[Bitcoin-development] questions about bitcoin-XT code fork & non-consensus hard-fork
venzen at mail.bihthai.net
Tue Jun 16 05:18:16 UTC 2015
In the light of your responses to Adam Back's questions, below, I feel
it is time to speak up because what I now understand, and is implied,
is that Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen have planned and deployed the
infrastructure for a Bitcoin hard-fork and intend to action it despite
majority opposition. http://xtnodes.com/
I'll try to keep it brief:
Mike Hearn, you should cease your activity of a unilateral hard-fork
immediately. You are doing untold damage by breaking FOSS governance
protocol requiring methodical collaborative work and due process of
change implementation by consensus. Your actions are bad for the
Bitcoin project and its ideals, disrespectful of your peers and years
of their passionate hard work, and dangerous for Bitcoin in the
marketplace and bitcoin in peoples' wallets.
Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen do not own Bitcoin and, emphatically,
you cannot have it. Your hard-fork is tantamount to theft and you and
your collaborators will effectively ex-communicate yourselves from
this project and community. It appears that you are consciously trying
to usurp ownership and maintenance of Bitcoin. As if it is that easy!
You clearly do not comprehend the array of risks - especially the
unanticipated ones. As the market saying goes: "If you think
speculation is easy, it is because you are ignorant about the risks".
If you take the risks with Mike&GavCoin, that would be fine, but you
are about to take them with community-owned Bitcoin and Other People's
You are causing a lot of stress, unnecessarily, and grave concern
surrounds your proposed renegade action. You can dissolve the threat:
those players to whom you have made promises can be appeased and
eventually get most of what they need from this FOSS project. The
developers whom you are railroading to get your way, and the way in
which you are doing it, is about to cause a schism that will expand
outward from this community.
You may accuse the community for being antagonistic to you, and
therefore uncooperative, but it is plain to see that your bullheaded
manner eventually generates antagonism wherever you go. Taking Bitcoin
away from this community, in anger, won't solve the problem and will
be like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
If an individual in an objectively agreed-to FOSS-modelled
collaborative project has the audacity to threaten his peers and the
world with a unilateral hard-fork despite majority objection and a
probability distribution that includes terminal risks and unintended
consequences, then what would an impartial outsider think? Some of
their thoughts would include that the antagonist could be acting in
self-interest, or may be a paid actor, or worse, a saboteur. What
would they advise? Stop that individual, at once!
Bitcoin is a Free and Open Source Software project that serves as
flagship for the blockchain. It has a payment network but the key
benefits are censorship resistance and trustless decentralization.
There is protocol for how change is effected in a FOSS project. For
the sake of everything that is good and useful in Bitcoin, reconsider
your dangerous plan and its intended and unintended consequences. Put
your feet back on the ground, return to the fold and let the
collaborative FOSS model, and the skills available here, gradually
scale Bitcoin to your (and all our) grand vision.
On 06/15/2015 04:56 PM, Mike Hearn wrote:
> Hi Adam,
> Provisional answers below!
> - Are you releasing a BIP for that proposal for review?
> The work splits like this:
> * Gavin is writing the code and I think a BIP as well
> * I will review both and mostly delegate to Gavin's good taste
> around the details, unless there is some very strong disagreement.
> But that seems unlikely.
> * I have been handling gitian and the patch rebases, the code
> signing and so on, so far. I've also been doing some work to setup
> the basic infrastructure of the project (website etc).
> - If the reviewers all say NACK will you take on board their
> Feedback will be read. There are no NACKS in Bitcoin XT. Patch
> requests aren't scored in any way. The final decision rests with
> the maintainer as in ~all open source projects.
> - On the idea of a non-consensus hard-fork at all, I think we can
> assume you will get a row of NACKs. Can you explain your
> rationale for going ahead anyway? The risks are well understood
> and enormous.
> Yes, I have been working on an article that explains how we got to
> this point from my perspective. It is quite long, but only because
> I want it to be readable for people who weren't following the
> Anyway, I think I've laid out the gist of it over and over again,
> but to summarise:
> If Bitcoin runs out of capacity *it will break and many of our
> users will leave*. That is not an acceptable outcome for myself or
> the many other wallet, service and merchant developers who have
> worked for years to build an ecosystem around this protocol.
> - How do you propose to deal with the extra risks that come from
> non-consensus hard-forks? Hard-forks themselves are quite risky,
> but non-consensus ones are extremely dangerous for consensus.
> The approach is the same for other forks. Voting via block versions
> and then when there's been >X% for Y time units the 1mb limit is
> - If you're going it alone as it were, are you proposing that you
> will personally maintain bitcoin-XT? Or do you have a plan to
> later hand over maintenance to the bitcoin developers?
> Good question! I have various thoughts on this, but let's wait and
> see what happens first. Perhaps the new chain won't get the
> majority on it.
> In the event that the >1mb chain does eventually win, I would
> expect Core to apply the patch and rejoin the consensus rather than
> lose all its users. That would take XT back to being a fairly small
> patchset to improve the network protocol.
> - Do you have contingency plans for what to do if the
> non-consensus hard-fork goes wrong and $3B is lost as a result?
> Where did you get the $3B figure from? The fork either doesn't
> happen, or it happens after quite a long period of people knowing
> it's going to happen - for example because their full node is
> printing "You need to upgrade" messages due to seeing the larger
> block version, or because they read the news, or because they heard
> about it via some other mechanisms.
> Let me flip the question around. Do you have a contingency plan if
> Bitcoin runs out of capacity and significant user disruption occurs
> that results in exodus, followed by fall in BTC price? The only one
> I've seen is "we can perform an emergency hard fork in a few
> As you can probably tell I think a unilateral fork without
> wide-scale consensus from the technical and business communities is
> a deeply inadvisable.
> Gavin and I have been polling many key players in the ecosystem.
> The consensus you seek does exist. All wallet developers (except
> Lawrence), all the major exchanges, all the major payment
> processors and many of the major mining pools want to see the limit
> lifted (I haven't been talking to pools, Gavin has).
> This notion that the change has no consensus is based on you
> polling the people directly around you and people who like to spend
> all day on this mailing list. It's not an accurate reflection of
> the wider Bitcoin community and that is one of the leading reasons
> there is going to be a fork. A small number of people have been
> flatly ignoring LOTS of highly technical and passionate developers
> who have written vast amounts of code, built up the Bitcoin user
> base, designed hardware and software, and yes built companies.
> How do you think that makes Bitcoin Core look to the rest of the
> Bitcoin world? How much confidence does that give people?
> Of the overall process, I think you can agree we should not be
> making technical decisions with this level of complexity and
> consensus risk with financial implications of this magnitude under
> duress of haste?
> This debate will never end until a fork makes it irrelevant. There
> is no process for ending it, despite me begging Wladimir to make
> And there is no haste. We have been debating the block size limit
> for _years_. We have known it must be lifted for _years_. I kicked
> off this current round of debates after realising that Wladimir's
> release timeline wouldn't allow a block size limit to be released
> before the end of the year. The reason we're talking about it now
> and not next year is exactly to ensure there is plenty of time.
> I can sincerely assure you everyone does want to scale bitcoin and
> shares your long term objective on that
> I really wish you were right, and I definitely feel you are one of
> the more reasonable ones Adam. But the overwhelming impression I
> get from a few others here is that no, they don't want to scale
> Bitcoin. They already decided it's a technological dead end. They
> want to kick end users out in order to "incentivise" (force) the
> creation of some other alternative, claiming that it's still
> Bitcoin whilst ignoring basic details ... like the fact that no
> existing wallets or services would work.
> Scaling Bitcoin can only be achieved by letting it grow, and
> letting people tackle each bottleneck as it arises at the right
> times. Not by convincing ourselves that success is failure.
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