Could we please make a stronger attempt to bridge this divide in the community and get more insight into the thought processes of the Core Developers?
I'm making this post in what may be a futile attempt to bridge this ever widening gap in the Bitcoin community. This is mostly going to be from the perspective of a small-time investor, not a technical guy at all. I may not be the most qualified person to make this post, but I'd like to see more posts like this so that it may be possible for us to move past this current quagmire as a more unified community. I'm posting in this subreddit even under the fear that it may get removed because I want this to be seen by more than just the people that have been pushed out of this community. Having said that, I think the first thing that we should acknowledge is that an extremely significant portion of the Bitcoin community HATE the core developers. I know that many don't care that this happens to be true, but this really should be cause for alarm. I'll spend most of this post addressing the reasons I think this is the case, then perhaps in the comments others can chime in, and we can hear from the Core developers as well. I'd like to see more polls done within the community so that we can find a better sense of the thoughts of everybody. I'm not sure where the majority of support lies but I think we need to make a better effort to address the concerns of everybody, so that we can move forward as one, stronger unit. Every one of us have invested into Bitcoin in some way, and collectively, we are what make Bitcoin worth $414 dollars. If a significant portion of us get fed up and leave, we can expect price drop, which is bad for everybody. (Unless of course you have decided to short Bitcoin.) But the people that leave are probably not going to leave Crypto altogether. Personally, I've started putting more and more of my money into alt-coins that seem better equipped to fulfill the potential which Bitcoin may not be able to with the current development team. If enough of us decide that, it's possible that another coin could take over. While this is unlikely, I think it's undeniably true that many have liquidated their Bitcoin holdings because this loss of faith in developers, and I think there are far more people that would like to invest, but think that Bitcoin is too risky with its current development team. To that end, let's restore confidence in the current team by delving into their thought processes. I think everything unfortunately comes back to the blocksize debate. It's exhausting, but it needs to come to a conclusion if we want more people to invest in Bitcoin. And I think we all want as many people to invest in Bitcoin as possible.
Core Developers don't seem to have any urgency to get this block size thing resolved. I think most people see this as the number one problem with bitcoin right now, and would like to see is all effort being put into a permanent solution before we see the developers work on less critical things. A lot of talk has been thrown around about a temporary, small increase to buy more time, but many want this blocksize issue to be in Bitcoin's rear-view mirror. The reason being that as long as this uncertainty exists, there are a lot of investors that simply won't get into bitcoin, and to foster the network effect, we need to get as many people in as soon as possible. We have a halving coming up shortly, which brings with it a potential price increase, and I for one would like to see how much it can go up if we don't have this blocksize cloud hanging over investors. So the question for Core Developers is, how much do you feel the same? How committed are you to putting out a permanent solution as quickly as is safe?(This, by the way, is why BIP101 is so appealing to so many people. It may not be the best solution, but it is A solution. One that has been tested, and can resolve this debate once and for all.)
The Core Developers don't seem to be willing to compromise much. It's great that we had those scaling Bitcoin conferences, but what did we get out of them? When the major exchanges came out this summer in support of BIP101, the Core developers quickly issued a letter saying that they've heard our concerns, and asked us to wait until the Scaling Bitcoin conferences were over. Many were hoping for a clear path forward and a clear alternative to BIP101 upon the conclusion of the second one, but the second one has concluded and we do not have that. We have a lot of promising ideas, but nothing that would be an alternative to BIP101. (That is, something that would conclude this block size debate once and for all.) We don't even have a timeline or a plan for one. It seems to me that a golden opportunity was missed to compromise on BIP101. I didn't see anything come out of the conference that would last us more than a couple of years. BIP101 supporters want a clear path forward and they still do not have that from Core. So the questions is, how willing are you to compromise with the people that want BIP101? Would you be willing to compromise on a version of BIP101 that started at 4MB, or doubled slower?
The Core developers aren't very good at communicating with their detractors. I think this is in part because they have little interest in communicating with people that don't understand the technical side of things. There is a sense that they see themselves above everybody else, and that they do not answer to the people that give their project value. Contrast this with the simple, thorough, and easy-to-understand, blog posts of Gavin and Mike. Gavin made a series of blog posts addressing every single one of Core developers concerns about raising the block size. As a casual investor, I really get the sense that he knows what he's talking about, and I trust him to lead us forward. The core developers didn't really do an adequate job explaining to us why that trust would be misplaced, and didn't adequately address his points about raising the block size. So the question is, will Core Developers make a better effort to communicate with us, and make us feel that our concerns are being heard? (This would of course include publicly denouncing the censorship which runs through some of the main Bitcoin channels, instead of pretending like it doesn't exist, or that it's not a problem.)
It feels like core developers have framed the argument about raising the block size in a bad way. They have presented this as a matter of centralization vs. decentralization. Could you help us better understand why supporting BIP101 is necessarily synonymous with centralization, and why that would be a bad thing. It seems to me that the biggest concern is that if the block size gets too high, then it will be too cost prohibitive for an individual to run a full node, and it may lead to transactions not being broadcast because those transactions go against the interests of the small number of node operators that can afford to run them. (If I understand the argument correctly.) However, I'm not really too concerned about it. It seems that no matter how big Bitcoin gets, there will always be a significant number of early adopters that care about Bitcoin's decentralization, and will be able to afford to run a full node. This makes some sense, right? If we're maxing out 8GB blocks, it's difficult to imagine that bitcoin is going to continue to be worth $414 dollars. Most likely they will be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and given how much more affordable memory, disc space, and bandwidth are each and every year, I have a really hard time imagining a scenario where a full node would be so costly to operate that they there wouldn't still be plenty that are are willing to broadcast any valid transaction. So where am I wrong here? Why should I be more concerned about this than I am? (Also, when it comes to centralization, why is it okay for the future of Bitcoin to rely on Blockstream's ability to put out a functional Lightning network? If we had to rely on such a network to continue to make transactions affordably, wouldn't that be centralization as well?)
It feels like the core developers are abandoning some of the potential that Bitcoin has to offer. When I was first looking into Bitcoin, I was told about all the potential the the blockchain could offer. This is one of the reasons I invested. We could use bitcoin for normal peer-to-peer financial transactions, but also micropayments, smart contracts, remittances, a distributed public ledger, colored coins, etc. It seems like if we want our currency to have the most possible value, shouldn't we try to do everything in our power to maximizes it's potential uses? Shouldn't we be inviting people to use our blockchain to use as they please instead of pushing them toward private blockchains? Do we still want Bitcoin to remain peer-to-peer? There seems to be a debate over whether Bitcoin should be merely a settlement layer. Can't it be both? Wouldn't it be more useful as both? Wouldn't that drive more people to invest?
This is getting long, and I know this isn't an exhaustive list of complaints, but I think it hits at the biggest ones. I also realize I may be showing my ignorance here as well, so please do correct any misunderstandings. I have a significant portion of my total wealth tied up in this currency, and I would like to be reassured that this remains a good investment with Core developers in charge. I believe that they do want what's best for Bitcoin, but their words and actions have been confusing, and fostering a greater divide in the community. It certainly feels like they aren't too concerned about Bitcoin as an investment for a lot of people, and I'd like to see that changed. Thank you for reading all this, and thank you for your thoughts and opinions. Lets keep this friendly, even if it ends up getting sorted by most controversial.
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