I had opined that ramming the IFP through without community support would surely be a mistake, and I think that much is clear. The next question is "Is the IFP a potentially good idea, even under the best of conditions?" The answer to that question seems to depend on context and culture.
Currently, in Bitcoin (and Bitcoin Cash), 100% of the coinbase rewards (and fees) go to the miner who solved the block. Combined with a fixed and predictable issuance schedule that culminates in a maximum supply of ~21M coins, this forms an "economic policy" that governs us via broad support and consensus.
Of course, there is also the issue of having fast, cheap, reliable transactions. BTC's failure to increase the maximum blocksize changed the economic policy because block space was allowed to become scarce. This is tangential to the discussion but it's a good example of economic policy changing in general.
In the case of IFP, we now have a new group (developers) who is the beneficiary of new coins being issued, and there is a whole new dynamic where miners now must also decide how to distribute the coinbase. Whether this is good or not, it should be acknowledged that these changes are not trivial, and may possibly have far reaching implications and consequences.
Changes to economic policy are not necessarily bad, but they should be recognized for what they are. It can certainly be argued that there is great value in not changing the policy.
In 2017, when BCH launched, the culture was about Bitcoin Cash being "the legitimate continuation of the Bitcoin project" and "the best money the world has ever seen" and even "Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin."
By 2019, bear market blues had set in with a seemingly never ending downtrend, and the sobering reality that we're a 3% chain. Claims of being "the real bitcoin" were starting to sound a bit silly, or at least it was recognized to be an ineffective slogan.
I admit that I succumbed to this negative culture shift. It felt like something needed to be done... anything to help Bitcoin Cash compete in the face of overwhelming opposition from the media and competitors such as BTC and BSV.
But sentiment changes quickly. Now, we're in 2020, and the bulls are back in town. BCH price has doubled. Finally, the fruits of our labor are just starting now to ripen. Adoption work is hard... but we're seeing new meetups, new faces involved... Bitcoin Cash is being recognized for leading privacy efforts in UTXO blockchains. And many other positive developments.
Maybe we really are the real bitcoin after all?
The question of whether its appropriate to change the economic policy of Bitcoin Cash depends on our identity. How do we see ourselves? What are our values and principles?
Starting a new coin with a baked-in developer funding into the protocol seems to be less problematic than the IFP. There's the economic policy itself, and then there's the stability and predictability of it. If a dev team gets funding from the protocol and it's always been that way since the start of the coin, then it's predictable. Or maybe, in a new coin, a dev team could get 10% the first year, then 9%, etc. This would at least be set in stone in the same way that other coin parameters are set.
By contrast, "making it up as we go every 6 months" seems a bit dubious. Bitcoin BTC is big enough that it's more viable for businesss and investors to voluntarily subsidize development. Bitcoin Cash is much smaller, so it doesn't have those advantages. Yet it is not a new coin either, that can take advantage of a carefully planned and prescribed bootstrapping mechanism. As such, it is unfortunately stuck in "no mans land" as a consequence. And this is part of what has brought us to the current juncture and debate.
Perhaps I was a bit naive in thinking that "lets just do it for 6 months!" was a sound approach. I may have been personally resolute in sticking to that, but almost immediately, others began to form opinions that we should do it for longer than 6 months. And this is a manifestation of the line in the sand being crossed. Once the coinbase-distribution aspect of our economic policy is open to change, there doesn't seem to be a good way to cap the lid (other than possibly becoming a majority SHA-256 chain).
Humans will always let you down. Bitcoin is great because it removes a lot of the human factor from economics. Governance in Bitcoin may never be solved, but giving more control to humans via voting to change economic policy seems to be possibly going in the wrong direction.
When the IFP was first being debated, I made some remarks to the effect of "people shouldn't be so idealistic. So what if it's not exactly your ideal vision of what Bitcoin should be? This can help us compete." But, if we experienced this much drama and politics in just 3 days since ABC announced their inclusion of IFP in the node, just imagine what will happen in the next 5 to 10 years.