[bitcoin-dev] Original Vision

Santino Napolitano santino.napolitano at yandex.com
Sun Jun 28 00:14:08 UTC 2015

There is much heated debate going on right now and I know it can be very stressful but I'd like to point out that it is really amazing how passionately so many feel about this once very small project. Let's not forget there is something really special going on here and we're all part of it.

The current debate has little to do with block size or hard-forks, IMO. It's about the nature of Bitcoin and what it means to people and how it will grow. I would like to take a moment to share my interpretation of the original author's intent based on everything I could find and read from this person. This is not to say their original vision is paramount-- or even that I got it completely correct but I think it might do us some good to think about.

It seems as though the incentive conceived of for running a full network node was that it would enable mining. The proceeds from mining (new coins and transaction fees) would be the reward and provide a reason to continue operating these nodes. If fees are ever to be a sufficient reward and still allow for a practical and useful system the size of the blocks must grow significantly as must the user base. I'm not sure that this is really contested but I haven't exhaustively reviewed everyone's opinion so please excuse me if I have marginalized you. If you do contest that I would be interested in hearing it.

Further, it appears clear that the original author intended organizations operating full network nodes would provide connectivity to light clients and these light clients would make up the majority of the user base. This is completely consistent with current trends in Internet consumption, e.g. tablets and phones are becoming more preferred to even owning a traditional computer. Having the system be entirely decentralized and trustless for every client does not appear to me to be the original design goal. Yes, the whitepaper speaks of the design goal as not having a need for a trusted third party but it does not say that some amount of trust won't be preferred by a majority of users. In fact, in the SPV section it implies some amount of localized trust is perhaps a necessary trade-off and maybe businesses should still run their own full network node if they want the stronger completely trustless guarantee. The global decentralized consensus appears meant to make the network resilient to a single government or other adversary's ability to shut the network down. If you really want to trust no one it is your option at a cost and should be possible by design. The author further gives evidence that they believe Moore's observation would keep the idea of running a full network node a practical one at global scale for perpetuity. It does not appear as if they intended for every individual to run one at home nor in their pocket.

If my interpretation seems incorrect please do point it out. I hope this hasn't been too off-topic and distracting. The original author's engineering ingenuity is what gave me any interest in this project so re-visiting their design and scaling intentions might be helpful for us to move forward-- together.

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