Author’s preface: This became much longer than I originally planned. There’s a lot of information here that is definitely worth reading, especially if you’re new to the community. Whether you already agree with me or not, I recommend reading this so you can pass it on to future members of the community. They are the most important ones that need to see everything I’ve referenced below. Not us. Because this won’t end. #NO2X
Re-published from Medium.
“I don’t post on Reddit” was my unofficial motto while browsing Reddit, until one day I was compelled into lecturing some person over why our grandmas won’t be securing their own private keys.
“I don’t post on Medium” wasn’t even a motto of mine. Developers post on Medium… right? People ‘involved’ in this space post on Medium, and I’m nobody… right? I don’t code, I don’t have a name, I don’t have a following, and I constantly make mistakes attempting to understand or explain the protocol to other people. I’m just a user…
“Wait, hold on, what is he talking about? What is ‘posting on Medium’ even supposed to mean?”
You’re right. The fact that I’m posting on Medium means nothing. It’s just the name of a website, with features that allow me to represent myself in the way I wish to be represented in this moment. Therein lies the underlying topic at hand. I said “Medium” but what I meant was the avenue that Medium happens to provide for me at this moment.
“Why is this significant?”
Allow me to reiterate: I said Bitcoin, but what I meant was the avenue that the current state of the protocol many of us refer to as Bitcoin happens to provide for me… as a user.
We’ll get back to that later. Anyway…
Bitcoin maximalists will say “Bitcoin only works if most people run full-nodes.”
It’s a great endeavor, and I wish them the best of luck, but I personally don’t see our grandmas running full-nodes. What percent of the total population are grandmas? By the time they’re all running full-nodes we’ll all be assimilated into the singularity running our spinal-tapped full-nodes over a wireless decentralized global Internet. Sounds like fun.
Can you personally envision a world where most people run a full-node? Elaborate on the intricacies of your mother’s day-to-day life while she runs a full-node. Tell me everything she did in a single day, and where was the full-node in these situations? Did she bring it with her to go shopping? What is “most people”? 51% of 7 billion? 90%? Are we including children in the total percent? Does this, or does this not count all the automated robots that will be walking around with their own full-nodes built into their [bio?]mechanical bodies? The most plausible scenario for the near future circa the “mass-adoption tipping-point” is one on every persons phone. Is that really secure? Who’s building those clients? Will Apple have their own built-in-walled-garden hardware version? Will they point all those built in clients to a seed node on their server? What implications would that have? Is it really even plausible?
All of those questions are legitimate questions, but while they are legitimate, they are a distraction, because having as many full-nodes as possible is imperative to Bitcoin, and focusing on the numbers completely misses that point.
Well, actually… no it’s not. It’s imperative to me, it’s imperative to most of community, and it’s imperative to most of the developers paving the way for this technology right now. The Bitcoin doesn’t care.
Clearly it’s not imperative to some people. Not to a select few developers, or to some of the people who invested early and already got rich, or those who happen to be successful at marketing themselves out to be important. It’s also not imperative to the Ethereum community, but let’s hold off on that until later…
See how they attempt to differentiate between full-nodes that mine and those that don’t? Through misinformation, and use of the tactics I used in the earlier paragraph (asking legitimate, but redirecting questions), they’ve been successful at garnering a following, and full-nodes are not imperative to that group that follows them either. We’ve all heard the Satoshi datacenter quote ad-nauseam. Have you heard it yet?
I’m sorry, but Satoshi isn’t a god, and nobody is perfect. It’s easy to quote an individual for your cause when you know they can’t clarify their opinions in an updated context. Satoshi didn’t predict turning all nodes into a payment channel network (although he touched on the subject in correspondence with Mike Hearn). Every major cryptocurrency is adopting payment channel technology, but you still see these propaganda pushers try to knock down the technology in the name of The Bitcoin:
Can anyone source this? I tried, I can’t. Maybe it was paraphrased to fit 140 characters, maybe Vitalik said something else and Ver molded it into something he never even meant. Maybe Vitalik deleted it. Even if he did, maybe he changed his mind:
Notice the dates on those posts? Roger Ver knows full well about the Raiden Network (Ethereum’s Lightning Network) and Vitalik’s support for it, yet he still uses quotes older than (presumably) 1.5 years ago, to instill this nonsense into the minds of the constantly growing set of new & uninformed people joining this community. This type of propaganda isn’t going to go away. Did you notice the ‘Pro Bitcoin Unlimited’ tag I have for the user in the old Bitcoin-XT subreddit? Same campaign, different flag: Take control of the network. Take control of the name Bitcoin.
This is an ongoing propaganda campaign that needs to constantly be shot down. New people coming into the community don’t know the history, they don’t know the ideology, and they don’t know about the reoccurring tactics these groups use.
Here’s a great one from the famous “I’m Satoshi” fraud:
Like the caption says, he made that picture. He went on a Twitter spree that day with screenshots of random arbitrary charts, you can go look for yourself. Here’s his Twitter, and here’s an actual image of the current Satellite coverage Blockstream’s satellite network has, that they just launched:
Much different, specifically: This one wasn’t hand drawn by a fraud to make it look like China was exclusively “blocked”, and permanently for that matter…
If they wanted no block-size they could’ve went to Ethereum, if they don’t care about the average users ability to run a node diminishing over time, they could go to Ethereum. Or they could go to Bitcoin Cash… but somehow they still push Segwit2x after already getting their fork.
ProTip: It’s because they don’t really want Bitcoin to succeed. They are dividing, and attempting to conquer.
If you still for some reason want no limit to the block size, here’s a real world example of a chain that doesn’t have one. The Ethereum data directory size is growing exponentially for them because of the absent cap, but they just don’t care, and that’s totally fine because they aren’t trying to hijack oursystem:
The issue is mentalities like these bleed over into the Bitcoin community and cause divides that lead to an obvious fallout: Chain splits, and the fight over the title of The Bitcoin.
So what happens when there’s an ideological split among the community? Other protocol implementations that are used to muddy the waters and sway public opinion are well known: block-size cap, total supply cap, miner version-bit signaling. What happens when a group of people decide that they want The Bitcoin to remove (not just increase) the “arbitrary” limitation on block size? Is anyone for removing the 21 million coin cap? No? Don’t be surprised when that becomes a target too. Ethereum already took both of those away…
How much weight do your ideologies really hold against the 7 billion people who have no idea what we’re even talking about right now? 7 billion people who are easily influenced by misinformation. Are you prepared to publicly make the claim that 7 billion people don’t know what they’re talking about, and that they should be listening to you?
So what exactly does the name ‘Bitcoin’ mean?
“It is great to be an American. We get to play sports and eat lots of food. We get lots of toys, all because we are free — the best thing of all.”
Austin B., 11, Wisconsin
Do you think Austin knew about the USA Patriot Act that Congress signed into law less than a year from when Scholastic asked children to send their opinions in?
Also notice how Austin said “America”, but what he meant was the avenue that the current state of his country provides for him as a citizen to play sports and eat lots of food? Not really, but do you get the point?
Sparing any 1984 analogies, what happens to the definition of America should sports and excess food no longer be an option for Austin? What happens to the title his ideology currently goes by? What will represent freedom in 500 years? What does it mean to be a Roman?
This is what really drove me to Medium, because a Reddit response isn’t sufficient enough to address these reoccurring debates that meddle with my ideology, in the name of The Bitcoin, which props up in a variety of ways from many different perspectives. Here’s one:
First and foremost let’s actually address the technicalities of the above argument: Chain reorganizations are not protocol changes, and the phrase “longest valid chain” refers to the former, not the latter.
Even then, the size of the ‘difficulty sum’ of all blocks in a chain determines validity in re-orgs, not block height:
Using the ‘LVC’ argument to try and justify why the fork you’re backing should/will hold the title of The Bitcoin is a fallacy akin to justifying why you skipped out on school today with the excuse “I couldn’t find my schoolbag”, as if breaking your normal morning protocol somehow renders school itself useless:
Bitcoin = [wake up→shower→grab schoolbag→walk to school]
*Queue the analogy Nazis.*
“I’m glad we cleared all of that up, now I finally get it. So that’s all, right? The longest chain measured by the sum of the difficulty of all the blocks is Bitcoin, correct?”
BTC-101 Student / GMTH-203 Student
See what I did there? I mirrored the response of someone who either didn’t get the point (don’t worry, we’ll get there), or is ignoring it and just trying to leverage their argument for the fork of their choice with arbitrary technical merit. Yes, arbitrary technical merit. I could name some Core developers who wouldn’t be too happy with that statement, despite the fact that I’m on their side, but I don’t care because it is arbitrary, given the overarching point.
Let me make this clear: It doesn’t matter what stance you take on any proposal, if you do this you either don’t get it or you are being deceptive.
In other words: Technicalities don’t define The Bitcoin. Social consensus does, because language is an inherently social construct. Furthermore, my ideology doesn’t define The Bitcoin either, because social consensus may not always align with what I currently want out of all of this, or my ideology might change in the future.
This a blatant admission of my point about deceptive tactics. Using the block size to spur division among the community when the reality is they want to take control away from the developers. On top of all of this, Vinny is a proponent of Ethereum and the CEO & co-founder of a company with a token on the Ethereum network. Can you guess where his incentives align? Don’t you think he would be better off if Ethereum was successful and the Bitcoin community was divided?
To be fair, Vinny’s response to that leaked email was to share more emails, here’s an excerpt:
So basically, he’s still (or was in August) in support of SegWit2X going ahead with it’s dead in the water chain split, because if Bitcoin works as planned, it won’t matter… While other companies continue to back out of the agreement they originally signed with the intent to keep everyone together, but now because of Bitcoin Cash, the whole agreement is moot.
Tangentially, 1 CPU / 1 Vote was a phrase used when everyone actually mined with CPUs while running their nodes. Another famous Satoshi quote that can’t be defended because he’s effectively out of the equation. The entire environment is different now. How you can even justify using that line is beyond me when a single entity controls (conservative estimates) ~20+% of all the hashing power, continues to mine empty blocks but complain about not enough space, created Bitcoin Cash and forced the network to fork once already…
… Moving on…
The following is an example of a person who gets it, but tries to leverage the technicalities of the protocol while ignoring the broader scope of the argument with Charlie. Deceptively conflating client reorganization with protocol change/upgrades, and claiming UASF’s have no effect on The Network (see what I did there?) by using technicalities as leverage for their argument:
Other Realities: Civil war, peaceful secession.
Much further down this thread, after some work, this person admitted to not caring what the masses eventually called The Bitcoin, claiming it doesn’t matter. It was the only thing we agreed on, and renders the whole conversation they had with Charlie moot, but readers don’t know that if they don’t follow through with the entire dialogue. The initial top level comment is all that matters because it gets the most visibility.
To reiterate, chain reorganizations are not protocol changes, conflating the two for argumentative benefits is deceptive, and if you still don’t get it here’s a few examples:
- When Bitcoin activated SegWit, it was a protocol change, not a re-org.
- Bitcoin Cash was a protocol change, not a re-org.
- If Jeff Garzik’s baby-child SegWit2x actually gets off the ground and forks away, it will be a protocol change, not a re-org.
- Ethereum was a protocol change (that happened to involve creating an entirely new transaction database)… …not a re-org.
Craig Wright, Boy Genius / Not Satoshi
No, not really. Re-orgs happen all the time without any change to the protocol. It’s a built in client mechanism that has nothing to do with upgrades, or claim to the title of The Bitcoin. The key is understanding that some protocol upgrades try to leverage re-orgs (soft-forks), while other protocol upgrades attempt to supersede re-orgs (hard-forks), and that neither of them are intrinsically bad for le Bitcoin, they just have their own use cases.
Hopefully by now you’re starting to catch on here. Protocol upgrades are inherently social in nature. The naming conventions assigned to those changes are also inherently social in nature. Re-orgs are inherently not social in nature, or whatever the silly term is for network logic. I could look it up, but not doing so helps drive the point even closer to home, it doesn’t matter. Protocols don’t evolve on their own, and a billion re-orgs wouldn’t change a single line of code, so using it to justify your fork is a fallacy.
So where am I really going with this all of this?
Well, for starters, if you share my ideology, you need to share this post. The community will keep growing until everyone is the community. Education will never end. You can’t get frustrated, you need to learn how to properly source, reference posts & quotes, and ask the same basic thought provoking questions without being rude and saying/thinking “not this again”. Everybody is new to the community at some point, and this won’t end. Ever. Period. Will you tell your kids “not this again, just look at the github”? No.
I don’t expect everyone to do this. I don’t expect everyone to have the time or the energy. That’s one of the reasons I put this post together and sourced a bunch of quotes from various members of the community. The least you could do is reference this when someone asks you “what do you mean” by misinformation and lies.
Equally important, and the original underlying theme this post was supposed to have, is understanding that at some point, Bitcoin might not represent itself in a way that aligns with your ideology. If these misinformation tactics prove to be successful, they’ll own the name Bitcoin. The developers are gone if that happens, they’ve all been pretty vocal about it too, either by moving on to a different projecting or continuing to support the chain that wasn’t stolen from us by the corporations, whatever name it winds up getting called (I’ll be calling it Bitcoin).
Screenshots courtesy of John Newbery, Bitcoin Dev:
I don’t know what’s going to happen if the network splits again, but I know that if we lose the name Bitcoin (because that’s what this whole propaganda campaign is about) it won’t be good. Maybe I’m over concerned, maybe not. The only thing I can suggest is you take a look at what Bitcoin Cash’s most prominent miner said about the recent chain BCash split:
Bitcoin Cash is not Bitcoin England = Bitcoin America = Bitcoin Cash
Now take a look at what Bitcoin Cash’s most vocal user said about the recent chain split:
Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin
England = Bitcoin Cash
America = ???
Did that help clear things up for you? They can’t even agree between themselves, because all they care about is stealing the name or dividing the community.