A developer's thoughts about Bitcoin Cash development

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You don't know me. I've been a Bitcoin supporter for many years, way before Bitcoin Cash was created and before the big scaling debate, but I've never taken an active roll. I've only ever been a lurker, watching from afar, even though I've been a professional software developer for more than a decade. In this post I'll try to explain why.

Money

I'm sure you haven't missed the talk about the miner tax?

And yes, according to dictionary it's a tax:

a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand

Well one of the arguments is that it's absolutely needed because otherwise we wouldn't have any developers, and that would surely be the death of BCH.

Of course, I agree that we need to pay developers. I, like all humans I know, need to eat and I have a family to feed too, therefore I don't work for free.

While it's true that I would need to get pay if I would work on BCH full time, but it's not the biggest reason I haven't contributed. In fact I would've done it for free, because it would be interesting and because it would support the ecosystem, if it wasn't for the other issues.

Toxicity

When I was finally about to get off my lazy ass and contribute, the scaling debate happened. This brought forward a ton of toxicity, where people got censored, abused and even driven away from the development. I thought to myself that life's to short for this shit, so I distanced myself.

Unfortunately the toxicity didn't stop there. Even after Bitcoin Cash split off from Bitcoin it continued. Developers fought between themselves, and the de-facto reference client suffering from a severe Not Invented Here syndrome and they used a "our way or the highway" approach to development.

The so called "lead developer" of Bitcoin Cash even made a post in the censored cesspool r/bitcoin shitting on "BCash" (which is of course the word other toxic people have used to shit on Bitcoin Cash).

Now the toxicity and shitting on others have become popular again, with Bitcoin Cash developers resorting to rewriting history:

The same Bitcoin Unlimited who have supported big block scaling since before Bitcoin Cash, yet now Jonald says they never really supported Bitcoin Cash.

I think it's rich to say Peter is manipulative, when deadalnix himself voted for increasing the blocksize in Bitcoin Unlimited to 10TB, which he knows would be disastrous. And he has the gall to call someone else manipulative?

Who the fuck puts up with this shit?

Apparently ftrader, who together with deadalnix created the first Bitcoin ABC client, have also had enough.

And by the way, I would also call deadalnix incompetent. You see, this image that great developers are supposed to be socially incompetent is just a stupid myth. Because the reality of software development is that it's a social activity and being able collaborate with people who you don't like is included in the job description. This is especially true if you're a lead developer. If you can't do that then you're incompetent, even if you're somehow a programming god.

(I've also read the code that deadalnix has written, and he's not a programming god. Extremely few of us are.)

This is the reason I haven't contributed to Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. I've had enough toxicity from bosses, coworkers and clients to last a lifetime without engaging with these toxic-as-fuck developers prowling the cryptocurrency space.

The miner fund proposal

Moving on to the proposal.

I've been looking at ZCash since it was launched and one of the big reasons I've never supported it (apart from the trusted setup) is that the development team takes a big chunk of the miner profit. In my mind this is so far from what Satoshi envisioned with Bitcoin and it's only what shitcoins who wanted to extract as much profit they can would do.

Well, now some people want to do the same with Bitcoin Cash. And what's more, they want to keep the funds to themselves and their close friends. Don't believe me? Then I invite you to play Sherlock Holmes with me for a bit.

The proposal will use a whitelist of approved projects:

By applying these selection criteria, a whitelist was arrived at consisting of addresses for a General Fund, Bitcoin ABC, Electron Cash, and BCHD.

Notice anything strange?

Let's back up a bit and see their criteria:

The whitelist of possible projects was selected according to the following criteria:

  • Must be common infrastructure, things that different products build on top of.

  • The project must provide a “Public Good”.

  • The project must use open source software licenses compatible with other projects in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.

  • The plan should prioritize projects that are in need of money.

The first words we're looking at is was selected. Who exactly selected these?

And their criteria seems oddly specific to me.

Must be common infrastructure, things that different products build on top of.

Electron Cash is a great project, but you might wonder why it's the only wallet implementation included. This line could serve as motivation to include Electron Cash while disqualifying others.

The project must provide a “Public Good”.

This is beautifully phrased as it allows them to disqualify any project they want, because it's so broad and can be interpreted anyway they like.

Maybe this is how the disqualified Bitcoin Verde? Or they just forgot about such a minor client implementation? (Who cares about the minority, am I right?)

The project must use open source software licenses compatible with other projects in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.

This was certainly selected to disqualify Flowee. Maybe they included this because Amaury hates Thomas who's developing Flowee?

(And I even think MIT is a better license, but that's entirely besides the point. It's still wrong to disqualify GPL based projects like this.)

The plan should prioritize projects that are in need of money.

And this is how they justify not having Bitcoin Unlimited on the list, whom also have come out against the proposal quite hard.

Another thing we can note is that all projects in the whitelist came out early in support of the proposal, and no project that's against the proposal was included...

Alright, that should be enough for us to conclude that ABC basically wants to reroute mining rewards to Amaury and his friends. And this is how Amaury justifies it:

If toxicity isn't enough, he's also got hubris as he's equating the entire success of Bitcoin Cash to Bitcoin ABC, and therefore he's got the right to the entire fund.

This isn't how decentralized development looks like and it's not a development landscape I would ever take part in.

To wrap it up

The problem of funding developers is very real, but BCH won't die of developer shortage if ABC fails to impose an on-chain tax. As an alternative Monero's Community Crowdfunding System is far superior, and is in line with Bitcoin's voluntary philosophy and it doesn't discriminate against minority projects.

But the important point is that it's not the lack of funding that's scaring away developers such as myself, it's the unprofessionalism and toxicity of other developers that's the real problem. And it's time we as a community wakes up to this fact.

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Comments

great article

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1 month ago

Many thanks, you are too kind.

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1 month ago

Professional anti-BCH article looking to divide the community.

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1 month ago
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