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What to learn from today's disagreement in the BCH ecosystem

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Avatar for oscarsalas
Written by   12
8 months ago

It has been a hard month.

Things are starting to look better in the Bitcoin Cash community recently (and by community, I mean everything that is part of the ecosystem: miners, devs, holders and participants on the discussion forums), but there's still a sad vibe around. Luckily in this case, most of the people (from all sides) remained united, but the leadership behind the project seems to get weaker everytime.

At the beginning, I started looking things from a 3rd point perspective without choosing any particular "team". Even If I already had my differences after the IFP approach, I was still confident that Bitcoin ABC leadership was going to improve.

But I was wrong.

Bitcoin ABC doesn't seem to fix their ways to communicate with users, miners and most importantly, their colleagues (other developers). Based on that, things won't work, doesn't matter how much control you have inside a project, nation or company: If the leadership doesn't listen to the desires of the people around it will simply break away, and the easier it is to take an alternate rute, the easier "you" will get behind.

We could say that Bitcoin ABC leadership is weak, by not approaching problems in a way that could be understandable. Even by taking the role of a dictator, there is ways to community ideas that you think are efficient for the development of project you are helping to build.

From the start, the IFP proposal was suggested in a manner that was far from desirabled, and this is something I cannot simply understand. Bitcoin ABC first proposal was weak, full of questions and without a proper fundamental base to apply it: It was rushed and made with not effort to actually get the approval from users and miners, it was a disaster.

It is understandable to make one mistake on an issue (and for me, considering the importance ABC had inside the Bitcoin Cash community, it is still unacceptable). But if things couldn't be worse, ABC team makes a second announcement after months of unnecessary political game against their new "enemies", planning a definitive funding plan with an 8% reward fee with no proper explanation on why and how it will work. At their first post, there was no proper explanation on how the money was going to be segmented inside the development team, and who was going to receive and manage it. There was not even a transparency plan to make sure community and miners knew how they were going to use the funding.

When the second announcent arrived, things just got totally worse as I said before. Apart of discovering that ABC was using a DAA implementation as a political game inside the community, we also learned that they had no intention to explain to people or miners how things will work (once more). In this particular case, even community members deserve to know how a proposal will be managed, since after all, we are talking about an open source project where everybody should be able to audit.

From the miners side, there was more uncertainty based on what we heard from them so far. There was no interest from Bitcoin ABC side to approach them and explain them how things were going to operate. This alone tells you a lot from ABC organization work and leadership, it simply was not right and it felt they had complete authority over the Bitcoin Cash project.

Anyone with an honest thinking leaving trivialism apart knows the current communication method was horrible, even more considering there was money in between. To make it even worse, we never knew exactly what happened to the previous funding Bitcoin ABC had, which apparently was over a million dollars worth of Bitcoin Cash.

Bitcoin, from the start, was a project that had no owners. There was no major authority to decide what was the next step to take. All developers were supposed to have the same voice, as long as they were helping Bitcoin by their personal commitment. No one forced ABC to take this role, and considering this is an open source project, there was no way Amaury and other members from ABC team didn't know where they were going into from the start.

For me, the saddest part is the people tryting to divide for no productive reason. One thing I learned: there's maybe no "true friends" (I hope I am wrong) in this community. You'll always need to be careful, maybe because there is money and political interest behind. Some of my old partners are now looking at me from negative a position, when (in my case) I never wanted to take things to a personal degree. No matter what, I will always remember them with good heart, as my intention is never to cause a strong division by sharing my opinion or listening theirs.

Moving away from personal things, open source projects depend on donations to improve their software. There's no such thing as stable budget. I understand this makes difficult a lot of things inside the development process, but it is at heart what Bitcoin means as a project: decentralization in every aspect. Did Satoshi asked for money while being a developer? Did Gavin did as well? No one did. Maybe those were other times, it requiered maybe even more commitment because the risk of building something with no guaranteed future.

Today, we are trying to build a Bitcoin that works for everyone, but a lot of people seems to be centered on how much money they can take away from this project. Honestly, I am not sure if that's the idea inside ABC's leadership, but at some point, based on their current actions, it looks like that.

Will things improve? I am not sure, but we will probably need to make a more diplomatic approach to the issues we face in the future; Otherwise, we will repeat the same mistakes over and over again. By diplomatic I simply mean, not risking the progress of a project If my desires are not as popular as I wish inside the three main areas I previously mentioned. Bitcoin was never meant to be a democracy, most of the people don't care about the technology behind cryptocurrencies. But Bitcoin, considering there is not proper leadership or boss, needs a development team that takes a more diplomatic approach at decision making. I am sure most of the community members here that are pro-ABC or pro-BCHN aren't looking to damage Bitcoin Cash: we are all looking for the best results.

Saying this, I lack of technical knowledge to actually propose a coded solution, but it is interesting to mention that we should have a philosophical backup to base all our decisions, at least easily visible in an official website. These type of "rules" will probably help us to behave on heated discussions, and reaching an agreement based on the objectives we are working for. I also think that it is time to leave trivialism, thing that always hurt the general population of this project... and by "trivialism" I mean: the use of personal attacks because some people aren't sharing the same ideas. It beaks partners, relationship history and efforts apart.

I am not a major key member inside the Bitcoin Cash development team, and I am sure I don't understand all the technical aspects behind, but I feel this was an important message to share around, doesn't matter If I could be wrong at some parts.

I hope we can finally learn from all the mistakes. In the future, the new Bitcoin Cash leaders need to approach all the areas that are part of our community in a way that truly feels professional and done by true effort. Otherwise, we will probably fail again.

Thanks for reading,

Oscar Salas
My public bch address for signatures: bitcoincash:qpruhler02v5t7l7mp98zegxa237c5clwgyy24qsly
@oscarsalas93

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Avatar for oscarsalas
Written by   12
8 months ago
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Comments

thanks for writing this.

open source projects depend on donations to improve their software. There's no such thing as stable budget. I understand this makes difficult a lot of things inside the development process, but it is at heart what Bitcoin means as a project: decentralization in every aspect. Did Satoshi asked for money while being a developer? Did Gavin did as well? No one did.

exactly. if you think you need funding to develop something you'll have to find support for what you want to do and you need to have gained at least some trust. the mainnet flipstarter is a great example of how to do it: first build trust (in this case by implementing and running read.cash... amazingly well, no less) and then come up with a useful project, put a number on it and make a flipstarter. It works.

and this style of voluntary funding has another huge upside: it gives the holders of Bitcoin cash (those guys have great incentive to support the coin) a way to express their preferences as to what should get built and what is less important. It's a kind of free market approach to governance (without having to use damaging splits). And it's not like those contributors are selfless: they are getting something in return, namely an increase in the value of their holdings.

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8 months ago

Thanks for the write-up. There definitely have been mistakes in the past. Now is time to look to the future, and the future is bright. There are a lot of passionate, smart developers in the space, and for the first time I am seeing a majority of them working together. One day I hope the infighting can end and we can find a way to work together. It still isn't too late.

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8 months ago

Very good post

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7 months ago

Amaury is a developer. Everyone else is a diplomat. Two different worlds, a split will be extremely healthy.

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8 months ago

One thing does not remove the other. Amaury can be more diplomatic while being a developer, just like the rest of his ex-partners.

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8 months ago

These diplomats you speak of, they have developed code for the following software:

Bitcoin Verde, BCHD, Knuth, Bitcoin Unlimited, BCHN, ElectronCash, BitcoinCashJ, CashAccounts, CashID, Fulcrum, ElectrsCash, Electrum-Cash... and the list goes on.

But what might be even more important: some of them also did work on Bitcoin ABC. For example, Mark Lundeberg did significant work making schnorr signatures a reality for Bitcoin Cash.

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8 months ago

I know, most (If not all) of you have a sense of team work, I hope it remains for years.

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8 months ago

Let's work together to see that Bit coin works and not what we can get from it

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8 months ago

Great article!

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8 months ago

Where several people work together there are always differences of opinion. That is completely normal. The question is how to manage these differences of opinion. If most people have a different opinion than the team leadership and the team leadership is not able to convince the team and still tries to enforce their opinion, it can and will not work.

We have a similar problem with Bitcoin Cash node software development for some time. It has now increased to such an extent that hardly anyone stands behind the team leader. He is almost alone. This is a Evidenz of incapacity of the leadership and a situation that cannot and will not continue.

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8 months ago

Another fork/ divide will be a disaster, when Defi are on the rise now.

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8 months ago

'Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.' - Benjamin Franklin

It is an unfortunate reality pill.

But hopefully the tax can help ABC make better software for the whole world. Maybe.

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8 months ago