[bitcoin-dev] Bitcoin Core and hard forks

Eric Lombrozo elombrozo at gmail.com
Thu Jul 23 00:13:42 UTC 2015


> On Jul 22, 2015, at 5:05 PM, Cory Fields <lists at coryfields.com> wrote:
> 
> On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 7:53 PM, Eric Lombrozo <elombrozo at gmail.com> wrote:
>> FWIW, I had worked on something similar a while back:
>> https://github.com/CodeShark/bitcoin/tree/coinparams_new/altconf
>> 
>> I like the idea in principle…but we should require a new genesis block,
>> different magic bytes, and a different network port at the very least. :)
>> 
> 
> Not sure if serious, so I'll assume you are :)

Only being partly serious - I strongly am in favor of a sufficiently modularized codebase that swapping out consensus rules is fairly straightforward and easy to test. I’m not in favor of encouraging forking an existing blockchain without having mechanisms in place to gracefully merge back without significant network disruptions. We do not have this yet.

> Why? The idea in this case would be to allow the user to decide
> between (say) "./bitcoind -1mbchain" and "./bitcoind -2mbchain" at
> runtime rather than the likely alternative of "./bitcoind" vs
> "./bitcoin-fork”.

That’s exactly what my coinparams_new branch does. Adding a parameter for maximum block size would be straightforward.

> Chain params may be identical other than the value of some future
> event (miner vote for example), in which case the configs would run
> identically until that point.

Yes, indeed - this would be a special case.

> If your concern is about nodes with different configs communicating
> with eachother, I'd like to reiterate: 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.

I do not encourage anyone to try to fork an existing blockchain without first securing overwhelming (near unanimous) consensus…or without having yet built a mechanism that can merge divergent chains gracefully.

> Cory
> 
>> On Jul 22, 2015, at 4:42 PM, Cory Fields via bitcoin-dev
>> <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>> 
>> 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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