[bitcoin-dev] Why Satoshi's temporary anti-spam measure isn't temporary

Mike Hearn hearn at vinumeris.com
Wed Jul 29 18:03:22 UTC 2015

> It was _well_ .... understood that the users of Bitcoin would wish to
> protect its decenteralization by limiting the size of the chain to keep it
> verifyable on small devices.

No it wasn't. That is something you invented yourself much later. "Small
devices" isn't even defined anywhere, so there can't have been any such

The actual understanding was the opposite. Satoshi's words:

"At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows
beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with
server farms of specialized hardware."

That is from 2008:


Then he went on to talk about Moore's law and streaming HD videos and the
like. At no point did he ever talk about limiting the system for "small

I have been both working on and using Bitcoin for longer than you have been
around, Gregory. Please don't attempt to bullshit me about what the plan
was. And stop obscuring what this is about. It's not some personality cult
- the reason I keep beating you over the head with Satoshi's words is
because it's that founding vision of the project that brought everyone
together, and gave us all a shared goal.

If Satoshi had said from the start,

   "Bitcoin cannot ever scale. So I intend it to be heavily limited and
used only by a handful of people for rare transactions. I picked 1mb as an
arbitrary limit to ensure it never gets popular."

... then I'd have not bothered getting involved. I'd have said, huh, I
don't really feel like putting effort into a system that is intended to NOT
be popular. And so would many other people.

Don't think you can claim otherwise, because doing so is flat out wrong.

I just did claim otherwise and no, I am not wrong at all.

(Which, incidentially, is insanely toxic to any security argument for
> SPV; ---- and now we see the market failure that results from your and
> Gavin years long campaign to ignore problems in the mining ecosystem:

Since when have we "campaigned" to "ignore problems" in the mining
ecosystem? What does that even mean? Was it not I who wrote this blog post?


Gregory, you are getting really crazy now. Stop it. The trend towards
mining centralisation is not the fault of Gavin or myself, or anyone else.
And SPV is exactly what was always intended to be used. It's not something
I "fixated" on, it's right there in the white paper. Satoshi even
encouraged me to keep working on bitcoinj before he left!

Look, it's clear you have decided that the way Bitcoin was meant to evolve
isn't to your personal liking. That's fine. Go make an alt coin where your
founding documents state that it's intended to always run on a 2015
Raspberry Pi, or whatever it is you mean by "small device". Remove SPV
capability from the protocol so everyone has to fully validate. Make sure
that's the understanding that everyone has from day one about what your alt
coin is for. Then when someone says, gee, it'd be nice if we had some more
capacity, you or someone else can go point at the announcement emails and
say "no, GregCoin is meant to always be verifiable on small devices, that's
our social contract and it's written into the consensus rules for that

But your attempt to convert Bitcoin into that altcoin by exploiting a
temporary hack is desperate, and deeply upsetting to many people. Not many
quit their jobs and created companies to build products only for today's
tiny user base.

My list of "things a full node is useful for" wasn't ordered by importance,
by the way.
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