[bitcoin-dev] I do not support the BIP 148 UASF

Steven Pine steven.pine at gmail.com
Sat Apr 15 02:01:17 UTC 2017

> Segwit is a good improvement
and we should respect it by knowing that it's good enough to wait for,
and for however its activated to be done the best way we know how.

Regarding this last point I was under the impression that if Segwit did not
activate by November then core was going to move on, is that no longer the
case, does the core team plan on trying to activate Segwit in some other

I am also curious, but has there been a softfork, hardfork, or other major
census change that was not rolled out and done by the core team? I only
mention this because BIP148, if it goes ahead (and is successful), would be
the first time a consensus change occurs outside of the core developers --
but again I am not an expert on the history of changes and could be wrong,
I only bring this up because core developers have in the past stressed they
are a part of the bitcoin ecosystem and not the drivers of it (at least
that is the ideal it seems).

My impression is that the community is ready for this and wants it, and if
that impression is correct it will go ahead. No one knows the future, and
simply assuming it's better to be slow and methodical isn't especially
convincing. Technology is in someways the history of failure, we like to
celebrate the seemingly sudden breakthroughs and successes but it's rare
that the original innovator retains a monopoly on their invention, more
often it becomes quickly refined and iterated upon as market forces take
hold to bring costs down and other external political issues
take precedence, all this is say that in ten years everyone could be
chuckling over the 3 year bitcoin scaling debate, or they could be using
litecoin, or ethereum or some other crypto coin, or something entirely
different, no one knows.

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 3:56 AM, Gregory Maxwell via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> I do not support the BIP148 UASF for some of the same reasons that I
> do support segwit:  Bitcoin is valuable in part because it has high
> security and stability, segwit was carefully designed to support and
> amplify that engineering integrity that people can count on now and
> into the future.
> I do not feel the the approach proposed in BIP148 really measures up
> to the standard set by segwit itself, or the existing best practices
> in protocol development in this community.
> The primary flaw in BIP148 is that by forcing the activation of the
> existing (non-UASF segwit) nodes it almost guarantees at a minor level
> of disruption.
> Segwit was carefully engineered so that older unmodified miners could
> continue operating _completely_ without interruption after segwit
> activates.
> Older nodes will not include segwit spends, and so their blocks will
> not be invalid even if they do not have segwit support. They can
> upgrade to it on their own schedule. The only risk non-participating
> miners take after segwit activation is that if someone else mines an
> invalid block they would extend it, a risk many miners already
> frequently take with spy-mining.
> I do not think it is a horrible proposal: it is better engineered than
> many things that many altcoins do, but just not up to our normal
> standards. I respect the motivations of the authors of BIP 148.  If
> your goal is the fastest possible segwit activation then it is very
> useful to exploit the >80% of existing nodes that already support the
> original version of segwit.
> But the fastest support should not be our goal, as a community-- there
> is always some reckless altcoin or centralized system that can support
> something faster than we can-- trying to match that would only erode
> our distinguishing value in being well engineered and stable.
> "First do no harm." We should use the least disruptive mechanisms
> available, and the BIP148 proposal does not meet that test.  To hear
> some people-- non-developers on reddit and such-- a few even see the
> forced orphaning of 148 as a virtue, that it's punitive for
> misbehaving miners. I could not not disagree with that perspective any
> more strongly.
> Of course, I do not oppose the general concept of a UASF but
> _generally_ a soft-fork (of any kind) does not need to risk disruption
> of mining, just as segwit's activation does not.  UASF are the
> original kind of soft-fork and were the only kind of fork practiced by
> Satoshi. P2SH was activated based on a date, and all prior ones were
> based on times or heights.  We introduced miner based activation as
> part of a process of making Bitcoin more stable in the common case
> where the ecosystem is all in harmony.  It's kind of weird to see UASF
> portrayed as something new.
> It's important the users not be at the mercy of any one part of the
> ecosystem to the extent that we can avoid it-- be it developers,
> exchanges, chat forums, or mining hardware makers.  Ultimately the
> rules of Bitcoin work because they're enforced by the users
> collectively-- that is what makes Bitcoin Bitcoin, it's what makes it
> something people can count on: the rules aren't easy to just change.
> There have been some other UASF proposals that avoid the forced
> disruption-- by just defining a new witness bit and allowing
> non-upgraded-to-uasf miners and nodes to continue as non-upgraded, I
> think they are vastly superior. They would be slower to deploy, but I
> do not think that is a flaw.
> We should have patience. Bitcoin is a system that should last for all
> ages and power mankind for a long time-- ten years from now a couple
> years of dispute will seem like nothing. But the reputation we earn
> for stability and integrity, for being a system of money people can
> count on will mean everything.
> If these discussions come up, they'll come up in the form of reminding
> people that Bitcoin isn't easily changed at a whim, even when the
> whims are obviously good, and how that protects it from being managed
> like all the competing systems of money that the world used to use
> were managed. :)
> So have patience, don't take short cuts.  Segwit is a good improvement
> and we should respect it by knowing that it's good enough to wait for,
> and for however its activated to be done the best way we know how.
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Steven Pine
(510) 517-7075
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