In my last article I argued that Bitcoin Cash is nobody's project, but we as a community collectively own and manage it.
But what if there was someone who owned Bitcoin Cash? And could implement any changes he'd like? What would that mean for the project?
I'll argue that it would severely undermine Bitcoin Cash and make it unsuitable as peer-to-peer digital cash for the world.
First some important properties a cryptocurrency should have:
There are other properties, but to me these are the two most important properties that makes cryptocurrencies stand out from other alternatives.
Now what if there was someone in control of Bitcoin Cash? Someone who could change the protocol in whatever way they wanted to? What would change?
This person could censor transactions by implementing blacklists on the protocol level or steal coins from arbitrary addresses, making Bitcoin Cash censurable. It's the same fear some people have with most mining being located in China, as it might allow China to censor the protocol, but concentrated to a single person.
Ethereum did something similar after the DAO hack when they rerouted funds from a wallet outside their control, essentially breaking the contract of the Ethereum protocol. Most of the Ethereum community seems to be content to let Vitalik do whatever he wants with the protocol, essentially making him the dictator of Ethereum.
The supply could also be manipulated by changing the emission schedule or simply give himself a million BCH, destroying the soundness of Bitcoin Cash while doing so.
In short if Bitcoin Cash were dictated by a single person it would undermine the core properties that make up a decentralized currency.
Luckily no single person controls Bitcoin Cash so this is all preventable. Instead it's the community; the users, exchanges, payment processors, miners and other stakeholders that together control Bitcoin Cash, and they have the power to together block these changes.
But it requires us to be active. It requires us to be informed and above all it requires us to take action to prevent changes such as changing the supply limit or reversing transactions.
It's like a democracy. The voters have the power, but if nobody votes then we'll give that power away. And if we, the Bitcoin Cash community, truly want to be peer-to-peer digital cash for the world then we cannot allow anyone to assume the role of benevolent dictator over the protocol. Not Gregory Maxwell, not Amaury Séchet and not even Satoshi.
The battle for the leadership of Bitcoin Cash isn't just important, it's essential.