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The motivation for developing Bitcoin Cash

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Avatar for ZakMcRofl
Written by   146
6 months ago

When watching the Bitcoin ABC live stream from Juli 3rd, a statement by Amaury Séchet brought me closer to understanding the current conflicts in the Bitcoin Cash scene.

Should the people that work most on BCH get "the richest" over time?

Here is the relevant quote with context:

If I put myself in the shoes of a VC [venture capitalist] and I'm gonna talk to someone that is building something on top of BCH, well my first question is gonna be "Why BCH rather than some other project"? And the thing that is going to come back to me as a VC is that this is an external risk because things are being built on an infrastructure that is funded on a shoestring. And VCs - you know the community may not be aware of those number I just talked about - but VCs this is what they look at and they are very good at evaluating this kind of stuff, this is their core business. So they're gonna see well, you know this is a community that is funding it's infra[structure] to the order of 500k a year and they consider that a great success. This is like a big red flag for stuff that VC's specifically care about and that's a bit of an issue I think and that's probably one of the reason it's difficult, right? Because really you don't want to be like you know "oh we need to fund the products, oh no we need to fund the infrastructure".

The reality is that you need to fund both because both depend on each other. And if you don't fund both then - you know - the thing is just not going to work. So if you have limited resources needed to fund those two stuff and those both are pretty expensive if you want to make that happen at scale, then we need to get smart and find [a] creative way to get the money in.

Because the way it's happening right now it's just not going to work. The only thing that it's gonna achieve is that it's gonna bankrupt the people that believe the most in BCH which is exactly what you don't want. A successful system would do the exact opposite, would ensure that the people that support it the most get richest over time, you know, richer or get the richest over time.

And right now this is not what's happening and so the incentives are just not aligned and it's not bringing it enough money to succeed with the objective that that we set for ourselves and we need to be very honest with that. Because VC are going to be very honest with that, VC's they don't invest in ideology, they invest in businesses and are gonna look at all the numbers especially the financial numbers and do the calculation based on that.

Please watch the statement in full context, here is a link to the full video at the corresponding timestamp:

The bold parts of this statement reveals how Amaury feels about the ABC position. He feels that if you believe in BCH the most, you should get "the richest" from it. And nobody from the ABC team showed any concern with that statement.

Bitcoin was not invented to be a get rich scheme for its developers. It does give rewards to the miners for the mining infrastructure and power consumption, but there was never a reward model for the programmers. I think this was by intention because there are many striving open source projects that do not have a build in reward structure. This is only temping because unlike Firefox, OpenOffice and the Linux Kernel, we are dealing with writing code for generating virtual money. This makes it very tempting to put your hand in the cookie jar.

Reminders of the Bitcoin Core corruption

The attitude that you should get rich from coding "your" cryptocurrency is unfortunately very human and very widespread in other Cryptocurrencies. However, I believe it goes contrary to why many (most?) signed up for Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash was born out of the frustration and fear of Blockstream intentionally crippling BTC for their own gain by keeping the blocks small and thus pushing people into more monitizable layer 2 alternatives like Lightning Network and more recently Liquid.

The idealists that believed in keeping Bitcoin available to everyone and usable by everyone in the world, left in hope of a better, less centralized future with Bitcoin Cash. Personally, I was always hoping that the motivation of people like Amaury stems from this idealismn, wanting to create a better world and a better currency, not enriching himself.

Watching Bitcoin ABCs unilateral behaviour during and after the IFP events reminded many of the corruption they had to witness in the Bitcoin Core ecosystem: Improvement ideas are not judged on their technical merit but on what best benefits the bottom line of the company.

Personal enrichment goals explain past behaviour

Amaury's "confession" in the livestream helps us fill in the gaps of previous concerning behaviour over the last months. Why is Bitcoin ABC so secretive about its legal entity? Why does Bitcoin ABC not want to share how many full time equivalents they have? If your agenda is to enrich yourself based on community donations or miner fees, the last thing you would want to disclose is how much money you reserve for yourselves in your business plan.

It also explains why the funding requested by Bitcoin ABC is so much higher than all the other Bitcoin Cash projects combined. It seems like it is not just about putting food on the table and a roof over your head. Maybe the entitlement to become "the richest" found its way into these numbers.

For me, it also sheds some light on the history of the IFP. I never believed that sheepish line that "we just put a miner's idea into the code". The way it was implemented, the IFP would have been a great way to ensure personal wealth to everyone who has their name on the whitelist, without having to answer to the community's demands for transparency.

The way it was drafted and the benefiting parties were chosen should be seen even more sceptically after this confession.

What does this mean for Bitcoin Cash

I think our community is at a crossroads. We need to decide if we are ok with having a leading implementation team that strives for profit above ideology. If we choose a business to lead us, we cannot really complain if that business and its managers strive for profit instead of putting the community's wants first. If their money runs out, they will try to push ideas like the IFP again.

The alternative is building an ecosystem where the value comes from the applications and projects building on top of BCH. Linux is a great example how this can work. It was built by thousands of people contributing for free or as part of their daily work in Linux-related companies. They build up a massive ecosystem with big players like Intel, Red Hat, Samsung and IBM profiting so much from it that they now hire full time developers to work on making Linux even better.

I believe this approach could work for Bitcoin Cash, but it will likely not make anybody rich in a while. People like Amaury might leave for more lucrative engagements if they do not believe the incentives are sufficient and we would have to offset this loss of manpower with a more positive, collaborative approach to coding that motivates more people to work without getting rich from it directly.

Edit history:

2020-07-05 19:12 UTC: Added more context of discussion before the quote

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Avatar for ZakMcRofl
Written by   146
6 months ago
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Bitcoin was not invented to be a get rich scheme for its developers

Here is where you strawmanned us.

Not constructive or helpful.

$ 1.21
6 months ago

Totally agree!

$ 0.00
6 months ago

Would you like to evade this question once again?

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User's avatar btcfork
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6 months ago

Who is BTCFork? I thought it was Freetrader, but this does not look like the work of a lead developer. Just an observation. I can be wrong, and often am.

He asked: The "MinerFundDestination" BCH address mentioned in the IFP:

Who controls this address? Where is this miner fund? What is its purpose? How is it governed?

What will get built if hashpower activates this fund?

And She/he is asking the question again, now.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

So please be constructive and give us some transparency:

  • How many people work full time (paid) for Bitcoin ABC?
  • What is the legal entity behind Bitcoin ABC?
  • Who are the shareholders of that entity?
$ 0.00
6 months ago

This anti-BCH writer is "data mining" here for further attack strategies.

$ 0.11
6 months ago

Anti-BCH social engineering article. Very professional disinformation spreading. Demonizing our developers and trying to keep us from getting funding support is a big push for the anti-BCH forces these days.

$ 0.00
6 months ago

I didn't watch the entire stream, but the part you refer to in no way says that Amaury believes BCH should be a get rich quick scheme for the ABC developers. He says the incentives should be in place so that the people who support it the most should get the richest over time. What is wrong with that statement? As someone who supports BCH why shouldn't I want to profit from my investment of time and money?

$ 0.00
6 months ago

The alternative statement would be:

"The success of Bitcoin Cash should rely on it's biggest supporters sacrificing themselves and becoming empoverished"

This is obviously a bad strategy, and doomed to failure. Amaury is simply pointing that out.

$ 0.00
6 months ago