Over the last 24 hours, I have come to a number of conclusions. But the most glaring of these conclusions, is that Blockstream are desperate.
In my last article (Bitcoin is under-attack. But only because it is a threat to the global elites.) I specifically outlined a list of tactics (mostly immoral, and even illegal), that Blockstream and supporters have employed in trying to win the Bitcoin scaling debate. One of the moves undertaken by Blockstream which I did not address was that on the 21st of February 2016, representatives from Blockstream’s Bitcoin Core team and Miners, signed what is today known as the Hong Kong agreement. This closed, secretive meeting that took place ensured all miners unanimously sign an agreement, which made certain they continue to use Bitcoin Core – which in effect killed off the competing “Bitcoin Classic” client competition. Bitcoin Classic simply provided an on-chain capacity increase by increasing the blocksize, which inventor Satoshi many times stated was required to let Bitcoin grow.
The HK Agreement also stated some points suggesting that by mid-2016 a hardfork would be available which would allow Bitcoin to scale-up, (although mostly using off-chain solutions). The failed timeline and the failed measure to take action, has resulted in miners also abandoning the agreement. What was intended specifically to keep all miners – Core aligned, has significantly back fired.
Just 3 months ago, Blockstream Core Developer Peter Todd stated:
The whole point of putting "Run Bitcoin Core compatible clients" in the agreement was for miners to stop playing political games for a few months to let the situation calm down and give devs a reason to work with them (remember that until more people joined, it certainly wasn't an agreement with Bitcoin Core). By immediately playing more political games, this made it impossible to get anyone else to join the agreement. So yes, they've thoroughly broken the agreement.Peter Todd - Core Developer
So given Peter Todd’s own admission on the reality of the agreement, isn’t forcing the use of your own software on other members of the eco-system a ‘political move’ in itself? Hmm?
The first major mover into Bitcoin Unlimited was ViaBTC mining pool. Four months ago, the CEO stated that “pools in China have lost their trust in Core and shifted their attention to Unlimited. I know a couple of pools said in private that they won't support SW and will support Unlimited instead. The reason that they haven't shifted to BU is that they are waiting for a better chance and also a possible compromise from Core.” – that compromise never came.
Today over 40% of new blocks generated come from the Bitcoin Unlimited client. – That is, a client which allows for the organic scaling of the blocksize. Miners can effectively vote on the required blocksize and let bitcoin grow, and keep the network, congestion free. It needs to be stated that this algorithm is categorically supported by the writings of inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.
Contrary to the fear, uncertainty and doubt Blockstream have been spreading over bigger blocks, it needs to be stated emphatically, that big blocks are Safe. Take for example Dash (an anonymous cryptocurrency), which through a 99% user agreement, hardforked their code to a 2MB blocksize. – Keep in mind that ‘Dash’ is in itself a Bitcoin clone (with some added privacy features). Yet, Dash has risen seven-fold in value this year alone. So what has stopped Core from implementing, even a temporary 2MB upgrade until the scaling debate can be rectified? Another coin - Monero, the privacy king of crypto, also uses a dynamic blocksize which increases using an algorithm of moving medians to determine the appropriate blocksize. So if these very successful cryptos are using bigger Blocksizes without issue, what is stopping Bitcoin? – Ironically, as the name would have it, Blockstream.
One of the more recent malicious of moves made by Blockstream has been to publicly state that the Miners are colluding in a bid to take-over Bitcoin. I can’t stress this enough – but – users’ interests are 100% aligned with miners. There is no take-over bid. Miners are simply trying to save Bitcoin. Both users and miners would like nothing more than the success and utility of Bitcoin, and for its price to go up. If miners are abandoning Blockstream, it is because they smell a rat, and users of Bitcoin need to do their own unbiased research to arrive at the same conclusion. But if miners and users have the same interests in a decentralized system, can users truly claim to have shared interests with a centrally governed entity? Simply put the calamity that is being experienced by the bitcoin network is a side-effect of an incompatible relationship. That is – Blockstream, and Core. Governance cannot be imposed on a decentralized system.
In one of its most immoral acts carried out to date, this week, Blockstream/Core have arranged for all major exchanges to sign a letter stating that they support the Bitcoin-Core chain to continue to be named as “BTC” and that any fork, no matter the majority of miners, will be called something different, such as “BTU”. Blockstream have somehow managed to manipulate a majority of exchanges into believing that Blockstream’s Core, and Bitcoin are unanimous. Some of us are calling this the HK agreement 2.0.
Blockstream do not own Bitcoin. They merely adopted its development, when Gavin Andresen, who had been working with Satoshi, gave passed the keys over to the mob when all hell broke loose. With the removal of Mike Hearn (an outspoken big block supporter), and the banishment of Gavin Andresen, Blockstream’s take-over of the Core client was complete. But where decentralized systems exist, decentralized development co-exists. If Blockstream refuse to scale, then something else will, and that something is “Bitcoin Unlimited”.
However, these political moves by Blockstream are ensuring that even in the event that a majority fork prevails, the old, weaker fork, will continue to have “Bitcoin BTC” as the name brand. At first I was very disheartened to learn that a majority of exchanges had opted to accept Blockstream’s proposal on this. But a second thought, and I realise this will be another futile attempt, and will result in nothing more than a slow-down in reaching the end-goal. This most desperate and immoral attempt by Blockstream Core, is nothing more than an acknowledgement that they are losing the battle, and clutching at straws. This roll of the dice is a desperate hope, that once the Bitcoin Unlimited forks with the majority hashpower, that users fail to identify that BTU is the true majority hashpower Bitcoin network, as opposed to BTC – the Core chain.
Blockstream’s aggressive tactics will only get worse. All week the Bitcoin Unlimited aligned Bitcoin.com website has been under a barrage of DDOS attacks. Users continue to be censored on Core aligned forums. This is what digital war looks like in the modern age... The most important thing we can do, is to call out the evil strategies that are employed by this mob, and to expose it for what it really is. Every time they censor, we expose. Every time they hide, we point.
The truth is, none of these attacks need to even take place, - when both sides can agree to simply split off, on two chains. A forked coin, means anyone holding value in one, will automatically hold equivalent value in the other. Ofcourse, one will probably go down in value, and the other may rise, as the economy chooses its position (as was the case with the Ethereum fork). But the fact that the attacks are taking place says a lot about the powers that be, and their quest for control.
The fact that Blockstream's hand is forced into playing these down right dirty tactics is a real window into the very desperate times they are facing.
Bitcoin’s price will recover from its recent dip. But the current attack it is experiencing on its entire eco-system by a centralized organisation, is a test of its nature. The outcome will determine its antifragility. Centralized systems have a life-time. Decentralized systems evolve, and grow, and adapt. In many ways, evolution itself is a system of antifragility. By keeping Bitcoin decentralized, will be to give it a long shelf life. If Bitcoin is indeed anti-fragile, then according to Nicholas Taleb, this experience will only make it stronger.
The revolution will not be centralized.
Eli Afram (M.Sc.IT)
Developer & Analyst.