The Bitcoin Cash hard fork is here and is set to be the second-most controversial fork thus far in the 10-year history of cryptocurrency (second only to its original fork from bitcoin itself).
Take note: This is not just another Rhett Creighton shitcoin fork for fun. It involves politics, power, and people with lots of money and even more ego publicly trading blows to get the upper hand. So who are the main players behind this fork, and where do they all stand on the issues?
“ABC … Easy As 1, 2, 3 …”
Ahead of its biannual upgrade, in July 2018 Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Sechet proposed a pre-consensus idea for the protocol amendment, allowing BCH network participants to “agree as much as possible on what the next block is going to look like.”
Zero-confirmation transactions place convenience as well as speed ahead of security, and if Bitcoin Cash has a mission it is in striving to be a cryptocurrency that will be spent, used, and also widely accepted. That mission is what BCH proponents might call faithfulness to Satoshi’s vision of a genuinely peer-to-peer payments system.
If a zero-confirmation guarantee could be made less risky – the ABC argument went – it would likely encourage the more widespread use of Bitcoin Cash.
Amaury Sechet’s idea was presented in a paper he published here. CBNN reached out to Amaury Sechet for his feelings toward the potential split. Amaury Sechet — presumably referring to Dr. Craig Wright — appeared to dismiss the SV side’s commitment to the fight:
“A barking dog never bites.” he says.
Jihan Wu & Bitmain
Bitmain, the Chinese mining giant, stood behind Sechet’s idea. CEO Jihan Wu refers to Craig Wright as “Fake Satoshi.” In the spirit of the heat of the debate raging around the forthcoming protocol change.
It is important to realize that despite Bitmain’s size and presence in the cryptocurrency industry. the ABC side only enjoys around 18 to 30 percent of the hashing power. Insofar as miners are the ones who choose which blocks to verify and which to reject, Bitmain-backed ABC appears to be losing the fight.
Dr. Craig Wright
nChain CTO Dr. Craig Wright is possibly more divisive in the crypto community than Roger “Bitcoin Jesus” Ver. In response to the ABC proposal, Wright proposed Bitcoin SV — which stands for Satoshi Vision — a roadmap said to be based on fidelity to the original specifications in Satoshi’s 2008 whitepaper, with the addition of 128MB block sizes.
The race for 128MB block sizes, in Mr. Sechet’s view, would be irresponsible if done before the network were ready for it.
Nevertheless, Bitcoin SV now enjoys majority hash-power backing. Many suspect the overwhelming anti-Bitmain sentiment is driving support for Wright and Bitcoin SV, rather than any overwhelming affection for the doctor himself.
Craig Wright’s alleged messages to Roger Ver, including language that suggested he would sabotage Bitcoin ABC if it were to win the battle, would suggest a debate over technical proposals — albeit backed by big money miner interests — has reached some epic proportions.
Due to previous objective reporting, Craig Wright has blocked this author from viewing his Twitter profile. However, Dr. Wright has been almost live-tweeting his commentary on the affair, railing against the actions of opponents from Bitmain and Bitcoin ABC developers to “anarchists” who think Bitcoin is designed to route around governments and laws.
Wright remains confident that Bitcoin SV and CoinGeek will triumph in the “hash war,” quoting Satoshi Nakamoto who said: “This is a design where the majority version wins if there’s any disagreement, and that can be pretty ugly for the minority version and I’d rather not go into it, and I don’t have to as long as there’s only one version.”
Relatedly, Wright has also previously proclaimed there will be “no split” on November 15th as fork buzz has reached a fever pitch in the BCH community.
Jimmy Nguyen, CEO of nChain Group is a Wright ally and staunch supporter of the Bitcoin SV camp. And if his use of a still from the astonishing Kill Bill is anything to go on, he’s certainly ready for a fight.
CoinGeek, SVPool, BMG Pool, Okminer, and Mempool:
These miners represent around 76% of the BCH hashing power, and all support Bitcoin SV. With two days to go ahead of the fork, Wright’s SV gang looks to come out on top in a battle of hashing power. The chart below, tweeted by Ryan X Charles, breaks hashing power down by miners:
Coin Dance confirms that SV appears to be favored in terms of hashing power, up from 65% only two days ago, so momentum seems to be swaying Wright’s way in the event of a contentious and irreversible bitcoin cash hard fork.
Calvin Ayre & CoinGeek:
Calvin Ayre is a businessman who owns the mining and publishing enterprise CoinGeek. Ayre’s support for SV is fundamentally linked to his direct competition with Bitmain. In fact, in CBNN‘s correspondence with Calvin Ayre, he stated:
“There is a very big reason why Jihan Wu doesn’t want BCH to be Bitcoin. If it is Bitcoin, it becomes bound to the whitepaper. Being bound to the whitepaper means that he doesn’t get his much sought after reduced block times, or the ability to subvert Nakamoto consensus… We want to prove Bitcoin was designed from scratch to be sound money for the world and to prove that it works already as such on the BCH chain. The segwit coin is no longer a currency and so BCH is the only one that is and the White Paper is very clear about being lead by the miners so all we are trying to do is restore Bitcoin to its roots. As for why? That is very straightforward; sound digital money creates economic freedom for the world.”
Ryan X Charles:
Ryan X. Charles of the Money Button tipping tool project tweeted that “SV will win unless ABC has a good deal of hidden hash power that shows up during the battle.”
This would appear to support Roger Ver’s argument that the fight is particularly a battle of hashing power, rather than ideology. Ryan Charles is principally interested in instant transactions and low fees, but would, either way, prefer no split over minor details.
If Twitter were the Canadian province of Newfoundland, Roger Ver would be a baby seal, brutally clubbed every time he dared raise his head — often without appropriate cause.
That aside, BCH’s controversial early adopter, who once infamously claimed that “bitcoin cash has more bitcoinness than bitcoin core” has implied there may not be a hard fork at all, likening the situation to Y2K.
If there were to be a split that created two viable coins, Roger Ver’s public support is for bitcoin (by which he means bitcoin cash) being usable as cash for the world, and in his opinion Bitcoin ABC is “better suited to that.”
Mr. Ver believes the differences relate to “the order of operations,” or when changes are implemented and the pace of change, as opposed to fundamental differences between which direction to head.
Justin Bons of Bitcoin Unlimited proposed a middle ground to the incompatible tweaks. Bitcoin Unlimited suggested that miners vote for individual changes to be activated over time as consensus is reached. Bons and Bitcoin Unlimited are in favor of finding a solution that avoids a split.
Like partisans in a major political election, those with the strongest opinions are unwilling to publicly contemplate defeat or speculate on what strategy they may adopt if their side is the official minority. As a result, it’s difficult to get a true sense of what they’ll do — thus most are sticking to sheer bravado and warning of dark times should their opponents triumph.
The Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork — Who Really Gets To Decide?
Ryan X. Charles raises an excellent point: As an entrepreneur building a business based on bitcoin cash, he finds himself potentially caught between miners’ and devs’ interests without being adequately included in the discussions.
With much support coalescing around Bitcoin SV, it appears a bitcoin cash hard fork would be in favor of their upgrade proposals, leaving Bitcoin ABC to linger and perhaps fade to zero value. However, American exchange Poloniex ran an experimental pre-fork trade of Bitcoin ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin SV (BCHSV) in order to ascertain public sentiment in the event of a bitcoin cash hard fork resulting in two viable coins.
BCHABC remained stable at around $500 while BCHSV fell to as low as $62. It’s a small sample size to gauge, however the results showed the investing public may be on the ABC side as miners are seemingly supporting SV.