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Was There Ever a Funding Problem?

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
Written by   169
1 year ago

I can sympathize with someone like Amaury, a BCH developer who was once revered as a savior of Bitcoin. There was a time when it seemed like everything that made Bitcoin great was going to be ruined by Blockstream. My possibly flawed understanding is that it was Aunery who was largely responsible for writing the code that split Bitcoin Cash off and preserved the fundamentals of peer to peer cash. I'm sure others were involved, and I don't want to deny anyone their credit, I'm just saying, I remember when people were excited about Amaury.

But that was three years ago. Recently, he has been villainized as an unscrupulous profiteer, trying to force changes that would line his pockets with an obligatory amount of money stolen from every block of BCH mined.

Is that view fair? Personally, I don't know the man, nor anything about him, so I have no judgment regarding him as an individual. More than that, I don't want to know him as a person, or any of the other names thrown about in the world of Bitcoin Cash. I wish the forces that influenced the value and utility of my BCH were nameless, boring, conservative organizations and algorithms, completely free from being buffeted by the quirks of anyone's individual personality. But that's not how it is. Maybe one day.

In any case, whether it's Amaury or any other developer, I can empathize with the frustration that mining rewards some people with consistent millions upon millions of dollars just for owning things. All you have to do to be a rich miner is be rich enough in the first place to start buying computing power, and then watch yourself get richer while the machines do the work for you.

Yes, I know it's not that simple. But it's true enough to be one way of looking at the situation.

The point is, those machines wouldn't be doing anything were it not for the code. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or any cryptocurrency, when it comes down to it, is code. It gets processed by machines and used by people, but without code, nothing happens.

And yet, so far as I know, there aren't any coders who are seeing their wealth rise in proportion to Bitcoin's value, the way, for example, Bill Gates became rich in proportion to the adoption of Windows. Maybe Vitalik Buterin mined enough of his own Ethereum at the start that he's set for life?

More generally, a guy like Amaury simply doesn't get rich by having made a code change that creates the fourth most valuable cryptocurrency. Well, usually fourth. As I write this, I think it's in fifth place. Usually it's fourth. But I digress. What's important is that Bitcoin Cash is a hugely valuable asset, it has incredible potential to become a true peer to peer global currency, and it may ultimately change people's lives.

Yet for all that, the coders who have in the past made Bitcoin Cash happen, and those who continue to make it happen, won't necessarily benefit from any of that unless they make some other kind of business model on top. Issue some kind of token, create some kind of killer app, appeal to some kind of funding program maybe.

So I can understand the feeling of looking at miners who seem to just turn money into more money without having to really innovate or advance anything. Yes, they provide a valuable service and they're just playing the game as was defined in the original white paper. No one is saying miners do anything unfair or wrong. But I think you, like me, can see how something feels a little off in the bigger picture. Miners buy machines and get paid. Coders create the very foundations of everything, and maybe get something out of it, or maybe not. It must be frustrating to be a coder and see all this wealth flowing around among people who mine and invest, all because of something that you arguably made, and none of that value comes back to you in any consistent way.

I think a lot of people who early on agreed in principle with the Infrastructure Funding Plan empathized with this problem. I empathize with it. I think the reason the IFP came to be rejected as a plan was partly because there simply is no way to objectively manage the money that would be generated.

The very thing that makes creativity so valuable also makes it ethereal. And real coding is creative, it's coming up with elegant solutions to difficult problems that no one has thought of before. It's unpredictable, it's sometimes hard to even know if it's real when it's front of you. There's no way to ensure that if you provide any particular amount of money to anyone to invent something for you, that they will come back with something that matches the value. You usually only know when something creative is valuable after the fact, after it's been adopted and appreciated and shared. If you knew in advance... you'd be too rich already to be reading this.

I don't see any way that a consistent stream of money flowing into some account somewhere wouldn't ultimately be the cause of huge disagreements and fights over who should get a piece of it and what they should do with it. The more valuable that stream becomes, the more vicious the fights over it become.

I would love for there to be a world in which the coders and developers of BCH get incentivized and compensated. There's just no way to do it objectively, systematically. If creativity were systematic, it would stop being creative.

Right now as I write this, someone that is so far anonymous has been "attacking" the BCHA blockchain that contains the IFP protocol that Amaury had hoped to build into BCH. Is it a petulant attack to get revenge on Amaury for having potentially negatively impacted BCH value? Is it a concerted defense to make an example of the BCHA chain and prevent potential future forks where coders implement spurious compensation? I don't know, I'm not qualified to answer that.

What I do know, though, is that it takes some amount of money to sustain the "attack" for as long as it has been going on. Somehow, in the world of cryptocurrency, as everywhere else maybe, it's easier for people to start throwing money around when they perceive enemies and feel a need to deal with them.

It would be nice to be in a world where whatever amount of money that is going into that sustained action against the BCHA chain was instead going to fund some developers to complete the tasks that make up the roadmap of BCH features. Or maybe that the miner who is attacking BCHA also made it clear how they are supporting development on BCH so that we know this attack doesn't come at the expense of making BCH as good as it can be.

I understand that in life defensive actions have to be taken, which is being generous in describing the attack as a defensive action, but if the unknown miner wants me to believe they have BCH's best interest at heart, then I'd like to see something proactive and positive as well.

I don't have any grand solutions for how funding should be done. Although I think maybe it should be more retroactive than anticipatory. What I mean is, you'll never know what developments really mattered, really worked, really shook things up until they've gone out in the world and proven themselves. Making funds based on people's pitches works okay, I guess, but often even with the best of intentions projects fall apart for all sorts of reasons. And by that time the money's gone.

What if there was some kind of system similar to an award ceremony where funding built up, and then people looked back on the developments that happened and compensated them? People could nominate ideas and vote for winners. Then you'd be giving money to the ideas that worked. Developers could nominate themselves, and voting done by miner consensus or something.

I don't know, I'm just spit balling here. All I'm saying is, I think, in a way, there is a funding problem, the same kind that plagues just about all open source projects. IFP wasn't the solution, but maybe something else could be.

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
Written by   169
1 year ago
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Comments

What if there was some kind of system similar to an award ceremony where funding built up, and then people looked back on the developments that happened and compensated them?

this is a bit how hackathons like https://coinparty.org work

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1 year ago

Yes, it is similar, though there are differences. For example, developers apply to be a part of a hackathon, whereas what I'm suggesting would allow others to nominate developers to be rewarded.

Ultimately though, it's not about having one perfect incentive system, it's about a healthy ecosystem with multiple routes to compensation for development. Hackathons, award systems, advance funding... we should use every tool available.

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1 year ago

good job bro..keep it up

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1 year ago

A lot of the questions you ask are answered in an earlier article of mine:

https://read.cash/@TomZ/how-to-ensure-income-for-crypto-currency-infrastructure-development-b016814f

Specifically your point that:

And yet, so far as I know, there aren't any coders who are seeing their wealth rise in proportion to Bitcoin's value

I think this is wrong, it is more the opposite. I don't know any BCH developer that owns no BCH.

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1 year ago

I think you might have misunderstood my point. I'm sure everybody who works on BCH owns some. But that is based on how much they buy, there's no garuntee that their efforts will be correlated with compensation.

Also, I notice this article was not approved to the the BCH community on read.cash, and I got the message "Your article "Was There Ever a Funding Problem?" was not approved to appear in "Bitcoin Cash (e11c)": Off-topic, only stories directly connected with Bitcoin Cash apply." You seem to be the moderator there, so would it be possible for you to let me know what about this article was not sufficiently about BCH? It seems to me that not only is it about BCH, but only people very familiar with BCH would even understand it.

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1 year ago

But that is based on how much they buy, there's no garuntee that their efforts will be correlated with compensation.

Reward is indeed not based on effort, reward is based on actual effect and results. Does this surprise you?

Or, to put it simply, if a developer adds value to the ecosystem that value translates into an increase of his holdings.

would it be possible for you to let me know what about this article was not sufficiently about BCH?

It talks only about the ABC people and their past in BCH.

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1 year ago

It talks only about the ABC people and their past in BCH.

I don't think you have fully read or understood the article.

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1 year ago

What I understand is that the entire BCH ecosystem rejected the taxation based funding. (IFP). The premise being that taxation (or whatever you want to call it) makes it not be Bitcoin Cash anymore.

This isn't my decision, this is the decsion of the entire ecosystem.

As such articles that lament the rejection of these ideas are perfectly fine, and read cash does not censor, but they are not going to be part of the Bitcoin Cash community.

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1 year ago