCH have?
Josh Ellithorpe: I would argue BCH has Satoshi way more than BTC does. The dream of Satoshi without a doubt involved big blocks and scaling on chain. If you go over his writings they don't describe the current BTC viewpoint at all.
"The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server. The design supports letting users just be users. The more burden it is to run a node, the fewer nodes there will be." - Satoshi
"Those few nodes will be big server farms. The rest will be client nodes that only do transactions and don't generate." (continued)
Current BTC does not reflect Satoshi's vision at all....
Imaginary-uname：Personally I think the decentralized BCH does not need a “leader”. Just like Satoshi left the BTC community to prevent being considered as a “leader”.
16.Question about USDT and stablecoins: USDT and other stablecoins are taking a big pie of the crypto market. Will BCH become useless if we all use UDST as cash?
Josh Ellithorpe: Stable coins are only stable if the underlying asset is stable. If the US Dollar has issues, that will affect these "stable" coins. Plus USDT does not undergo audits and is not well trusted.
Bitcoin Cash is a value transfer network. You can use BCH, a stable coin, or any other SLP token to transfer that value. All of them bring value to the network, and therefore back to BCH the main currency of the network.
John Nieri: USDT is basically digital fiat currency. That is fine! It has some benefits and many weaknesses. Especially, in history, all fiat money becomes corrupted. BCH is real, trustless, non-custodial money and it has a long term global vision.
17.Question about mining: Is it profitable to mine BCH now? Shall I invest to mine or simply buy coins?
Josh Ellithorpe: The best way to get BCH is to earn it. As for investment advice I don't want to broach that. I just know small scale miners generally don't make much profit, so I would probably say EARN and if you can't earn, then buy.
Imaginary-uname: It depends on what resources you have. If you can get cheap electricity, you could mine. If not, you can simply buy coins. If you have a great idea, you could develop businesses on the chain.
18.Question about big blocks: Is big block a must-be? What are the advantages and disadvantages of big blocks?
John Nieri: The blockchain of large blocks is important. The reason is to allow all transactions around the world, all at low cost. If you have small blocks, you can never support the world's transactions.
JoshEllithorpe: Small blocks inevitably have high fees. High fees price out more than half the planet from using the chain. Large blocks is the future.
This AMA was organized by Cindy Wang of Satoshi's Angels. Thank you Flipstarter team and the 9,000 crypto lovers who tunned in for this unique AMA! Watch the event's teaser here.