This morning another hit-piece on Bitcoin was published by Jason Bloomberg on Forbes. His argument essentially boils down to the current debate about how to scale Bitcoin up and the possibility of a hard fork to Bitcoin Classic, raising the block size limit to 2 megabytes.
Bloomberg plays a little loose in his facts at a couple of points, but his main thrust is that if and when a fork happens, there will be a period when bitcoiners will have bitcoins sitting on two chains, effectively doubling their money. He doesn’t go into this, but the theory is that Classic with its new block size limit would go into effect when 75% of the network has switched to the Classic software. This would leave 25% of the network working the old blockchain which will not recognize any coins on the new blockchain. Fear would likely motivate anyone in the 25% to convert over pretty quickly, but there would be some period of time when for all intents and purposes, the number of bitcoins in existence would double. Bloomberg, who got his theory from a Reddit discussion, understands that this gap would open an opportunity for cunning traders to game the system and double their coins.
I’m fairly less interested in the arguments made by Bloomberg than by the opportunity we, the Bitcoin community, give his ilk through rancor and needless infighting.
The block size debate strikes me to be fairly similar to debates about global warming and switching the planet from fossil fuels to more sustainable types of energy. In the case of global warming, whatever the evidence for human impact on the climate, it is undeniable that oil is polluting, that it enriches a few and oppresses many, that it pours money into parts of the world that have no love for Western powers and also forces us to keep sending armies to keep the oil flowing. There is also little doubt that with concerted funding and research, renewable energy tech could be made cheap and efficient enough to power the world sustainably. Any argument against putting real resources behind making this switch are, frankly, baffling and can only be fueled by self-interested parties trying to keep their pockets lined.
For Bitcoin, the situation is a little different. All of us want Bitcoin to succeed. That is, unless you think the government will support proposals like this Rand Report that recommends sending shills into the Bitcoin community to divide and shatter it. Almost everyone in the Bitcoin community understands that Bitcoin must scale to reach its full potential. This is true whether you think that Bitcoin will be a currency that everyone will use it to buy a cup of coffee or a settlement layer underneath other technologies allowing for heavier and faster throughput.
Scaling is going to, and should, happen. There is also no question that the community should take the time to think it out, test everything, and make sure we get it right. Whether your concerns are node count dropping, centralization of mining, the ‘hijacking’ of Bitcoin, or whatever, there is a space to have this conversation rationally and honestly. There is a way to have it without giving journalists like Bloomberg or the hacks at Rand reason to think that the community can’t hang together for this shared dream of a better currency.
Right now, Bitcoin seems to be going through an adoption chasm. It needs a number of things to come out of the chasm it needs for the companies building its ecosystem to come out of development and really begin providing services and value that everyone can see, feel, and appreciate. It needs for the base protocol to keep improving, including scalability and a re-decentralization of mining. And, it needs for the Bitcoin community to acknowledge and accept their differences and put them aside for the one thing that drew us to Bitcoin in the first place fiat money and the elites that produce and manipulate it have failed us to the point where we are looking for something better.
With all that said, it is also my strong belief that Bitcoin is an underdog. If things were going well, it would never have a chance because there would be no one interested in switching over. The halvening, solutions to the scalability of Bitcoin, the strengthening of Bitcoin companies, and likely second global financial shock will all come together to force Bitcoin from a weird niche tech to the safe-haven everyone is rushing to.
Keep the faith and keep HODLing. There are better times ahead. If we can only choose to make them so.