I have been participating in the Bitcoin ecosystem for the past 2.5 years, and it has become clear to me that there are several persistent and serious issues with Bitcoin from an organizational perspective. While many people are not familiar with who I am, they may be familiar with the btcsuite project, which I finance entirely by myself and contribute to via the developers I work with. In early 2013, after one of my developers had a less-than-pleasant interaction with the Core developers regarding porting bitcoind to OpenBSD, I decided that making an alternative from-scratch implementation of Bitcoin would be an interesting project and benefit the Bitcoin community by offering an alternative to the Bitcoin Core (BC) monoculture. Having rebuilt the Bitcoin infrastructure from the ground up on my own dime, I have a rather unique perspective on Bitcoin despite being late to the game. I have identified what I consider to be several persistent and severe problem areas with Bitcoin: project governance, funding development and proof-of-work miners having too much power.
As many of you are well aware, Bitcoin has been suffering from a long-running clash of views about whether to increase the maximum block size or not. Informal surveys and content on twitter indicate the majority of businesses and miners support increasing the block size, but a majority of BC developers oppose this increase. There are at least 2 less-than-ideal resolutions to this argument:
- Allow BC developers to force the maximum block size to stay at 1 MB, effectively vetoing the community.
- Create a fork of BC that allows larger blocks, and have enough miners and businesses switch to force the block size increase, effectively vetoing the BC developers.
Neither of these options are very appealing, and more importantly than any resolution that is eventually reached, it reflects a very real crisis in governance. In order to better understand the current crisis, it is worthwhile to quickly recap the history of Bitcoin governance since it was introduced in 2009.