ABC are playing chicken with the Bitcoin Cash community

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3 years ago

In the beginning there was Bitcoin. People collaborated around Satoshi's ideals and all was good.

Then people started disagreeing if Bitcoin could scale, and some forked off into Bitcon Cash to pursue on-chain scaling. While the group was smaller, things were good again.

Then Faketoshi came around and gathered a following. Some people tried to make amends, but the group still went ahead with their "hash war" and forked off to their own chain. The group grew smaller again, but things were still pretty good.

Then some people wanted to make improvements again, backed up by some juicy research, but the Benevolent Dictator said:

Hmm... No, we're gonna do it my way. If you don't like it fuck fork off.

And the group got worried that it would get smaller again, and things weren't so good anymore.

Forking is the fail-safe, but it guts the community

Forking is a wonderful thing. It's the mechanism that ensures that if a cryptocurrency is taken over by bad actors, or if it stops following your ideals, as a last resort we can always fork the chain to go our own way. We don't have to compromise if we don't want to.

But there's a big downside to forking, and it's gigantic.

When the chain forks, the community forks as well. A fork hurts the most important thing for any cryptocurrency, namely the network effect. People, projects, price and general mind share go separate ways, ensuring that both sides of the fork lose.

Just look at the history of forks. Sure we have the forks that nobody use, which does no real damage, but then we forks where a sizeable part of the community split.

When the BTC/BCH split happened, many people left BTC for BCH and took their money, their projects and their support with them. Even if you may not like him, Roger Ver has done a lot for Bitcoin adoption and he took his company and his funds to the BCH side. Or how in BCH we have several wallets and full node clients that are exclusive to BCH. Or the various places in the world that are now adopting BCH instead of BTC (I've used a few of them myself).

BTC lost something important in the BCH split.

Even if I absolutely loath Craig Wright and I'm glad I don't have him in our community anymore, other people and projects left for BSV when they split from BCH and they are valuable.

BCH lost something important in the BSV split.

While it's good that the ability to fork exists, a fork where a significant part of the community split is among the worst things that could happen to any cryptocurrency, and it should be avoided at (almost) any cost.

Chicken

The game of chicken is a game between two players. The best outcome is if one player yields, but none of them wants to because they want to win (and avoid being called a "chicken").

For example a game where two people are driving a car right at each other. The one who swerves away first loses and is a chicken shit, but if none of them do then they'll crash and fucking die.

ABC plays chicken during network upgrades

Since the creation of Bitcoin Cash ABC has had an approach to network upgrades that's exactly like the game of chicken.

It boils to them announcing what features they're going include before anyone else has announced anything, and then don't budge an inch. (They rip out the steering wheel while the other player is watching.)

They say:

Follow our lead, or fork and split the community.

It's also what they've done repeteadly on issues large and small, ranging from rejecting BU's OP_GROUP proposal (support for miner verified tokens) to choosing our currently broken DAA, going against the opinions of all other developers in the community.

History's repeating itself with ABC announcing that they're moving forward with the Grasberg DAA, despite everyone else agreeing that another algorithm is better. In the following discussions their response has been that they've already decided, and that the BCH community is not their customer. (Yes, Amaury really did say that.)

ABC are again playing chicken. If they win they get to activate changes of their choice, but if they lose the BCH community will lose badly.

So far the other developer teams have always folded and have followed ABC's lead. BU dropped OP_GROUP (and later on the improved proposal GROUP), because they decided (correctly) that splitting the community over the change wasn't worth it. ABC won the game of chicken against BU.

BCHN has gotten some flack on social media by ABC supporters that they want a split, but the opposite is true. Even if IFP would've activated, BCHN would follow the IFP chain. Despite BCHN being fundamentally opposed to the IFP, they recognized that splitting the community would be worse so they went out of their way to avoid the split. ABC won the game of chicken again.

They say actions speak louder than words, and ABC's actions say that they don't put the interests of the Bitcoin Cash community first. ABC prioritizes ABC above else, and don't seem to care that their actions might split the community.

If they really did put the BCH community first, they would drop Grasberg to avoid a disastrous split.

The BCH community is in a lose-lose scenario

Now the BCH community is in a really bad position. Because if they call out ABC on their bad behaviour, there's a really high risk that there will be a split. ABC don't seem to care, so there will be two different consensus rules and therefore it's extremely probable a split will happen.

But if the community always gives in and lets ABC do whatever they want, and in effect let Amaury become the dictator of Bitcoin Cash, there will also be dire consequences.

A lot of great developers have already been chased away by ABC, which will continue happening. For example the talented developers who are working on the other full node clients, or Jonathan Toomim who wrote one of the most well researched proposals in BCH history (where he suggests a DAA algorithm for this upgrade).

We'll also start activating poor technical solutions, such as the previous DAA and Grasberg, which means we'll start to lag behind other competing cryptocurrencies on a technical level.

(See my previous article of why Grasbergs hurts the sound money properties of Bitcoin Cash.)

But what's even worse is that we'll essentially give up decentralization, the absolutely most important thing for a cryptocurrency and the one thing that differentiates it from PayPal or Libra. There's just no way we can claim that we're truly decentralized if we have a dictator who can push through any change he wants.

(Like messing with the emission schedule or redirect the blockreward to themselves. Or maybe take something from Vitalik's playbook and censor transactions.)

Then what should we do?

A split sucks and letting ABC to unilaterally dictate the protocol also sucks. Anything we do will suck in one way or another.

Maybe if we could convince most users and miners to switch away from ABC, maybe to BU or BCHN who have worked to keep the community together, then a split might suck less?

Alternatively we could just give up the idea of decentralization and declare that decentralized cryptocurrencies were just a pipe dream.

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3 years ago

Comments

I really like bitcoin cash soon the value will rise in the market. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

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3 years ago

His article is very good and interesting๐Ÿ‘

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Yes. This situation really sucks.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Good for them - they can find other likeminded people to play chicken with, good for the ecosystem

$ 0.00
3 years ago

BCH is so broad that I tend to learn daily

$ 0.00
3 years ago

we should fire Amaury because he keeps repeating and overriding other peoples' contributions..

and it is getting boring and tiring. I would prefer to focus on p2p cash, not politics about 'drift'

$ 0.00
3 years ago

BCH is so broad

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User's avatar Ify
3 years ago

Good to see

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Let's look to the bright side of Grasberg. Yes probably there will be a problem but if can. Launch Avalanche. It would be great for us.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

The only influence Grasberg could have on Avalanche, would be to make the regular user experience slightly worse, as to create the "problem" for which Avalanche is the solution.

I don't think that's the intent, and a fully working preconsensus is already valuable, so this is just a pointless thought exercise.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Okay

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Great article!

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Roger Very actually played a vital role for Bitcoin

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Roger working 24/7 for crypto community BCH rocks

$ 0.00
3 years ago

It's really hard for the community because they're in an ultimatum to save the altcoin or destroy it. Either way, both paths ain't really a win but, a path that causes lesser loss would cut it right? Besides, if we support other Devs maybe ABC wouldn't be that much relevant since the community knows what it wants. Quoting from V for vendetta, "the government should be afraid of their people."

$ 0.00
3 years ago

It isnt ABC vs BCH. Its ABC and BCHD vs BCHN and BU. BCHN is just a fork of ABC by former BU supporters and anti-ABC people, in an attempt to coopt the BCH brand and make it appear as if ABC has larger opposition than what it does. BCHD is a major part of the BCH ecosystem and has a good relationship with ABC, along with some people from Avalanche and other communities. ABC also has favor from the vast majority of miners, and maintains a relationship with them and the chinese community.

Bitcoin ABC is the creator of the BCH project, to try to tell them they are trying to "take over" or destroy BCH is dishonest. Radical changes to the technological layer of BCH has always been a part of the BCH roadmap, including preconsensus, adaptive blocksize limit, merlix trees and sharding, etc... Complaining over the smallest issue possible, like drift, is ridiculous. This is a manufactured issue fabricated by people who want to go against the original BCH roadmap and make it something that its not.

BCH is not "The literally real and original Bitcoin", BCH is a fork of Bitcoin fixing Bitcoin's problems, aiming to compete with and onboard the original community. Its not being impersonated by BTC, its competing to fulfil Satoshi's Vision in a better way.

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3 years ago

Uhm.. how can you be so sure that BCHD is on ABC's side in this?

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3 years ago

Great

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3 years ago

I like that metaphor with game of chicken a lot :) Like always in that lose-lose situation only future will bring answer which solution was the best one.

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3 years ago

It isnt ABC vs BCH. Its ABC and BCHD vs BCHN and BU. BCHN is just a fork of ABC by former BU supporters and anti-ABC people, in an attempt to coopt the BCH brand and make it appear as if ABC has larger opposition than what it does. BCHD is a major part of the BCH ecosystem and has a good relationship with ABC, along with some people from Avalanche and other communities. ABC also has favor from the vast majority of miners, and maintains a relationship with them and the chinese community.

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3 years ago

Thanks for the post. I was angry about the fork. However with time we will know the best out of the two cryptos.

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3 years ago

I think one of the parties should fork off with another coin- it could be named anything. We will now see which will survive the tide.... BCH the new fork!

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3 years ago

I really like bitcoin cash soon the value will rise in the market

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Interesting bitcoin

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Let's see who will survive later on.

$ 0.00
3 years ago

I need your help on how to earn it

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Excellent

$ 0.00
3 years ago

Interesting Bitcoin

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User's avatar Ify
3 years ago

Nice writeup.. i am in with BCH for a long term race.. i believe it would become the best ever

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3 years ago

There was quite a lot of talk some time back from people like Van Armani, about how it would be good with an amicable split - one where people simply agree to walk away in their own directions.

I believe we will soon get to see this in action, where ABC will have the option of choosing to walk away from the BCH ecosystem and part ways on their own term.

To stay in the spirit of this article, it would be like if they challenged everyone to a game of chicken, ripped out their steering wheel and then put a heavy rock on the gas pedal... only to find that they are actually driving in a very different direction and that no one really accepted their challenge - it just wasn't relevant and they are now free to look elsewhere to find people who are willing to play chicken with them.

Good for them - they can find other likeminded people to play chicken with, good for the ecosystem that can now move on from determining consensus rules by playing chicken, and instead move to an evidence-based approach.

Personally, it's with torn feelings I say this, as I still think ABC have value to contribute, I just wish they cooperated with the rest of the ecosystem, instead of playing chicken.

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3 years ago

Still BCH for me hehe

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3 years ago

It's a good thing there is a competition

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3 years ago

Interesting

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3 years ago

Nice and informative article..

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3 years ago