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The Arbitrary Rule of Amaury; the Rhetoric & Actions of a Dictator?

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Written by   125
1 year ago

Here is a presentation from Amaury in September of 2019 on Bitcoin Cash culture, the dynamics of "Infrastructure" in coding & the real world, the role of users, businesses, social media, and developers in the ecosystem.

I implore all to watch before reading any further, as it provides the necessary context to comprehend not just this post, but the BCH ecosystem at large.

The Benevolent Dictator of Bitcoin Cash is a funny tongue & cheek nickname, and it works because it plays on a lot of factors which create the culture of Bitcoin Cash.

Separate blockchains, which implement different rules, are akin to different states, neighborhoods, sports leagues, churches, etc. Quasi-states, if you will. And with a Quasi-State, in the digital realm, comes a key distinction.

Blockchain "quasi-states" are inherently voluntary.

The rules of a "quasi-state" are not followed because it has the credible threat to initiate violence against violators. They are, by definition, consensual. Hence, the underlying mechanism for governance being labelled as "emergent consensus." Consensus, being the key word here, implying its consensual nature.

In many ways, blockchains enable Mises' ideal on the topic of borders & given rules in society. Stating the ideal scenario as one where it's easy to move, so that market forces may work in the realm of society, so that better societies emerge via the competitive forces inherent in a market, and the freedom for an individual to choose which is best for their unique circumstance. The ability to move most freely, voting with ones feet, so as to to demonstrate their preferences, and send a signal of consent for the utility of a given society's rule set, and how they accommodate the nature of a certain individual. Highlighting how these forces will drive freedom & antiquate tyranny. It is something of a utopia, made real via technology.

The costs of moving are inordinately high when compared to the gradual cost stemming from an increase of governmental rent-seeking, leading people to end up staying despite discontent, leading to Governments growing insidiously, doing what they can get away with.

In this new quasi-state landscape, these moving costs are removed, allowing any such abuses to get punished with the corresponding feedback in the blockchain mining marketplace. And hence, the prospects for the existence of a BCHN chain! A welcome dissolution in light of irreconcilable ideological differences, where Miners whom don't value the ABC client will move their hash.

We should also remember the apparent paradox of voluntaryism, or anarchism.

It is not no rules. It is rules, without rulers.

How do we get rules without rulers? The Austrians invariably cite Hayek's "spontaneous order."

A common example, beautiful in its simplicity, is the convention of walking on the right side of the sidewalk. Or, the rules in a pickup basketball game. It typically occurs based on the utility of a given rule, for the benefit of all involved in the game. It is something that became a rule because of its utility, hence most people naturally agree to it, and there is no need for violent enforcement.

This is the beauty of open source software and the blockchain.

There can be many visions implemented, and the ones providing the most utility will be the ones that are followed, not by coercive force, but by the obvious utility, leading to usage, demand, & increased value of the chain.

In relation to force when it comes to implementing ideas, I'm reminded of the memes regarding the underlying mechanism of socialism...

This is to highlight that, within blockchains, there is no single enforcer coercing action with violence.

This is why the coming split is beautiful.

Amaury is not enforcing the rules in this sense. He has made a proposal for Bitcoin Cash, based on his beliefs for how to fulfill the stated promise and mission of Bitcoin, as a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System for the World, and there is a critical mass of people that will agree on this belief, as ultimately demonstrated by their CPU.

We will see the arising order that springs from ABC's leadership in tieing IFP funding directly to the chain based on the merit of the idea & the utility/value it brings to the overall network, not as a result of ABC utilizing a military force.

There is no question that there is a legitimate ideological schism, representing irreconcilable differences, on the means towards fulfilling the Bitcoin mission, to become a P2P Electronic Cash System for the world.

How does this irreconcilable difference get solved?

A split. Testing each party's implementation of Bitcoin against the real world.

We have a rare opportunity to perform such a split in a mature, civil manner. One that sets an example for all blockchains, and demonstrates the integrity of both sides, instead of bringing out the vitriol of both, making each side worse off.

An event of adults "agreeing to disagree" and moving on accordingly. Not unlike the "Dissolution of the Union" between Norway & Sweden. Or an amicable divorce. Not done in spite. But in a respectful farewell, and recognition of the dignity in the other, despite such irreconcilable differences. To be contrasted with America's Civil War, in a violent attempt to "preserve the Union" for the "common good," resulting in the deaths of 500k people. Or in contrast with Shiite & Suni's civil war, and many other historical examples of ideological differences leading to violent conflict, often characterized by their respective "Tyranny of Vision" and "Quest for Cosmic Justice."

It has been stated many times by Roger Ver, that he doesn't care so much which technology ends up fulfilling the stated ends of Bitcoin, but just that it is fulfilled at all, for the sake of human prosperity. And that he believes BCH has the best chance of fulfilling that promise of a P2P digital cash for the world, in order to create a world that is free from coercion.

Roger Ver has also said that, "the means are the ends" in the course of his discussion over the underhanded tactics that BTC community used in manufacturing consent for small blocks. I'd argue that, rather, "bad means tether good ends."

Of the tactics, vitriolic character assassinations may be the most damaging, for all involved, as it forfeits collaboration & cooperation, in the present & the future. I'll let Thomas Sowell explain what I'm talking about...

In fairness, I believe that the manner of argumentation between more prominent leaders backing BCHN and ABC carries much more substance than the BTC tropes, one that was characterized by incessant screaming of "scammer, shitcoin, fraud, etc" followed by blocking, but there is a fine line being walked and let these examples be a cautionary tale.

I am inspired by the higher quality of debate & respect of many within the community. I feel the channels of communication are more open, and issues are being hashed out in a much better fashion. More mature handling of existing conflict. And the result of open/honest communication & the subsequent revealing of preferences, has revealed the irreconcilable differences of opinion, and enabled both parties to have the information necessary in order to move on early & forego any continuing pain by delaying the inevitable by not bringing such issues to light, and both chains can get back to working on their implementation of Bitcoin. Albeit, I understand the frustration of each party feeling that they know what's best for the group, fuelled by good intentions, & their own competency, and these beliefs not being shared or treated charitably.

As for the trash talk, I love it! I feel it has come alive in the spirit of competition, as a respect for the game (*chain*), not to be confused with the scorched earth crusade against an "evil opponent", as explained by Thomas Sowell in the twitter link already provided above. One characterized by a "Tyranny of Vision" as we can see in the BTC crusades, as well as in the USA political parties.

When I talk trash, it's because I think I'm the best, and I want you to be at your best. Spark that competitive spirit & get the juices flowing. Prove me wrong! All for the betterment of ourselves, and the game/chain. Iron sharpening iron. To cite a couple of examples, I've linked YouTube videos below of what I'm talking about...

The label #Bitshevik is part of this competitive nature. It is a caricature of what many see as the modus operandi for many prominent proponents of BCHN, that increasingly attempt to bolster their arguments by claiming to represent a "social consensus," utilizing this "social consensus" as a meaningful mechanism for decision-making/governance, which I think confuses the consumer/user (anyone transacting on the BCH chain) for stockholders (miners), and leads to a mob-style type decision-making.

I think this is a reactionary result of falsely applying the paradigm of coercive Government onto a new paradigm of open-source blockchains, which is an inherently voluntaryist paradigm, wherein hierarchies will naturally arise based on merit, where there is freedom of association, which naturally brings forth leaders, where groups/companies compete on utility/quality of their product, not by coercive force, and certainly not by claiming to represent & enforce the will of the proletariat via a "social consensus."

The #bitshevik being in contrast to the more #capitalist ABC, making their proposals based on the merit of the proposal itself (including the game theoretic incentive problems), their competency, substantiated by their previous work, bolstering the credibility in fulfilling the deliverables outlined in the Road Map, all guided by the support of groups invested in the ecosystem, namely miners, businesses utilizing the network, including exchanges. All of this after utilizing the donation funding model for infrastructure, and funding it insufficient. As Amaury frames the issue, it is Infrastructure that we are talking about. It is not sexy, but it needs to work. Requires very high level engineers, and requires some base level of maintenance. This article by @Cheshirecat does a great job of outlining the maintenance required, and ABC's role in that.

Ultimately though, it is miners who are directly effected by the IFP fee, and it is the job of ABC to make the case to miners as to why this funding mechanism is adding value to the chain, and ABC is completely at mercy to the miners for the implementation of this rule change.

To further contrast the ABC operation with "social consensus", I see "social consensus" as being akin to "Social Choice Theory."

Social Choice Theory substantiates the maxim of "talk is cheap," and specifically within a system that coordinates resources & decision-making on the basis of each persons voting, treating each vote as equal, as a quantitative measure of the "social consensus" which #Bitshevik is appealing to for coding decisions. But the social consensus referenced is mostly a popular reddit sentiment.

Additionally, I feel the IFP debate has much of the Bike Shed problem in it, which is something to consider.

In conclusion, this analysis has come from challenging assumptions & exploring this new landscape of open-source software projects, revolutionized by Bitcoin & blockchain, and trying to intellectually orient myself, and figure out the paradigm. It is important to start from first principles, and get it right in that regard. And this is my attempt.

I want to get it right, not be right.

As such, please provide all of your constructive feedback. And sure, throw a little spice in there.


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