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A humble response to The Cryptocurrency of Theseus

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Avatar for mtrycz
Written by   21
1 week ago

Shammah Chancellor aka micropresident has recently published an article, "The Cryptocurrency of Theseus: What is our Identity, and why are we fighting?", explaining mind about BCH's situation. I find it very relevant and encourage everyone who has not done so yet to read it. I applaud Mr Chancellor for speaking his mind honestly and clearly - this is the basis of constructive discussion.

I replied on Reddit to the post, but I was writing, I realised that it was too much of a wall of text, and maybe deserved an article of it's own. This is why the following is written in second person.

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Mr Chancellor thank you for speaking your mind honestly and clearly. I would like to comment on some of the points I disagree with. I think it can be useful to explain my perspective as clearly as your article explains yours. The following thoughts are my own; I'm a contributor at BCHN, and I don't speak for BCHN as a whole.

First of all, a premise. I respect and express gratitude for Mr Sechet's work on ABC and BCH. I have always vocally said this, even when I disagreed with him (both his attitude and decisions). I think, as you do, that he is a very competent engineer with lots of technical expertise.

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The main points of disagreement with your article are

"This means that exchanges are going to run the software he makes, regardless of what rules he decides. They must in order to avoid lawsuits." and elsewhere "Now we can continue to live in our delusions of deposing Amaury from the position of “Leader”, or we can choose to interact with the world as it is."

Your conclusion stems from the premise that BCH is Mr Sechet's project. I disagree with that premise. I joined BCH because it is a continuation of the Bitcoin project, which I (like you) would like to succeed.

You define BCH as numbers produced by Mr Sechet's software. I propose a different definition: it's the numbers produced by the BCH protocol. You could claim that it's the same, claiming ABC is BCH. I think it's the source of our disagreement.

I had joined BCH to avoid capture of Bitcoin by a single entity, which for BTC is Bitcoin Core. I thought at the time that decentralised development was unique to BCH and it's strongest asset for the development of a decentralised protocol. I now believe that this is more central than ever. It certainly isn't easy, and it might be slower - there always are tradeoffs to be made. But to me, avoiding a new capture is an important point, worth making tradeoffs for.

Now please don't think that I think Mr Sechet is evil or compromised. I don't. But if "ABC is BCH" then ABC is a central point of failure, and we're back to square one again. If ABC is BCH (and you also argue that Mr Sechet is ABC), then BCH has a bus factor of 1. Saying that this is suboptimal would be a crass understatement. Mr Chancellor, if this is the status quo you describe, I'm having a hard time not arguing to fix this status quo.

Decentralised development of a decentralised protocol is something that has never been tried before, not that I'm aware of. There is simply no metaphor that could fit. We need to invent this ourselves. I have thought of it a lot in the past 3 years, and I'm confident I have a key piece to making it workable: evidence-based development. Disagreements are to be expected, but most honest disagreements can be resolved with convincing evidence. It should be on the proponents of a change to argue in its favor with reproducible evidence.

BCH could have avoided a lot of animosity if development was more publicly evidence-based. And this is the main reason I joined BCHN. I think that on the basis of your article you think I'm "willfully ignorant, stupid, or malicious". I ask of you to hear out my part of the story, because I think it will help you understand people's motivations. It's the story of how and why I joined BCHN.

When the IFP came around, I had considered the possibility of its deployment, if there was wide agreement and if its implementation details were right. During endless arguing, I came to change my mind and oppose the IFP (NB: I don't oppose dev funding, I oppose dev funding through mandatory coinbase redirection). My points of disagreements were twofold: 1) I believe it alters Bitcoin's economic model in a disruptive way and 2) the way the thing was handled by ABC. I don't want to dissect 1) here, because it's been done at length, and because I think 2) is more relevant here. Mr Sechet and ABC handled the situation as if they think of themselves as the masters of BCH. Mr Sechet has hinted as much in an exchange we had on reddit.

Momentum had built up against the IFP, and out of that momentum BCHN was founded. I joined BCHN because I wanted to support that momentum, and contribute with my own evidence-based inclination (we'll be releasing a novel test framework shortly). BCNH surely isn't perfect, but I love its culture, and evidence based development is a big part of it. There is a common misconception that BCHN wants to replace ABC and be “in charge” of BCH, and you argue as much in your article. That's not the point.

You say "If someone really doesn’t want to see Amaury as the Lead Maintainer anymore, they need to find a different cryptocurrency where you’ll see someone else as the Lead Maintainer."

You say that the failure of the IFP doesn't change that BCH is the "Bank of Amaury". I'd like to reply that the failure of the IFP reveals that BCH is not, in fact, the "Bank of Amaury". I get it from your article that you offer a choice between Mr Sechet or some other Lead Maintainer. I say, let's not have one single Lead Maintainer. The point is a push for evidence-based decentralised development, where multiple teams cooperate on the protocol and compete on the implementation/performance/features. No single central point of failure. No bus factor of 1. It's hard to envision, but I believe it to have great value.

To achieve this we need to overcome differences and secondary disagreements. It's perfectly possible to have the same goal of world money and disagree on single issues, as well as it's possible to mean well and do harm. We are all different. But we can try to discuss and come to an agreement, or at least try. BCH has actually no shortage of talent, Mr Sechet, you, Mr Rizun, freetrader, Mr Zander, Mr Culianu, Mr Toomim, and tens of other named and pseudonymous competent engineers work on BCH to make it better. Let's try.

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I will also try to address some secondary points

You say "I will be referring to this letter in all future discussions that draw into question Amaury’s right to lead his own project." and elsewhere "This means that exchanges are going to run the software he makes, regardless of what rules he decides. They must in order to avoid lawsuits."

I put no doubt in Mr Sechet's right to lead his own project, as long as we refer to ABC the implementation and not BCH per se. I do acknowledge that you do refer to ABC as BCH, and this is the source of our disagreement. I just wanted to explain, in good faith, the other side of the story: in my (an many others') view Mr Sechet has every right to ABC, but not every right to BCH.

I find it also perfectly possible (reasonable, actually) to disagree or criticize ABC/Mr Sechet without this being an attack. A disagreement or a critique doesn't cancel respect or gratitude for all the work, either.

Moving forward that's how I'd like the inevitable disagreements to happen, on the path to world money.

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There is also the idea floating around that BCHN was created to fork BCH again. This is unfounded. BCHN wants to collaborate with everyone for the furtherment of BCH. It also happens that implmementing the IFP is seen as sacrificing a fundamental property of what makes BCH what it is on its way to becoming world money.

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Thank you if you made it this far, and all the best on Stamp (which looks great, btw).

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Avatar for mtrycz
Written by   21
1 week ago
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Comments

Great writeup.

I was writing a response myself, but you were faster.

If you're interested: https://read.cash/@noise/bitcoin-cash-is-nobodys-project-a-response-to-micropresident-7a42dd44

$ 0.10
1 week ago

great writeup.

although from what I am seeing the ABC = BCH narrative is now well engrained.

The guy is basically saying all exchanges consider ABC = BCH and that is that.

And how is it enforced? BY POTENTIAL LAWSUITS.

This is so anti bitcoin it makes me very angry.

This was NOT the bitcoin adverised early on.

It's come down to if we don't want a dictator we must fork to a new ticker!!

$ 0.00
1 week ago

Great writeup

$ 0.00
1 week ago

I am many others went with BCH to not have a central dev team in control!

What the hell was the point of the fork if we are now in same situation!!!

tanking price and transaction count is reflecting bitcoin cash is in a terrible spot

$ 0.10
1 week ago

(ahhh) most refreshing .. thank you @mtrycz

$ 0.00
1 week ago

Nice, I enjoy your post.

$ 0.00
1 week ago

Decentralised development of a decentralised protocol is something that has never been tried before, not that I'm aware of. There is simply no metaphor that could fit. We need to invent this ourselves.

🍻

$ 0.00
1 week ago

Many excellent points. I agree with the goal of fully-decentralized development. If you mean multiple node teams with equal power and development activity, I do not think we have the funding to really do that yet. Pretending we can do it without enough funding may lead to negative consequences. I think having many teams working on different projects and testing ideas is great. At some point we need a way to make final decisions on what goes in the BCH code. Someone or some committee will always be needed to make the decisions and that entity will be a point of potential failure.

Of course ABC does not own BCH. They lead code development and currently make the "final" decisions as we have no better option or process chosen yet. I think the community owns BCH. If the community chooses a new decision maker BCH will go that way. It is confused by the massive social engineering attacks making it seem like a big part of the community hates Amaury and various other false "community opinions" created by an endless wave of fake posters.

IMO, we can't really choose a new decision maker until someone proves themselves by providing better options. Not just on one disagreement. They need to show they can get all the work done and make better decisions. They may get the rest of ABC to change allegiance and promise to keep doing the work behind the new leader or they need a team the community trusts to do all the work as well as ABC was doing. That would require time and effort. Maybe BCHN has begun this effort, but, they have not shown a willingness to do all the work or provided the solid examples of better solutions to the challenges of BCH yet.

Their movement appeared to be jump-started by anti-BCH forces in the beginning and then attracted good people. Now some BCHN team supporters seem to be pushing for exchanges and such to switch now (before they have a proven track record) and for consensus breaking changes that would fork the network and force the community to choose like BSV did. Maybe the anti-BCH activity is not coming from the real BCH fans on the BCHN team? It is hard to be sure at this point. I do hope BCHN turns out to be a great part of BCH over time.

As for the IFP, if you say "No IFP" for instance, what is your alternative proposal that can get us the development funding needed to scale BCH? Not a hopeful strategy, a real way to get funding to the team that can develop the code.

$ 0.00
1 week ago