Why should you support decentralized governance? submitted by
Because otherwise, the people involved in these centralized "meetings" (ie, the miners and the devs jetting around the world, making "important" decisions on things like "max blocksize" without your input) will become "insiders" - who can easily manipulate the price to make profits - behind your back, and at your expense. The potential for manipulation
In the past, I've communicated with several experienced old-time traders and consultants from Wall Street regarding Bitcoin.
And many of them say they won't touch Bitcoin with a ten-foot pole because it's quite obvious to them that (in the absence of regulation), a new asset class like Bitcoin is horribly vulnerable to all sorts of behind-the-scenes manipulation.
They've seen it all before. They know all the ins and outs of how people with "insider information" can rig the market - and they can already see plenty of warning signs and alarm bells showing how easy it would be to pull off this kind of market manipulation in Bitcoin.
Now, I'm not in favor of government regulation for Bitcoin. I believe that it should be as self-regulating as possible.
But the only way to do this is if we get the governance and the software right.
Basically, what this probably boils down to is "baking in" a bit more governance into the software itself - so that things can be decided by everyone in the market as a whole, rather than by a small group of people at a private meeting. Ethereum said "code is law", and Bitcoin said it would be governed "by math, not by men". But now look where we've ended up.
In the case of Ethereum, the promise was "code is law" - but then they discovered that the DAO code could be hacked, which raised difficult questions about how to interpret what the "law" really means.
In the case of Bitcoin (for those of us who remember that far back), the promise was to be "governed by math, not men".
Now flash-forward to the present.
After being stable for weeks, the price abruptly dropped by $30-40 today.
This was apparently due to broken promises from some meeting in Hong Kong in February, followed by another "friendly", "invite-only" meeting in Silicon Valley today - where previously promised solutions weren't delivered, and it was explicitly forbidden to offer any new ones
So now, we're getting a vivid reminder that the "max blocksize" limit (as it currently stands) is a constant, hard-coded in a program, by a centralized group of programmers and miners - who are all fallible human beings, possessed by normal human drives and foibles and obligations, such as fear and greed, ego and hubris, payments to make and mouths to feed.
This means that a handful of insiders can easily manipulate this "max blocksize" number - deciding whether and when and how it will get changed, and how much, and how often - so they could potentially manipulate the price - depending on their own personal preferences.
For example, they could be "long" on Bitcoin and want to sell - or they could be "short" on Bitcoin and want to buy - or maybe they're just not terribly bright - or maybe they're into bike-shedding - or maybe they're just having a bad day - or a bad life.
Whatever the reason, in the end, they're going to keep on injecting their
central planning and their
personal preferences into your
store of value, your
medium of exchange.
And as long as you continue to accept this idea that they
have the right to jet around the world, dictating how you
can use your monetary system today - they're going to keep right on doing it.
Now, most of us do accept that certain parameters like a "max blocksize" could probably change at some point in the future - depending on the needs of the market, and the capacity of the hardware. Our mission right now should be to make sure that the process for changing such a parameter is as decentralized as possible.
Currently, that's far from being the case.
But - no matter what you personally think or hope that number should be - you should support the idea that the process
for determining that number should be as decentralized as possible. Today, a bunch of devs and miners flew to an invitation-only meeting to (not) talk about setting this number. You weren't invited to this meeting (or the previous one in February) - but the following "colorful" cast of characters were
No matter who you are, you probably don't want a tiny, centralized cast of characters deciding on Bitcoin's monetary policy for you.
- one anonymous guy who many people consider to be a shitcoin scammer and wannabe censor (the notorious u/btcdrak, who walked away with $380,000 from his ViaCoin ICO, and was massively rejected when he tried to become a mod of btc),
- another guy who many people consider to have no understanding of economics based on some of his previous outbursts on Reddit (u/maaku7),
- some other guys who signed - and then apparently violated - the Hong Kong agreement back in February, who many people consider to be problematic in various ways (eg u/luke-jr with all his wild and crazy ideas, and u/adam3us with his boastful claims about inventing parts of Bitcoin, and his track record of missing the boat on actually investing in it, and finally his flip-flopping between signing the February HK agreement as an official representative of Blockstream or as a private individual),
- some guy who "volunteered" to manually "transcribe" the meeting (u/kanzure) - in lieu of providing a transparent, untamperable recording - who has publicly shown a powerful animosity towards another dev (not invited to the meeting) who many think has done a lot of important work involving on-chain scaling (u/Peter__R who has worked on Bitcoin Unlimited and Xthin).
Like the title of this posts says, it doesn't actually matter whether you support bigger or smaller blocks, or whether you're "short" or "long" on Bitcoin.
It doesn't matter whether you're using Bitcoin to accept payments for your business - or doing "dollar cost averaging" to buy a little every week to put away for the future - or using cold storage to save for your retirement or for your kid's college education - or trying your hand at using "technical analysis" to do some day trading to see if you can outsmart the market.
It's hard enough trying to deal with day-to-day events and budget for your future and analyze the market and understand the economy - without also having to factor in stuff like: whether u/btcdrak
might happen to be "long" or "short" on Bitcoin - or whether some of them might be simply clueless or out to lunch or got up on the wrong side of the bed today. Remember how Bitcoin was supposed to be?
If you remember back to when you first got into Bitcoin, one thing that we all did
at least agree on back then was the promise that it was shield us from many human idiosyncracies in our previous monetary systems - all the centralized invitation-only committees run by shady central bankers, with their back-room deals, meeting privately with no transparency, setting monetary policy affecting your
life, behind your back and without your input.
So... we thought we had forever escaped terrifying economic curses such as the Keynesian Beauty Contest
and the Greenspan Put
and the Hank Paulson TARP
and the Krugman Liquidity Trap
and the Cyprus Haircut
and the Brexit Slump
etc. etc. - only to turn around and find out that we may have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, as we are now being haunted by even more
terrifying curses such as the u/Btcdrak Scam
and u/Maaku7 Macroeconomics
and the u/Luke-Jr Pedantic Semantics
and the u/Kanzure Transcript
and the Adam Back Flip
and the Theymos Dictatorship
and the van der Laan Paralysis
- all under the ever-present dismal shadow of the Tragedy of Gregonomics
- and brought to you and paid for by the Fantasy Fiat of AXA
. Is there a solution?
As you can see from all of the above, the main problem facing Bitcoin right now is centralized governance.
Of course, code inevitably does have to be (centrally) written by someone.
But there are
things we can
do right now
to minimize the amount of centralized intervention in Bitcoin's code and governance. Whenever possible, we can and should favor code which requires a minimum of centralized interference.
Core/Blockstream have basically spent the past year or two tying themselves up in knots, and disrupting the community and the market - and maybe even suppressing the price - due to their stubborn, selfish, destructive refusal to provide parameterized code where the market can set certain values on its own
- most notably, the "maximum blocksize".
Meanwhile, code such as Bitcoin Unlimited (and also Bitcoin Classic, once it adopts BitPay's Adaptive Blocksize Limit) puts the "governance" for things like "max blocksize" back where it belongs - in the hands of the users, in the marketplace.
Using more-parameterized code is an obvious technique known by anyone who has taken a "Programming 101" course.
Everyone knows that parameterized code is the easiest way to let the market set some parameters - avoiding the dangers of having these parameters set behind closed doors by a centralized cartel of powerful people.
We can and should all work together to make this a reality again - by adopting more-parameterized code such as Bitcoin Unlimited or Bitcoin Classic.
This will allow us to realize the original promise of Bitcoin - where "The Users and the Market Decide - Not Central Planners."
Call for Proposals. The current Scaling Bitcoin Workshop will take place September 11 th -12 th in Tel Aviv University, Claire and Emanuel Rosenblatt Auditorium, (Engineering Building), Tel Aviv, Israel. We are accepting technical proposals for improving Bitcoin performance including designs, experimental results, and comparisons against other proposals. keyboard_arrow_leftBack Scaling Bitcoin workshop : Tokyo 2018 Fraud proofs. Improving SPV client validation and security with fraud proofs. Mustafa Al-Bassam (University College London) Nicola Atzei, Massimo Bartoletti, Stefano Lande (University of Cagliari), Nobuko Yoshida (Imperial College London), Roberto Zunino (University of Trento) Developing secure Bitcoin contracts with BitML SB6-4 ‘Scaling the Edge’ focuses on scaling the rate of Bitcoin technology research, innovation and adoption: RESEARCH: establishing and understanding the leading-edge of cryptography for cryptocurrencies INNOVATION: identifying and evolving protocol characteristics that foster open innovation by industry ADOPTION: driving bitcoin technology development capacity and end-user adoption Scaling Bitcoin ‘Kaizen’, focuses on the systematic identification of portions of the Bitcoin protocol that best lend themselves to continuous, non-’consensus layer’ improvement. ‘Kaizen’ focuses on the refinement of Bitcoin’s existing impressive security, integrity and performance properties by identifying opportunities to drive further algorithmic efficiency and rigorous testing.
See https://scalingbitcoin.org/presentations for presentation index and transcripts. See https://scalingbitcoin.org/presentations for presentation time index, slides and transcripts. Introduction to Event Invited Talk: Deploying Blockchain At Scale. Lessons from the Internet Deployment in Japan. PRESENTER(s):Professor Jun Murai (Keio University) Current State of Bitcoin An ... Presentation at OnChain Scaling Conferences #3 The Future of Bitcoin - November 30th 2016 www.onchainscaling.com for more information How to safely improve the scalability while keeping the decentralized nature of the Bitcoin network? During this meetup, two researchers - Ren Zhang from Ner...