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Answering questions about the IFP

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Written by   300
5 months ago

I was recently asked by Shadow of Harbringer to answer questions about the IFP, because I disagreed with him about what happened. Many people are still making assertions about the nefarious nature 👻 of the IFP - that ABC (read: Amaury Sechet) is unilaterally co-opting Bitcoin Cash. (This is ironic given that the complaint supposes its own problem. That is to say, Amaury must have already co-opted Bitcoin Cash if he has the power to unilaterally co-opt it.)

Now, I was not involved any any of the decision making process regarding the IFP -- except that I initially proposed developer funding from the block reward in 2018. A proposal which was originally accepted -- until nChain started a propaganda campaign labeling it a tax. In reality, the motivation was that development would be funded independently of them, preventing them from becoming the next Blockstream -- and they would be unable to capitalize on their patents.

However, questions that Shadow Of Harbringer cited do not require me to be familiar with the inner-workings of the IFP in order to answer. In fact, anyone can answer them for themselves. Fundamentally, I disagree with the framing of the questions as a whole, and my answers seek to obviate, rather than answer.

As a group of libertarians, voluntaryists, anarchocapitalists, and pragmatists (myself being the lone wolf in this final category I suppose). I hope we can examine the implicit framing in these questions, and see past them to market-based solutions to supposed problems that stem from a desire for democracy and collectivism.

I will also state, again, that I don't like the exact mechanism of the previous (and now defeated) IFP. Yet, I do believe that some form of funding, from the Block reward, is necessary if Bitcoin Cash is to succeed.

Here are my answers to the questions:

What is the exact method for adding names, addresses and entities to the whitelist?

Presumably, some people looked around at all the projects providing useful products. Ascertained if they were in fact a "public good" (by the technical definition). And then added them to the list, which then Amaury added to the code through a commit.

How do you think it should happen? I wrote in depth about what I think should happen.

Who runs the quarterly and annual transparency audits on the distribution of those funds? How can we guarantee no siphoning or misuse of those funds will ever take place - or that if it did, it will be caught?

The transparency audit is on the blockchain. If miners aren't comfortable with the information the organization is exposing, then they shouldn't donate to them. Not every one of these things needs to be solved through complicated processes -- market incentives are enough to drive it.

How can we vote to add or remove development entities?

Social petitioning, just like was done to stop it from being done in the first place. If you have the power to stop it, you can change it.

Can we add non-development entities to the list of those funded?

This list is intended to fund public works. Why would you add other stuff? Presumably you could through the same mechanism as above.

Is there a steering committee to decide on the trajectory of the IFP and its future goals and iterations?

Why do we need a formal committee when market incentives are enough to result in a pragmatic solution?

What is the governance model this committee follows? What are the voting mechanisms, rotation schedules and guiding principles?

The framing presumes that these things are needed. I don't want such a system. I want a system where funds go to trustworthy individuals - individuals who are experts on what needs to be done, and are distributed accordingly. They'll likely produce transparency reports. If they don't, miners won't continue to send them funds, and users won't continue to use Bitcoin Cash.

What is the formal process for objecting on the funding of certain entities?

The same one that was used to block it from being implemented in the first place.

As a user of BCH - can I choose to not fund a specific entity if legally or ideologically I am ought not to?

Yes, by not using BCH. Vote with your feet. Stop pretending to be powerless.

Does me using a network which funds such illegal entity (if my country deems them illegal) put me as a user in any legal risk?

What if your country makes cryptocurrency illegal? 🙄 You're asking the wrong people, and if your country does, move or stop using it.

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Written by   300
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Good article. I like your writing style. Thanks for clarifying.

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5 months ago

/A proposal which was originally accepted -- until nChain started a propaganda campaign labeling it a tax. /

It was never originally accepted by anyone. Until the article of that chinese author, nobody even really heard of it. After that, the majority refused the conception.

Its interesting that when something is going wrong, some developers try to blame everything on nchain, bitcoin core, blockstream, meanwhile the only entity to blame in reality is theyself. In reality these entities didnt even bothered with the BCH community for at least a whole year.

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5 months ago

except that I initially proposed developer funding from the block reward in 2018

I must give "credit" to Mengerian here, he already described the IFP in 2017 almost exactly as ABC implemented it in 2020, complete with designated project addresses who are sent a portion of the coinbase and miners who orphan non-conforming blocks. He noted how this would reduce energy used for mining (i.e. reduce chain security). He also noted that it would become a very politically charged governance problem, with potential for conflicts of interest. He suggested how to work around that: Get the miners to decide how to allocate the money.

I paid little attention then to this crazy-sounding talk since I did not seriously believe that a person who had just worked to help Bitcoin break free from Core could possibly be serious about such a future for Bitcoin Cash.

And here we are, in 2020, with the IFP being presented as some stroke of genius.

Those who believed that BCH should learn from DASH back in 2017, should try to re-examine and think if maybe, maybe, it's not the other way round.

A proposal which was originally accepted -- until nChain started a propaganda campaign labeling it a tax.

It wasn't accepted in 2017, it wasn't accepted in 2018, I don't know hear what happened to it in 2019, but it wasn't accepted in 2020.

However, in 2017, it was originally, honestly and literally, referred to by those proposing it (the idea obviously didn't come from nChain), as a tax on miners. In 2020, we have arrived at calling a tax a tax is not politically correct enough.

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5 months ago

"Ascertained if they were in fact a "public good" (by the technical definition). " If you look at the BCH ecosystem and only identify ABC, BCHD and Electron Cash as a public good, you didn't look very closely. Also i would argue that letting "some people" we do not know make this list is not in the interest of the community (coin holders/users)

"If miners aren't comfortable with the information the organization is exposing, then they shouldn't donate to them" But the miners are the ones who have a vested in interest in a lack of transparency. Because it means they can funnel back a part of the donations (=kickbacks) to get an edge over their competition. The audits are needed to ensure no such kickbacks or bribing occurs.

" If you have the power to stop it, you can change it." Once certain features are established, it is much harder to get rid of them or change them effectively. Especially if the party that has it under their control (Bitcoin ABC) has show unwillingness to debate and compromise in the past.

"The framing is presumes that these things are needed. I don't want such a system. I want a system where funds go to trustworthy individuals" Then you should be against an IFP that funnels money to an unkown hong kong company with unknown owners and unknown structure.

You are answering the question "do you support a hypothetical unicorn IFP that has solved all the issues with the current one", which is an easy yes. But that doesn't exist, or at least nobody has invented it yet. The actual question is: "do you support the IFP as outlined and implemented by the Bitcoin ABC team and the miners behind it." To which the answer in my opinion should be a resounding "no".

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5 months ago