Are Blockchain Splits A Governance Failure?

Hard forks are leading to a chain split. Are you considering this type of change as a political failure when we know that the chain splitting can reflect a significant division of ideology and an opinion on an issue? The example where chain splitting can be consider being a positive thing, and can even be considered as being part of the governance mechanism itself is Ethereum.

That is certainly the case with Ethereum, yes. But I don’t think that’s the case in Bitcoin. There is a fundamental difference in the governance models of the two systems.

Ethereum, because of its large attack surface, because it needs to be much more flexible, has to go through a lot more iteration – some of them fairly radical, which means there will be more hard forks.

Bitcoin is far more conservative in its development model, and it already has enough adoption that we don’t want to break things for backwards compatibility.

I also think that there is a significant risk when you break into multiple coins and you have these divergences that creates confusion in terms of adoption for software engineers and developers. Like right now if you’re writing smart contracts on Classic version of Ethereum or “Vitalik’s” Ethereum, it’s a fairly easy answer how you should write smart contracts as long as they keep in parallel, in sync. But they’re diverging, and they’re diverging fast.

You know, it’s a bit like evolution – at some point the horse and the donkey diverge fast enough that they can no longer interbreed, and what you get if you try to is a mule. That’s basically what happens with the divergence of technologies: they drift apart until they’re no longer compatible, and then you have two sets of knowledge and two sets of developers.

I think we should try to avoid that in Bitcoin, unless it’s absolutely critical that a hard fork happens.

Free market is deciding with bitcoin what will happen, with Ethereum Vitalik’s team is deciding what will happen with Ethereum. Free market will support what makes more sense to them, as it should be.

Bitcoin core is 95 percent of the development of Bitcoin. It’s people who have dedicated their lives, very often at no pay to do this for years and years and years. I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories, seven years ago you were wondering about how we’re going to fund developments, now we have a very well funded team of core developers and a very robust team of core developers and they’re doing work that the market is accepting.

We never know what happens next. I’m interested to see. Before I thought that it is politically dangerous to attempt to force a hard fork on bitcoin because it would weaken bitcoin, but now I realize that it is making it stronger. Bitcoin today has plan B C D E etc, if one does not work, market will switch to other which will.

I fortunately don’t have to make decision, because I would make many wrong decisions. This is better – all possible decisions have been made and implemented, and something will work out, and it will work out well. Way better than under centralized governance.

In hindsight we can see whether those crazy theories that people had were correct, and I can tell you that I often have to revise my theories. The first week after the Etherium hard fork I was like: “Oh, this seems to have gone very very well! This is gonna put pressure on core, and then four weeks later it’s not going so well anymore.”

This is a system where there’s a lot of open debates, and people can make choices. The consensus mechanism on Bitcoin makes sure that when you make those choices you have to commit your money to that choice, and that makes it very difficult for people to be frivolous. People are not going to simply be voting just for a protest vote.

And no I am not talking about the miners here. The five constituencies of the consensus mechanism: miners, developers, merchant services, exchange services, and wallet designers. They all have to agree on what the core protocol is.

If you have a network of miners who mine without transactions because the exchanges, merchants, and wallets stayed on the other chain, they are mining non Bitcoin.

The beautiful thing is that investors are protected whatever happens, they don’t have to make that choice. If there is a hard fork in any cryptocurrency, that means you now have money on both sides. So you can just relax and watch the fireworks, and then choose a good time to sell one of them. If you want to.

About the author

Satoshi Nakamoto

We developed bitcoin. This post is derivated from aantoop yt video with same headline under cc by license.

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