[bitcoin-dev] Bitcoin Core and hard forks

Cory Fields lists at coryfields.com
Wed Jul 22 23:42:10 UTC 2015


I'm not sure why Bitcoin Core and the rules and policies that it
enforces are being conflated in this thread. There's nothing stopping
us from adding the ability for the user to decide what their consensus
parameters should be at runtime. In fact, that's already in use:
./bitcoind -testnet. As mentioned in another thread, the chain params
could even come from a config file that the user could edit without
touching the code.

I realize that it'd be opening Pandora's Box, and likely met with very
loud and reasonable arguments about the obvious terrible implications,
but it's at least an alternative to the current status quo of Core's
conflation with the consensus rules. The idea really is no different
than suggesting that someone fork the codebase and implement their own
changes, it just cuts out most of the work required.

With that in place, consensus changes would be more about lobbying and
coalitions, and less about pull requests.

Cory

On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 6:40 PM, Raystonn via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>> If the developers fail to reflect user consensus, the network will let us
>> know.
>
> This is true with the caveat that there must be more than one option present
> for the network to show it's preference.  If developers discourage anything
> that forks from the rules enforced by Bitcoin Core, they harm the network's
> ability to inform us of a failure to reflect user consensus.
>
> On 22 Jul 2015 3:31 pm, Jeff Garzik via bitcoin-dev
> <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>
> I wouldn't go quite that far.  The reality is somewhere in the middle, as
> Bryan Cheng noted in this thread:
>
> Quoting BC,
>> Upgrading to a version of Bitcoin Core that is incompatible with your
>> ideals is in no way a forced choice, as you have stated in your email;
>> forks, alternative clients, or staying on an older version are all valid
>> choices. If the majority of the network chooses not to endorse a specific
>> change, then the majority of the network will continue to operate just fine
>> without it, and properly structured consensus rules will pull the minority
>> along as well.
>
> The developers propose a new version, by publishing a new release.  The
> individual network nodes choose to accept or reject that.
>
> So I respectfully disagree with "core devs don't control the network" and
> "core devs control the network" both.
>
> There are checks-and-balances that make the system work.  Consensus is most
> strongly measured by user actions after software release.  If the developers
> fail to reflect user consensus, the network will let us know.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 2:43 PM, Mike Hearn via bitcoin-dev
> <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>
> Hi Pieter,
>
> I think a core area of disagreement is this:
>
> Bitcoin Core is not running the Bitcoin economy, and its developers have no
> authority to set its rules.
>
> In fact Bitcoin Core is running the Bitcoin economy, and its developers do
> have the authority to set its rules. This is enforced by the reality of
> ~100% market share and limited github commit access.
>
> You may not like this situation, but it is what it is. By refusing to make a
> release with different rules, people who disagree are faced with only two
> options:
>
> 1. Swallow it even if they hate it
> 2. Fork the project and fork the block chain with it (XT)
>
> There are no alternatives. People who object to (2) are inherently
> suggesting (1) is the only acceptable path, which not surprisingly, makes a
> lot of people very angry.
>
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